This month, we'd like to dedicate the our Ouseburn Heritage Blog to an event that took place this month. On Thursday 2nd June, in line with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, we organised the Hadrian's Wall Beacon Party, a celebration of Hadrian's Wall. 

June 2022

It's still a relatively little known fact that the route of Hadrian's Wall ran through Byker and Ouseburn. When many people think of the Wall, they think rural Northumberland, Sycamore Gap, or Vindolanda, perhaps because sometimes it can be difficult to celebrate the hidden heritage and here in the Valley, we don't have visible physical remains of Hadrian's Wall. 

While the route of the wall is well understood in urban Newcastle at a few places, such as along Shields Road and Westgate Road, there is a roughly 700-meter gap in archaeological data between the Greggs bakery at the west end of Shields Road to St. Dominic’s Church. The proposed line of the wall agreed upon by archaeologists across this gap runs in a straight line between these two points just south of Byker Bridge and right through the heart of the Ouseburn Conservation area. Within this area there is at least one major feature of the Wall that remains undiscovered; Milecastle 3, which has been traced to near The Cumberland Arms.

Read the full blog about Hadrian's Wall in Ouseburn

The Hadrian's Wall Beacon Party was hosted at the Cumberland Arms for a special reason. The Byker Alter was discovered very close to the pub during the construction of a new road, so it felt like the most fitting venue to host this commemorative celebration.

During the evening, we hosted an information stall to share what's known about this particular section of the wall, as well as any information our volunteers have uncovered. 

Musical entertainment was provided by two local bands, the Storytellers Streetband and Atomic Swing. As well as this, we were thrilled to welcome three performers to the Story Circle located close to the Cumberland Arms. Lawrence from Seven Stories shared stories with the children, while poets Ellen Moran and Dave Roe used spoken word to tells stories about the communities who surround the wall. 

We weren't the only ones celebrating Hadrian's Wall on this day. As part of Jubilee celebrations, beacons were lit simultaneously at locations along the route of the Wall. We were very proud to help mark this area's chapter in that history. Our beacon's lighting was instigated by a very special fire dance by the Newcastle Kingsmen. 

Last but by no means least, our evening concluded with a very special light show projected onto the Cumberland Arms. The seven minute light show, created by Multiminded Design, creatively told the story of Hadrian's Wall and its route through our region. Although the rain started to pour, the crowd still enjoyed the spectacular display which helped conclude a special night celebrating Ouseburn heritage.