The German community of Newcastle

Over the next few months, interns and volunteers on the Reflections project will write a few blog posts to discuss their experience working on the project and some of the research materials they have uncovered. This time volunteer Peter Livsey will discuss his research into Newcastle city centre and its changing face during World War 1

The outbreak of war in 1914 affected members of the German community in Newcastle in different ways. Max Holtzapfel was head of a large business producing anti-fouling paint for both merchant and Royal Navy ships. He had offices in the modern Milburn House, at the foot of Side. He was also the German Consul for Newcastle. He had a substantial house, Kenton Lodge, where he had permanently recorded the image of his name (“crabapple”) in the ironwork of the gates. On the outbreak of the war he had to leave and moved to Norway and Sweden, neutral countries. His son, a British citizen, remained, running the business and serving as consul for neutral South American countries. He was later made British consul in the neutral Netherlands, despite protests by ultrapatriots in Parliament.

Newgate Street_KaufmansC.L. Kaufmann and Sons was a well-established firm of pork butchers with three shops in the city centre (the light coloured building in the photos was their branch at 59 Newgate Street.) The shop in Sunderland had its windows broken in the early days of the war. The family had citizenship, but by 1916 John Conrad Kaufmann had become J.C. Kay, pork butchers at the same addresses. Another example of name change is that of S. Goldston, who had just opened a Russian fur shop at the top of Market Street (now part of Barclays Bank.) By 1918 it was run by S. Gladston.

The Kuch families were less fortunate. They had three pork butchers shops in different parts of Newcastle. Georg Friedrich and his wife Rosa, who owned the one in Byker both worked for the Kaufmann’s. He was arrested in a police raid and interned on the Isle of Man. She and their children were deported to Germany, where they were abused as “Englanders.” Rosa died during the war. After the war Georg Friedrich was also deported, but remarried and returned to Newcastle, changing the family name to Cook.. His descendants shared their story with The Journal last year and one attended a reunion in Wurttemburg of pork butcher families from the same small area.

Peter Livsey

This entry was posted in 1914, German, Newcastle, World War 1 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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