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John Green

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John Green (1787-1852), architect and engineer.

1787 June 20th. Born at Newton Fell House, Nafferton, Northumberland, the son of John Green, agricultural implement maker, and his wife Ann Armstrong

1805 January 27th. Married at Newcastle to Jane Stobart (1788–1846)

1811 January 28th. Birth of his son John Green

1813 January 9th. Birth of his son Benjamin Green

1840 John Green of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, having built several bridges, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1851 Living at Adelaide Terrace, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Benjamin Green (age 38 born Corbridge, Nth.), Architect Engineer - Unmarried. With his father John Green (age 63 born Newton, Nth.), Architect Engineer - Widower. One other. One servant.[2]

1852 September 30th. Died.


1854 Obituary [3]

John Green was born on the 20th June 1787, at Newton Fell House, Nafferton, Northumberland, where his Father, under whom he was brought up, had a large business as an agricultural implement maker, with which, at a later period, he combined general contract work and carpentry for farm-buildings.

From this kind of employment the gradation was easy to the building of the farm-houses of the neighbouring gentry; and when, on the admission of John Green to partnership with his Father, their establishment was removed to Corbridge, where they erected large workshops, the firm was extensively employed on the farm-buildings around, such as the trust estates belonging to Greenwich Hospital, and the houses of many of the neighbouring noblemen and gentry.

This led to architectural study and subsequent designs, first for alterations, and then for the erection of mansions, among which may be mentioned the house of Mr. Bacon Gray, at Styford, where the clock-tower over the stables, a conspicuous object from the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, is curious, as being supported by a single stone column, which it overhangs on all sides.

Mr. Green was also engaged, in conjunction with Mr. John Shaw (London), in the erection of Cresswell Hall, where the practical details of construction, provided by Mr. Shaw, were, to a great extent, committed to him by his co-adjutor.

Finding a good opening at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he removed thither, and gave up the establishment at Corbridge. Here he took workshops, and also practised as an architect, and one of his early works was the building for the Literary and Scientific Society, in 1822.

In course of time he gradually connected Civil Engineering works, with his architectural pursuits, and assisted Captain Sir Samuel Brown, R.N., in the execution of several suspension bridges. These works naturally introduced Mr. Green to similar and more practical engagements; and in 1831 the Chain Bridge over the Tyne, at Scotswood, was erected. On the completion of this structure, on the 12th April, 1831, the satisfaction of the Bridge Committee was evinced by the presentation to Mr. Green of a piece of plate, inscribed 'As a testimony of the sense entertained by the Committee, of the talent and skill displayed by Mr. John Green, in designing and executing the Bridge.'

In 1832, in conjunction with Mr. Dobson, he supplied designs, and superintended some very extensive repairs, to secure the foundations of the Church of St. Nicholas, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, which deviated considerably from the perpendicular, arising, as was eventually discovered, from original defects in the base. The repairs were effected in an ingenious manner, so as to transfer the weight to a new base, composed of large stones, and the structure has stood well since that period.

Then followed, in rapid succession, the bridge across the Tees, near Darlington, and various masonry works on the Great North of England Railway, in conjunction with Mr. Storey.

The construction of the bridge over the Ouse, at Poppleton, York, was remarkable for the difficulty in obtaining a foundation in a quicksand, which was discovered under the site of one of the piers.

In 1837 was commenced the construction of the Ouse Burn Arched Timber Viaduct, on the line of the Newcastle and North Shields Railway, in conjunction with his son, Mr. B. Green. This principle of building timber arches, composed of bent planks, trenailed together, and resting upon stone piers, had been experimented on by Mr. Green as early as the year 1827, and he embraced the first opportunity of carrying it into operation, in arches of 116 feet span, at a height of 108 feet above the bed of the river.

The system was also employed for the Willington Viaduct, for a Bridge at Dalkeith, for the Duke of Buccleuch, and numerous other bridges and structures to which it was thought applicable. They are alluded to in the Paper on Timber Bridges, read to the Institution in 1841, for which a Telford Medal was awarded to Mr. B. Green.

This mode of construction was also proposed in 1839 by Messrs. J. and R. Green, for the first design for a High Level Bridge between Newcastle and Gateshead. This project having been adopted by the York, Newcastle, and Berwick Railway Company, the construction of the bridge naturally devolved upon Robert Stephenson, M.P., V.P., their Engineer, and the present excellent structure is the result.

Messrs. Green also executed the corn warehouse at the Manor Station, Newcastle; and also the intermediate station houses, on the line between Newcastle and Berwick.

He was engaged for many years, and up to his death, by the Duke of Northumberland, as architect for the farm-buildings on a great portion of his Grace’s estates in Northumberland.

The Theatre and the 'Grey' Column, at Newcastle, the 'Durham' Monument on Pensha Hill, the Churches at Stockton-on-Tees and at Middlesborough-on-Tees, with numerous other buildings, kept the later years of Mr. John Green very fully occupied, and he died on 30th September 1852, greatly regretted by a large circle of private and professional friends.

He joined this Institution as a Member in the year 1840, and though, from his distant residence, he was rarely able to attend the meetings, he always exhibited great interest in the proceedings, and anxiety for the progress of the Society.


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