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Proud history and lively community; Around the region: Wallsend has grown out of its Roman and shipbuilding roots into a thriving community with plenty to offer buyers looking for a bargain. Aranda Garrard finds out more.

ONE of Wallsend's most distinguishing features is in its name, because it can be found at the end of Hadrian's Wall.

The presence of this historic site brings tourists flocking to the area every year to see the fort of Segedunum.

Today the fort, baths, museum and viewing tower are the gateway to this famous World Heritage site.

The town was once a symbol of the Tyne's shipbuilding prowess, creating some of the most famous vessels in history.

Ships built here for the Second World War include HMS Sheffield, HMS Victorious and the flagship of the Home Fleet, HMS King George V, all of which took part in the sinking of the Bismarck.

Modern Wallsend dates from the late 18th Century and was originally a coal mining centre.

The area held high the North East tradition of mining, with seven pits operating between 1778 and 1935.

Both industries, most recently the Swan Hunter yard, are now gone. But Wallsend has joined the rest of the North East in embracing change.

Sting, one of the most successful British artists of all time, was born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner in 1951, in Wallsend.

But not even he can eclipse the fame of the Wallsend Boys' Club, one of the most successful production lines of footballing talent in the world, setting the likes of Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Lee Clark and Michael Carrick on to professional careers. Although shipping and mining declined from the 1960s, today Wallsend has a more diverse economy, although the River Tyne still provides employment for the town's population.

The housing stock is among the most varied in the region, with traditional Tyneside houses and flats mixing with old terraces and new-builds.

Wallsend's 43,370 residents also have a huge choice when it comes to how much to spend on a house, with average prices by street ranging from pounds 37,000 to pounds 241,000.

There is a Metro station and regular buses in and out of town make life easy for commuters.

A short drive north will take you to the A1058 coast road, heading straight to Newcastle city centre or to the coast, or a little farther to the A19 into Northumberland or South Tyneside.

With its array of individual shops, chain stores and takeaways, Wallsend's High Street is a hub of activity, day and night.

The average house is now valued at pounds 100,584, with the most commonly-found house type being semi-detached. A high proportion of properties in the area are rented. A two-bedroom home will probably sell for about pounds 91,701, making Wallsend a great place to invest in, as it's still growing.

And there are plenty of bargains to be had, whether in one of the chain stores in the Forum Shopping Centre, or at one of the independent shops in the High Street.

Wallsend also offers plenty of bars, making it a great night out..

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INDIVIDUAL Wallsend's High Street has a mix of independent businesses and chains.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 16, 2009
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