Boldon House

House. Circa 1790. Brick in Flemish bond, with stone dressings; Welsh slate roof. 2 storeys, 5 sash windows with glazing bars; central pedimented Tuscan doorcase, with pulvinated frieze, to 6-panelled door which when open is matched by a similarly panelled reveal opposite. Bands and moulded eaves cornice. Roof hipped with 3 stone-corniced brick chimneys on 2 cross ridges to rear. Wall. A low brick wall, in Flemish bond, forms the south boundary of both houses and returns to No 64. It has stone coping continuous with the tops of 2 dwarf sandstone piers in front of No 70. Inserted piers in front of No 64 are rendered. Walls and gate piers at southeast of garden of No 70 (2015 The right hand photo shows the rear view of the John Dobson extension built in 1840)

Boldon House was constructed in 1760 and refurbished in 1790, probably after a fire. It is built on a square, with a fa├žade of Flemish bonded brick, the remaining three sides of local stone, with a roof of Welsh slate. It overlooks the space where the original Front Street was much wider than it is now, and which was probably the village green. The house is said to have been built for a lawyer, and had the advantage of accessibility from and to both Tyneside and Wearside. In 1840 a brick-built extension was added, designed by the Newcastle architect, John Dobson, adding an extra bedroom (making a total of 7) and a panelled study on the ground floor, extending the living room by some 10 feet and incorporating three large stone surrounded sash windows overlooking the garden. During the war years and until 1956 Boldon House was divided into flats. It is still classed by the Post Office as number 66, 68 and 70, Front Street and the ghostly outline of an extra front door can still be discerned behind the clematis next to no. 64. In 1954 one of the tenants of these flats was one Henry Smart Short, the Sunderland shipyard owner. He was so impressed by the house and its history that he vowed to restore it to its original state. Consequently, in 1956 he purchased the property, reconverted it into a family dwelling house and boarded up the servants' stairs, which remain boarded up to this day. Features of the house include the original Georgian pillared entrance, three Adam-designed fireplaces, a large vaulted Adam-designed window, deep finely carved plaster cornices in the reception rooms, the original polished timber floorboards in the dining room, a large 3-roomed cellar and outside, a small orchard, a Victorian ornamental pond, a large tennis/croquet lawn and a terrace of Nenthead stone. Our thanks are due to Mr Donald Graham, the present owner of Boldon House, for giving his kind permission to describe his home on the site.

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