Spital Tongues is a historic area of Newcastle upon Tyne, located north west of the city centre.
Its unusual name is believed to be derived from 'spital' – a corruption of the word 'hospital' that is quite commonly found in UK place names (for example Spitalfields) - and 'tongues', meaning outlying pieces of land.〔http://wingrove.newcastle.gov.uk/〕 Edward I gave two such 'tongues' of land to the St Mary Magdalene Hospital – hence 'hospital tongues' and eventually 'Spital Tongues'.
==St Mary Magdalene Hospital==
The first St Mary Magdalene Hospital was founded in the 12th century to care for victims of leprosy,〔http://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/special-collections/exhibitions/current-and-past-exhibitions/so/parks.php〕 the disease having been brought into Britain by the returning Crusaders. This was sited well outside the town, close to the present-day site of Lloyds TSB bank at the northern end of Northumberland Street. The St Mary Magdalene Hospital was a hospital in the medieval rather than the modern sense, concerned not with curing but with caring. Today, such an establishment would be called an almshouse.
In 1874, the hospital was moved to a new location behind the Hancock Museum, before in turn being replaced in 1959 by 38 purpose-built bungalows in Spital Tongues. These properties are still collectively known as St Mary Magdalene Hospital.
In 1884 the St Mary Magdalene charity opened the Home for Incurables in Moor Lodge, Spital Tongues. Moor Lodge had been built on land that had belonged to the charity for centuries. The charity had previously leased the house and grounds to William Hunter (the coal owner after whom the nearby Hunters Moor was named), so had to pay £500 for the surrender of the lease at this time.
A new home, still extant today, was designed by the architect Edward Shrewbrook and opened with great ceremony in 1893. This occupied the site of the Moor Lodge kitchen garden, and was extended with the addition of the Richardson Wing (providing beds for children) in 1911. The name of the hospital was later changed to St Mary Magdalene Home in 1931 (the same year that the original Moor Lodge was finally demolished, having previously reverted to use as a private dwelling), and it was renamed Hunters Moor Hospital upon becoming part of the National Health Service in 1948. Hunters Moor Hospital was home for the
Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Centre until 2007 when the Centre moved to new purpose built accommodation at Walkergate Hospital. The site of Hunters Moor Hospital has been acquired by Dame Allan's Schools for development as a purpose built primary school.
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