Felling High Street
Once iconic, now eye-sore...ish

In fairness, there are worse defunct town centres around the North East

Let's analyse it. Looking downwards on the left and right the shops want converting into flats/houses, because shops have had their day in this location, whereas it would make a lovely village-like place to live
See here


A steep street like this will never again be a successful shopping parade 

Right...buildings are fine for conversion to housing

This one perhaps is the exception

In the next section, both sides are new. On the left is a perfectly acceptable library, followed by a mini car park. See the phone box and the bright red pillar box. The actual phone box has changed but not its location so look out for the phone box on old photos. It's a good point of reference. The pillar box is also good but it has been in two different locations

The Royal Cypher is Edward VII who reigned from 1901. This could be the oldest remaining pillar box in The Felling. It hasn't been here since 1901? This location is where the Greyhound pub was. The other location was further down on the opposite side, outside the former Chapel that became Walter Willson's. See, on this pic

This is about the 1930's so the pillar box shown is probably the same Edward VII one

It's a good game, when looking at old pics of the High Street, to spot the bright red pillar box. Like these

 On the right are new shops, now thankfully occupied as well as the Halfway House, tastefully revamped into flats. The new shops have struggled and will continue to struggle and these too would be better as dwellings

 In the next section, on the left there are some ill maintained shops, some open, most shuttered up and some shops now converted to dwellings. All should be

In the last bottom section there are new buildings on the left down to the Beeswing. 

On the right is a magnificently restored private dwelling house sitting in the lap of the soaring St Patrick's Church. This section is fine, except for the three shops at the bottom on the right carved out of the old police station building

 For the expats looking in, the place is better now than its been for years. The iconic high street has gone forever..it was, in any case, ridiculously steep in its hay day for woman pushing bairns in push chairs and huge prams and time has moved on. 

When prosperity returns to Local Government the Gateshead Council will hopefully compulsorily purchase the remaining eye sores from the slum landlords, many Jewish, who, unfortunately, are gaining a foothold. No prejudice at all..just a recognition that once acquired by them buildings tend to become ill maintained and frankly, dirty. I will not forgive them for acquiring many wonderful buildings and allowing them to deteriorate... The Gateshead Education Office is just one example. Sorry, but someone has to say it. Indeed many prominent members of the Jewish community have received top accolades from Gateshead Council..should this continue if they keep on acquiring prestigious properties and then allow them to deteriorate?

Let's look at how it used to be

Left click to see this wonderful photo enlarged. The bottom shop on the right is McGuiness and there is the word Dress and on the next shop up you can see the word Baby. "spot the bright red pillar box"

There were the big shops, Woolworths and Shepherds, local shops, Gallons grocery store, Ledune wood shop, McGuinness ladies clothes and there were two Sistersons, run by two brothers, one was a chemist and the other was a painter/decorator/wallpaper business.

Left click to enlarge
Sisterson has an advert on the gable. There's also a sign for B. Leask.
Leask is a Scottish name but there were Leasks in Felling. I came across this on the internet..."Annie Leask aged 32, along with Jack aged 4 and Catherine aged 1, arrived in America from Felling on Tyne in 1910".

Those top three shops shown on the above pic on the left were demolished as replaced with this

Myers Pork Butcher and F.W.Woolworth & Co

The two Sisterson shops next to each other .The top one is the Wallpaper and Paint and the next one is the Herbal, Medicine and Drug store, both run by Robert S. He was of the paint trade but he also ran the Herbalist business stated by his father Thomas S. Eventually his two sons took over. Stuart S ran the decorator shop and Thomas, Jnr became a qualified dispensing chemist and optician and took the herbal medicine shop into the second half of the 20th Century

The next one down from Sistersons with the gable end facing the street later had a shop front fitted. At various times Gallon's supermarket was there and then a Baby Wool shop. Next three shops had J C Graham, Halifax  and Bradley Jewellers

Any high street evolves and the shops you'll remember depends on your age. If you're below middle age you probably never went in to either of the Sistersons shops nor pawned your watch at Costelloes though you may have entered that shop when it was Sauls to buy paint or wallpaper. If you're young you may now go there for a tattoo. The bracket that held Costelloe's  three golden pawnbroker balls is still there, shown on the next pic. It should be in Beamish museum!

You can see that the next two buildings down have been converted into houses, as they all should

McGuinness shop

See the Shephard shop several shops up from the golden pawnbroker balls (of Costelloe's, later Sauls and now a tattooist's shop, as said above)

The gable end on the right is distinctive and marks the lower end of the top section.The section on the left, as we look at it, with the Halfway house pub in the middle section.. see Bass sign... is very different now. See the picture a few items below where you can see that the Halfway House..now white and converted to flats has new buildings on either side of it.
"spot the bright red pillar box" and the old Greyhound pub ..with the sticky out top windows are good for getting your bearings

The pillar box is still in the same place, just down from the Library. Actually the phone box is also a good point of reference. That modern one, with the yellow advert, outside the Library is in the same place as the old fashioned one it replaced. The car park between the Library and the above mentioned Costelloes/Sauls/Tatooist is where the Old Greyhound pub was

The gable end on the right is still there, but the chimney's been chopped off
That gable end shop at one time was occupied by Boots, Chemist, as seen in this next pic. Also Value Shoes at another time

The Library is now the next building down from that gable end. See phone box for a point of reference... "spot the bright red pillar box" is behind this bloke's head

....the modern phone box outside the Library is in the same place as the old style one on the previous picture

Here's another view of the shops before the Library was built

The white building is the converted Halfway House pub. The new buildings have spent most of their existence empty from day 1. They have been recently occupied and it must be presumed that the developers have now lowered their expectations and accordingly lowered the rents. But let's face it..there's little chance that these shops will still be trading this time next year... 2015. You can see the new development below what was the Halfway House where Walter Willson's, Ernie Walters etc shown as follows

You can see that, on this photo, previously the shops up from the pub were Peyton Furnishing, Crawfords and N. Bamling. "spot the bright red pillar box"

And down from the Halfway House was Ernie Walters (furniture) , then The Wool Shop, J T Mallam (Butcher) and the Job Centre (previously Walter Willsons) as below. Of course each photo is but a snapshot in time and over the 150 years or so there will have been a very long list of traders, now long gone. Checking who they were is very difficult because the trade directories paid little attention to retail shops. In contrast, you can track who had the pubs, schools and factories over the years because these did receive trade directory attention

Showing Walters, Furniture shop more clearly

Moving towards the bottom section the only bits now remaining are the shops on the top left with the gas light in front.. see the next pics to see another view as to how they are now... and the distinctive dome of The Beeswing pub

Right down at the bottom on the right was Thomas Heslop's Pork Butcher shop. It was either part of the old Police Station or the next shop up...no 5 High Street