Tyne and Wear HER(5046): Jesmond, Ouseburn Culvert - Details
Jesmond, Ouseburn Culvert
Water Supply and Drainage
As the Ouseburn leaves Jesmond Vale it disappears underground and re-emerges below Byker Bridge. Within an underground chamber it passes under Newington Road, Warwick Street and beneath the City Stadium. The culvert is 2,150 feet (third of a mile) long. It was built in two stages in the early years of the twentieth century. Before its construction, the Ouseburn cut a deep ravine through this part of the town making access from the town to eastern suburbs difficult. The valley was more than 100 feet deep and steep sided. Thus the stream was enveloped inside a ferro-concrete conduit, the valley was then infilled (mostly with industrial waste) so gradually ground level rose, creating new land for housing and roads. In fact the land was never built upon because by the time the valley had been totally infilled (it was estimated that it would take ten years to fill the valley but tipping was still taking place in the 1940s), laws had changed and it was no longer permitted to build on land fill sites. The "City Stadium" was created here instead. The culvert was built in an elliptical shape, 30 feet wide by 20 feet high. The walls are only 8 inches thick at the top of the arch, because ferro-concrete is so strong.Building work started in 1907 and completed in 1911. It cost £23,000 to build. Workers broke into a lagoon of gravel which had to be scraped out and filled with concrete before the construction of the culvert could be continued. While the culvert was under construction the burn was diverted into millraces. When the culvert was finished the burn was diverted back through it. Used as air raid shelter in WW2. It could seat up to 3000 people and had its own sick bay. A plan of the Council's air raid precaution, including the culvert and the Victoria Tunnel survives in TWAS. In the 1970s the wartime entrnace to the culvert was boarded over to create an outdoor riding arena. Today the culvert still carries the Ouseburn and part of the sewer system..
<< HER 5046 >> Ouseburn Heritage Trust,Ouseburn Heritage, p 40-41 I. Ayris & S.M. Linsley, 1995, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p 81 L.G. Mouchal & Partners Ltd, 1921, Hennebique Ferro-Concrete