Last updated

Church of the Holy Cross - geograph.org.uk - 1719596.jpg
Church of the Holy Cross
Tyne and Wear UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Tyne and Wear
Population10,954 (2011.ward) [1]
OS grid reference NZ220656
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district NE4
Dialling code 0191
Police Northumbria
Fire Tyne and Wear
Ambulance North East
UK Parliament
List of places
Tyne and Wear
54°59′05″N1°39′19″W / 54.9848°N 1.6553°W / 54.9848; -1.6553 Coordinates: 54°59′05″N1°39′19″W / 54.9848°N 1.6553°W / 54.9848; -1.6553

Fenham is an area of the west-end of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It lies to the west of the city centre, and is bounded on the north and east by a large area of open land known as the Town Moor. To the south lies Benwell, whilst West Denton lies to the west, Blakelaw and Cowgate to the north, and Arthur's Hill and Spital Tongues to the east. The area has an ethnically mixed population, and is also home to many students.


As of 2018, the area covers two wards of Newcastle: Wingrove Ward, and West Fenham Ward.

Fenham grew up as a separate township from Newcastle, lying on the western outskirts of the city. Much of the land originally belonged to religious charitable institutions, and there are covenant restrictions on the building of any licensed premises.


Fenham was part of the manor of Elswick in the Barony of Bolam until the lands were passed into the ownership of the Knights Templar in 1185. [2] Following the suppression of the Templars in 1307 the manor of Fenham was transferred to the Knights Hospitaller in 1313. In the intervening years it is recorded that coal mines on the site were leased to the town's Corporation. [3]

Fenham Hall

Fenham Hall has its origins in the 14th century. Surrendered by the Hospitallers to the Crown at the Reformation, it was granted initially to the Riddell family before being acquired (along with much of the surrounding land) by the Ords in 1695. The present building was begun by John Ord in 1744; following his death the following year it was continued by his brother William. The Hall was expanded and rebuilt over subsequent decades, and now shows various stages of architectural development; the interior was gutted by fire in 1908. [4] (Three years earlier the hall had been purchased as a school.)

St Mary's College

Fenham Hall: extension to the west by Leonard Stokes (1907, for St Mary's College). St Mary's College, former lecture block.jpg
Fenham Hall: extension to the west by Leonard Stokes (1907, for St Mary's College).

In 1905 Fenham Hall was purchased by the Society of the Sacred Heart to house a secondary school and a Teacher Training College: St Mary's. [4] The hall itself accommodated the convent and dormitories; further buildings were added for the school and lecture rooms. The Training College closed in 1984, but Sacred Heart Catholic High School remains. Since the closure of St Mary's College the Hall and associated buildings have served as student accommodation for Newcastle University. [5]

Fenham Barracks

Fenham Barracks: surviving blocks of 1804 (officers' quarters and officers' mess); now student accommodation. Former Fenham Barracks (Sergeants' Mess with Officers' Mess beyond).jpg
Fenham Barracks: surviving blocks of 1804 (officers' quarters and officers' mess); now student accommodation.

Fenham Barracks was built in 1804-06 by James Johnson and John Saunders (architects at the Barrack Department of the War Office) on an 11-acre portion of the Town Moor leased from the Newcastle Freemen. Some ten years earlier, the Lord Mayor of Newcastle had written to the Home Secretary expressing local fears of sedition in the wake of the French Revolution. [6] The barracks initially housed units of cavalry and artillery (capable of being deployed locally, as well as overseas during the Napoleonic Wars). [7] Two-storey barrack blocks accommodated the men upstairs and the horses below.

In the 1870s the site was expanded to the north, with the addition of a hospital and other amenities, in the wake of the Cardwell Reforms (which also saw Fenham designated as the regimental depot of both the Northumberland Fusiliers and the Durham Light Infantry). Several of the old barracks blocks were demolished in the 1930s. There was further (almost comprehensive) demolition in the 1970s, when the northern part of the site was redeveloped by the Freemen to provide industrial units, a headquarters for the national Blood Transfusion Service and a new BBC Broadcasting Centre (for BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Look North); proceeds of the sale help fund the maintenance of the Town Moor. [8] Part of the site remains in military hands and it serves as headquarters for local Army Reserve units.

Modern developments

The Church of St James and St Basil on Fenham Hall Drive Church of St James and St Basil, Fenham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.jpg
The Church of St James and St Basil on Fenham Hall Drive

In 1895 Benwell and Fenham Urban District was created; in 1904 the area was incorporated into Newcastle upon Tyne.

Fenham did not become a residential area until the 20th Century. Housing was built on a large scale when tram lines were extended from Central Station via Barrack Road. Further expansion was facilitated by the development of trolley buses and bus links to Westerhope. [9] The Fenham Estates Company undertook residential development and by 1914 both sides Of Fenham Hall Drive had been built up; building continued in Wingrove Avenue, Wingrove Road and Wingrove Gardens up to 1920. The majority of house building up to 1940 was by private builders. City corporation building occurred after 1920 when there was a sale of Blackett-Ord lands and funding became available to purchase and develop areas around Silver Lonnen. [10]

During the 1930s, a period of significant residential development and expansion, two churches opened in Fenham: the Arts & Crafts Church of St James and St Basil (architect: E. E. Lofting) was consecrated on 6 June 1931, having been funded by Sir James Knott in memory of his sons, James and Basil, killed in the First World War; [11] the modernist Holy Cross Church (architect: Henry Hicks) was consecrated on Holy Cross Day 1936, having been funded by local landowner John Reginald Blackett-Ord. [12]

Local Amenities

Fenham possesses a public library on Fenham Hall Drive. [13] It is a Grade II listed building. [14] In December 2018 a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre was opened in the library building. This has faced opposition from the Fenham Library Action Group (FLAG) and local residents; a petition against the development attracted 3,000 signatures. [15] Fenham has an active residents group called Fenham Association of Residents that launched the FAR Community Centre in 2001. The FAR Community Centre offers activities for all age groups offering activities aimed at helping residents improve their self-esteem and skills. There was also a public swimming pool, since August 2005 run as a community organisation. The pool was shut in 2003, [16] but in 2004 the Liberal Democrats took control of Newcastle City Council from Labour; one of their pledges was to re-open Fenham pool, which was achieved with substantial financial backing from residents of the local community.[ citation needed ] The pool was closed in July 2019. [16]

The main local schools include Westgate Community College on West Road, Saint Cuthberts RC High School on Gretna Road and Sacred Heart RC High School. There are also some private schools situated in Fenham, one is Dame Allan's on Fowberry Crescent. [17]

Ethnic minority

Today Fenham is best known in the local area for its large Asian community, with many of the businesses in the area being Asian-owned and including many specialty stores such as a halal butchers and Asian jewellery and clothing stores. There are many ethnic minority groups living side by side in Fenham, with a significant number of people being of either Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin.


There are three councillors for the Fenham electoral ward: Helen McStravick, Matthew Myers and Marion Talbot, who all represent the Labour Party. Marion Talbot won election in May 2012, securing 1735 votes and beating her nearest rival, PJ Morrissey, on 643 votes. Talbot has since been elected to an Executive post of Performance and Resources Portfolio.

Related Research Articles

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, often shortened to simply Newcastle, is the most populous city and metropolitan borough in North East England. It forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is one of the UK Core Cities, as well as part of the Eurocities network of European cities. It is situated on the northern bank of the River Tyne, approximately 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Newcastle was part of the county of Northumberland until 1400, when it became a county of itself, a status it retained until it became a part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear in 1974. The local authority is Newcastle City Council, a member of the North of Tyne Combined Authority. The regional nickname and dialect for people from Newcastle and the surrounding area is Geordie. In 2018, the city was declared as the best place to visit in the world by travel experts Rough Guides.

Newcastle upon Tyne Central (UK Parliament constituency)

Newcastle upon Tyne Central is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Chi Onwurah of the Labour Party. As with all constituencies, the constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election at least every five years. At the 2017 and 2019 general elections, the constituency was the first to officially declare its result. It narrowly beat Houghton and Sunderland South, which had declared first in 2010 and 2015 (as did its predecessor Sunderland South in the four preceding general elections.

History of Newcastle upon Tyne

The history of Newcastle upon Tyne dates back almost 2,000 years, during which it has been controlled by the Romans, the Angles and the Norsemen amongst others. Originally known by its Roman name Pons Aelius, the name "Newcastle" has been used since the Norman conquest of England. Due to its prime location on the River Tyne, the town developed greatly during the Middle Ages and it was to play a major role in the Industrial Revolution, being granted city status in 1882. Today, the city is a major retail, commercial and cultural centre.

Elswick, Tyne and Wear Human settlement in England

Elswick is an area and ward of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, 1.9 miles west of the city centre, bordering the River Tyne. Historically in Northumberland, Elswick became part of Newcastle in 1835. In 2018 it had an estimated population of 15,869. The usual resident population of the ward in 2011 was 13,198, 4.7% of the total population of Newcastle upon Tyne, comprising 5,116 households. The ward profile shows Elswick is the ward with the highest percentage of children under 14 years in Newcastle and has a lower than average number of senior citizens (10%) than Newcastle as a whole. Elswick has a lower than average number of houses in owner-occupation.

Newcastle City Council

Newcastle City Council is the local government authority for the city and metropolitan borough of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, North East England. The council consists of 78 councillors, three for each of the city's 26 wards. It is currently controlled by The Labour Party, led by Councillor Nick Forbes. Councillor David Cook serves as the Lord Mayor and Councillor Habib Rahman serves as Deputy Lord Mayor and Sheriff. The council is a member of the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Byker Human settlement in England

Byker is an area and electoral ward in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in Tyne and Wear, England. Byker is located in the east of the city, south of the Heaton The area is served by Byker Metro station. The area contains the Byker Wall estate. The population of the ward is 11,339, increasing to 12,206 at the 2011 Census, which is 4.4% of the city's total. Car ownership stands at 35.4%, significantly lower than the city average of 54.7%.

Blakelaw and North Fenham Human settlement in England

Blakelaw and North Fenham is a civil parish in the City of Newcastle upon Tyne in Tyne and Wear, England. It is north west of the city centre, and is entirely surrounded by the unparished area of Newcastle upon Tyne. It covers the areas of Blakelaw, Cowgate and North Fenham, and has a population of 6,468, decreasing slightly to 6,452 at the 2011 Census.

Benwell District

Benwell is an area in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Blakelaw Ward in England

Blakelaw is an electoral ward situated in the West End of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England. The population of the ward is 11,186, which is 4.6% of the city's population. Car ownership in the area is 50.6%: this is lower than the city average of 54.7%, increasing to 11,507 at the 2011 Census. House prices in this area average at £114,000.

Kenton, Newcastle upon Tyne Ward in England

Kenton is a suburb and electoral ward in the north west of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Birth place of Billy Buck.It borders the Town Moor and Gosforth. Kenton also has close road links to Newcastle Airport. The ward population at the 2011 Census was 11,605.

Arthurs Hill Human settlement in England

Arthur's Hill is an area of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, North East England. It lies approximately 1 mile west of Newcastle City Centre. It is bordered by Fenham to the West, Elswick to the South, and Spital Tongues to the North. It gives name to a Newcastle City Council electoral ward with a population of 14,507.

Benwell and Scotswood Ward in England

Benwell and Scotswood is an electoral ward of Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England. The ward encompasses the Benwell and Scotswood housing areas, as well as the Newcastle Business Park, which is located on the banks of the River Tyne and houses offices of companies such as British Airways and the Automobile Association. The population of the ward is 13,759, which is 5.3% of the total population of Newcastle upon Tyne. Car ownership in the area is 45.1%, lower than the city average of 54.7%. The 2011 Census gave a population of 12,694.

Wingrove, Newcastle upon Tyne Ward in England

Wingrove is an electoral ward of Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England, roughly 2 miles west of Newcastle City Centre. The population of the ward as of mid-2018 was 12,773.

Spital Tongues

Spital Tongues is a historic area of Newcastle upon Tyne, located north west of the city centre.

Cowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne Locality in England

Cowgate is a locality in the north-west of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It lies 2.8 miles Northwest of the City Centre. Initially it was in the Kenton ward up until 2018 which it was in the Blakelaw ward. The name is believed to come from the gate the local farmers would use from the Nuns Moor area to herd their livestock to the Newcastle cattle market.

Newcastle Corporation Tramways

Newcastle Corporation Tramways operated a tramway service in Newcastle upon Tyne between 1901 and 1950.

Fenham Barracks

Fenham Barracks is a military installation in Barrack Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.

1973 Tyne and Wear County Council election

The 1973 Tyne and Wear County Council election was held on 12 April 1973 as part of the first elections to the new local authorities established by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales.104 councillors were elected from 95 electoral divisions across the region's five boroughs. Each division returned either one or two county councillors each by first-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office. The election took place ahead of the elections to the area's metropolitan borough councils, which followed on 10 May 1973.


  1. "Ward population 2011" . Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  2. "Fenham grange or manor". SiteLines. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  3. "Fenham coal mines". SiteLines. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  4. 1 2 Historic England. "ST MARY'S TRAINING COLLEGE ADMINISTRATION BLOCK AND CHAPEL (1320395)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  5. "St Mary's College of Education, Fenham". Tyne & Wear Archives Service. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  6. "Fenham Barracks". SiteLines. Tyne & Wear Historic Environment Record. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  7. Faulkner, Beacock & Jones (2006). Newcastle & Gateshead: Architecture and Heritage. Liverpool: Bluecoat Press.
  8. "Freemen of Newcastle-upon-Tyne". Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  9. "Your Details - for your ward". newcastle.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 21 April 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  10. Newcastle City Council City Libraries. Fenham, Spital Tongues and Cowgate: Miscellaneous Articles. Newcastle City Council City Libraries: Local Studies reference L942.82 N537F. pp. 7–8.
  11. "History". St James and St Basil. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  12. "History". Holy Cross Fenham. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  13. "Fenham Library | Newcastle City Council".
  14. Historic England. "BRANCH LIBRARY (1115497)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  15. "Controversial library rehab hub opens". BBC News. 11 December 2018.
  16. 1 2 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-49056673
  17. https://www.dameallans.co.uk/about/heritage