Glimpse history through old images of Cruddas Park, in the west end of Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England.
Cruddas Park, usually considered part of Elswick, was named after George Cruddas, one of the co-founder of the nearby Elswick Works.
- Born about 1791
- 1847 – founding partner of Elswick Works (Elswick Ordnance Co)
- 1851 – engine builder living in Tynemouth with his family
- 1871 – engine manufacturer living at Dean House, Elswick, with his wife & 2 servants, where he lived until his death
- Died about 1879
In the 1960s, the area saw massive redevelopment. As part of the T. Dan Smith plans, Victorian terraces were swept away and people rehoused in flats high in the sky.
Fifty years later the next phase of Cruddas Park’s history got underway. The area was renamed as Riverside Park. Half of the tower blocks were demolished while the rest were refurbished as part of a £90million pound project. Nearby Newcastle College opened additional facilities, the Riverside Dene Campus, in the Cruddas Park Shopping Centre.
Old Photos of Cruddas Park
David Garside’s collection of old photographs of Cruddas Park, taken by himself and his family, are mainly from the 1980s. However, there are some old photos going back to the 1960s and 1970s.
Locations include Cambridge Street School, Charlotte Close, and Hornbeam Place.
David Garside (YouTube): Newcastle Upon Tyne. West End Photographs. Oxford Galleries. Redheugh Bridge. Cruddas Park. Muted.
Back in 1988, David Garside recorded a drive along Cambridge Street and Charlotte Close.
David Garside (YouTube): Newcastle Upon Tyne. App 1988. A drive along Cambridge Street & into Charlotte Close. Cruddas Park.
Cambridge Street School
The Cambridge Street Council School in Elswick was one of many buildings bulldozed around the area of Newcastle College over the later years of the twentieth century. David Garside’s video from 11th August 1991 captures this fascinating school building, which had a playground on the roof, before it disappeared forever.
David Garside (YouTube): Newcastle upon Tyne. Cambridge Street School. Cruddas Park. Rye Hill. Scotswood Road. 1991.
Park Road Community Centre Boxing Club
In 2007, this interview was recorded with John, the coach at the Park Road Community Centre Boxing Club. He talked about the discipline and fitness required in boxing, a sport credited with helping some of the area’s youngsters off the streets and reducing anti-social behaviour.
Unfortunately, in 2014 Newcastle City Council were unable to fund the repairs needed to keep the community centre open to the public.
GarryNE4 (YouTube): Boxing at Cruddas Park
Renaming Cruddas Park
Over several years, more than £90 million was spent modernising the high rise flats at Cruddas Park. Work included the installation of external cladding, which was subsequently removed in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London.
In early 2009, Cruddas Park was renamed Riverside Dene. The new name was unveiled by abseilers.
ChronicleLive (YouTube): Cruddas Park renaming ceremony
David Garside took photographs of the area in April 2009 as the area was under the process of change.
David Garside (YouTube): Newcastle upon Tyne. Cruddas Park photographs. 28.04.2009.
Residents in the flats could have some excellent views. Here are fireworks seen from a balcony in 2010.
danielwilson2k (YouTube): Firework display from my balcony
Part of the redevelopment of Cruddas Park included demolition of five blocks of 1960s flats -The Poplars, Willows, Beeches, Haughton Court and King’s Meadows. These had originally rehouses families from substandard Victorian houses and flats. Billy Richardson captured the moment one of these huge structures fell.
billyrich70 (YouTube): Cruddas Park Flats Demolition
In 2013, Billy Richardson explained why he’d been documenting the demolition and re-building of Cruddas Park flats in Elswick everyday since work began.
archiveforchange (YouTube): from Park to Dene
By 2014 the Riverside Dene project had brought about great change.
YHNNewcastle (YouTube): Riverside Dene Transformation
Cruddas Park House
This video shows concrete blocks being removed from the top of the 23 storey Cruddas Park House flats.
ALANSVIDS1 (YouTube): Heavy Crane working on Cruddas Park House Flats Newcastle 5th January 2015