Film & Old Photos of Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne

Categorised as Tyne & Wear
Elswick Newcastle Upon Tyne Tyne&Wear England

The Elswick Works

Elswick in the West End of Newcastle was once home to Lord Arstrong’s Elswick works, a hub of industry in the Industrial Age. With the death of manufacturing during the 20th century, the inhabitants of this area of the city generally missed out on the increasing prosperity enjoyed by communities across England.

Low rents attracted new immigrants, at first from Ireland and later further afield, but housing conditions were poor and poverty persisted. 

Tish Murtha

The late Tish Murtha grew up in Elswick. She was the third of 10 children of Irish descent. Despite studying at the Newport College of Art in South Wales, by 1980 she was back in Elswick on a job training scheme for the unemployed.

Picking up her camera in her spare time, she wandered around the neighbourhood taking pictures of the local community, capturing images of poorly dressed children playing in streets full of derelict and crumbling buildings.

The pictures have become iconic as a reminder of a shocking past that is far too recent for comfort.

Elswick Pool

The current generation of socially aware photographers will find plenty in Elswick to photograph today.

During the severe Austerity cuts, famous personalities living outside the region joined the middle class campaign to stop the city council cutting all arts funding. People in the west end protested that they would pay the price by having the cuts fall on their services instead.

And they were right. In the 1970s, Elswick Hall was demolished to build a large swimming pool and leisure centre. The facilities were closed in October 2015.

But happily, the local community worked hard to find a solution and funding. In February 2020, Elswick Community Pool and Leisure Centre opened as a community-run leisure centre.

Thanks to Newcastle Libraries for the image at the top of this page. It shows Bentinck Road School, Bentinck Road, Elswick. Unknown date, but around 1918.

Lord Armstrong’s Elswick Works (1900)

“This film is part of the Mitchell and Kenyon collection – an amazing visual record of everyday life in Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century.”


Vickers-Armstrongs (engineers) Ltd. (Tour)

Uploaded to YouTube on 9 Aug 2013 by Archiveforchange. 

Silent tour of the different departments of Vickers-Armstrongs, showcasing different machines and workers activities.

King And Queen In Newcastle (1941)

“Their Majesties visit the Elswick Works and lunch at the City Hall.”

British Movietone

The West End through The Ages

Where Did Benwell Go! Part 1

Brian Alexander uploaded this short film to YouTube on 29 Nov 2015.

It’s Part 1 of a series looking back at life in Scotswood, Elswick and Benwell in the olden days.

Part 2 Where Did Benwell Go! Buddle Road

Brian Alexander uploaded this short film to YouTube on 6 Dec 2015.

Part 2 of a series looking back at life in Scotswood, Elswick and Benwell in the olden days.

Elswick In The 1960s And 1970s

Noble Street Flats (1960s)

Archiveforchange uploaded this footage to YouTube.

It’s a short, silent clip showing living conditions in Elswick’s Noble Street flats.

Built in the 1960’s the flats became notorious for poor living conditions and social problems, and were demolished by the 80’s.

Photos of Elswick & Scotswood Road (1968)

“My brother Bob took these photos whilst out on a walk in 1968. We lived not far from here.”

David Garside on Youtube

Elswick Pictures (1972)

“These pictures were taken in Elswick, in the West end of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in 1972, where the photographer was living at the time.  I believe most of the “slums” depicted in the pictures were demolished shortly afterwards and no longer exist. The music is We Gotta Get Out Of This Place by the Animals, who were from Newcastle.   The photographer and his fiancee did get outta this place, left England, and never went back.”


Back Meldon Street (1972)

“Flickr Friend Fray Bentos visited Elswick in Newcastle when demolition was in progress. I live just around the corner from where he took the photos. Here is a transition from old to new. I think I managed to find nearly the same spot.”

Radio Jonophone on YouTube, 20 July 2014

The Elswick Self Portraits (1981)

Andy Armstrong uploaded this short film to YouTube, along with a fascinating insight in the project.

“The summer of 1981 was hot. The Birdie Song was everywhere and Raiders of the Lost Ark was just out. Newcastle United were in the Second Division. An eleven year old Alan Shearer was scoring for fun in schoolboy tournaments.

At Hodgkin Park in West Newcastle the Council ran a six week play scheme for youngsters from Elswick, Benwell and Scotswood. I made a photo booth out of white sheets hung from a ceiling in a park building. I placed a camera on a tripod at one end and a chair at the other. The person sitting in the chair could take the photograph by squeezing a rubber bulb connected to the camera’s shutter release. They sat down and I’d hand them the rubber bulb and tell them to look at the camera and squeeze to take a snap when they were ready. I stepped out of the booth so they were alone when they took the picture.

Most of these kids are between their late thirties and late forties now. Many will have children as old as they were in these pictures.”

Tish Murtha (1980s)

Tish Murtha’s photographs capture youth unemployment in 1980s Newcastle.

This compilation of photographs was uploaded to YouTube by Quatar Cambiaso.

Elswick Kids by Tish Murtha (1980s)

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Dec 2018 by Camera.

“A look through the new and wonderful Newcastle based book Elswick Kids by the late Tish Murtha.”

Tyneside Riots Elswick (1991)

“ITV Tyne-Tees news bulletin of 12th September, 1991, followed by Channel Four News excerpt from the following day. During the evening of the 12th, some out of control youths had firebombed a pub and some derelict houses in the western district of Newcastle upon Tyne.”

Radio Jonophone

Snow in Elswick Park (2011)

Uploaded to YouTube on 26 Apr 2011 by homeboy29032001.

Snow in Elswick (2011)

Uploaded to YouTube on 26 Apr 2011 by homeboy29032001.

More Snow in Elswick (2011)

Uploaded to YouTube on 26 Apr 2011 by homeboy29032001.

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