Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne
|Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne|
Entrance to Walker Park, Walker
Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne shown within Tyne and Wear
|OS grid reference|
Perhaps the most historic fact about Walker is contained in its name, which refers to Hadrian's Wall which passed along its northern edge. The place-name 'Walker' is first attested in 1242, where it appears as Waucre. This means 'wall-carr', that is to say, 'the marsh by the Roman wall'. Sadly Hadrian's Wall is not visible in Walker today, although a small fragment can be seen in Shields Road in Byker to the west, and Segedunum fort is a major site at the end of the Wall in Wallsend to the east.
Large-scale coal-mining began in the area in the early 1700s, with up to ten collieries in operation in the Walker area. A wagon-way was constructed during this period to facilitate transportation of coal to the riverside staithes.
Walker used to have a large shipbuilding industry, particularly the yard of Armstrong Whitworth at High Walker, but this has declined over the past 50 years and the area has suffered as a result, with many jobs being taken away from the community.
From 1809 to 1883, Walker was home to an iron-making company, Losh, Wilson and Bell (known towards the end as Bells, Goodman and finally as Bells, Lightfoot).
Generally speaking Walker is an area between Welbeck Road and the banks of the River Tyne, although the modern city ward of Walker incorporates Pottery Bank and St Anthony's. When most Geordies refer to Walker they also incorporate the areas of Daisy Hill and Eastfield. Walkergate, located between Welbeck Road and the Network rail line are sometimes considered parts of Walker. Other parts of Walker are Walkerdene (which is along Old Shields Road going towards Wallsend) and Walkerville (which is located under the railway bridge and to the right, these houses are mainly private stock where as other areas of Walker are council and ex-council stock). Other areas included are Daisy Hill and Eastfield which help make up the city Ward of Walkergate.
The area is notable for Walker Park, the Walker Riverside Park, and the Lady Stephenson Library (now known as 'Walker Library') as well as the Lightfoot Sports Centre, which is set to undergo a £2.5m refurbishment. Alderman Sir William Haswell Stephenson, built the library in 1908 in memory of his wife Eliza, who died in 1901. The library closed on 29 June 2013 and contents have been relocated into a purpose built area within Walker Activity Dome in July 2013 (The Lightfoot Sports Centre).
Most children attend a local primary school, These are St Anthony's CE, St Vincent's RC, Tyneview, Welbeck, West Walker, Walkergate and Wharrier Street. The two main Secondary Schools which service the area are Benfield School, a specialist Sports College, and Walker Technology College, a high performing specialist technology and visual arts school for 11–18-year olds.
Newcastle City Council's Walker Riverside regeneration scheme launched in 2003 aims to revitalise the area with new houses, schools, jobs and community facilities, environmental improvements, and a new neighbourhood centre to be known as the Heart of Walker. The scheme has its own website and newsletter known as the Walker Eye, which goes to almost 7,000 homes and businesses locally.
Much of the older and run-down housing stock along Walker Road is in the process of being demolished and replaced with new homes which are a mixture of council and private housing.
As part of the new Heart of Walker development, plans have recently been unveiled to open a new state-of-the-art primary school on a site next door to the redeveloped Lightfoot Centre, where the old Wharrier Street Primary School was. The £7m project will merge Wharrier Street and St Anthony's primary schools in Autumn 2012.
Plans for the area's regeneration were approved by the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly.
Walker is the birthplace of Eric Burdon, lead singer of The Animals who later recorded with War at the beginning of that band's career. The Animals recorded a song called Gonna Send You Back To Walker, a repurposed version of a song by American R&B singer Timmy Shaw, "Gonna Send You Back to Georgia (A City Slick)."
Another Walkerite, the author, journalist and broadcaster Keith Topping, titled one of the chapters in his novel The Hollow Men, The St. Anthony's Chinese Takeaway Massacre. The novelist is co author on Dr Who: The Hollow Men (1998) with Martin Day.
The Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi grew up in Walker where he played for the famous Walker Central F.C, launched in 1988 by the Wallsend-born former Newcastle United footballer Lee Clark, and ex-club scout Brian Clark (no relation). Lee Clark has since gone on to become a manager at both Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City.
- "Newcastle-upon-Tyne ward population 2011". Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.492.
- Newcastle Council: website for Walkergate ward
- "Library". Monkchester.
- "Happy Birthday Lady Stephenson Library!". City of Newcastle.
- Newcastle Council: Walker Activity Dome and Library
- Now Magazine: Cheryl Cole
- Daily Mail: Cheryl Cole
- London Evening Standard: Cheryl Cole tells of School Days
- Times Online: Women
- Tyne and Wear Archives Service: historical information on Walker
- Newcastle Council Ward Info: Walker