Shields Road runs up through Byker. According to reports in the local media last year it was voted as 'the worst shopping street in the ..." U.K. or England. I can't say I remember or care. I like it.
Despite the fact that Byker was once a integrated community it was the subject of the kind of social experiment that became very popular among planners in the 60s and 70s, now the Empire had too few natives to expend their energies upon, an experiment that carved a dual carriageway through the centre of the district that ends up accomplishing little, but gave a fashionable architect (who made sure he didn't live there) a chance to win multiple international prizes for his 'Wall' (I presume a cynical play on Hadrian's Wall built alongside 1900 years earlier) and dislocate (de-house) thousands of people from basically sound homes that might easily (and have been) renovated to a modern standard for less money.
So then: Byker.
It intrigues me to wander about and note the incoherence that accident and neglect have brought that planning, detailed and much admired (by sociologists) sociological research could never achieve. A sense of place. The back ways, the unsuspected enclaves and pathways between settled estates with a hedge here and there and lichen covered trees. The back ways of comings and goings, small cafés (caffs) that the smooth operators would shun thankfully. And then, suddenly a glimpse of a near copy of a highland railway line complete with rocky outcrops and fir trees.
Byker photographs here (off site link)