Film ID: NEFA 21844 Video of TODAY AT SIX: BYKER SONG 1974 Visitor TabsDescription A Tyne Tees Television news magazine item in which a couple perform a song lamenting the demolition of the old Byker area of Newcastle. As they sing, the film intercuts views of Byker filmed by a news crew showing the older terraced streets being demolished as well as the new Byker Wall. This report was transmitted 15 October 1974. Standing at a microphone, a woman begins to sing. Sitting on a stool next to her a man plays a guitar. As she sings the film intercuts views of a fire burning on a piece of waste ground with a young boy playing nearby. Shots of traffic moving along Shields Road are intercut with the fingers of the guitarist plucking his strings. A bulldozer works to demolish a terraced house. A man nearby uses a sledgehammer to smash something. The camera pulls back revealing an empty space where houses once stood. In the background, a number of other derelict properties wait for demolition. Context Byker groove Two musicians lament the changes taking place as part of the Byker Estate re-development in Newcastle. By 1974, when this Tyne Tees Television news report was transmitted, the redevelopment of the Byker area of Newcastle was well underway. While it is true that the need for improved housing was necessary, the sense of loss for the close knit working class community was deeply felt. These performers sing a plaintive elegy as the film captures the local area, and in particular the Shields Road, at the very the heart of Byker. Beginning in 1967, the redevelopment of the Byker estate formed part of what notorious Newcastle council leader T. Dan Smith dreamt of as a ‘Brasilia of the North’. Writing in 1963, city-planning officer, Wilfred Burns reveals plans for the whole of the city, including Byker, which saw the up-rooting of traditional Victorian working-class communities as a good thing ‘when we are dealing with people who have no initiative or social pride’. The two musicians featured in this news report were not the only people recording these changes. Arriving in 1969, Finnish photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttien also captured the area through photographs that are as poignant today as they were when they were first taken.