Where the toll booths now stand outside the Tyne Tunnel was once a thriving community. The photograph was taken from the west over the Tyne Improvement Commissioners’ raft yard.
To the left is The Shipwrights’ Arms, which appears to date from the mid 1850s, although it might earlier have been known as the Carpenters’ Arms. The pub does not seem to be remembered locally.
A stairway nearby led to Brunton Street, behind the Shipwrights’ Arms. It was, for many years, the home of the Rev William Stead, minister at Howdon Independent Chapel. He moved from Embleton in 1849 and served at Howdon until 1883 when ill health forced him to retire. He was so well loved that the congregation opened a new church in 1890 and named it Stead Memorial Church.
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