Wallsend Heritage – 4 Campbell Street, Clarens House
Once destined to become a group home for psychiatric patients in 1992 (until the locals objected), followed by student accommodation; was allowed to become rundown, until the then new owners Ian and Karen Baker purchased it in 2002 and brought the old beauty back to life with extensive renovations, taking incredible care and paying homage to the respectful aesthetic of the period home’s history, Clarens House stands proud at 4 Campbell Street Wallsend.
After speaking with Kavil Martin – President of the Wallsend Heritage Group – more information came to light.
Clarens House was designed by architect G Sanders and built in 1887 for pioneer William Walker Johnson (Wallsend’s first Post Master) and his family of nine children. It was later owned by Joshua Jeffries#, Managing Director of BHP Collieries; later it was divided into two flats. The home is significant for its very recognisable Italianate aesthetics and is a reminder of an affluent period in the town’s history. It is currently owned by modest ex school teacher, Dr Shane Bransdon who has established a ‘creative hub’ within the home and has continued to maintain its fine appearance and street appeal.
The images below, depict the before and after of the restoration work the Bakers carried out before relocating. We are always grateful to those residents who take time and care to respect the buildings of our past.
# Joshua Jeffries’ only son Captain Clarence Jeffries was killed in France during WW1 and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The medal was presented to his mother by King George V, in England and the medal now lies in the Warriors Chapel in Newcastle’s Christchurch Cathedral. Only 96 Australians have been awarded Victoria Cross medals with more than half of them on display at the Australian War Memorial.
Clarens House is also part of the Wallsend Heritage Walk – find out more here
With thanks to Ian Baker and Kavil Martin for their input.