House & Garden
History of Jesmond Dene House Hotel
One of Newcastle’s finest residential buildings, Jesmond Dene House Hotel is full of architectural bravura, historical detail and an intriguing cast list. The original Georgian house, designed by John Dobson - responsible for many of Newcastle’s handsome streets - was bought in 1871 by Captain Andrew Noble, a partner in Lord Armstrong’s Tyneside-based shipbuilding and armaments business.
As the business grew, and Armstrong took a back seat, Noble needed a grander house for business entertaining. He commissioned leading Arts and Crafts architect Norman Shaw (Cragside, http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-cragsidehousegardenandestate New Scotland Yard), and local architect Frank Rich, to double the size of the house adding a west wing, billiard room, Gothic porch, Great Hall and a fleet of bedrooms - all in typically grand and eclectic Arts and Crafts style. The panelling, plasterwork, stone carvings, exuberant chimneys and stained glass date from this time.
Knighted in 1902, Sir Andrew Noble moved in high society. Rudyard Kipling, Lord Baden-Powell, Admiral Togo, Chinese ministers and Japanese princes have all stayed or dined here. After Sir Andrew’s widow died, in 1929, the house was variously used as a college, Civil Defence establishment (tunnels still exist under the house), seminary and, until recently, as a residential school. It took 18 months to convert the empty building, Grade ll-Listed, to a hotel which opened in 2005 becoming Newcastle's first, independently owned, boutique hotel.
Garden at Jesmond Dene House Hotel
Unusually amongst Newcastle hotels, we have a spacious garden. Contemporary in style, with a wide terrace, exotic plants, charming pergola and informal lawn, it’s big enough to stretch the legs before dinner, small enough to admire, glass in hand, from the bar. Chef may well be seen out here cutting herbs or collecting fruit and vegetables from the small kitchen garden.
But there’s a grander, wilder garden next door. Created by the Victorian industrialist, Lord Armstrong - and donated to the city - Jesmond Dene is a wooded valley of native and exotic trees, criss-crossed with paths and dotted with waterfalls and rustic bridges. It’s a quiet place to unwind with a walk or, for the more energetic, to recharge the batteries with a jog.