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Walker, Newcastle

St Christopher's Mission Church, Walker

Last Updated:

27 Mar 2024

Walker, Newcastle

This is a

Church, Place of Worship

54.980069, -1.538023

Founded in 

1888

Current status is

Demolished

Designer (if known):

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Industrial units now occupy this site

There are few existing photographs of St Christopher's Mission Church, which stood on Fisher Street at Low Walker from 1888.

It was paid for through public subscription with donations from William Armstrong, Charles Mitchell, the Bishop of Newcastle, Henry Swan and Messrs Wigham Richardson to further the Christian and temperance cause in the fast developing area around the shipyards.

It was a red brick building with stone dressing. The gables "relieved with wall timbers, filled in with gravel and plaster cast". It was 62ft x 28ft, providing room for 320 worshippers. A Sunday School was also erected at the rear which can be seen in the shot below also.

As noted, temperance meetings were held weekly here, promoting abstinence from alcohol in these dense working class communities. Industry owners poured money into these spaces to induce a healthier and more efficient workforce.

The church had been demolished by the 1960s, and the area is now filled with industrial units.

Listing Description (if available)

Both Ordnance Survey maps depicted illustrate the mission church from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century.

Fairly substantial change is witnessed when we compare the two. At the turn of the century, this area was very much still a growing outcrop of Walker, with the fast densifying shipyards on the east but fields and small industry to the west. A brickworks occupied the present horse carriage site, with the disused East Pit directly north.

This remained the case until the 1930s when the large scale Walker residential developments came along. The recently demolished terraces at Abingdon Road were constructed by this time as well as those around Welbeck Road. It was only a couple of decades until this and the few amenities lasting on Fisher Street were demolished and replaced with industrial units.

Turning back the clock to the 1850s and 60s, a couple of decades prior to the construction of the church. Fisher Street was yet to be laid, though Scotch Row and the Crown & Anchor were in situ on the end of the street. The layout of the area was entirely different given what we now know as Walker was essentially farmland. Streets didn't line from Welbeck Road as a main artery, and the riverside at Walker was a cluster of small settlements emanating from the growing shipyards.

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The present site of St Christopher's Mission Church in 2024

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One of the few surviving photographs showing the church on Fisher Street in 1947. The Sunday School is shown at the rear.

Source: © Historic England. Aerofilms Collection Historic England Photograph: EAW009380 flown 18/08/1947 (18 August 1947)

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A side view of the church also in 1947. Allotment gardens lined Fisher Street on its northern end. A tram can be seen heading southwards towards Welbeck Road.

Source: © Historic England. Aerofilms Collection Historic England Photograph: EAW009370 flown 18/08/1947 (18 August 1947)

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