Well, Agent Jeff has been expanding our catalogues again and has been off in some new hunting grounds – bringing back a lovely selection of 11 monkeys. Good work!
Jeff’s been up in the north east of England, where we actually only have one monkey – NE1 – which was sent to us from Jesmond which is just north of Newcastle upon Tyne – you can see that here.
Agent Jeff has found monkeys in the areas shown on the map above. He’s a busy and dedicated monkey hunter indeed. Here’s his findings. First – in the Blaydon area.
Yes, this is a familiar sight to monkey hunters… out of the corner of your eye amongst greenery you see the familiar shape of a monkey. You can see in the above photo that even though this is quite a young monkey, it is actually producing cones, this one is a female.
And nearby another two monkeys.
A most excellent front garden monkey, which completely overshadows the house, and the whole cul-de-sac!
A very interesting tree – because the houses are probably about 50 years old (at a guess) and this tree looks like it could be older than that….. maybe it was there before, or maybe it’s a particularly fast growing tree? A lovely female.
And, nearby in Woodlands Park Drive, a monkey inspired by NE3 perhaps?
This shows a lovely display of floral underplanting with wallflowers which is very nice.
And one day, this little youngster will tower over the bungalow. Lovely. Next, another big monkey.
This is a lovely old monkey. Jeff says this is in the garden at the side of Axwell Hall in Blaydon, and sent me this picture of said Axwell Hall.
This has obviously seen better days.
This is a photo from the website of Dane Group, who bought Axwell Hall in 2006 to restore it, for residential apartments. This Palladian design house was built in 1758 for Sir Thomas Clavering – his father James was described as a ‘merchant adventurer’, I’m not quite sure what that means, but obviously meant he had enough monkey to build a big house. The architect was James Paine, who worked on a number of large houses in the area, including Gibside. From this photograph it looks like the monkey is in the grounds of a small house in the grounds of the hall, rather than at the front of the hall itself. But this is a typical example of an old house with a mature monkey.
Whilst on his travels, the thorough and dedicated monkey hunter Agent Jeff did visit nearby Gibside. This is a very unusual place, that was a Georgian mansion house on a huge scale, which is now just a shell of a building, with extensive grounds. Jeff did go hunting there, but didn’t find any monkeys, as you might have expected, but he did find this very fine tree.
Which I think just goes to show, as Jeff and I often observe, that when we out in the field looking for monkeys our ‘observation antennae’ are highly tuned, and we notice things we might not have noticed otherwise. Jeff’s wife and I both commented on that lovely bird box on the tree trunk.
Jeff then turned his attentions to Saltwell Park. A good move. Saltwell house is a Gothic mansion built in 1862 as the home of William Wailes, owner of a stained glass studio that made glass for many churches – including Gloucester cathedral. He got into debt and sold his estate to the local authority, and they opened the grounds, in 1876 as ‘The Peoples Park’, a name still in use today. William Wailes continued to live in the house until his death in 1881.
And, as you might expect from a home of a wealthy person in this era, there’s a lovely monkey on their lawn.
And behind the house is a smaller monkey.
So hopefully one day this will look as magnificent as the one out the front. Saltwell Park was renovated between 1999 to 2005 and now has two million visitors a year, its attractions include ornamental and woodland gardens, a boating lake, bowling greens, play areas, a maze, educational centre and the stunning Saltwell Towers – and of course – two monkey puzzle trees! And, cute squirrels…
Moving on now to the Lobley Hill area, Agent Jeff spotted three trees, which he couldn’t hunt in person while he was there, but has found them on Google maps.
A lovely ‘front and back’ monkeys display here. Very nice.
And Jeff’s final monkeys from his hunting expedition are over in the Rowlands Gill area.
So, an excellent hunting result of 11 monkeys from Agent Jeff on his explorations of the NE area. And, given that he’s found so many mature monkeys, I’m sure there must be more up there – so if you’re in the NE area, please do have a look out and get in touch.