Streets & Houses

Jump to: | Cauldwell Lane | Seatonville Road | Bygate Road | Seatonville Estate | The Fold
| St. Ronan's Road | Monkseaton Cottage & Monkseaton House | Coronation Row | Percy Terrace
| Marine Avenue | Front Street | Ilfracombe Gardens
Cauldwell Lane

Cauldwell Lane runs in a North Easterly direction from the junction with Earsdon Road into Monkseaton Village.

In 1845, it was just a narrow cinder path, the name of which was a spelling corruption taken from the 'Cold Well', which was one of the main water supply sources for the village. The actual well was situated in a field near to where the present Pykerley Road stands.

A water supply from the top of Cold Well Lane began with a drain made with flagstones which 'tapped' the gravelly sub-soil. Its course followed the path of the present Cauldwell Lane into Monkseaton Village, past the front of Percy Terrace to an opening from where the water could be diverted into the reservoirs in the rear garden of Monkseaton House. The water from these reservoirs supplied the Monkseaton Brewery next door. When the water supply was not being diverted and allowed to run its natural course, it supplied Nixon's Pond at East Farm (next to the present Ship Inn), which was the usual watering place for cattle and horses.

From the top of Cauldwell Lane, there were three drains supplying this water, the first one being situated at the west end of the lane and known as the 'High Drain', the second one was located opposite the end of what is now Bromley Avenue and was known as the 'Middle Drain', and the third one was situated near Percy Terrace and was known as the 'Low Drain'.

The water supply has long since disappeared, and has been incorporated within the modern drainage systems as the housing development of the 1920s began.

This 1893 sketch by Thomas Eyre Macklin looks west on Front Street towards Cold Well Lane with the edge of the Fold visible towards the right. Rosebery Court now stands here, and where the houses are situated, is where the present shops were built. Cauldwell Lane was widened in 1924, and it was during this time that Oakland Road, Cauldwell Close and Woodleigh Road were laid out.

This 'lane' is now a busy main road, feeding both Monkseaton and Whitley Bay, a distinct difference from the cinder track of over 150 years ago!

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Looking south along a narrow Seatonville Road in 1920, the buildings of Burnt House Farm are to the left and, in the distance beyond the trees, Seatonville Farm.
Seatonville Road

Old Ordnance Survey Maps indicate that the road connecting Coldwell (Cauldwell) Lane with Rake Lane at Preston Gate was originally known as Turnpike Lane, later becoming simply known as West Road and, eventually, Seatonville Road.

Until the mid 1920s, Seatonville Road was actually a narrow country lane, with two farmhouses situated on it: Burnt House Farm and Seatonville Farm.

Burnt House Farm was built around 1700, with the farmland occupying an area of around 112 acres. The origins of the farm name are unconfirmed, but the obvious suggestion is that it may have derived its name after having caught fire at one time. Nos. 64, 66 and 68 Seatonville Road were built in the early 1930s and now occupy the site of the old farmhouse and outbuildings which were demolished in 1929 to accommodate the new housing development and road widening scheme implemented at this time. A narrow path, following the line of the present Bromley Avenue connected Burnt House Farm to Monkseaton Village, through a field which was known as 'The Fleets'.

Seatonville Farm was first recorded in 1625 under the name 'Seaton Villa' and, during the mid 1800s, the farmland occupied an area of about 110 acres (to much the same extent as nearby Burnt House Farm). Seatonville Farm buildings stood for just over 300 years until 1959 when they were demolished to accommodate new housing, to the west side of the road. Nos. 129 to 147 Seatonville Road were the last houses to be built on this road, and occupy the site of Seatonville Farm buildings and stackyard. Several years later, Monkseaton High School was built on part of this farmland. Two terraced cottages stood opposite the farmhouse and stackyard, one of which was demolished in the 1920s to facilitate the widening of Seatonville Road. However the remaining cottage still stands to this day.

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Looking east along Bygate Road in 1948, Rock Cottage can be seen to the left, and the outbuildings of Bygate Farm are on the right. Two 'Witchen' trees grow in the centre of the road.
Bygate Road

It has often been asked why Bygate Road was so named. The most likely explanation is that, prior to the mid 1800s, there were no recognised footpaths in Monkseaton Village. At this time, Front Street was little more than a field path, with a wall and a gate at each end.

The nearby divergent road running parallel to the rear of Front Street therefore became known as 'Bye-Gate', and was derived from people passing 'By the Gate', rather than through it. The spelling was later corrupted to 'Bygate', and it is quite probable that at one time, even as a narrow farm-track, Bygate Road was once the main street through Monkseaton.

There were two sets of gates on Front Street, one of which was situated at what is now the present junction of Coronation Crescent, and the other at the corner with Chapel Lane. They were removed around 1845, when the road was opened out to become the main route through the village. Bygate Farm, which dates from 1735, occupied a small triangular area of land, covering what are now the road junctions with Bygate Road, The Gardens and St. Ronans Road. The last of the Bygate Farm buildings were demolished in 1950, to be replaced with the housing of today. A well known building that once stood on Bygate Road was called 'Rock Cottage', built in 1790 as part of Bygate Farm. In 1965, the cottage was demolished by the owner, and replaced with a new building called 'Rockville Bungalow'.

Two Wych Elm trees (sometimes referred to as 'Witchen' trees), stood outside of Rock Cottage, and separated this house from the main Bygate Farm buildings which stood directly opposite.

In early times, farmers tended to be quite superstitious, and there is a tale that these 'Witchen' trees were planted in order to ward off evil spirits. In later years when Bygate Road was widened, the trees were left in situ, with the road being built around them, as can be clearly seen in the picture! The trees, which became diseased, began to die off in the 1980s and were quickly replaced with two new ones, which still exist to this day — in the middle of the road!

Travelling west up Bygate Road, a row of terraced houses dating from the 1800s, and numbered 6, 8 and 10 have unusual wooden porches to the front with symbols on the apex depicting a square and compasses which were believed to be of Masonic origin. The reason for this is unknown.

Further up the street, beyond the old stone wall is Garden Cottage, which stands near to the corner with Chapel Lane. Built in the 1700s, the cottage is regarded as one of the oldest buildings in Monkseaton and, despite extensive modernisation over the years, it still retains much of its original village charm and character.

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Oaktree Gardens Shops and Flats, 1950.
Seatonville Estate

Almost all of the present day Seatonville Estate was built on land which originally formed part of Seatonville Farm.

As the population of Monkseaton gradually increased, the boundaries of the old village began to expand, and Seatonville Estate was conceived in order to accommodate families in modern Council Housing.

Building work commenced in 1947 which included construction work on Monkseaton Infants (Appletree Gardens) School.

Although much of this housing was built on agricultural land, an area of Common Land known as Chamberlains Meadow (the first references of which date back to at least 1550), was lost to the development, and is superimposed on the pictured map. It has not been established why the meadow was so named, but it can be seen that Appletree Gardens School, along with most of Roker and Churchill Avenue occupy a majority of this area.

Chamberlains Meadow dates back to at least 1550, and was an area of Common Land which was once farmed by the whole township of Monkseaton for a rent of 1.6s 8d. The meadow (superimposed on the modern map), contained an area of 9 acres, 2 roods and 20 perches and was originally reached by a footpath leading from the west end of Monkseaton Village roughly occupied by the present Bromley Avenue.
The estate itself consists of 13 individual streets, the four primary ones being Pinetree, Appletree, Elmtree and Cedartree Gardens which were developed in an arc around a central triangular grassed area, and with the exception of Churchill and Roker Avenue, these, along with the remaining streets were named in a simple manner after trees, possibly inspired by nearby Maple Avenue most of which had been laid out some years earlier as private housing.

Ashtree, Baytree, Birchtree, Cherrytree, Firtree and Oaktree Gardens along with Cedar Close, make up the remainder of the estate, every one of which has a rectangular concrete plaque inset into a wall indicating the name of the individual street.

The estate was considered self-sufficient with a variety of shops which were centrally situated in Oaktree Gardens. Interestingly, there are no houses or buildings on Ashtree or Birchtree Gardens, which are simply access roads to and from the estate, and Churchill Avenue is the only street wholly within the estate which does not bear the name of a tree. The reason for this is unknown; however it may have been intended as a tribute to Sir Winston Churchill, a former Prime Minister.

The private housing on the eastern side of Roker Avenue which connected Shields Road and Maple Avenue had already been laid out in the late 1920s, so it was logical to retain the name when the remainder of the street was built up.

The triangular area of grassland between Baytree Gardens and Churchill Avenue was left open as a recreation area, the Western Edge of which now accommodates Charlton Court Sheltered Housing, and was named after a former Councillor and Mayor of Whitley Bay during 1959/60 — Roger Mason Charlton.

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This 1925 view of The Fold, at the corner with Front Street, shows the cottages which formerly stood on the site of MacGregors Offices. The development known as 'West House' apartments now stand here. The row of terraced houses visible in the right background still exist, and Roseberry Court now occupies the area of vacant land in the foreground.
The Fold

The Fold has existed in Monkseaton Village since at least the 1700s, but the origins of the name have not been ascertained.

Today, the Fold basically comprises a square area of land adjacent to Front Street, with a single row of older terraced houses numbered 9 to 19 which are set back from the main road to form its western boundary.

The present flats now dominating the Fold were constructed in 1955 following demolition of several old single storey cottages which stood on the site, and the central area was landscaped to form an open aspect.

The eastern edge of the Fold backed onto a street called Roseberry Terrace which simply consisted of a short row of houses which were demolished in the early 1960s to make way for the current sheltered housing project, better known as Roseberry Court.

Although no longer recognised as such, Roseberry Terrace still exists, and runs adjacent to the Ship Inn. Many people may still remember Taylors Fish and Chip Shop, a converted house, which stood on the end of this terrace at the corner with Front Street until the mid 1960s. Roseberry Court, situated on the eastern corner of the Fold, sits on the site of two large stone built houses; 'Murie House' and 'Jessamine House', which were built in 1814, prior to which, the old 'Seven Stars Inn', dating from the early 1700s, occupied this area.

During the 1920s, The Fold was probably quite an industrious part of the village, with stables and a Blacksmiths shop, which were run by a Joe Davidson, and a corner cottage converted to a tyre workshop which specialised in vulcanising and retreading.

On 29th August 1940, a bombing raid occurred over Monkseaton which destroyed a number of houses in the Fold, with nearby property suffering serious damage. As a result, much of this area was rebuilt, to include new shops and flats between Pykerley Road and The Fold, and in later years, the office block called MacGregor House.

Further development in 2004 saw the demolition of MacGregor House which was subsequently replaced with the small apartments named West House.

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Nos. 18, 20 and 22 St. Ronan's Road in 1932, showing different nameboards as the shops changed hands.
St. Ronan's Road

From its earliest origins, Monkseaton was a small village, surrounded by open fields and consisting of little more than a few farm buildings and dwelling houses.

It was not until the late 1800s that much of the expansion and development began as new housing and roads were laid out.

St. Ronan's Road dates to the early 1900s and runs almost parallel to the south side of Front Street following the route of the old footpath which ran through Fancy Field from Whitley into Monkseaton Village.

There is no record of why the street was given such an unusual name as there is no obvious connection with any of the twelve saints called Ronan (a common name in early Ireland which was also borne by several kings). It is highly probable that the original development of the street was to introduce and accommodate a community of businesses which did not exist in the old part of the village itself.

St. Ronan's Road once thrived with a variety of shops, and the following entry taken from Wards Directory of 1920 typically shows the scale of operational businesses in the street:
Odd Nos.

1 Miss M. Cuthbertson Hardware
3 W. Bray Butcher
5 Mrs M. Emmett
7 Carricks Dairy Co Ltd Dairy
11 J. Maylia Bootmaker
13 Miss A.R. Curry Draper
15 Miss E. Curry
17 Jamiesons Pharmacy Chemist
19 B. Bennett Boot Repairer
21 Miss A. Barnes Boot Dealer
23 G.L. Birkett Patternmaker
Even Nos.

2 W. Horton Grocer
4 Miss D.J. Johnson Confectioner
6 A.E. Temple Butcher
8 Mrs E. Turnbull Draper
16 Miss E. Bennett Grocer/P.O.
18 A. Blacklock Newsagent
20 Miss E. Whittingham Confectioner
22 J.T. Laidler Fishmonger
42 F. McGinnetty Joiner
44 Mrs A. Elsdon
46 G.C. Gregory Draper
48 T. Beall Draper

50 J.H. Craven Insurance Agent
52 E. Barnes Clerk
54 J.H. Crabtree Dairyman
56 W. Hutchinson Insurance Surveyor
58 A. McIntosh

Interestingly, the directory shows no listing for Nos. 10, 12, 14, or 24-40
In later years, as new shops became established on the main thoroughfare through Monkseaton, they overshadowed the businesses which were effectively hidden from view on St. Ronan's Road, forcing them to close, and today, only a small handful still remain. Some of these shops were converted into houses, and architectural evidence of their existence is still visible today.

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Monkseaton Cottage & Monkseaton House

Monkseaton Cottage and Monkseaton House in 1960.
The oldest surviving building in Monkseaton is probably 'Monkseaton Cottage' which stands between the Black Horse Inn and the Monkseaton Arms, on the north side of Front Street.

It is known that it was built during the 1400s, originally as a farm byre, but the passing of subsequent centuries eventually saw its conversion to a dwelling house.

During the late 1800s it was the home of a local dignitary, Colonel T.W. Elliott, who was a benefactor of the Anglican Church which stood opposite.

The larger brick-built structure standing next to it is 'Monkseaton House', which was originally built for a Dr. Roxby, and it is recorded that for a short time the house was used as an asylum. A keystone above one of the arched windows at the rear bears the date 1805.

By the mid 1800s, this house was sold to become the residence of William Davison, the owner of the adjacent Monkseaton Brewery. In order to provide an adequate and plentiful supply of water for the brewery, William Davison had two reservoirs built in the rear garden of this house, which were fed from a water channel following the path of Coldwell Lane. The reservoirs have long since been filled in, but it is believed that a tunnel still exists and connects Monkseaton House to the former brewery, now the Monkseaton Arms.

A map dated 1877 no longer shows the reservoirs but instead shows a detailed plan indicating that Monkseaton Cottage and Monkseaton House shared a huge landscaped rear garden, extending back to Percy Terrace and eastwards behind the brewery buildings to include a tennis court, vinery, tomato house, potting sheds and two small summer houses. In recent years, these two buildings were merged together to become a residential care home, but have now been converted back to form two separate residential properties.

The rear gardens have been substantially reduced in size, the eastern part of which now accommodates the block of houses known as Relton Court, near the Monkseaton Arms.

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Workmen commence demolition work on Coronation Row and the Black Horse Inn in 1936. The original garden areas of the cottages can be seen divided by the wooden picket fencing.
Coronation Row

Coronation Row cottages adjoined the old Black Horse Inn and stood on the north side of Front Street, directly opposite the old Methodist Church.

Consisting of a total of 5 residences, the dwellings were built in 1821 by Dryden & Co. (then owners of the nearby Monkseaton Brewery) in order to house brewery workers.

It is highly probable that the cottages derived their name from the coronation of George IV in 1820. The houses were typical of their time, having outside whitewashed walls, stone-flagged floors, with doors and shutters which were painted black within white painted sash frames, and each cottages had its own individual front garden, separated with a small picket fence.

During the 1860s, it is recorded that the middle cottage was called "Comfy Home" and was occupied by a woman called Sally Smith who was locally known as "Cat Sally". She earned a living by making and selling home-made sweets, and apparently her home-made 'Black Bullets' were renowned and a treat amongst the local children.

Two of these cottages, along with the old Black Horse Inn, were demolished in 1936 and were replaced with the present public house which now occupies part of the original site. The remaining cottages were converted and used as premises by an electrical retailer, later to become better known simply as Norie's. These cottages soon fell into disrepair, and despite conversion and repair work, they were demolished some years later to be replaced with the present building which was to become the new modern electrical showroom and shop known and established for many years as Norie Electrical.

Over the years, this building has undergone a number of cosmetic changes, and latterly has been used as business premises for an insurance broker and opticians.

Two trees, one of which stands at the front of these premises and the other in front of the present Black Horse, were originally small saplings, growing in the front gardens of Coronation Row cottages. They have remained untouched here for close to 100 years.

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The presentation and opening ceremony of the Stone Cattle Trough in July 1927. Relton Terrace is to the left, and the larger houses in the right background are Nos. 46 and 48 Seaton Crescent.
Percy Terrace

This street runs in an easterly direction from the junction of Front Street and Roseberry Terrace, ending at the junction with Relton Terrace (formerly known as Turpin's Lane).

Originally, much of the south side of Percy Terrace would have been taken up by the rear of Monkseaton Brewery and its stable blocks, where much of the stonework still remains, all of which at one time formed different parts of the Brewery and outbuildings.

The houses and access paths of Nos. 1 to 7 Percy Terrace were laid out slightly above ground level, due to the elevation of the road, and stonework is clearly evident at the base of these houses. Old Ordnance Survey maps suggest that these houses were probably built during the 1880s, however it is known that the end building on Percy Terrace which was recently converted from a shop to a dwelling house, existed as far back as the early 1800s, and during its lifetime has been a Blacksmiths, a Grocers, a General Dealers and a Newsagency.

The first Ship Inn stood almost opposite this shop. Originally a farmhouse built in 1688, it was demolished in 1923 to be rebuilt slightly further to the west on its present site. The pub stood next to East Farm, at what is now the junction of Lyndhurst Road, and by the early 1960s the adjacent field and farmland which stood opposite Nos. 1 to 7 Percy Terrace, was sold and laid out for the present housing.

On 9th July 1927, a stone trough was presented to the Whitley and Monkseaton Urban District Council by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association and was erected at the bottom of Percy Terrace, at the junction with Relton Terrace. Without the abbreviations shown on the actual stonework, it is inscribed thus: "This trough was presented by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association, and was erected by the Whitley & Monkseaton Urban District Council, at the cost of the local branch of the Northumberland & North Durham Society for the Protection of Animals — July 1927."

The trough which still exists, was at one time in regular use by local farm horses and animals, and is now used for ornamental flower displays.

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Marine Avenue, looking east from the junction with Holywell Avenue in 1908. The visible houses are evenly numbered in descending order from 84 to 72. The large detached house (No.72) is called 'Star Cross', which stands on the corner of Queens Road.
Marine Avenue

Early Ordnance Survey maps indicate that Marine Avenue was originally called 'Seaside Lane', and show that it was laid out on land which was originally part of Monkseaton Village Farm (North East Farm).

In the mid 1800s, the only system of drainage from Monkseaton Village was an open channel or ditch known as a 'Kundy'.

Before Monkseaton Railway Bridge was built, the road was level and the waste drainage from the village was set into this ditch which wound its way down the gradient along the path of Seaside Lane towards the sea and, when development began, a proper underground sewage system was put into place.

When building work commenced in 1885, the name of the road changed from that of 'Seaside Lane' to 'Marine Avenue'. The first houses were built by Mr John Potts and Mr James Hilton and were originally named: Carr House, Clifton House, Hazelhurst, Bertlea, Red Lodge, Highfield and The Willows, and in later years when a numbering system was introduced, they became house numbers 76 to 88 Marine Avenue.

A local society called 'The Monkseaton Village Rooms' produced a report, which in its day aptly described them all as 'Charming Villa Residences'. Over the years that followed, the remainder of the street was built up consisting mostly of large villas, all of which were given distinctive house names.

The smaller houses which form the lower section of Marine Avenue to the east of Ilfracombe Gardens and Park View, were constructed some years later by local builder, Nichol Ritchie.

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Looking East on Front Street, with the old Black Horse Inn to the left. All of the cottages detailed in this article are visible in the background of this 1905 photograph.
Front Street

Although Front Street is now the main road through Monkseaton Village, this wasn't always the case.

Prior to the 1800s, Front Street was nothing more than a farm track with a wall and a gate at each end and the nearby divergent road (Bygate Road) became the main route through the village.

Opposite the Monkseaton Arms, there were four cottages, which at one time were occupied by men working at Whitley Hill Heads Pit. All of these cottages had walled front gardens which disappeared to make way for a wider footpath when they were converted into the present shops. The third of these dwellings was called 'Woodbine Cottage' and stands next to Clayton House (21 Front Street), each of which still exist today.

A solitary tree remains, growing from the footpath outside the former Woodbine Cottage, and surrounded by a low brick wall is evidence of the existence of the original front gardens. There is also evidence to suggest that the rear of Clayton House, the architecture of which is clearly in Georgian style, was originally the front, and faced onto Bygate Road and when the house was altered in later Victorian years, it was remodelled to face the opposite way onto Front Street.

Next door to Clayton House is Gourd Cottage, which is one of the oldest buildings in Monkseaton. There is evidence of an old stone porch at the rear which suggests that at one time, like Clayton House, it would also have faced Bygate Road. This house was once used as a private school, and in 1906 it was taken over by the Quakers and became better known as the Friends Meeting House. In 1912, extensive alterations were carried out, especially to the upper floor.

The next three buildings were Lily Cottage, Ivy Cottage and Holly Cottage all of which were demolished in 1961 to make way for the present Alder Court Flats. These flats were constructed by the well known local building firm of R.A. Gofton and took their name from the founder, Richard Alder Gofton.

The outbuildings of Village Farm stood next door, and occupied the site of Kellys D.I.Y. Shop, the adjacent buildings and present church.

Part of Southwest Farm buildings occupied the site of the present supermarket, and crossing the road to the west, the village slaughter house stood on the opposite corner of Chapel Lane and Front Street.

For many years, a huge whinstone boulder, known as the 'Blue Billy' or 'Big Stone', stood close to this corner which was the recognised place for most of the local children to gather and play games, one of which was called 'Boorie' (a kind of marbles). Other games included football and 'Shinney' (a kind of hockey, played with a cudgel or walking stick) and the 'ball' was usually an old cork bung obtained from the nearby Monkseaton Brewery. Apparently the landlord of the Black Horse Inn had regular altercations with the children whenever a 'goal' was scored through one of his windows! The 'Blue Billy' was broken up in 1893, and it is said that four cartloads of road metal were obtained from the stone.

Even compared to old photographs, Front Street is still easily recognisable, and over the years has changed only cosmetically. The street and all its history still form the central core of Monkseaton Village.

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This early 1900s view looks north on Ilfracombe Gardens from the junction of Marine Avenue.
Ilfracombe Gardens

With the arrival of the railway system, Whitley Bay began to expand as a dormitory town and holiday resort, and as such, it was during the early 1900s that Ilfracombe Gardens was laid out to form what could perhaps be considered as the 'boundary' between Monkseaton and Whitley.

Built on land which separated Monkseaton Northeast (Village) Farm and Whitley Township, much of the street was built up from 1902, with most of the remaining work on this and much of the adjacent housing being completed by 1925.

Originally an old waggonway connected a number of coal workings at Whitley Lodge where coal was transported to Cullercoats for shipment and burning in the salt pans and limestone quarry at Marden. A large part of Ilfracombe Gardens now runs adjacent to the route of this track which has long since disappeared.

A majority of the property on the east side of Ilfracombe Gardens originally consisted of residential terraced housing, and most of that to the west side were built as shops. The street was once a very significant and important shopping centre, having a well patronised selection of outlet. However, over the years as use has changed, some shops have closed down and been converted into flats or houses, and some houses have been converted the other way into shops.

St John's Methodist Church (originally a small Wesleyan Chapel) which stood on the west side of the street was later rebuilt as a church on the corner of Balmoral Gardens, the foundation stone of which was laid on 9th May 1925 by Sir Arthur Munro Sutherland, a distinguished Tyneside industrialist and philanthropist. The total church building cost was 13,650 of which 5,000 was pledged by Sir Arthur which enabled it to open free of debt.

Today, still with a busy trade, Ilfracombe Gardens now connects with the newer Claremont Gardens and Claremont Road to give access to Whitley Lodge Estate.
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