It’s been a while since we dedicated one of our heritage blogs to images from our photo archive. This month we're doing just that. The Ouseburn Trust have thousands of photos of Ouseburn and surrounding neighbourhoods, the oldest dating from the late 1800s.

March 2022

Many of the oldest images have made their way to us via Newcastle City Library but we hold two extensive collections from the 1970s to 1990s, the Davey Pearson Collection, and the Richard Blosse Collection.

Richard Blosse was a photographer, artist and archivist. He arrived in Byker in 1978 as part of a community arts team that worked with local people during the Byker Wall development. He took photos during the demolition of the former Byker estate and the regeneration during the 1970s and 1980s. He left Byker in 1984, later donating his albums of Byker life to the Ouseburn Trust. Richard moved to Portmahomack in Easter Ross, north of Inverness, where he died in 2016.

While adding some of Richard’s images to our Flickr albums recently, we spotted in the catalogue records that he had been particularly prolific in March 1980, especially in chronicling the changes around Raby Street, Byker. The following are just a few of our favourites, taken forty-two years ago this month. The images give a flavour of how it was possible to stay local for all your needs, from cradle to grave. If you spot anyone you know or have stories to share about these locations, we would love to hear from you.

Two women standing by a row of partly demolished shops on the corner of Raby Street and Clydesdale Road, including Tynedale Bakery and John Hindmarsh & Son, Funeral Directors.

Raymond Hindmarsh standing outside the demolished premises of John Hindmarsh & Son, Funeral Directors. In the background is land cleared of Victorian terraces and the development of Erskine’s new Byker Wall.

Boarded up and soon to be demolished premises of Elsie’s Bakery beside T P Humpish (butchers).

Demolition of former premises of T P Humpish, butchers and ‘Vote Communist’ graffiti on boarded-up E Richardson, housewares and fancy goods.

Man walking down Raby Street looking at a partly demolished shop on the corner with Beresford Road.

Demolition in progress of Tynedale Bakery and Central Cleaners.

Partly demolished JJ Glendinning (outfitters) with St Michael’s Church, Headlam Street in the distance.

Children posing in the shape of a star in the playground of Raby Street School. The school later merged with Bolam Street School to form Byker Primary School.

Staff at Raby Street Bingo –(L-R) Isabella, Ruby, Kitty, Babs, Eddie, Margaret, Molly, and Lizzie – posing seated on a row of chairs in front of the stage containing bingo equipment.

Woman holding a £1 note and a card with ‘Two Fat Ladies, Lucky Bingo’ at Raby Bingo hall.

People seated at Raby Bingo. The building opened as Raby Cinema in 1910, closed in 1959 and re-opened as a bingo hall in 1961. It was demolished in 1989.