A WHEELY interesting piece of a notable Morpeth building’s history has returned home.
The Beeswing, at the north end of Newgate Street, has had a range of uses over the years. It has been a tavern, photographic studio, school, general dealers (1921 to 1950/60s), antique shop (1960/70s) and wine shop/off-licence (1980/90s).
The Bradburn family moved in when it was converted into a house in 1995 and they still have a photo of when it was a general store as well as an information board with details about the famous champion Northumbrian racehorse, from whom the building takes its name.
A friend of theirs recently came across a delivery bike with a plate that included The Beeswing on it when examining the vintage bikes section on auction website eBay. The bicycle was used when it was a dealers.
Dorothy Bradburn, who lives in the property with her husband and two children, said: “We had a look on the site when our friend told us about the bike and the auction had a day to go, so we thought why not make a bid for it. We were delighted when our bid remained the highest as the auction closed.
“The man who sold it to us lives in South Shields, but he was left the bike by his grandfather, who lived in Morpeth.
“We were pleased to bring the bicycle home and it was good to see that it’s in a decent condition for its age.
“It’s part of Morpeth’s history and we have contacted the Antiquarian Society to let its members know that we have the bike. In addition, we’re looking to put it on display at an event or exhibition in the town centre next year.”
The bicycle has a telephone number on it (512424), which has since been changed. The Bradburns hope that someone may be able to use it to identify the decade when the bike was made.
The information board says that Beeswing, dubbed the Pride of the North, was owned by MP William Ord, of Nunnykirk. She is said to have been stabled at the property when it was a tavern, while on her way home.
Between 1835 and 1842, the bay mare ran in 64 races, winning 51 and finishing second nine times. Her successes include the St Ledger of 1836 and the Ascot Gold Cup of 1842.
Meanwhile, Angela and Maurice Teasdale, of Morpeth Antiquarian Society, have researched information about Eleanor Wilson (née Robson), who ran the general store for many years, with thanks to family descendants.
Her mother was widowed at an early age and in the 1871 census, she and her children were living in the Alms Houses, Cottingwood Lane.
Eleanor married Anthony Wilson, a hairdresser, in Newcastle in 1879 and he moved to Morpeth to continue his employment.
Anthony died in 1908, leaving Eleanor with six children still at home. A few years later, she was in business in her own right, running a refreshment and fish-and-chip shop at 6 Market Place with help from some of her children.
She had to move out because of re-development works, but by 1921, she was running the general dealers in Newgate Street. She died in 1954 at the age of 93.