Byker Buildings, Byker
8 Mar 2021
This is a
Current status is
Designer (if known):
Only the Cumberland Arms remains.
"Byker Buildings was a street of tenement housing with the Cumberland Arms at the western end. The northwestern part of the street was built by 1858, the southwestern side after 1883. These were two-storey tenements for four families, with basements to the rear providing communal washhouse, privy and coal store. The northeastern side of Byker Buildings had small gardens to the front. By the 1960s these sub-standard properties had been demolished and replaced by modern maisonettes. These in turn were demolished circa 2001."
Listing Description (if available)
Both illustrations above depict the Byker and Ouseburn area in the latter half of the 19th c. The area at the time was bustling with industrial activity but filled with poverty. Many of the homes with not suitable for living, which is the case for the buildings in question. Byker was only a small village on top of the hill in the 1860s, and Shields Road was much more an extension of Ouseburn rather than an area itself.
By the turn of the century Byker had grown considerably. Terraces had sprawled all the way south to St. Peters and there is little to distinguish between Ouseburn and Byker. The Riverside branch had been constructed to take workers from Newcastle to Walker, as well as the growth of All Saints as a residential area. Byker Bridge was also constructed.
The Byker Buildings are clearly labelled on this 1921 Ordnance Survey in a sea of other terraced buildings. It was then situated next to a mill, and down the valley Crawfords Bridge and its community would have been seen.
This photograph of numbers 12 & 14 illustrate the extent of poverty and dilapidation in this area. It's likely the houses were occupied by multiple families or by multiple generations. This photo is from the mid 30s.
Source: Newcastle Libraries