Latest demolition photos here Cruddas Park(Riverside Dene) Flats Demolition.
Work first started on these tower blocks in 1961. The area had long been dominated by Armstrong's arms works. During the nineteenth-century rows and rows of closely packed houses filled the banks of the Tyne to house factory workers. By the 1950s these had become run-down residential areas and the housing was considered to be low-amenity slums. The slums were cleared and new flats were built by Wimpey to a Swedish modular design. The tower blocks were named after trees and bushes (eg the Hawthorns and the Willows).
The Cruddas Park housing scheme was part of T. Dan Smith's grand plan for a 'city in the sky'. Smith was from a working-class family in Wallsend and he became a visionary leader of Newcastle City Council. He wanted to make Newcastle a modern city and his vision included urban motorways, a metro public transport system and high profile architecture (all of which Newcastle now has). However, power corrupts and Smith got caught in a web of deceit and he ended up serving six years in jail. It has been alleged Smith took cash and other perks for awarding the Cruddas Park contracts.
Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle had been working on a £90m project(£45,000 of that going towards the renaming of the estate to Riverside Dene) to revamp all the blocks but private developers who were helping to finance the work pulled out a short while after, blaming the recession.
That left council bosses with a £4.6m black hole in the project and having to commit more taxpayers’ cash to finish makeovers on the first five blocks.
Now they have decided the best option is to get rid of the others in the hope that private sector cash can be secured to regenerate the sites.
The sites on which the five blocks currently stand will be earmarked for a mixture of different types of new homes, along with a large site off Loadman Street in Elswick. As part of wider plans for the area the former Mary Trevelyan school site will be sold off as a potential site for a supermarket, while the Cruddas Park Shopping Centre and tower block will be put forward for a revamp.
The tower blocks have featured in a few television shows over the years including Our Friends in the North and The Likely Lads.
Thanks to Kay's AS Geography and Journal Live for the description.
BBC Inside Out - T. Dan Smith
Evening Chronicle July 2009 - Cruddas Park flats could be demolished
Evening Chronicle July 2009 - Cruddas Park flats to get eco-friendly boiler
The Journal Sept 2010 - Cruddas Park flats to be pulled down for houses
Evening Chronicle October 2010 - Cruddas Park flats will now be demolished
Your Homes Newcastle - The Cruddas Park area
Cruddas Park - Newcastle - Kay's AS Geography
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