A timeline of the Lord Mayor’s Field

Posted on 05th October 2023 | in Community

After learning about the sale of the Lord Mayor’s Field, The Ambler decided to take a look at the history of this much loved piece of open space in Amble.  We discovered a fascinating story of the use of this land, which included providing holidays for poor children from Tyneside, to housing refugees from Eastern Europe – oh, and don’t forget the elephants!

In 1934 the land was bought by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and used as a holiday camp for poor children from Newcastle. More information on the activities at the camp can be found on Amble Town Council’s history trail information board.

John Grantham, Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne and Violet Grantham, Lady Mayoress, visiting the Lord Mayor’s Holiday Camp at Amble, Northumberland, 9 August 1937  Image: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

1936 The Lord Mayor’s Field was sold by Michael Lawson Smith to Adamson Dawson Russell (then Sheriff of Newcastle) and Samuel Smith. The conveyance of the land refers to ‘varied’ covenants. These included a ban on any manufacturing, trade or business on the land and no beer or alcohol was to be sold. An additional covenant forbid activity on the land ‘likely to cause a nuisance’.

From the Morpeth Herald 27 March 1936

The holiday camp closed in 1938 as war loomed on the horizon. During WW2 the field was likely requisitioned for war purposes as it was used as a POW and a displaced person’s (mostly eastern Europeans) camp.

1954 a deed and covenants on the Lord Mayor’s Field were documented. There appears to have been a formal legal partnership between Michael Lawson Smith and Amble Urban District Council. A clause released the ban on trade and business, but kept the rest.

1963 the caravan site and other land was sold by Robert Rice Forsyth to Amble Urban District Council.

Over the next several decades, the Lord Mayor’s Field was used for many recreational purposes; caravans, jazz band marches and practices, weekend dog races, funfairs and the circus. It also provided an open space for children to play, for dog walking, and for unofficial bonfire night fun.

1974 Amble Urban District Council was abolished. Many records from AUDC were subsequently destroyed by Alnwick District Council.

Over the years, the Lord Mayor’s Field has been used for many recreational purposes; caravans, jazz band marches, dog racing, funfairs and circuses. (Spot the elephants in this photo from Anne Lambert, taken in the early 1970s)

2002 the caravan site, the amusement arcade, the Granary and the Lord Mayor’s Field was leased by Alnwick District Council to New Links Caravan Park Ltd. The stated permitted use of the Lord Mayor’s Field was: “use for landscaping and open space affording free access to members of the public and occupants of the Caravan Park.”

2009 Alnwick District Council was abolished, replaced by a unitary Northumberland County Council.

2013 Lord Mayor’s Field and caravan site were transferred to Arch (development arm of NCC).

2018 Arch was dissolved, replaced by Advance Northumberland (new development arm of NCC).

2021 Advance agreed to sell the caravan site for £8.25m and Lord Mayor’s Field for £2m to Park Leisure, with a formal agreement on public access to the pool. The Lord Mayor’s Field was designated Open Space in the Northumberland Local Plan 2016-2036 (the statutory development plan for the whole county).

2022 (January) Lord Mayor’s Field and caravan site are sold by NCC/Advance Northumberland to Park Leisure 2000. A deed between the two parties notes the release of previous covenants.

2022 (February) Park Leisure is bought by SCI SG Bidco Ltd. Park Leisure takes out a 175 year lease for the caravan site from SCI SG Bidco. SCI SG Bidco is owned by Sun Communities Inc, a Real Estate Investment Trust, based in the USA and which trades on the NY Stock Exchange.


This is a longer version of the timeline which appeared on our website in July 2023

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