This film is part of Free


The uses, abuses and grandiose plans for the Ouseburn and its picturesque river valley, wending its way through Newcastle to the Tyne.

Documentary 1986 26 mins

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Logo for North East Film Archive


‘If the dream comes through, the valley will be transformed.’ By 1986 plans were afoot in Newcastle to reverse the blight of the Ouseburn, an urban waterway flowing from the reed beds of Callerton Pond, through the green, tranquil Jesmond Dene, and on to the Tyne. Set to a jazz soundtrack, this exploratory journey is at its most fascinating downriver, in the once heavily industrial, now creative, inner city, sandwiched between the Byker Viaduct and the Tyne’s north bank.

By the 1980s the inner east end of Newcastle around the Ouseburn was beset by dereliction and high levels of river pollution. This Tyne Tees TV documentary catches the zeitgeist of the new establishment focus on regional and national regeneration of industrial riverscapes and other marginal city neighbourhoods, long a magnet for (traditionally poor) artists and other cultural groups. Today, the contentious process known as gentrification in areas previously considered working class is a hugely divisive issue. Development generally morphs into an interest in increased property values. There’s a hint of the vigorous transformation of Newcastle’s Quayside soon to come in this programme.