In 1934 Cllr Angus Watson of Newcastle, who had already acquired the vicarage glebe lands as well as nearby Whitton Grange, to preserve what he called the "amenities of the district". Within a year, he had leased Whitton Tower to Newcastle City Council for a children's convalescence home, a use it retained until 1983 after which it reverted to residential use.
The children who spent some time at the convalescence home, now adults, oftern return to see the house and grounds and share their stories. This page is for the children and staff who lived and worked here during the time The Rectory was known as:
The Ethel Watson Childrens Convalescent Home
We would like to hear from you if you were here during this time.
Please leave us a message on our contacts page
We had a request for any information regarding a Song that was sung at Whitton Tower in the early years of the convalesentce home. So if you can help please contact us... The Song goes...
The melody came from a song called "Roll along covered wagons" - Harry Roy. It can be heard on You tube and melody is the introductary part of the song. I learnt the song at Whitton Towers.
The words are:- Roll along Saint………?…... Ambulance, roll along,
Take me back to the place where I belong,
Whitton Towers may be fine,
But give me Newcastle on Tyne,
Roll along Saint……….?......Ambulance
From memory it was an ambulance we sang about, but maybe it was a bus? I do remember going on outings on a bus and singing the song.
Date Name Comments
19/01/2017 Heather Jenkins
I spent 6-8 weeks here in 1964 (aged 8 years now 60 years old) after having a operation to have my spleen removed an operation then which was quite major. I loved my time here. Having a bed in a dorm with other girls, going down to breakfast and having fried bread with tomato sauce on, playing in the open air and going down to the stepping stones in rothbury to play with the older ones. The bird song in the morning and my mam and aunt coming to visit me on a sat. The staff as far as i can remember were lovely. The boys trying to get into the girls dorms to play tricks on us when it was dark. I would one day like to come and see this place so many happy memories. There was an owl in the big tree that was outside our dorm. so glad i found this page and the photos dont do it justice. many thanx
29/01/2017 Stephen Robertson
I stayed at Whitton Towers mid to late 60s.
Like others have said 'hated going home' it was a sort of holiday for us as my mam spent time in hospital. This was the best place on the planet! I remember Mr and Mrs Moore also Nurse Chesmore. Her name has always stuck in my mind & I'm almost 61 now.
I remember the hallway with classroom on the left a little further on was the conservatory if I remember right. Pretty sure there's a dog named Bracken buried in the garden near the punch tree. The dormitories were on 1st floor along with the bathrooms. I've visited Rothbury lots of times & ventured up to Whitton Towers but only as far as the gates. Always worried about intruding. I used to collect the eggs from the henhouse near bottom of the drive on the left. Also had the job of taking out the rubbish. I can't recall all the staff names fairly sure there was a nurse Brown & definitely remember nurse Chesmore. Some lovely memories of this place & often wished I had my childhood back so I could go back to Whitton Towers. Email address is my partners but anyone who might remember me is free to use it.
16/01/2017 Julie Clark
Hi, my name is Julie and my sister Carol and I stayed here shortly after our Dad died. I think I was about 5 or 6 and Carol 8 or 9 so around 1971ish?? We were fondly known as "The Appleton girls". I remember nurse Ann who loved Gary Glitter at the time (bet he is not so popular with you now!!).....are you nurse Ann who has left a comment? I really used to love spending time with you! I remember Carol and I collecting the hens eggs and being scared of the dark, the bathrooms, the school room, the secret stairs, the huge bedroom with lots of beds,the lovely food, walks to Rothbury and one of the nurses house (sure it was round and very small)....lots of lovely memories to name but a few!! I remember the golden spoon does anyone else? Carol used to help cut the rind off the bacon. I also remember our Mam visiting us (bless her when I think she travelled on bus and taxi all the way from Lanchester in County Durham!!) She always used to bring Carol and I lots of sweets and chocolate and the staff would find our stash in our lockers and take it from us to share with everyone, the first time I cried. I remember lots of the children but not their names but one family of I think 3 with a young brother who would be 4ish always stays in my mind...they were from Newcastle. Lovely memories, we were happy there once we got used to being away from our Mam. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers us, especially Nurse Ann. Lots of love to you all and I must visit next time I am up there xx
02/04/2017 Valerie McDonald
1970 stayed 10 weeks nurse rowell, nurse barret, anne lesely, was going change name to zena, teacher cant remember her name. I was anaemic got sent there for fresh air, we were aloud two sweets a night, used to feed the hens and wash mr moors car, lovely walks.
can you put my details in visiters book.
12/02/2017 Sheila Elizabeth Ludkin
I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1966 I stayed at whitton towers when I was very young around 4ish I think I can remember my school teacher who was lovely to me Mrs Hardy was her name I remember those morning walks we had and I vaguely remember that the bedroom was like an old fashioned hospital ward with crisp white sheets on the beds .
I cannot say that I enjoyed or didn't enjoy my stay here but I can say I have never forgotten .Sheila Ludkin.
07/02/2017 Valerie McDonald
thanku Isabel an john for letting us look round u beautiful grounds an house very kind of you
19/04/2017 Christine Birmingham
I have been searching for quite a while for information on the convalescing home I was sent to as a child in approximately 1963 age 4 years old following a bout of pneumonia and am so pleased to have eventually found it. As soon as I saw pictures all the memories came flooding back I would have loved to come to the open day but I will be on holiday so I am going to have a day trip up that way very soon, if possible could you give me directions from the high street Rothbury as its such a long time ago I cannot remember how to get there. Good luck with your open day I'm sure there will be lots of memories shared.
19/04/2017 Elizabeth Sanderson
Dear Isobel i am writing to ask about parking at the Towers ,my husband is disabled so if possible could i pre book a parking space ,we will also be bringing a former Nurse that was at the Towers with me and she along with myself couldent manage the climb up the bank to get to you it would be greatly appreciated if possible ,its been a long time since i have been back to visit yous and im so excited about this ,it was our friend Gary Donaldson who got in touch to tell me about it ,hope you can help it would be greatly appreciated. Xx
19/04/2017 Anne Young
What a wonderful idea. I will definitely be coming along on 8th July. I am trying to contact as many of the children I nursed there who still keep in touch with me. Also any staff who worked with me. All Saints was my parish church until I moved to Hepple four years ago and now we all pull together in Coquetdale. If I can be of any assistance on the day with stalls etc., Please let me know.
21/04/2017 Christine Brown
HI there i was there with my 3 sisters in the 60 or 8 we all loved nurse chessie moore . I remeber going 4 walks and going 2 the park in rothbuet its self my name was waters then
24/04/2017 Derek Crabtree
Hi, I vaguly remember days I spent on a convelecent holiday for not sure if week or fortnight, Meals then were really quite nice and the blamange and tapioca were not so fond of by many, although we ate it, the blamange was quite good as an alternative to the Tapioca or FROGS SPAWN as we called it, I was there with my younger brother when was about 12years old and not sure but think my sister was with us also. such a long time ago, the main event was the regular dose of MILK OF MAGNESIA and the COD LIVER OIL on a table spoon. YYEEUUCCHH. days out and visit to the church every Sunday were time for reflection on weeks events.
10/05/2017 William Jones
I think this event is brilliant, I stayed at whitton towers for nearly a year strange thing was I only got sent to be company for my brother. He got sent home and I stayed. I often helped Mr Moor and remember nurse chess-moor looking after me.can you let me know if on your event there is wheelchair access and parking as I would love to visit
16/05/2017 Ann Fenion
Hello, just been reading some of the comments in the Visitors Book, lt was lovely to read the comments from Julie Appleton. It put tears in my eyes after all these years to read l was remembered so fondly. I was very young when l worked there and kind of grew up myself with the children. I hated having to leave, but left and joined Army as a Policewoman. I have faces in my mind about you girls but lm sure you will look so different now. I am planning to come up to the open day and hope Julie and Carol and any other children will make themselves known to me, l will be keeping an eye out. I'm chuckling at the Gary Glitter bit, Gary Donaldson also pulled me up on that one. Haven't really been back since 1973ish Can't Wait. The staff at the years l was there were Mr and Sister Moore, George the Gardner, Edna and Connie were the cooks, Sadie, Louis, Andrea, Liz, Cathy, Cathleen, Rose, Leslie, Nancy, Val, Alma and Mrs Hardy the teacher. Different staff at different times. The re was S ister and Mr Harrison. I remember 1year we got the Sunshine Variety Bus and took the bairns to the Beach, it was great fun plodging?? and there was quite a few fell in the sea that day, packed lunches and games on the sand ended the day wonderfully. You are both doing a fantastic job.
22/05/2017 D Quinn
If possible I would like to come to the open day. I was a looked after child at the home quite a few times in the late 70s early 80s.
27/05/2017 Maureen Lilley
Hallo, I received your kind e mail, and I would love to come to your first open day. I have also been in touch with my brothers and at least one of them would love to come. I remember I met you a couple of years ago and we had a lovely chat, it is a place where I have some wonderful memories of the many times I stayed there. I look foreward to seeing you on the 8th july.
mrs m a lilley
08/06/2017 Patricia Ann Trousdale
Thank you for arranging a reunion day on 8th July. I would like to attend please. I was convalescing at Whitton Tower for approximately 4 weeks in1951 after having been a patient at Fleming Memorial children's hospital in January of that year. My memories of being at Whitton Tower are happy ones.
Patricia Ann Trousdale (nee Elliott)
30/05/2017 Raymond Wynarczyk
I understand there is an open day on Saturday 8th July but I will be on holiday and would loved to have come. I stayed there in May-June 1967 so 50th year anniversary. Is it possible to come and have a look round either before or after 8th July to revive memories?
Thanks and regards.
12/06/2017 Mary Jackson
My grandma stayed here for 3 month back in 1944 during the war, due to kidney problems.
She remembers enjoying her time here with another girl called Mary and a little girl called Aida who was scalded by hot fat. She also had a little boy jimmy as a friend who she remembers having a tyre print on his head from being run over and he used to sing red sails in the sunset to her.
All the children wore clogs as they couldn't get shoes for all the children during the war.
There where 2 nurses called Mary & Lillian she remembers, who where lovely and who would go out dancing with the italian soldiers who where staying in the house next door.
My grandma was 11 and remembers helping the nurses with the little ones on a morning and wrapping there ribbons for their hair around the hot taps to get the creases out. And putting all the potties out for them during the night.
She loves telling stories about the place and has really vivid memories of it.
Her name was Mary Kerr and she was 11 when she stayed here.
22/06/2017 Jackie Makari
I would like to attend the reunion on the 8th June as I was a former child who stayed at Whitton Towers in the late 1960 s twice.
30/06/2017 Mrs June Relph
I will be attending the Fayre on the above date with my Family and have already reserved a parking space with you sometime ago however, i have a few queries and would be grateful if you could answer them before we travel?
Could you confirm whether the Fayre is being held at the Church
or in the grounds of Whitton Tower and whether we would have access to the inside of Whitton Tower to walk around?
Could you also advise where exactly the parking facility is?
01/06/2017 Christine Thompson
I am really hoping to get to your first on en day as I stayed there 1962/1963 October-January I had as 8yrs old
05/07/2017 Lorraine Edgar
Good evening, this has took me a lot of years before I even began to look this place up , I was at this convalescence home when I was a young child , I'm now 51 , I'm sure I was around the age of 7 or 8 when I stayed there and I'm trying to find out the history why I was there , I have seen there is a open day coming up soon , I would be very interested in coming to visit . Would it be possible if someone could contact myself.
Thanks Lorraine Edgar
06/07/2017 Anne Murray
Val and Anne are looking forward to the fair as we were cadets there in 1961-1962
07/07/2017 Stephen Robertson
Good afternoon John/Isabelle.
I unfortunately deleted your email (I'm always getting into trouble for deleting things)
I'm pleased to say I'm not working tomorrow & will be attending the open day.
Looking forward to meeting you both & hopefully some of the staff that worked at Whitton Towers.
Would it be at all possible to park a Fiesta anywhere near the gate as I don't think I could manage Whitton bank now.
07/07/2017 Ann Fenion
I worked at the Towers for 4yrs, my name was Ann Stoddart 1969 / 1974ish l plan to come on Saturday with my husband and 8yr old granddaughter it will be great to see the old place again lm 63 yes now lol
08/07/2017 Graham Napier
With regards to the open day Saturday 8th of July I would just like to say a big thank you to all involved in making the day rather special to all of us the VIP guests. John deserves three cheers a lot of thanks and possibly a large drink, thank you to opening your door and allowing us inside.
09/07/2017 Anne Murray
( nee Charlton)
Thank you very much for arranging fair We really enjoyed ourselves and meeting up with past staff and residents.I hope you made money for the churches and the falcon was found
10/07/2017 Stephen Robertson
Good morning John/Isabelle.
I'd like to thank you for arranging the open day at Whitton Tower & for allowing us to look around your home.
Brought back a lot of happy memories.
Still the same lovely building on the outside & obviously a lot has changed over the years.
Met friends old & new & of course yourself & Isabelle. 50 Years since I was last inside the the gates & never forgotten my times there. Hopefully there will be more open days in the future.
Thank you once again for a great day.
01/08/2017 Martin Menzies Brook
I,m guessing my stay at whitton tower was around 1970 this is because i remember two pop songs that were around at the time "band of gold" by freda payne and "rose garden" by lyne anderson , those songs take me right back there to my stay at wt, they were either on the radio a lot or possibly the nurses sang them. My stay was the happiest time of my childhood ,cannot remember exactly how long my stay was but remember it getting extended on a monthly basis until the time my mother had a disagreement with them and demanded i be sent home immediately ,i left with very short notice, i was devastated.
My memories. feeding the chickens and hens mixing the left over food with oats (i think )which were placed in split car tyres, collecting the eggs morning exercise either a race to the gates and back or a walk, sitting on stairs reciting the ten commandments ,i remember the nurse being shocked i never knew them or had even heard of them, the song we used to sing was based "army life" the lyrics i remember were along the lines.. they say at whitton tower the food was mighty fine but how the heck would they know ,they never tasted mine.gee ma i wanna go ,but they wont let me go, gee ma i wanna go home (i never did)...
ghost stories...watching estate worker shoot rat...a rotund nurse giving me a cuddle that has stayed with me all my life...loads of wonderful memories and one not so good...walking back from feeding chickens one night.. nurses were larking about ,trying to spook us. pretending someone was in woods ..it was quite dark i recall runnig over to where they were pointing and seeing a man in an overcoat ..i got such a fright i sprinted back to the house ran into the hall way and sceamed my head off..turned out it was the bloke who ran the place..think i was a bit traumatised by it.. but overall i loved my stay..and have been back and looked in from the roadside many times...
17/07/2017 Stephen McArdle
I was in a childrens home of some kind in Rothbury around 1952 but I'm not sure which one although I guess there weren't that many convalescent homes in Rothbury. I lived in Newcastle at the time and had double pnuemonia which I guess was bad at the time and maybe why I was sent to convalesce. Do you have any records of inmates as I don't know exactly when or for how long I may have been there. I would have been about 5.
06/08/2017 Jacqueline corner
My memorie of time spent @whitton towers is a little hazey it was it was the early sixties ido remember it being the happy days of my childhood.the long walks in the beautiful coutryside i remember the Raini loved and on saturdays going into the attick
Were our cases were kept and changing into weekend clothes
The Big swing in the Garden i remember only a little but remember everyone being so kind and mrs moor and the Black labradore they had. I haf no idea there was an open day! Tomorow is my Birthday my son is taking me to Rothbury i was intending too go to whitton towers just to pass by such a Beautiful place with such happy memories for me..i
06/08/2017 Liz Carlin
I have just came across this site and it has brought back some great memories . I stayed here twice that I remember back in the late 70's which if I remember correctly it was for the full summer holidays . My younger brother Vincent and older brother John Also stayed , it would be great to find any old photos of our time here as have such fond memories. My most vivid memory is if the Russian dolls which were in the hallway on top of a fireplace I think ? I was only about 7 or 8 so may not have been a fireplace? Noticed there was a reunion not long ago , would have loved to attended , hopefully their will be another one in the future , can't remember many names but staff were always kind to me , had great days out . I would be most grateful if you could let me know if any old photos that I could look at
Thanks in advance
29/08/2017 Gail Sadler
Just back from a visit to Rothbury and as ever it resurrected memories of my stay at Whitton Tower with my sister. Think it was in Nov/Dec 1967. What a surprise to find this site. I am sorry to say we did not enjoy it! We did not have any problems at home but were not well off. As my mam was expecting her 5th child and was poorly the doctor organised for us to go. When our mother came to visit we would tell her we did not like it and wanted to go home. One day the man in charge took us into his office and asked us if we liked being there. We were so shy and afraid we said we did. He then asked us if we wanted to stay for Christmas. Although the thought horrified me I again said yes. I was only 10 and my sister 7. Little did we know that my mam had asked for us to be sent home. She waited for us to get off the bus the following week but we were not on it! The next weekend she came for a visit, as usual, we walked down into Rothbury, got on the bus and went home. I expect there will be people on here that remember this. It is certainly something that will never leave me. If Gary, who post on here, reads this I think I can remember you. Were you there November/December 1967? Although my experience was not good I am very happy to hear that so many others have wonderful memories of the place.
Again I would like to apologise for not updating the website over the last couple of years, work pressures and all is a poor excuse but is the case. Time has flown by and now its 2019. However, over the years we have had many visitors who liked the idea of an Open Day, where the Children of the convalescence home could reconnect with friends and staff.
We will be holding another open day for the children and staff of the convalescent home.
This will be on Saturday 24th August 2019 between 12 noon and 4pm. Bring your family and friends and feel free to picnic in the gardens.