Construction of Killingworth, a new town, began in 1963. Intended for 20,000 people, it was a former mining community, formed on seven hundred and sixty acres of derelict colliery land near Killingworth Village. The building of Killingworth Township was undertaken by Northumberland County Council and was not formally a New Town sponsored by the Government.
Unlike that town, Killingworth’s planners adopted a radical approach to town centre design, resulting in relatively high-rise buildings in an avant-garde and brutalist style that won awards for architecture, dynamic industry and attractive environment.
This new town centre consisted of pre-cast concrete houses, with millions of small crustacean shells unusually embedded into their external walls, five to ten storey flats, offices, industrial units and service buildings, which often consisted of artistic non-functional characteristics, shops and residential multi-storey car parks, interconnected by ramps and walkways. These made up a deck system of access to shopping and other facilities, employing the Swedish Skarne method of construction.
Killingworth Towers were demolished in 1987
Originally named Killingworth Township, the latter part was quickly dropped through lack of colloquial use.
Killingworth is referred to as Killy by many residents of the town and surrounding areas.
Around 1964, during the reclamation of the derelict pit sites, a fifteen acre lake south of the town centre was created; spoil heaps were levelled, seeded and planted with semi-mature trees.
There were also groups of Calder Houses built, subsequently rendered neutral with render, their period characteristics erased.
All archive images RIBA pix
Once home to Thelma and Bob Ferris – whatever happened to the likely lads’ and lasses’ homes?
I had come in search of paradise on a 52 bus – too late was the cry, too late.
The winds of change had blown away the new coal dream, so I wandered lonely around the quiet streets.
The daffodils were past their best.