Tyne and Wear
The Lower Ouseburn Valley was one of cradles of the Industrial Revolution on Tyneside and has a particularly rich industrial heritage.
Since the 1600s, a wide range of industries have been based in the area including glassworks, lead works, ironworks, lime works, mills and potteries. The area is enormously significant in the development of the English glass industry. Tyneside’s coalfields provided abundant cheap fuel (a positive development because timber was needed to build ships and was in short supply). The other raw material, sand, was brought to the Tyne by the colliers as ballast.
Upper Steenberg’s Yard on Stepney Bank includes the valley’s last known pottery buildings (Woods Pottery). The site reflects the traditional emphasis on red brick and simplicity of design that characterises the historic industrial buildings area. These distinctive industrial structures led to the Lower Ouseburn Valley’s designation as a conservation area in 2000 in recognition of its strong sense of place, distinctive character and important history.
Nowadays, the Ouseburn Valley is known across the country for its community-led regeneration. Clusters of creative industries including art studios and Seven Stories the National Centre for Children’s Books have created a thriving place for residents, visitors and enterprises.