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
22/02/2019 Sandra Taylor
We would like to thank you very much for kindness and very warm welcome allowing myself and my husband to look around your home I was one of the children who stayed there many years ago and I have never forgotten the time spent there thank you so much it was so lovely to see
29/02/2019 David Pickering
Hello ,I spent 1 month in the Ethel Watson home about 66 years ago .the memory of this visit is still very fresh in my mind as i was very ill and lonely .I felt rejected by my family as i was very young and could not understand why i was there .I know i was being treated at Newcastle general hospital and the R.V.I what i think was a nervous condition .I visit Whitton tower every time i travel to Rothbury which is quite often as i live in CHESTER LE STREET BUT HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE PREMISES.The grounds are exactly as i remember them but i would love to have a look inside .I have only looked up information recently as it still stays with me in my mind
24/01/2019 Angela Smith
I stayed here in the early 70's remember being sent from the general hospital in an ambulance i was very homesick and remember crying every night in bed for my mam i remember going for walks on a morning along the country roads i loved saturday's as my mam and dad came to take me into the village we used to wait in the class room and i sat at the window watching for my dads car there was always music playing while we waited and the song i loved most and still do is sailor by petula clark and to this day if i hear it on the radio i am transported back to that class room i remember we were going on a trip to the seaside and everyone was excited but on the morning of the trip i took ill with cold and couldn't go i was made to stay in bed but i was well looked after i was giving a book to read and lots of hot drinks i loved watching the wildlife that would come into the big garden at the back of the house and going out to pick the pea pods and sitting shelling them into a big bowl i woul d love to be able to go back and see the house again
06/03/2019 Robin Tudge
I'm a journalist writing the biography of a woman who spent some summers in the 1980s at Whitton Tower when it was a boarding school and social services used it as a respite for the children of unhappy families.
She would love to have photos of the place, not necessarily from the 1980s but definitely I'd say in summer, to use in the book, copyright free.
Would you have any such images that we could use?
Any help would be very much appreciated,
25/04/2019 Jean Jones
Hello Whitton Towers
I was a child resident about 1964/5 . I remember my stay at Whitton Towers like it was yesterday. I was sent in for convelesant by my doctor at the QE Hospital. I remember being took to Central Station by my dad to board a bus which took me to Whitton Towers it looked a massive house and it was.
To the left there was a play room and dining room that's where we all had a small locker each . Next door was like a massive sitting room with a big stone fire place where we sat at night time. To the right of there was the Matron's room., think I was only in the matrons room once that's when my mam and dad phoned up which was frowned on as they didn't like mams and dads phoning up because it used to upset us. Upstairs there was the girls dormitories and boys dormitories and separate bathrooms. We used to be taken down to the village for a walk and buy a present for our mams then walk back up . If the river was low we could walk on the stepping stones . Could I please enquire are you's still open . As a previous child resident i would love to visit Whitton Towers once more as I am now nearly 65 yr old and would love to see part of my past which was my home whilst convelesing.
Jean Jones (Nee) Dixon
13/04/2019 Julia Small
Whilst looking around Rothbury to find Whitton Tower (Jeff Sutton pointed me in the right direction).
I visited Whitton Tower last year on speck and spoke to you about my mother who had been at the home when she was 5 years old after an accident where she was hit on the head with a swing and she was sent there to recover.
I know you mentioned you liked to hear of peoples stories of the home and I think I told you I was often in the area as I have a caravan in Alwinton. You said it would be ok to call in sometime with my mam and we will be in the area on Monday or Wednesday afternoon and I was wondering if it would be possible to call in. I understand if you are busy.
Many thanks Julia Small
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.