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Archer Street Social Club
Howdon shown within Tyne and Wear
|OS grid reference||NZ324675|
|List of places: UK • England • Tyne and Wear|
Most of Howdon was built after the Second World War, as the consequence of a drive for improved, low-cost housing for working-class families. This housing was mainly in the public sector, being owned and maintained by the local council. It was built on what had been agricultural land to the north of the main railway line (from Newcastle to Tynemouth) that was to separate the new council housing from the older, industrial area of Willington Quay, where a great deal of housing had either been destroyed by wartime bombing, or by programmes of slum clearance.
Although most of the housing in Howdon belonged to the local council, a number of privately owned and rented properties always existed in the centre of the area. Since right-to-buy legislation was introduced in the 1980s, many former council tenants have bought their homes, which has resulted in a large percentage of former council properties becoming privately owned.
Apart from the railway, Howdon was separated from the industry of Willington Quay by Howdon Park, that featured tennis courts, bowling greens, a children's play area (including a paddling pool) and flower beds. This fell into disarray but was partly restored, due to pressure from the local community, during the 1990s.
Early education is provided by Denbigh Community Primary School and Stephenson Memorial Primary School. The local high school is Churchill Community College. Formerly known as Willington High School, it was built on derelict land in Churchill Street in the 1960s.
A Community Centre, was founded on the site of the former Willington Middle School on Denbigh Avenue. Other amenities in Howdon include a small library, and shops along Tynemouth Road and at the southern end of Churchill Street. Close to the library is a set of dwellings that were once used to house police officers and their families. It also once functioned as a police station. A former maternity hospital, named Willington Quay Maternity Hospital, was closed in the 1970s.
Before World War Two, the north end of Churchill Street was divided between colliery and agricultural land. During WW2, a secret military installation was said to exist in this area. Later, the Willington Square flats (known locally as the "14-storeys"or "14as") were built here. These three tower blocks became a Tyneside landmark, and were featured in the film version of the BBC sitcom Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? They were demolished in the 1990s to make way for low-lying housing.
The area is bordered by the areas of Rosehill and Holy Cross to the west, Hadrian Park and New York to the north and North Shields and Percy Main to the east, as well as Willington Quay to the south. There is also a small community suburb called East Howdon, which is located between Percy Main and the Tyne River. Since being bypassed it is quite isolated. As such it has a very close community feel with one local pub, two social clubs and a community centre all belonging to three streets.