20th Century

The World at War
(World War One) 1914 War to Tyneside meant more work…more coal, ships and armaments meant more demand. Bombs were dropped 3 miles East of the City Centre. Sightings of German ‘U’ boats were confirmed in the North Sea off the mouth of the Tyne River. Unfortunately like all towns, cities and villages the area suffered many human casualties.

The World at Peace
(between the Wars)War caused changes especially a boom in full employment. By the early 1920’s replacement demand for ships and armaments suddenly stopped. Men were 'laid-off’, or they were given large reductions in pay. People starving, living in poor conditions no pay meant no food. Such was the pressure men and families were under in 1926 the miners went on strike. Newcastle saw many mass protests. Even though there were many protests, one of the regions most famous being the Jarrow March, people were driven back to work through lack of money and starvation.

Poverty, prosperity, and World War II.
The Nineteen Thirties saw 40,000 men out of work, a housing shortage and many children and adults undernourished. Local and central government jointly stepped in, to provide more jobs and improve housing. Thousands of new houses and flats were built and by the mid to late thirties most were re-housed in ‘council’ owned properties in Benwell, Walker and Fenham.Industry was brought into the area, road access had recently improved into the city by the construction of the Tyne Bridge. Another was an armaments race. Traditional industries produced more goods. That meant a return to full employment for most men.War was declared and the demand for more ships, guns, tanks and other armaments continued. The whole of Tyneside was working to full capacity again.The horrific effects of war did come to the area on this occasion.It came most nights when sirens were sounded and bombers tried to destroy factories and shipyards.Fortunately with little success, except for direct hits on the Manors Goods Yard, which suffered a direct hit and burned for days.

Post War Peace
After the war traditional industries continued to prosper and employment remained at a peak. Coal reserves were beginning to run out and collieries were closing. Cheaper coal could be imported as could cheaper ships. The demand for ships worldwide slumped. Unemployment began to rise as the demand for traditional industries fell.Central government again stepped in, ordering the building of out of town trading estates, where light industrial factories were built to create jobs for workers.Washington and Cramlington new towns were built, with ‘trading estates’ being built nearby. By the end of the late 20th century, coal mining, shipbuilding and virtually all heavy industry had closed down.

The North East, has had a prosperous, poor and petulant history, the population has survived and evolved on several occasions. Most changes have been caused by the need to adapt to a continuously changing situation,on an adapt or die basis.

The North East adapted!
Trace these changes through Newcastle Walks, see how the Town and region has survived. See how old blends with new, see how abandoned commercial buildings have been turned full circle back into town apartments, see how Banks have been turned into Beer houses.The region, it's cities, towns and villages will continue to develop, NW strives to provide walks and information to update you on the ever changing North East of England...


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