Deneholme – a brief history
What could be more exciting than staying in a building steeped in over a 100 years of history? Built as a family residence, Deneholme went on to be used as a hotel, boarding school a council run Outdoor Education Centre and a community enterprise. Many people have been born, married, lived, laughed and died here and its rooms echo with the festivities and celebrations that have taken place within its walls.
The land was originally owned by Scottish poet Robert White (1802 – 1874), who made his way to Newcastle to seek his fortune from Scotland. His success with the ladies was equaled only in his investments and Robert was an extremely wealthy man at the time of his death. He owned a large portion of Stowell St in Newcastle. He bequeathed a portion of his Allendale land to his nephew, Robert Pickering, after making great contributions to Allendale’s growth (including funding the construction of the present Village Hall). It was Robert Pickering’s architectural vision that brought Deneholme to life and the man who built this excellent mansion as his family home.
Robert Pickering was born in Whalton, Northumberland and became a preacher. He built Deneholme in circa 1903, lavishly making it a wonderful place to bring up his
large family. As well as having a house full of staff, the family had a chauffeur – quite a luxury in that era.
Robert made his fortune in tea & groceries, running his business from Newcastle but often making trips to India with his wife Ellen (pictured right) to import the country’s famous tea. The business was named Kingo after the name of his daughter’s favourite doll.
Robert is still remembered in the village for holding Methodist services in the circle of Beech trees in the grounds of Deneholme. When Robert died in the 1920s, his second wife left with the money from his estate, for Scotland. Deneholme was sold and re-opened as a hotel and was operated as such for many years. It was then re-opened as an outward bound centre in the 1980s.
The council run Outdoor Education Centre for young people closed in August 2000. Following a three year period of uncertainty Deneholme was bought by Fawside (the Allen Valleys’ Community Charity) in 2003 with funding from a range of different organisations. Over fifteen months (2007-2008) Deneholme was restored to its former glory, including bringing back original features and incorporating new building extensions in the Edwardian style. In January 2009, Tony and Linda Beck took over the management of Deneholme on a 15 year lease as it stands today.