John Green (1787 - 1852)

John Green (1787 - 1852) was a civil engineer and architect based in Newcastle. He worked in partnership with his son Benjamin Green. Some of the archetectural drawings by John and Benjamin Green are held in the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

John and Benjamin Green were a father and son who worked in partnership as architects in North East England during the early nineteenth century. John, the father was a civil engineer as well as an architect. Although they did carry out some commissions separately, they were given joint credit for many of their projects, and it is difficult to attribute much of their work to a single individual. In general, John Green worked on civil engineering projects, such as road and rail bridges, whereas Benjamin worked on projects that were more purely architectural.

Drawings by John and Benjamin Green are held by the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne.


John Green

John Green was born on 29 June 1787 at Newton Fell House, Nafferton, two miles north of Ovington, Northumberland. He was the son of Benjamin Green, a carpenter and maker of agricultural implements. After finishing school, he worked in his father’s business. The firm moved to the market town of Corbridge and began general building work with young John concentrating on architectural work. About 1820, John set up business as an architect and civil engineer in nearby Newcastle upon Tyne.

John Green married Jane Stobart in 1805, and they had two sons, John (c.1807–68) and Benjamin (c1811-58), both of whom became architects. Little is known about the career of John, but Benjamin worked in partnership with his father on many projects.

In 1822 John Green designed a new building for the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society. The building, which houses the society’s substantial library, is still in use today. He also designed a number of farmhouses, being employed on the Beaufront estate near Hexham and also on the Duke of Northumberland’s estates. John Green was principally a civil engineer, and built several road and rail bridges. In 1829–31 he built two wrought-iron suspension bridges crossing the Tyne (at Scotswood) and the Tees (at Whorlton). The bridge at Scotswood was demolished in 1967 but the one at Whorlton still survives. When the High Level Bridge at Newcastle was proposed ten years later, John Green submitted plans, but those of Robert Stephenson were accepted by the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway. Green also built two masonry bridges for the Newcastle and North Shields Railway, at the Ouseburn and at Willington Quay. He also built a number of bridges using an innovative system of laminated timber arches. In 1840 he was elected to the Institution of Civil Engineers, and in 1841 he was awarded the institution’s Telford Medal for his work on laminated arch design.

John Green died in Newcastle on 30 September 1852.

Benjamin Green

Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne.jpg|thumb|right|Theatre Royal on Grey Street, Newcastle

Grey's Momument and Momument station - Newcastle upon Tyne - England - 130804.jpg|thumb|left|upright|Grey's Monument in the centre of Newcastle

Benjamin Green was a pupil of Augustus Charles Pugin, father of the more famous Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. In the mid-1830s he became a partner of his father and remained so until the latter’s death in 1852. The two partners differed somewhat. John has been described as a 'plain, practical, shrewd man of business' with a 'plain, severe and economical' style, whereas Benjamin was 'an artistic, dashing sort of fellow', with a style that was 'ornamental, florid and costly'.

The Greens worked as railway architects and it is believed that the mail line stations between Newcastle and Berwick upon Tweed were designed by Benjamin. They also designed a number of Northumbrian churches, the best examples being at Earsdon and Cambo.

The Green’s most important commissions in Newcastle were the Theatre Royal (1836–37) and the column for Grey's Monument (1837–38). Both of these structures were part of the re-development of Newcastle city centre in neo-classical style by Richard Grainger, and both exist today. Although both of the partners were credited with their design, it is believed that Benjamin was the person responsible.

Another well-known structure designed by the Greens is Penshaw Monument (1844). This is a folly standing on Penshaw Hill in County Durham. It was built as a half-sized replica of the renowned Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, and was dedicated to John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada. The monument, being built on a hill is visible for miles around and is a famous local landmark. It is now owned by the National Trust.

Benjamin Green survived his father by only six years, and died in a mental home at Dinsdale Park, County Durham on 14 November 1858.

List of Major Works

  • Presbyterian Chapel, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1822 (demolished 2011)
  • Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1822-1825
  • Westgate Hill Cemetery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1825-1829, (lodge demolished 1970, railings and gates removed, piers and basic layout remains)
  • Whorlton Suspension Bridge, Wycliffe, County Durham, 1829-1831
  • Hawks Cottages, Gateshead, 1830 (demolished 1960)
  • Scotswood Chain Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1831, (demolished 1967)
  • Church of St Mary and St Thomas Aquinas, Blaydon, 1831-1832
  • Bellingham Bridge, Bellingham, 1834
  • Vicarage of St Alban, Earsdon, 1836
  • Church of St Alban, Earsdon, 1836-1837
  • Church of the Holy Saviour, Newburn, 1836-1837
  • Poor Law Guardians Hall, North Shields, 1837
  • Master Mariners Homes, Tynemouth, 1837
  • Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1837
  • Parish Hall of the Church of the Holy Saviour, Newburn, 1838
  • Column of Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1838
  • Willington Viaduct, Wallsend, 1837-1839
  • Ouseburn Viaduct, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1837-1839
  • Church of the Holy Saviour, Tynemouth, 1839-1841
  • The Red Cottage, Whitburn, 1842
  • The Earl of Durham's Monument, Sunderland, 1844
  • 7 St Nicholas Church Yard, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1845
  • Witham Testimonial Hall, Barnard Castle, 1846
  • Warkworth Station, Warkworth, Northumberland, 1847
  • Acklington Station, Acklington, 1847
  • All Saints Cemetery, Jesmond, 1854
  • 11 New Quay, North Shields, 1856
Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 30/12/2016).
Visit the page: John and Benjamin Green for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.
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Whorlton Suspension Bridge
- Overview Map Street View The toll bridge over the River Tees at Whorlton, County Durham, was opened in 1831. It was designed by John and Benjamin Green of Newcastle, who ...
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Grey's Monument
- Overview About Map Street View Grey's Monument is a prominent landmark in the centre of Newcastle. Located at the head of Grey Street and Grainger Street, where they meet Blackett ...
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Penshaw Monument
- Overview History and Further Details Map Street View The Earl of Durham's Monument, better known as the Penshaw Monument, was built in 1844 on Penshaw Hill. The folly is a ...
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Church of St. Mary and St. Thomas Aquinas, Stella
- Overview Map Street View The Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary and St. Thomas Aquinas in Stella, near Blaydon, was built 1831-1832.[1] It was designed by the architect John Green, ...
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Church of St. Alban, Earsdon
- Overview Map Street View The Parish Church at Earsdon was built 1836-1837, on the site of a much earlier 13th century church. The church was designed by John & Benjamin Green, ...
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Theatre Royal, Newcastle
- Overview About the Theatre Royal Map Street View The Theatre Royal, originally on Drury Lane off Mosley Street, opened in 1788 and was granted its Royal licence by King George ...
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All Saints Cemetery, Jesmond
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Church of the Holy Saviour, Tynemouth
- Overview Map Street View Holy Saviour's Church on The Broadway/Crossway in Tynemouth was built 1839 to 1841 by John Green and Benjamin Green for the Duke of Northumberland. The parish ...
from Newcastle libraries (flickr)
003377:Scotswood Bridge Newcastle upon Tyne Unknown 1931

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
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Charlton House, Sunderland
- Overview Map Street View Charlton House, No. 2 Mowbray Road, Sunderland (formerly known as Nicholson House) was built in 1850 by John and Benjamin Green. The mansion was built for ...
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Ouseburn Viaduct
- Overview Map Street View Ouseburn Viaduct is a railway bridge over the valley of the Ouseburn (river). It was built between 1837-1839 by John and Benjamin Green for the Newcastle ...
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Willington Dene Viaduct
- Overview Map Street View Willington Dene Viaduct is a railway bridge over the valley of Wallsend Burn near Willington and Wallsend. It was built between 1837-1839 by John and Benjamin Green ...
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Church of St Bartholomew, Whittingham
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Church of the Holy Trinity, Seghill
- Overview Map Street View Holy Trinity Church is located off Mares Close, to the west of Seghill, and near Seaton Delaval. The church was built in 1849, designed by John ...
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Church of Holy Trinity, Washington
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Westgate Hill Cemetery
- Overview Map Street View In June 1825 a meeting of 'protestant dissenters and other persons' was held in Newcastle, which appointed a committee to forming a new cemetery - John ...


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