This film is part of Free

Story of the Annual Flower Show and Barbecue

Carefree days on Byker hill for sociable workers at the Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company flower show and barbecue.

Amateur film 1963 18 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


The Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company Club hold a flower show and barbecue at the Byker clubhouse and bowling green on Headlam Street. It’s a windy day high up on the Byker hill overlooking Newcastle but visitors take their chances on the charmingly hand-made Dave’s Ball and Bucket Show and Robert’s Pointed Missile Emporium, whilst children aim guns at the Corral Shooting Gallery. After the popular flower and cake competition, it’s time for tea and Babycham.

The Byker Wall, designed by Ralph Erskine in the late 1960s to replace demolished terraced houses of the old working class suburb, was later built around the preserved Byker Village bowling club, founded in 1922. The bowling club pavilion appears to be the base for a social club of workers from Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company. This company was first established in February 1845 as the Whittle Dean Water Company under the leadership of well known Newcastle figures, including Richard Grainger and William Armstrong. It changed its name in 1863, and by the 1950s was the largest of any water company in Britain.