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Facts about Tyne and Wear

Benwell is a village in Tyne and Wear that was of strategic importance during the Roman occupation of the area due to it close proximity to Hadrian's Wall. Situated about 4 miles west of Newcastle upon Tyne on the B6328 and about 6 miles north/west of Gateshead it is home to the ruins of Benwell Roman Temple, dedicated to Antenociticus and the Arveia Roman Fort. With easy access to Newcastle it is a great place to stay and explore the surrounding area.

 

Blaydon on Tyne is a traditional mining town that really only existed from the later part of the 1700s when a smelting works was founded. Then with its great location on the Hexham to Gateshead road and the Tyne River it began to expand.

It is near to Gateshead and Newcastle on the A695 and it is where the well known song of the area Blaydon Races was written by George Ridley in 1862, this song is regarded to be the unofficial anthem of Tyneside and has been adopted by the Newcastle United FC supporters.

Since the mines of the town have closed, Blaydon has redeveloped its industry which now includes engineering and manufacturing, also with it being close to two large towns it is also a popular place to commute from.

An athletic race is held here every year on the 9 th June, Newcastle to Blaydon, to commemorate the Blaydon Races song.

Blaydon has many pubs and bars as well as other amenities for a village of this size.

 

Cleadon is in the parish of Whitburn and is situated at a junction of an historic turnpike road where South Shields and Sunderland meets the roads to Whitburn on the east coast and Boldon in the west.

Cleadon has been predominately a rural area with several farms still in use but during the 19 th century businesses such as brick makers, a wind mill and several lime stone quarries and a water pumping station were in operation, the water station which was opened in 1860 is still in use today, pumping water to South Shields. During WWI the windmill was used as an artillery base but when the war finished it ceased operating.

 

Dunston is an area in the metropolitan borough of Gateshead but was originally a village on the south bank of the River Tyne; it is situated a few miles from Newcastle city centre and fifteen miles to both Sunderland and Durham. Dunston is divided in half by the A1; to the west is the site of the old power station which has now been transformed into the metrocentre, the biggest shopping centre in Europe and to the south of the A1 it is known as Dunston Hill.

Dunston is famous for its Staithes, these are huge wooden platforms built to load coal onto the ships and although these staithes were closed in the 1970's they have recently been restored and reopened. They are the largest in Europe and are now a listed building .

 

East Boldon is one of three villages known collectively as the Boldons, the other two being west Boldon and Boldon Colliery. East Boldon is situated about seven miles to the East of Gateshead and five miles north of Sunderland and is accessed via the A19 or the A184.

The village is one of the most popular in Tyneside due to the fact it has kept its traditional character and has many listed buildings dating from Edwardian and Victorian times. It has its own selection of shops, pubs and cafes and also has its own business park and Asda supermarket.

East Boldon is located within a green belt area and is near to Colliery Wood, popular with locals, cyclists and walkers.

 

Eighton Banks is a very small village about three miles south of Gateshead in the county of Tyne and Wear. It borders Wrekenton to the north, Springwell to the east and Low Eighton to the west and is accessed via the B2195 off of the A1.

The village has a couple of pubs, the Lambton Arms and the Wagon Inn and it also has its own community village hall.

 

Gateshead is a major town in Tyne and Wear and is situated opposite Newcastle on the South bank of the River Tyne, both towns are joined by seven bridges including the new Millennium Bridge. There has always been a settlement on the site of the town dating back to Roman times.

The town has many places of interest, historic and modern; the Sage Gateshead is a modern venue for musical performances, for musical education and it has already become one of Tyneside's landmarks. Gateshead is also home to the contemporary steel sculpture the Angel of the North which stands on a hill in Low Fell.

Historically there are many sites to visit including the beautiful Victorian Saltwell Towers, situated within Saltwell Park, the park is in the heart of the town and is known locally as The Peoples Park. It is set in 55 acres with ornamental and woodland gardens, boating lake, sports facilities, bowling greens, play areas, animal house and a maze it has over two million visitors each year.

Other attractions in the town include Gibside Hall and Gardens, the 12 th century St Mary's church which has been recently restored and the Shipley art gallery.

 

Gosforth is a district of Newcastle upon Tyne located two miles north of the City of Newcastle on the B1318. It is one of the largest shopping areas in Tyne and Wear after the Metrocentre. Its high street is home to all the major shops, cafes and fast food outlets and connected to the High street is Gosforth Central Park which houses a supermarket and more stores. The town also has a good selection of pubs and hotels.

Historically Gosforth was an agricultural village until the 19 th century when mining took over and several collieries were opened in the area which in turn increased the population in the town. Around this time its name was also changed from Bulman village to Gosforth.

The Parish Church of Gosforth is mentioned in 12 th century documents, and there are indications of a Saxon church on the site. In 1798 St. Nicholas's Church, the current parish church was rebuilt entirely in late Georgian style by builder/architect John Dodds.

Modern Gosforth grew further west, developing around the Great North Road, in the area now known as the High Street.

 

Hebburn is a small town about four miles east of Newcastle on the south bank of the River Tyne, its nearest neighbours are Jarrow, Monkton and Bill Quay and it is situated on the A185

Hebburn was once a mining town where over 200 men and boys lost their lives in mining accidents over the years, the mines were finally closed in 1937. The town's main claim to fame is that Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the Davy lamp, developed the lamp at Hebburn Hall and first tested it, on January 9, 1816 at Hebburn Colliery.

Today the town has its own shops, cafes, fast food outlets many of which are located in St James Mall. The town is also now on the Tyne & Wear Metro transport system and there are rejuvenation plans to construct a second Tyne tunnel.

Hebburn has good views across the river to the shipyards of Wallsend. There is an attractive marina and the Riverside Park provides cyclists, walkers and runners with attractive paths along the River Tyne as far as Gateshead. 

Houghton-le-Spring is a town in the North East of England situated seven miles from Durham and six miles from Sunderland. It was a mining town until 1981 when the collieries were closed down. Located close to the North Sea and five miles from the town of Seaham the parish of Houghton-le-Spring is officially part of the city of Sunderland and is accessed via the A690.

Houghton- le- Spring has a good and varied selection of local shops and pubs, most of which are situated in Newbottle street. The Golden Lion pub is the oldest of the pubs and is believed to be around 300 years old. Other buildings of interest within the parish are St Michaels and All Angels church which dates from the 12 th century and Houghton Hall, a 17 th century manor house, there are many other buildings in the town that are also from this century and are now listed.

Every year in October the town holds its traditional festival; this is the oldest one in the whole of Sunderland and is attended by many different local communities and also those from surrounding areas. It was originally a festival dedicated to the Parish church in the 12 th century. The modern version of the festival now lasts for ten days and boasts a large funfair, carnival, a firework display and an Ox roast.

The parish town is also close to many places of interest; all located less than six miles away. These include The Washington Wetland Centre, the North East Aircraft Museum and Monkwearmouth Station Museum.

 

Jarrow is a town on the River Tyne about eight miles from Newcastle accessed from the A19 via the A194. Formerly a shipbuilding town until the middle of the 1930's when the depression forced the closure of the shipyards seeing 80 % of the population out of work, Jarrow became one of the most poverty stricken towns in England. This led to a group of miners walking 300 miles to London in protest of the living conditions; this was known as the Jarrow March.

Jarrow is one of the most historic towns in the North East of England and today the church of St Paul is part of the UK's bid for a World Heritage Site status in 2011. With its sister church St Peters at Wearmouth it completes the twin Anglo Saxon Monastery of Wearmouth- Jarrow which was home to the Venerable Bede. St Pauls boasts a stained glass window from the 7 th century, the oldest in the world to date.

Another place of interest to visit in Jarrow is Bede's World a medieval Museum dedicated to the life of St Bede.

Today Jarrow is a busy modern industrial town with a population of over 27,000 and has many pubs restaurants and its own shopping arcade called the Viking precinct.

 

Killingworth is a New Town built in the 1960's near to the much older village of Killingworth. Formerly known as Killingworth Township it is located on the A188 about five miles north of Newcastle.

When the town was built its architects and planners received awards due to its radical design including high rise buildings and concrete cube houses. A 15 acre lake was also created which today is put to good use by anglers and a model boat club who share the waters with swans, ducks and other wildlife. Originally all of the houses in the town were owned by the Local council, many of these have now been purchased by their tenants, some of whom have been there since the 1960's. Private housing such as on the Highfields Estate has also now been built in the area.

Killingworth today has its own large shopping centre which houses a supermarket and a variety of shops and fast food outlets. There are also four pubs in the town and a leisure centre.

The town has been featured in television programmes such as Whatever happened to the likely lads' and Doctor Who'.

 

New York is a small village located just off the A19 about fifteen minutes drive from the town of Newcastle and ten minutes from the coastal resort of Whitely Bay. Its neighbouring villages are Shiremoor and Murton. The village has a small selection of shops, its own post office, a school and a couple of pubs. One of the pubs, Shiremoor Farm is an old converted farm building with exposed stone walls and beams that has become well known locally for selling a range of real ales.

 

Newcastle upon Tyne is a busy vibrant city located on the northern bank of the River Tyne. The city is accessed via the A167 that runs through Gateshead across the Tyne Bridge and into Newcastle.

The town's history dates back 2000 years when the Romans built the first bridge over the River Tyne, which was guarded by a fort on Hadrian's Wall, and named it Pons Aelius. In Norman times this was replaced by another wooden fort and the first New Castle was created. Later a stone castle was built in its place followed by the stone walls which were erected in the 13 th century to protect the town. With the walls in place Newcastle became a significant trading community. By the Elizabethan times Newcastle had started exporting coal, the tax from this trade made Newcastle a very wealthy town.
Today, Newcastle has become a world leader in culture and has recently had one of the fastest growing tourist industries in the world. The city centre has more listed classical buildings than any other city in the United Kingdom, from the elegant streets of Grainger Town to the contemporary architecture of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. The Millennium Bridge is the first opening bridge to have been built here for over a hundred years. Historical sites of interest in the town include Earl Grey's monument, The Castle keep, St Nicholas Cathedral and Blackfriars. It also has three large shopping centres, museums, theatres, pubs, clubs, leisure facilities, and a beautiful park in the centre of the city. The broad range of restaurants, bistros and cafes found here can cater for all tastes.

 

North Shields is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne and is sited about eight miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne. Known locally as just Shields' it takes its name from the Middle English world Shieling' meaning sheds or huts used by fishermen'. Historically North Shields is linked to the fishing industry but it also exported vast quantities of salt, after fishing, salt manufacture became the principal industry of the town.

North Shields has recently been the recipient of a major regeneration programme. The redundant Albert docks are now home to the Royal Quays which houses a marina, an outlet shopping centre, an indoor water park, a bowling alley, and a Soccer Dome. To the south east of the town there have been further improvements at the Fish Quay where luxury apartments, restaurants and bars have been built.

North Shields best known former resident is Stan Laurel who lived in a house in Dockwray square before he became famous. The square has now been redeveloped and a statue of him has been placed in the centre.

 

South Shields is a large coastal town in South Tyneside situated at the mouth of the river Tyne. It is ideally placed for travel to Newcastle or Sunderland, both less than a fifteen minute drive away. The town is accessed by road from the A1(M) and the A19 or by the Shields Ferry that crosses the Tyne from the North.

The town has its own vast selection of facilities and places of interest, both old and new. In the centre of town in Kings Street and the Waterloo area are all the well known High street shops, all housed within pedestrian only precincts. South Shields also has a market in the town square which attracts thousands of visitors and is one of the oldest and most popular in the area. Within the same square are the 18 th century Town Hall and also the church of St Hilda. There has been a church on this site since 647 A.D.

The Customs House is South Shields theatre and arts venue, it is a listed building built in the 1860's overlooking the Tyne and is the only non-amateur theatre in the area.

 

Sunderland is a coastal city in Tyne and Wear and lies at the mouth of the River Wear, it is accessed via the A1 or A19 and is situated within easy reach of Durham and Newcastle.

Sunderland's history dates back to Anglo Saxon times when it was originally known as a fishing town but did not begin to grow until the 16 th century when it started producing salt shortly followed by coal mining.

Today major investment and regeneration in the area has seen Sunderland develop into one of the most important cities in the North East. It boasts its own University and The Stadium of Light, one of the finest stadiums in Europe and home to Sunderland Football club. Massive investment in the city centre has seen the Victorian streets of the Sunniside area with its boutiques and independent shops thrive, this area has over 160 listed buildings and also the Victorian Sunniside Gardens, a public open space which has just been restored at the cost of nearly two million pounds.

Sunderland's main indoor shopping area is The Bridges Shopping Centre and contains over a hundred top high street stores. Restaurants, pubs, clubs, cafes and leisure centres are all to be found in the city along with an underground music scene voted one of the best in the UK by NME. Other more unusual activities are also available such as skiing at Silksworth Sports Complex, climbing at the Sunderland Wall which is the second highest indoor wall in Europe or visit the Winter gardens where you can view 2000 flowers and plants.

 

Tynemouth is a coastal village six miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is located at the mouth of the River Tyne, hence its name, t he village is now a conservation area and most of its buildings date from the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Overlooking the river are Tynemouth Castle and Priory which dates back to the 11 th century and was once one of the largest fortified areas in England.

In the village is a mix of antique shops, boutiques, village pubs and eateries and if you visit the Victorian Tynemouth Station at the weekend you will find the village market. Here you will find stalls selling general goods but also specialised stalls selling antiques, arts, crafts and collectibles.

Tynemouth village has stunning award winning beaches where a range of water based sports are enjoyed. The beaches are also used as a surfing championship venue.

 

Washington is a town located on the A1231 off of the A1. Now a town in Tyne & Wear it used to be part of County Durham. The town is situated centrally for travelling to Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland. Once a small village it became a New town in the 1960's to house the ever growing population of the neighbouring villages.

Washington was a mining town for 250 years until the mines closed in the early 20 th century. Today it is still an industrial town but mainly chemical, car assembly and electronics.

The area is famously linked with George Washington  the first American President. Washington Hall was the ancestral home of his family. Today the stone Manor House is a part of the National Trust and attracts many visitors from here and the United States. Another attraction of the town is the Washington Wetland centre which is home to exotic birds, amazing insects, and more. The Galleries is the town's main shopping centre and has a varied selection of shops and eateries.

 

Whitley Bay is a seaside town about eight miles from Newcastle upon Tyne. The town is accessed by road from the A191.

In Victorian times Whitley Bay was the resort of choice because of its location, it was ideal for day trips for those living in the nearby big industrial towns, with its miles of clean golden sand, safe bathing, arcades, cafes, shops it remained popular until the arrival of budget holidays abroad in the 1960's.

Today Whitley Bay is again popular as a resort and also for its nightlife. The Spanish City funfair and entertainment centre with its impressive concrete dome is being restored to its former glory after being given a generous regeneration budget and is now a grade 2 listed building. The town has an extensive range of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels and guest houses mainly located on parade Street.

The award winning park view Shopping Centre was opened in 2004, it houses many of the well known high street stores and also smaller boutiques and specialist shops. Another attraction of the town is St Marys Lighthouse. Although it no longer functions visitors are able to climb the 137 steps up into the lantern room and enjoy the coastal views. The lighthouse stands on the tiny St Marys Island which is only accessible at low tide.

 

 

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