Memorial Details

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Plaque teachers who fell 1914-18 Ouseburn School





Map ref

NZ 281636

Original Location

Central hall of the school

Dedication, Creation or Publication date

Unveiled by Mr. R.R. Brentnall on 20/09/1915

Memorial Description


Materials used



“In admiration of the noble spirit of self-sacrifice and heroism displayed by Ernest Guthrie Watson, Second Lieut. of the South Lancashire Regiment, killed in action 19th Sept., 1914; and John Bell, private in the Northumberland Fusiliers, killed in action 19th March 1915, who gave their lives for their country and the cause of righteousness in the great European War, this tablet was erected by their fellow teachers and children of Ouseburn Council School, September, 1915.”


See above

Who commissioned

Ouseburn Council School


1. Ouseburn school was opened in 1893 to accommodate 928 pupils. It was designed by a local architect called Frank West Rich and it has very distinctive corner towers in an oriental style. These towers formed part of the school's ventilation system. Radiators admitted fresh warm air via piping from steam boilers, and ventilator tubes led from every room to "up cast shafts" in the towers.
The ground floor had 352 infants, the first floor 576 older children and the top floor was a technical area: cookery, workshops, laundry and art. The school was planned around a central hall, and had two play yards - open and covered. (It is just possible to read "Girls" above the entrance in photo 1) The cost of the school including site, buildings, fees and fittings was £17,035. The school closed in 1967. It is now one of four Newcastle Enterprise Centres which offer businesses a range of serviced accommodation.
2. Ouseburn School - 134/365
Grade II* Listed former Ouseburn School, Ford Street, is an ornate building designed by F W Rich (also responsible for the Turnbull Building in 1893
characterised by Dutch type gables, decorative moulded brickwork and pagoda-style turrets in the style of those found on Burmese Temples. The school is a dominant landmark in the Valley and has strong historical links to the social development of the Valley in the C19th, as it reflected the needs of a growing population in Ouseburn.
Following the closure of the school in the 1960s it re-opened in 1993 as a Business Development Centre. It dominates the junction of Ford Street and Walker Road and is distinct from the rest of the valley through its architectural style. Externally, the building has not been adversely affected by its conversion to the business centre.

3. The Newcastle Journal 21/09/1915 reports:- Mr Thos. G. Hughes, headmaster of the school referred to the Late Ernest Guthrie Watson and Private John Bell, teachers of the school, who had lost their lives in the war. Lieut. Watson who was attached to the South Lancashire Regiment reached the fighting line on September 16th 1914 and was killed by a shell three days later. He was 21 years of age and was the son of Mr and Mrs John Watson of Percy Street Newcastle. The late Private John Bell was a teacher at the school for about nine years and was attached to the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers. He was the son of Mrs Bell a widow of Gosforth and formerly of Sunderland.

4.Newcastle Daily Chronicle 21/09/1915 reports in addition:- Mr Watson whilst he was at Armstrong College was a member of the Officers' Training Corps and he was called out when hostilities were commenced and appointed second lieutenant in the South Lancashires and when the call for officers for the front was made he offered himself with great eagerness. Private Bell in his eagerness to see active service requested to be transferred from the 3rd N.F. to the 1st N.F. and accepted the position of private in the latter and gave up that of lance corporal in the former.

Newspaper cuttings, photos or archival material

Illustrated Chronicle undated describes the unveiling.

Newcastle Daily Chronicle 21/09/1915 reports unveiling

Newcastle Journal 21/09/1915 reports the unveiling of the plaque and Roll of Honour. (Available on The British Newspaper Archive)

Research acknowledgements

James Pasby; Doreen Morton

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Plaque teachers who fell 1914-18 Ouseburn School (B95.27)

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