The refurbished structure upon which you are standing was once part of the projectile shop at the Armstrong Works Elswick. It forms the centrepiece of the best business park development in the north east of England, a joint venture between Drybart Development (Tyne & Wear) Limited and Tyne and Wear Development Corporation.
In the middle of the nineteenth century the view west for this spot, just two miles from the centre of Newcastle Upon Tyne would have been sheep grazed pastures. By 1860 William Armstrong, a local solicitor, inventor and manufacturer, had transformed the area into one of Britain’s most important industrial sites.
In 1867 Armstrong decided to build warships as well as making equipment for vessels built by others, He entered into agreements with Charles Mitchell’s ship building yard down the river Tyne at Walker and in 1884 a ship yard in the name of Sir W. G. Armstrong, Mitchell and Co. Ltd
The connection with Walker Naval Yard is celebrated by the Armstrong coat of arms and Neptune’s head which appear on the reverse of this plaque. They were recovered from the Walker Naval Yard when it closed in 1985.
In 1981 Vickers Armstrong finally left the site. Subsequently a derelict mile-long riverside frontage was reclaimed to a 25 hectare complex of low density, high specification offices amongst extensive landscaping,
Names of roads and buildings on the site echo its history. The main thoroughfare on the Newcastle Business Park is known as William Armstrong Drive. All the remaining road, and the majority of the buildings were named after vessels launched from the site from 1885 until shipbuilding ceased here in 1981.