Amble and District
     Local History



The Who Was Who of Old Amble
 Or the 'movers and shakers' of the town's development and other interesting figures.


John Henderson 1819-1875
Ship Owner and Gas Manufacturer.

  • Born in Morpeth in 1819.

  • 1841 census – Plumber, lodging in Warkworth;

  • 1851 census – Plumber and Gas Manufacturer, living on the Wynd;

  • 1861 census – Gas Manufacturer, living in Greenfield Terrace;

  • 1871 census – Shipowner, living at the Gas Works.

  • 1 July 1875- death, buried on 5 July at Warkworth

  • 18 December 1875 - His probate gives his occupation as ship owner and gas manufacturer.

    Builder of Henderson’s Buildings and later Henderson Street. Auction of properties in 1894, relate to dwelling houses and building plots in Henderson Street.

    Obituary Alnwick Mercury 24 July 1875:

    “We regret to record the death of the above gentleman, which took place suddenly at his residence. Mr Henderson was a native of Morpeth, and was the eldest son of the late John Marshall Henderson, plumber, who was well known as one of the leading tradesmen in Morpeth some 30 years ago. Mr Henderson served his apprenticeship with his father, and subsequently commenced business in Warkworth, about 30 years ago; and, as Amble at that time began to rise in commercial importance, Mr Henderson removed there from Warkworth. He here erected gas works on his own account, lighting both the villages of Amble and Warkworth. Mr Henderson was also well known in Blyth, where on the commencement of the Blyth Water Works, he was engaged by Sir M W Ridley to lay the water mains from Newsham which now supply the town with water. He was the first gas fitter known in Blyth, and was for a few years a partner in the firm of Henderson and Thompson, (now Thompson and Grantham) plumbers, in Blyth. In conclusion, we may say that the deceased gentleman will long be remembered as a tradesman and ship owner, and was remarkable for his unostentatious manner and untiring industry.”  

    Note: Only son, John Marshall Henderson, married Jane Scott in 1869. She was the daughter of Adam Scott, manufacturer of Acklington Park.
    In 1871 they were living in Kilnbank House, on the Wynd. John was a salt manufacturer.
    In 1879 he was declared bankrupt with liabilities of £9000 but apparently holding assets in excess of that sum.
    In 1881 he is living on the Isle of Wight and is consul for the German Empire.
    In 1891 he is living on his own means in Poole, Dorset.
    13 February 1898, dies in Amble. Probate gives his address as Poole and his occupation, oyster grower.



Thomas Lawrence McAndrews 1857 - 1945
Author and Coal Miner

  • 1857, born in Burradon, Rothbury, the son of Irish parents, James and Ann.

  • 1861 census – Great Ryle, Whittingham. Thomas’ father is an agricultural labourer;

  • 1871 census – Great Ryle, Whittingham;

  • 1881 census – Pasture Hill Farm, Elford, Bamburgh. Thomas is still living with his parents and working as a labourer;

  • 1886, marries Mary Scott of Felton;

  • 1889, Committee member of the Amble Reading Room;

  • 1891 census – 27 High Street, Amble. Thomas is married and working as a coal miner. His widowed mother is also living at No. 27 but in a separate household (There are 3 households occupying no. 27, Thomas, with 2 rooms, is the largest);

  • 1893, Member of the Technical Education Committee;

  • 1894, Amble Councillor ongoing (may be earlier)

  • 1894 (may be earlier), Committee member, Amble Catholic Social Society; Amble Club Limited; Amble Club Literary Society;

  • 1895 Committee member, Amble Joint Burial Committee, Amble Athletic Football Club;

  • 1901 census – Bede Street, Amble. Thomas is a coal miner. He and his wife have an adopted son.

  • 1905 – Publication of the book, “Amble and District”

  • 1911 census – 17 Bede Street, Amble. Thomas is a coal miner (hewer). His household includes his mother, a niece and his son.

  • 6 January 1945, Thomas dies at 17 Bede Street. Executor is his adopted son, James Lawrence McAndrews, schoolmaster.

In addition, regular public speaker and singer.


Joseph Welch 1798 - 1844
Harbour Contractor and builder of Cliff House

  • Born in Co Durham, son of John and Hannah (nee Dent) on 22 August 1798.
  • Baptised, Gateshead, 2nd son of John Welch, bricklayer.
  • Partner in the family firm of John Welch and Sons, builders and contractors of public works, of West Street, Gateshead and later Oxford Street, Newcastle.
    Building contractors for, amongst other projects, Wearmouth Docks in 1835, various railway bridges on the Great North of England Railway, and most famously, Grey’s Monument in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1838.
  • 1839 – John Welch and Sons awarded the contract for the building of Warkworth Harbour, the work to begin immediately.
    As part of the works, Joseph built Cliff House. McAndrews, in his history of Amble, relates that “the contractor at an early stage of the proceedings built a rather pretentious domicile on the edge of the high cliff-a point of vantage which overlooked the whole scene of operations.”
  • 1841 Census – Builder, living with parents at Lambton Terrace, Gateshead.
  • 1841-1844 – Speculative building in Amble, of stone properties, comprising 13 lots of homes and shops, known as Welch’s Buildings. These formed the nucleus of what became the top end of Queen Street and included the Waterloo Hotel. There were 6 lots on the same side as the Waterloo; the top corner property; and 2 lots round the corner into Wellwood Street. A further 4 lots were built on the opposite side of Queen Street.
  • January 1844 - married Alice Noble in Newcastle.

    Newcastle Journal 20 January:
    “Workmen in the employment of Mr Joseph Welch of this town, builder and contractor for public works, sat down a party of 80, at Mr Newton’s Dolphin Inn, Close, on Tuesday last, to an excellent dinner and the usual good cheer, to celebrate the marriage of Mr Welch. Another large party of workmen dined at Mr Parrey’s, Amble, on the occasion.”
  • 27 January 1844 – Joseph Welch died at his home in Oxford Street, Newcastle, aged 45. He died from injuries sustained when he was thrown from his phaeton, along with his new bride and her sister, in Gosforth. His wife and sister in law were unhurt.

    Obituary, Newcastle Courant 2 February 1844:

    “Mr Welch was much respected for his kindness of disposition and the integrity with which he conducted his very extensive business: his talents were of a very superior order, and are evinced in the numerous churches, chapels, bridges, and public monuments, which have been erected under his direction, by the firm of John Welch and Son, of which he was the acting partner. Among many others, the churches at Winlaton, Washington, North and South Shields; the bridges over the Tees at Whorton and Blackwell, the Ouse at Poppleton, the Tyne at Bellingham and Scotswood, the Ouseburn Viaduct on the Newcastle and North Shields railway, and the Grey Column in this town, are monuments of his skill and industry. He was a kind and indulgent master, and has left numerous legacies to persons who have been many years in his employment. He has also bequeathed £100 to the Newcastle Infirmary, and £50 each to the Dispensaries in Newcastle and Gateshead.”

    With thanks for his assistance, Bill Charlton, a descendant of the Welch family.


© Janet Rice 2012, all rights reserved.