Tyne and Wear HER(17248): Tyneside flats - Details
Tyneside flats can be found across the whole of North and South Tyneside. They were widely constructed from the 1860-70s in an attempt to solve the housing problems caused by a rising population in urban areas. For example, in Newcastle there was a five fold increase in population between 1831 and 1911 particularly due to the presence of industrial works such as Armstrong's in Elswick. Overcrowding was a problem with families living in one or two rooms. Tyneside flats were seen as an economical solution to the problem. Their external appearance gave the impression of terraced streets similar to middle class housing. The middle-class decoration (stone quoin stones, stone lintels, stone mounted door bells etc) became more prevalant later in the 19th century masking any shortcomings the flats had in terms of their interiors. Increasingly the Tyneside flat was built to accommodate the 'aristocracy' of the working-class and even lower-middle class famillies. There are two basic varieties; the earlier style of a two roomed ground floor with three roomed flat above and a later style from the 1870s onwards of a three roomed ground floor and four roomed upper. This latter style became the prevalant type from the 1880s onwards. The architectural style of the flats varies. Many have a front bay window on both storeys, others have gabled bays or canopies. Almost all have two front doors side by side the left for the ground floor and right for upper. Later flats had an added scullery at the back. The backyards to the flats were to be a minimum of one quarter of the whole building plot and contained toilets and coal facilities divided from other flats by high walls.
Pearce, K, unpublished document, Newcastle Tyneside Flats 1850-1900 By - Law Housing or Cultural Phenomenon?