The Big Local History Alternative Event


Bringing the West End’s History to Life

The Big Local History Alternative Event is organised by St James’ Heritage & Environment Group in partnership with Newcastle City Libraries and Information Service.  It replaces the event planned for September 2020 in the West End Library, Newcastle upon Tyne.

The “alternative” programme comprises five illustrated talks, a film and an exhibition showcasing different aspects of the heritage of the west end of Newcastle. 

Our thanks to the speakers who agreed to record their talks, and to everyone who helped to set this up under difficult circumstances.

Illustrated Talks

To play one of the talks, click on the arrow in the middle of the image.   if you have difficulty playing it, use the links below:

The Grand and the Majestic: remembering Benwell’s Cinemas 

A talk by John Taberham

What’s in a Name? : love, power and politics in the street names of Pendower

A talk by Richard Bliss

A Survivor’s Tale: a selection of some of the oldest surviving buildings in West Newcastle

A talk by Ian Farrier

Scot’s Wood: medieval Scotswood and its deer park

A talk by Rosie Serdiville

An 18th Century Housekeeper in Newcastle: baking cakes and brewing medicines

A talk by Sue Ward

Scot’s Wood: medieval Scotswood and its deer park, a talk by Rosie Serdiville –

The Survivors Tale, a talk by Ian Farrier –

What’s In A Name, a talk by Richard Bliss –

An 18th Century Newcastle Housekeeper, a talk by Sue Ward –

The Grand and the Majestic: Memories of a childhood spent in the cinemas of Condercum Road, a talk by John Taberham –


Riverside Voices: War and Peace on the Tyne

Stories and voices of people who worked and lived on the West Newcastle riverside

Old Newburn Rail Bridge

Riverside Voices – War and Peace on the Tyne

View this video on Vimeo here.


Hidden Nature: St James’ Graveyard, Benwell

Reflecting the theme of this year’s national Heritage Open Days programme – “Hidden Nature”– this digital exhibition tells the story of the graveyard and its importance as a haven for wildlife and a green space in this urban area. You can view the full exhibition here.

St James Church Benwell


St James’ Heritage & Environment Group

Address c/o Sunnybank Centre, 12/14 Sunnybank Avenue, Pendower, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 6SD