Summer Programme

A Stroll in the Parks – Guided Walk

Wednesday 15th June 1pm

Join us to explore the history of two of Newcastle’s oldest parks and the surrounding area, with a leisurely walk around Exhibition Park and Leazes Park. 

Walk leaves from the entrance to Exhibition Park at the junction of Claremont Road and Queen Victoria Road. 

Creative crafts for the summer

Tuesday 21st June 2pm and 3pm

Join us on summer solstice day to make a decoration celebrating the colours and patterns of nature.  Materials and equipment provided.    

Craft sessions at St James’ Church, Benwell Lane.

Elswick in the 19th century – Guided Walk

Thursday 23rd June 10.30am

Meet at Cruddas Park Library for a guided walk around Elswick.  Follow in the footsteps of Ruth Nicholson, celebrated pioneer in the field of medicine and daughter of the vicar of St Stephen’s Church. Includes refreshments and a free copy of our book “Ruth Nicholson’s Elswlck”.  

Walk leaves from Cruddas Park Library, Cruddas Park Shopping Centre, Westmorland Road

Roman Benwell – Guided Walk

Wednesday 6th July 1.30 pm

This year marks the 1900th anniversary of the building of Hadrian’s Wall.  What better time to explore the local heritage of the Roman occupation?  This circular walk takes in the former site of the fort of Condercum and the surviving remains of a Roman temple and vallum crossing.

Walk leaves from the entrance to St James’ Church, Benwell Lane

Wealth and power in 19th century Benwell – graveyard tour

Wednesday 13th July 1pm

When the parish graveyard was opened in 1832, Benwell was home to some of the wealthiest and most influential families on Tyneside.  There are memorials here for famous names such as John Buddle the coal owner and mining engineer, John Sowerby the glass manufacturer, and Walter Scott – one of Britain’s first self-made millionaires. Join us for a tour of the original graveyard. 

St James’ Church graveyard, Benwell Lane

Get crafty

Tuesday 19th July 2pm and 3pm

Open your imagination and create a quirky craft to decorate your garden.  Sign up for a session of creative crafts.  Materials and equipment provided.

Craft sessions at St James’ Church, Benwell Lane.

Stories of Women and Children – graveyard tour

Wednesday 10th August 1pm

Rich and poor, men and women, young and old are buried in Benwell’s parish graveyard.  Join us to hear about the lives and deaths of some of those whose stories didn’t reach the history books.

St James’ Church graveyard, Benwell Lane

BOOKING ESSENTIAL for all of the above activities

To book or for further information:


Phone:  0191 2528675 and leave a message including your contact details

Write: St James’ Heritage & Environment Group, c/o Sunnybank Centre,

12/14 Sunnybank Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 6SD

New film celebrating the route of Hadrian’s Wall through Newcastle

4. Native Britons at Newcastle castle

“Gannin’ Alang the Wall” was written and directed by St James’ Heritage & Environment Group.  This film follows the route of the Wall through Newcastle, starting at the fort of Segedunum just east of the city boundary and travelling west as far as Heddon. 

6. Roman soldier outside Gregg's on Shields Rd

On the way, we meet a host of characters including a troop of Roman soldiers marching up Westgate Hill, several disaffected natives, and some present day residents from communities along the route of the Wall.  To watch the film, click here.

Sharing the Film

The film can be used by other organisations and groups for public showings free of charge, provided that we are informed in advance.  DVD copies are available for this purpose – contact us at stjamesbenwell@gmail.com for further information.

Visit St James Graveyard

Visit the historic graveyard of St James’, burial place of the developer Richard Grainger, mining engineer John Buddle, glass manufacturer John Sowerby among others.  We welcome visitors any Wednesday morning between 10am and 1pm or at other times by arrangement.  Volunteers are available to show you around – but please contact us in advance if you would like a tour by emailing stjamesbenwell@gmail.com.

You can also read or download our two graveyard guides from the Publications and resources page of this website – “A Guide to St James’ Graveyard and A short history of St James’ Graveyard, Benwell.

We are unable to show visitors around St James’ Church at the moment.  Anyone wishing to look around the building should contact St James’ Church directly.  You can read or download a heritage guide to the church from the Publications and resources page of this website – St James’ Church Heritage Guide.



Ruth Nicholson’s Elswick

A new booklet from St James’ Heritage & Environment Group tells the story of the transformation of Elswick during the 19th century, from rural area to suburb of Newcastle, through the experience of one family.  Ruth Nicholson, the eldest daughter of the vicar of St Stephen’s in Low Elswick, was a pioneer in the field of women and medicine.  During the First World War she worked as a doctor near the frontline.  The booklet contains a walk trail, visiting the sites of places connected with the Nicholson family, enabling you to explore 19th century Elswlck on foot or to follow the trail through the illustrated pages.  You can download Ruth Nicholson’s Elswick by clicking here

Recent Publications

Remembering St Joseph’s Church:

A new book telling the story of St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Benwell.  The church closed in 2013 but the iconic building with its colourful dome still stands.  Email us at stjamesbenwell@gmail.com or visit us on a Wednesday morning at St James’ Graveyard, Benwell Lane, between 10am-1pm if you would like to obtain a copy of this book.  Click here to view the book.

Newcastle’s Outer West through the years in Maps and Pictures

This book uses old maps and photographs to trace the development of the outer west communities of Newburn, Lemington, Sugley and Bell’s Close  from 1864 to the 1970s.  Copies can be obtained on this website by clicking here, by emailing us on stjamesbenwell@gmail.com

West End at War: Stories from the Home Front

A new booklet telling the stories in their own words of nineteen residents of the west end of Newcastle who lived through the Second World War.  You can download these booklets by clicking here OR obtain a printed copy by emailing us at stjamesbenwell@gmail.com

Heritage Guides

Use our series of local heritage guides to explore the heritage of the west end.  These guides include walk trails that take you around local heritage sites.  There are five different booklets:

Denton Dene and Old Scotswood
The Outer West areas of Newburn, Lemington, Sugley and Bells’ Close
A separate outer west guide which includes a five mile circular walk trail  



You can find all of our previous publications free of charge on our Publications and Resources page – click here to see it.


If you would like to join our contact list to receive emails about our events and activities, email us at stjamesbenwell@gmail.com and ask to subscribe.


Email: stjamesbenwell@gmail.com
Write: c/o Sunnybank Centre, 12/14 Sunnybank Avenue, Pendower, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 6S