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Newcastle SSF

The Byker estate is world famous for its unique 1970’s architecture.  Its skyline can be seen across Newcastle and from as far away as western Gateshead and Northumberland.  It has been the subject of many photographic exhibitions, dramas and films and is now a Grade 2* listed heritage site.

Byker is situated in the east of the city and is home to the world famous  ‘Byker wall’ development.  It was originally built in the 1900’s to house a growing workforce required by shipbuilding and other heavy industries situated on the banks of the River Tyne.  By the 1960’s much of the housing stock built to accommodate the nineteenth century workforce was sub-standard, having no inside toilets or proper bathrooms and a backlog of major repairs.  In 1966 it was decided that Byker would be demolished and redeveloped.

In 1969 Ralph Erskine was appointed as project architect.  The Byker estate was built in 11 phases to house 9,500 people and the final phase completed in 1983.It is now world famous for its unique 1970’s architecture.

The more recent story of Byker is one of loss, of jobs (unemployment is very high), and of community.  The famous ‘Byker Wall’ of the 70’s is looking  a bit tired now after nearly thirty years but the housing has generally been improved with only one high rise block remaining.  The place appears reasonable today but there is a lingering hidden legacy of defeat and abandonment.

The new friary situated in this area of urban deprivation and the brothers are open to possibilities in their ministry, but hope to make themselves available to MINE (Mission Initiative Newcastle East) and to encourage this local initiative; to provide placements for novices sent to various projects locally, and perhaps wider into the City scene of deprivation; Street Pastors is an other possibility; support to the neighbouring clergy;  to live a strong common life and hoping to attend to the somewhat massive garden!


St Anthony's Friary, Byker

St Anthony’s Friary, Byker

Byker Back Garden












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