A DERELICT shop unit on the Byker Wall estate has been transformed so it can be used as a heritage centre focusing on the area’s history.
Wates Living Space began the renovation at the start of March as part of a £20,000 scheme on the estate. The firm was also involved in the £2m redevelopment of Bolam Coyne for Your Homes Newcastle.
Joanne Jamieson, regional managing director of Wates Living Space, said: “We’re really pleased to continue our role in the transformation of Byker by offering our support for this unique project.
“The area has a fascinating history and it is important that it is both preserved and celebrated for future generations. I look forward to seeing all the captured memorabilia for myself when it opens.”
The Northern Architecture, Heritage Lottery Fund and Future Sparks-backed scheme will open later this month to house artifacts, photographs, drawings, stories and short films about the area and its residents.
Known as the Byker Lives Project, it will study the design of the estate’s housing by Ralph Erskine in the 1970s. The Byker Wall was awarded Grade II* listed status in 2007 and placed in the top 6% of listed buildings nationally.
Jill Haley, chief officer at Byker Community Trust, said: “Byker has always been a special and unique place because of what it is today and because of how it was created.
“Built in the 1960s and 70s, it is recognised by English Heritage as one of the most influential and pioneering social housing schemes of the 20th century.
“On an international scale, there is nothing that I am aware of which can compare to it of the same era, and this explains why people come from far and wide to visit Byker and learn more about it.
“The new Heritage Centre will be a focal point for such visitors – an asset for this special estate and a welcome neighbour to the Byker Community Trust.”