Old Images of Swalwell: Historic Photos & Closeups

Categorised as Tyne & Wear
Old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914
Old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries' Collections/Flikr.

Glimpse history through old images of Swalwell, in North East England.

River Derwent

We start with two images, with a closeup added to each for extra detail, which show the River Derwent peacefully meandering along a landscape which was already heavily industrialised by the early twentieth century.

Old photo of the River Derwent at Swalwell, taken around 1900
Old photo of the River Derwent at Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of the River Derwent at Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries' Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of the River Derwent at Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Old postcard photo of the River Derwent at Swalwell, showing a by-products works in the background
Old postcard photo of the River Derwent at Swalwell, showing a by-products works in the background. From the extensive collection of vintage postcards uploaded to Flikr by Mark Crombie.
Closeup of an old postcard photo of the River Derwent at Swalwell, showing a by-products works in the background
Closeup of an old postcard photo of the River Derwent at Swalwell, showing a by-products works in the background. From the extensive collection of vintage postcards uploaded to Flikr by Mark Crombie.

Napier Road

Napier Road was photographed just as the whole street was under construction – without a sign, traffic light or bollard in sight! No workmen in sight either, so perhaps some things never change. Even in the middle of all this chaos, the children are out playing in the street.

There’s so much to see in this one image, that I’ve added five closeups.

Old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries' Collections/Flikr.
Old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900
Closeup of an old photo of Napier Road, Swalwell, taken around 1900. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.

The Crow Tree

The Crow Tree pub, once located where you’ll now find Blaydon Rugby Club, served customers arriving along the country road on their bicycles and carts.

Old photo of The Crow Tree pub, in the grounds of Blaydon Rugby Club at Swalwell, taken in 1911
Old photo of The Crow Tree pub, in the grounds of Blaydon Rugby Club at Swalwell, taken in 1911. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.

Bus Accident

Not surprisingly, this scene of disaster quickly brought out crowds of sightseers.

I’ve added three closeups so you can read the advert on the bus, see some of the crowd gathered, and admire the attractive stone and metal used for functional pipework.

Old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914
Old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914
Closeup of an old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914
Closeup of an old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914
Closeup of an old photo of an omnibus accident at Clavering Bridge, Swalwell, taken in 1913 or 1914. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.

Derwent Viaduct

This little area is well known to locals as it passes the route to the Metrocentre. But it was once an industrial site providing heavy and skilled manual work.

There are two old photos shown here, each with a closeup for more detail. Notice the old vehicles, and the buildings in the background.

Old photo of the Derwnthaugh Viaduct next to the River Tyne at Swalwell, taken in 1940
Old photo of the Derwnthaugh Viaduct next to the River Tyne at Swalwell, taken in 1940. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of the Derwnthaugh Viaduct next to the River Tyne at Swalwell, taken in 1940
Closeup of an old photo of the Derwnthaugh Viaduct next to the River Tyne at Swalwell, taken in 1940. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Old photo of Derwent Haugh next to the River Tyne at Swalwell, taken in 1940
Old photo of Derwent Haugh next to the River Tyne at Swalwell, taken in 1940. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.
Closeup of an old photo of Derwent Haugh next to the River Tyne at Swalwell, taken in 1940
Closeup of an old photo of Derwent Haugh next to the River Tyne at Swalwell, taken in 1940. From the archives of the Newcastle Libraries’ Collections/Flikr.

Historic Book

Extract from:

“History, Topography, and Directory of the County Palatine of Durham: Comprising a General Survey of the County, with Separate Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive Sketches of All the Towns, Boroughs, Ports, Parishes, Chapelries, Townships, Villages, Wards, and Manors. To which are Subjoined A History and Directory of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and a List of the Seats of the Nobility and Gentry”, by William Whellan & Co

Published in 1856

Page 921:

“SWALWELL township is situated near the junction of the Tyne and Derwent; and was formerly held by a family bearing the local name, who continued its possessors until about the year 1412, when it passed to the Thorntons, and afterwards to the Lumleys. The number of its inhabitants in 1081 was included in the parish returns; in 1811, it was 1,393; in 1821, 1,320; in 1831, 1,372; in 1841, 1,611; and in 1851, 1,429. This decrease of population is ascribed to the closing of the large iron-works which formerly existed here”.


“The Village of Swalwell is about four miles west-by-south of Gateshead, and possesses chapels belonging to the Presbyterians, Primitive, Wesleyan, and Wesleyan New Connexion Methodists, and Wesleyan Methodist Reformers; a Charity School, and a Mechanics’ Institute and Library. There is a good bridge, of three arches, over the Derwent, near Swalwell”.

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