Answer May 2020
The clue image is from the corner of the top centre window of this building, which stands at the back of Robbs/Beals/??? Car Park. Those with eagle eyes probably noticed the Robbs “R” in the window.
Does anyone know anything about the history of this building? The old satellite dish and TV aerial might suggest it was a private dwelling in the not-too-distant past, or maybe those were something to do with the building’s use by Robbs?
The centre windows have clearly been altered from longer versions – might those have been loading bays?
There was an old police station somewhere in this area in the 19th century. This is mentioned in John Chapman’s Walk Back in Time publication (available for purchase as a download from the HLHS website), but without further clarification of the actual position of the police station.
If you have any thoughts or knowledge about the building, please contact us, or use the “Comment” section below.
You may also be interested to know that an article about the whole Robbs site is planned for this year’s Hexham Historian journal, so watch out for that.
Thanks to John L. for these images.
5 thoughts on “Answer May 2020”
I took that picture and submitted it to HLHS, not least because the building has fascinated me for years: the responses here so far have made my trivial effort very worthwhile!
The building sparked my interest because of its height, but small area, and the fact that it has no windows on two sides. The warehouse aspect is clear from the size and shape of openings on the front, and the stables aspect is also understandable. However I suspect it was not _built_ as either!
Another reader has sent us the the following additional details.
I do not know when the building was built, however from 1915 it was part of the business premises of L.J. Pointing and Son. This was the first premises that the business occupied, it was established in 1915 in Hexham. The company were Dyestuff traders and manufacturers. Later they also had warehouse premises and an office at the commercial property at the bottom of Hallstile Bank on the corner with Haugh Lane. They traded/blended industrial dyes used in the leather and paper industries. When established in 1915, their products were used in products manufactured for the Great War and other industrial products. Prior to the war starting, L.J. Pointing had worked for a large German dyestuff and chemical manufacturer. This employment naturally came to an end at the beginning of the war. So as a consequence, Mr Pointing started ‘doing his own business’ (probably buying dyes from businesses that would in 1926 become ICI).
L.J. Pointing lived at 32 Hallstile Bank. His son, also L.J. Pointing was born in that house in 1899. L.J. Pointing jnr took over the business when his father died (in about 1933) and he continued an active interest in the business until his death in 1990.
In later decades the business gave up the ‘Robbs’ building and built a dye manufacturing factory at the back of the Queens Hall. The Book, ‘Tynedale: from Blanchland to Carter Bar’ by Frank Graham (1978) p195 aerial photograph of Hexham clearly shows the black curved roofs of the factory (this is now the open space/road/parking behind Trinity Methodist and the Queens Hall) The business moved to a much larger and more practical purpose built factory and laboratory at Low Prudhoe in 1969 and remained in business at Prudhoe (manufacturing Food Colours and Food Flavourings) until the early 2000s, when the business was purchased by a US Multinational Corporation.
I hear that:
“Years ago, the building that is WHSmith’s used to be an inn, backing onto Robb’s car park, and the building in the picture was used to keep the horses in.”
My Grandad (Lawrence Elliott) worked at the undertakers here in the 50’s or 60’s I think.
My Dad (David Elliott) also worked in this building working for Robbs fixing Televisions/Electricals, probably why the building has a satellite dish and ariel. It was still open in the 90s for fixing Electricals, I remember going in to pick up tv parts with my Dad 🙂 My Dad was also brought up living at Richmond place in the 50s.
I have been told that this building was stables which rentEd out horses.Robb undertakers also used this building and kept their hearse in it. There was a street of houses in front of it called Richmond Place.