Serendipity and Jesmond Dene House
Jesmond Dene House was bought by Andrew Noble in 1871. What had been a very modest late Regency property embarked on a phase of its life involving great schemes of building work by more than one architect over several decades that lead to what we can now see today. In fact, the Noble family lived at Jesmond Dene House for almost sixty years and left a lasting imprint on the physical and spiritual reality of the House. How different it might have been!
Prior to buying Jesmond Dene House, Noble had been living in a small house in the bottom of the Dene. With a growing family and greater status, he began to look for something bigger and was ‘...very much attracted by a house at Dunston’ in what is now Gateshead. The then village was located on the River Tyne opposite the Armstrong works at Elswick so that he would be able to commute back and forth to work via boat. He was greatly pleased when a sale was agreed and a contract signed. However, the owner came into money and asked if Noble would release him ‘as one gentleman to another’. His eldest daughter ‘…remembered him coming home one evening very much depressed to tell his family the news, pulling at his side whiskers and saying he would never be happy in any other house’.
It’s extraordinary to think that but for a repudiated contract Jesmond Dene House as we know it today would not exist. It’s hard to imagine that its history could have been richer and more fascinating had the Noble family not lived in it. We’ll never know!
Source: Life in Noble Houses by Humphrey Noble, grandson of Sir Andrew