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Disease ravaged town's people.

NGateshead was frequently visited by plagues. In 1636, out of an estimated population of about 3,000, 515 were reported to have died from plague. The main measures taken were the removal of people to the healthy hills of Bensham, where victims were isolated in turf and wooden huts until the plague died out. The huts would then be dismantled until the next visitation.

NThe Great Plague of 1665 came to Gateshead at the end of July. Between then and mid-October, 32 people died as a result. There was also an outbreak of epidemic influenza called the Jolly Rant in 1675.

NAfter experiencing its first cholera epidemic in 1831, Gateshead saw two further outbreaks in 1849 and 1853.

The cholera commissioner wrote in 1854: "Every householder had his midden (primitive toilet) before his door and when it came on to rain, he stirred it with a stick. The inhabitants lay in wait for the rain and then ran out with their little hoards of refuse which they had been carefully collecting since the last shower and consigned them to the aquatic scavenger to carry to the river the best way he could."

NPrior to 1835, most of the town's water came from reservoirs on Newcastle Town Moor ( and was only available on two days per week. From 1845, the Whittle Dean water co was established and the number of streets supplied with water rose from eight to 51.

The second outbreak of cholera in Gateshead appeared on January 8, 1849 after a tramp arrived at a Pipewellgate lodging house from an affected area of Edinburgh.

NThroughout the 19th Century, Gateshead had a huge problem with its large population increases. Available building land was scarce, with much of Gateshead still in the hands of some of the larger landowners. Family homes often ended up as lodging houses and tenements.

The 1851 census shows that one lodging house in Pipewellgate, on the riverside, had 47 lodgers, many of them Scottish. This was seen as the worst part of town for living conditions. There is a record of one poor family being forced to share their room with a donkey. Most rooms only had one window which was often stuffed with rags to keep out the weather. Many did not have ovens and so most baking had to be carried out in public ovens.

NFrom 1942 onwards Saltwell Park was used as a base for the Holidays at Home scheme. This was a wartime initiative encouraging people to holiday close to home rather than travel to another part of the country. Games and events were organised.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 9, 2007
Words:433
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