Newcastle Keelman’s Sundial
Posted by on Dec 22, 2010 in Non mechanical clocks | 0 comments
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Built in 1701 on City road in Newcastle is this former hospital to the Keelmen of Newcastle. High above the main door is a clock said to have a dial and hands made from wood and a sundial. The clock is reportedly no longer working. A notice carved into white stone or plaster on the front of the building reads:

Keelmen Hospital - Newcastle

Keelmen Hospital - Newcastle

In the year 1786 the interest of £100 at 5% forever to be annually distributed on the 23rd day of December amongst the oldest Keelmen resident in this hospital was left by John Simpson Esq. of Bradley, Alderman of this town and forty years governor of the Hoastmens Company.

The grateful object of his remembrance have caused this stone to be erected so that posterity may know the donor’s worth and be stimulated to follow an example so benevolent.”
The Company was granted a charter of Incorporation by Queen Elizabeth in 1600.
It was one of the most powerful mercantile corporations of the area. They were concerned with buying and selling coal through the port of Newcastle.
Keelmen Hospital - Newcastle

Keelmen Hospital - Newcastle

The Tyneside keelmen were employed by the Newcastle Hostmen and were often in dispute with their employers.

In 1699 the keelmen of Newcastle decided to build the Keelmen’s Hospital, a charitable foundation for sick and aged keelmen and their families.
The keelmen agreed to contribute one penny a tide from the wages of each keel’s crew and Newcastle Corporation made land available in Sandgate.
The hospital was completed in 1701 at a cost of £2,000. It consisted of fifty chambers giving onto a cloister enclosing a grass court.