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Bessie Surtees House

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Bessie Surtees House – A Historical Location in Newcastle’s Quayside

Housed on bustling Newcastle Quayside, Bessie Surtees House consists of two merchant’s houses.  The houses are grade 1 listed buildings which have been owned and maintained by English Heritage since 1989.  The buildings (addresses were originally nos 41 and 44 Sandhill)  are very rare; built in Jacobean times (The reign of King James 1).  Bessie Surtees house is famous because the lady the house is named after eloped with John Scott a coal merchants son, who eventually became the Lord Chancellor of England.   John Scott, became Lord Eldon, when he entered the House of Lords in 1799.

The building is extraordinary because of the location in a busy area of Newcastle, flanked with pubs and restaurants and a pivotal Nightspot in the region. Originally the building with 5 overhanging stories housed shops and stores at the ground level, with residential space above.  The orginal facade is still in existence and is adorned with classical plasterwork.  Internally the building features carved oak pannelling,  beautifully elaborate plaster ceilings and orginal carved wood fire surrounds.

Currently, the building is the North East Regional Office of English Heritage. While some of the building is used as offices, the first floor is open to visitors and houses an exhibition showing the fascinating history of the Bessie Surtees love story and the history of the  house.

The house is easy to find, especially considering the unique plaque above the entrance door which reads ” “From the above window on Nov 18th 1772 Bessy Surtees descended and eloped with John Scott later created 1st Earl of Eldon and Lord Chancellor of England.”

A must see!

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