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24 September 2014

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You are in: Tyne > History > Local History > The Byker Redevelopment

The Byker Redevelopment

The Byker Wall is an impressive structure but have you seen what lies behind it...?

Byker Wall

The Byker Estate gained Grade II* listing in 2007

If you've ever travelled from Newcastle to the coast on the Metro, you're bound to have noticed the striking structure that is the Byker Wall.

Whatever you think of it - like it or loathe it - there's no denying the wall is very imposing.

But how many of us have actually seen what lies behind the multi-coloured facade?

The Byker Wall is just one part of the world-renowned Byker Redevelopment, which received Grade II* listing in January 2007 and has won many international awards.

Community feeling

The Byker Estate was built between 1969 and 1982. Designed by the late architect Ralph Erskine, it covers an area of approximately 200 acres and is home to around 9,500 people.

Byker Wall

Existing housing was demolished to make way for the new development - although some old buildings including pubs, churches and swimming baths were retained in the new design.

The move to the new development was also phased to help try to keep a sense of community alive.

The layout was designed to encourage cars to be left at the edges of the estate and public spaces were included to encourage social interaction. The area was landscaped with trees and gardens.

Award winner

There is a huge variety of housing. The Byker Wall, which varies from three to 12 stories high, is the most well-known part of the development but there are also a lot of low rise and individual houses.

The outer Wall was designed to protect the rest of the development both from the wind and traffic pollution (at the time a proposed motorway was due to be built alongside it).

Byker now has an international reputation as one of the most important urban housing projects since the Second World War, though it has had it's fair share of problems over the years.

The estate has collected a number of awards including a Civic Trust Award and the Veronica Rudge Green Prize for urban design from Harvard University in the United States.

Your views

We asked for your views of the estate. Here is a selection of your comments:

Its absoulutly terrible the living conditions are horrible. I really dont know why it recieved and award!

Mick G
Call it Legoland and you could charge entry!

Lester Cowell
Lived in Byker for 11 happy years and delighted that it has at last been given listed status. The estate has been at a crossroads for a long time. Parts are in dire need of refurbishment which up to now has been patchy. Hopefully this great place has now a more secure future.

James B.
I've just done my dissertation on the Byker Wall. I think the architecture and aesthetics are top notch. The problems are all social, such as: Vandelism and unemployment.If it wern't for the people I'd want to live there.

The Wall is a hole-would have been nice in its day but sadly looking its age now

spent 10 years within the Byker Wall as i was caretaker of Byker Primary School between 1994 and 2003.Made a lot of good friends and has a very close nit community. memerable years for me and my wife!!

I think it's a great place. i'd only been past on the metro until recently too and never knew how much was behind it! The colours are crazy and it's an absolute maze, but so much more interesting that all the identikit new homes you get these days.

zormad inguzwala
the byker wall wants pulling down

last updated: 06/03/2008 at 15:52
created: 16/01/2007

You are in: Tyne > History > Local History > The Byker Redevelopment

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