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Mautland Square & Mautland Street, Houghton-le-Spring: A Shop by Shop Guide

Mautland Street sloped in a north-easterly direction from Newbottle Street towards George Street and Sunderland Street. It was intersected in the middle by Bowlby Street, which ran adjacent to the Primitive Methodist Chapel and along the back of Newbottle Street.

The Mautland Square shopping development, Houghton-le-Spring, 1969

In the 1960s a mania for demolition swept Houghton-le-Spring and many old buildings were wiped off the map, not just those considered slums, but fine and impressive buildings such as the original White Lion pub, the old Town Hall and parts of the historic Church Street.

Mautland Street was no exception and in 1969 many buildings were demolished leaving a cul-de-sac offshoot from Newbottle Street with a new shopping centre at the end. This was known as Mautland Square and consisted of shopping units on the ground floor with maisonettes and flats above. These were linked with concrete aerial walkways, synonymous to those seen at New Town developments like the Washington Galleries and Killingworth in North Tyneside. A climbing frame was even erected in the centre to keep the children entertained while their parents shopped! Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.

The shopping units were filled with an eclectic mix of shops, including: a butchers, a fish and chip shop, a cafe restaurant, a fruit shop, a barbers, a TV shop and many others. The new Houghton-le-Spring Library took up an entire side of the Square. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.

Residents at the Mautland Square flats in October 1969

Though billed as modern with underfloor heating, the flats above the shops were rife with dampness and former residents have described how their walls were black with mould, with the only advice available being to turn the heating up and open the windows. Around 1983 the top floor was removed and a pitched roof was added but this didn’t seem to alleviate the problem. There were other issues with children using the walkways for BMXing; dog fouling on the walkways; and the lower level was often described as a ‘wind tunnel’. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.

Not all of the problems were physical, some were spiritual: one resident claimed that her maisonette was haunted and she apparently had to sleep in one room with her children as they were so scared (the flat was subsequently exorcised by a priest); meanwhile, there were ongoing discussions about the suitability of the neighbouring Mautland Street Methodist Church - in 1977 it was recommended that it be merged with Nesham Place Chapel. In August 1979 the old chapel was demolished while the church halls and school rooms were retained and a new church, called Houghton Methodist Church, was officially opened on September 27th 1980. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.

Despite the modernising of the church, the issues with the neighbouring Mautland Square still existed and the housing aspect came to an end in the 1990s when the flats were boarded up. Some attempts were made to tempt the shoppers back to the development; Houghton lacked a public convenience (the one near the Rectory Park had a bad reputation) and a futuristic-looking automatic toilet was installed next to 9 Mautland Square and the car park in 1990. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.

However, in the summer of 1999 plans were submitted, and approved, for the demolition of Mautland Square. On November 24th 2000, work started on the development of a new Co-Op Supermarket and Mautland Square was razed to the ground. Some traders, such as the Peppercorn Cafe, relocated to the new library development on the former site of Newbottle Street School. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.

The demolition of Mautland Square in 2001

The 15,000 sq ft supermarket, which was designed by Newcastle-based Chartered Architects Coulson Swinbourne Moses and built by John Mowlem and Company, was officially opened on Tuesday December 4th 2001 by a pupil from one of Houghton’s primary schools following a competition. More than 10,000 customers passed through the doors in the first three days. The happy news was blighted a week later when the Sunderland Echo ran an article claiming that shoppers, who had previously parked in the Mautland Square car park for free and without incident, were now being threatened with wheel clamping should they stay longer than two hours. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.


History of Pottery Yard

Plan showing the shops on Mautland Square

Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.



Mautland Square in 1969, the year it opened

1 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Houghton Rentals for colour TV.
1973 – advert – Houghton Rentals. Change to colour buy or rent.
???? – The Children’s Society, charity shop, 1 Mautland Square. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.


2 - 4 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 & 1973 – advert - Gordons (Houghton) Ltd, 2,3 & 4 Mautland Square. Complete house furnishers.
1975 – The premises of 2-4 Mautland Square were altered and a bank opened up.


4 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

???? – TSB Bank, 4 Mautland Square.


5 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971, 1973 - 1977 – advert – Barkers Handicraft, All decorating requirements.
1978 – Change of Use permission was granted and 5 Mautland Square became an insurance brokers.
1993 – Seven parking bays were installed behind 5 Mautland Square.


6 - 7 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Fred J. Inch & Co, Your VG grocer. Tel Houghton 3546.
1973 – advert – Fred J. Inch & Co. Cut the cost of living. Tel Houghton 843546.
1974 - 1977 – advert – Fred & Lena Inch, general dealers. Tel Houghton 843546.


7 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1995 & 1996 – advert – K. Harrison, dental surgeon, 7 Mautland Square.


8 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971, 1973, & 1974 – advert – D. Wilkinson, fruiterer.
???? – Outdoor Activities Association, 8 Mautland Square.
1996 – advert – Hays Travel, 8 Mautland Square (could be 8 Mautland St!).


9 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971, 1973 - 1978 – advert – R. Waite, high class show repairer. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.


10 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Sunderland Echo branch office.
1974 - 1976 – advert – Clobber Stylist, male fashion, telephone 841913.


11 - 13 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

(numbering tbc as 11-13)
1971 – advert – North Eastern Electricty Board (NEEB).
???? – Northern Electric PLC.


14 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Ernest Gray, creative hair stylist.


15 - 16 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971, 1974, 1976 & 1977 – advert – Capital Restaurant, 15/16 Mautland Square.
1978 – advert – Capital Restaurant, Albert Ellison, 15/16 Mautland Square.


15 - 17 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

???? – Houghton Cycles, 15-17 Mautland Square, DH4 4BJ.
1998 - 2000 – advert - Houghton Cycles, 15-16 Mautland Square.


16 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

???? – Travel Centre, issuing passes for Tyne & Wear Metro et al.


17 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Trend Decor, 1972 wall papers now in stock.


18 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971, 1973 & 1974 – advert – Richardsons, casual and workwear shop.


County Library, Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

Houghton-le-Spring County Library opened at Mautland Square in 1969 having relocated from Church Street (and a brief stint in Myre Hall) owing to the redevelopments/demolition there for the A690 dual-carriageway. Following the Mautland Square demolition in 2001, the Library was based in a cabin next to the leisure centre on Station Road for around 6 months, before the new building opened on Newbottle Street in October 2001.


27 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Urwin’s Fish Shop. This was owned by the wife of Thomas Urwin M.P.
1973 - 1976 – advert – Whitfield’s Fish Shop. Telephone 843120.
1977 & 1978 – advert – The Chip Box. Telephone 843120. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.


28 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Smith Bros., for your central heating.


28 - 29 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1977 – advert – C.Nutman, fruiterer, florist, nurseryman & seedsman, 28-29 Mautland Square.


29 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – J. Piper, high class beef and pork butcher.
???? – Shapes Hair Salon, 29 Mautland Square, Telephone: 0191 584 3337.


30 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – G.D. Rose & H. Burgon, gentleman’s hairstylists.
1975 - 1978 – advert – G.D. Rose, gents hairstylists.


31 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Mavis Dorn, ladies hair stylist.
1973 - 1978 – advert – Mavis Dorn, ladies hair stylist. Telephone 843059.
1996 – 31 Mautland Square became a Advice Centre for employment, training and further education.


32 Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Thomas B. Starkie, Commission Agent.




? Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1978 - advert - S & J Wallpaper.


? Mautland Square, Houghton-le-Spring

1994 – Sunderland Leisure (Council Dept), Mautland Square.




Mautland Street, 2010

2/4 Mautland Street, Houghton-le-Spring

1992 – advert – Thorpe Insurance Services. Article Copyright © Books of the North 2012.


3 Mautland Street, Houghton-le-Spring

???? – Balmers, toy shop.
1979 – Permission was given in July 1979 for change of use from off license and toy shop to ophthalmic opticians.
1992, 1994 - 2001 – advert – I. M. Anderson, optometrist and contact lens practitioner.


4 Mautland Street, Houghton-le-Spring

1998 – advert – Brenda’s Flowers, florists.
1999 - 2001 – advert – Flowers by Brenda, florists.


6 Mautland Street, Houghton-le-Spring

1996 – advert – Apple Blossom, florists.


Mautland Street Methodist Chapel, 1896

Houghton-le-Spring Methodist Church, Mautland Street, Houghton-le-Spring

The church was formerly known as Mautland Street Primitive Methodist Chapel and opened in 1876. Further information can be found in the Methodism section of the Houghton Heritage website.


8 Mautland Street, Houghton-le-Spring

1971 – advert – Galaxy Carpets, telephone 7129.
1973 & 1975 – advert – Galaxy Carpets, telephone 841129.
1998 & 1999 – advert – Hay’s Travel, Telephone: 0191 512 0900


? Mautland Street, Houghton-le-Spring

1992 – advert – Hay’s Travel, Telephone: 0191 512 0090 (see 1996 for 8 Mautland Sq – not St!).



Article and research by Paul Lanagan, local historian

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Paul Lanagan wishes to place on record his thanks to the following:

:: This article was compiled with help from the following people who generously shared memories of Mautland Square: Angie Carr; Beatrice Hindson; Carol Bell; Christine Ramshaw; Clair Robson; David Heslop; Des Middlemas; Diane Vest; Glenn Robson; Harry Smith; Ian Cook; Jo Wilkinson; Joanne Bryant; John Hauxwell; Kara Williamson; Lynn Petty; Lynne Woodhouse; Martin Hall; Pat Short; Pauline Guerreiro; Stephen Wright; Steven Ellis; Tom Brett; and Wendy Wilson.
:: With thanks to Helen Murphy for photographs of Mautland Square in 1969; to Carol Bell for information about Houghton Library’s various locations; and to John Keniry for photographs of Mautland Square’s demolition.

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