MILKHOPE CENTRE

Milkhope Centre

The Milkhope Centre NE13 6DA

Click HERE to go to the Milkhope Centre website, please note this website is run entirely by the Milkhope business tenants.

Milkhope Farm was built around 1865 as part of a programme of agricultural development by Sir Matthew White Ridley, 4th Baronet.

These developments were based on classic English Model farm designs where the buildings were specifically designed to accommodate the full range of farming activities in a sympathetic and efficient way. Often buildings would have several purposes, the ground floor housing pigs, with the first floor housing chickens, the pigs providing the chickens with under-floor heating and security from foxes, the chickens providing the pigs with food from their droppings. The farm covered about 240 acres. Buildings were constructed from stone sourced from estate quarries at Shotton Edge and North Shotton, and would have represented the very latest and best in agricultural agriculture at the time they were built.

At this time agriculture was very prosperous with growing populations as a result of the industrial revolution. However with the end of the American Civil War and the invention of the reaper and binder in 1850, the American prairies opened up depressing wheat production in the UK

Milkhope was largely used to winter and fatten cattle, in those days probably shorthorns and West Highland beasts. There was an annual Fat Stock sale about 10 days before Christmas which attracted many buyers. The beasts were auctioned in the stone sale ring, part of which has been retained opposite the coffee shop. The cattle were largely fed on straw and chopped turnips and to convey the large quantities required there was a light railway running inside the entire west, north and east perimeter.

The main Ponteland to Cramlington road ran between the farm steadings and the cottages to the north until 1958 when the land was restored following opencast coal operations and the road was re-aligned to its present route to the south of the complex.

Until 1962 the farm was tenanted, when the farmer died Milkhope returned to the Blagdon Home farm and was used for various agricultural purposes including the wintering of calves and sheep, but became largely redundant in 1982, the buildings being difficult to adapt for modern machinery.

Work started in 1985 to convert the buildings to light industrial use, the purpose being to create a number of small workshops providing opportunities for new businesses and generate employment in the local area. The buildings were divided into 30 units and were taken by 11 tenants making use of multiple units ranging in size from 320 square feet to over 5000 square feet.

The centre was officially opened 1986 and of the original tenants, Gustharts, Blagdon Furnishings and Cane and Pine remain to this day. The original artisan workshop concept has evolved over the years due to public demand and the centre today is more of a retail outlet, popular with visitors due to its location and setting.

The Estate have recognised this and have been carrying out improvements to accommodate the increased visitor numbers, building an overflow car park to the east in 2004 and improving lighting and hard landscaping. The farm shop was built in two phases, the first in 2002, with the second phase in 2004. Recently a bespoke new building was erected in the west of the site for Gustharts to meet his growing business needs.

Blagdon Estate does not run the Milkhope Centre, for details either visit their website, www.milkhopecentre.co.uk or contact individual businesses directly.