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Gateshead Town Information

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Narrowly missing out on it's European Capital of Culture nomination, Gateshead is a town with a lot to offer. Its history predates Roman times, when a bridge and Gatehouse were built across the River Tyne. Centuries later the town expanded, during the industrial revolution, with shipbuilding, pottery, ironworks and glass making. A number of famous inventors carried out their pioneering work in Gateshead, including the inventor of the steam locomotive, George Stevenson, Joseph Swan and Charles Parsons, to name a few. Gateshead's varied industrial heritage lives on today at the Shipley Art Gallery's 'Made in Gateshead' exhibition.

Gateshead Quayside - Photo © Phil Thirkell
Gateshead Quayside - Photo: Phil Thirkell CCL

Today, in addition to it's thriving industries, Gateshead is possibly more famed as a centre for the arts. Opened in 2002, 'BALTIC - The Centre for Contemporary Arts', housed in part of the former Baltic flour mill in the Gateshead Quays, is a major international centre for contemporary arts. The Gateshead Quays, in the heart of the cultural quarter, is undergoing a £250 million regeneration scheme. It is home to the stunning Millennium Bridge, which has attracted international attention for it's unique design that makes the Quays skyline one of the most distinctive in Europe. The Quays are also home to pioneering music centre and a wealth of bars and restaurants.

Angel of the North - Photo © Alison Clayton
Angel of the North - Photo: Alison Clayton CCL

The artistic traditions of Gateshead are continued outside of the centre through a number of initiatives. Standing next to the A1 on the outskirts of Gateshead and on the edge of the Great North Forest is Britain's largest sculpture, The Angel of the North. Standing at over 20 metres hall, it is the creation of internationally renowned sculptor, Antony Gormley. Also situated in the Gateshead countryside is the 'Marking the Ways' sculptural trail, which is a six mile circular route featuring some 30 pieces of art. The sculptures were produced by a number of national sculptors, all working with local people to develop their designs. The Riverside Sculpture Park is another award-winning collection, again from nationally renowned artists.

Aside from the history and culture, there is plenty more to do. With the Metro Centre and Retail world, in the town centre, the shopping is excellent. The Gateshead leisure centre offers excellent facilities, while the Whickham Thorns Outdoor Activity Centre can boast the UK's first outdoor boulder climbing facility. As part of the council's land reclamation programme, the Derwenthaugh Park has recently opened on the site of a former coke works and now features acres of parkland, cycle tracks, footpaths, a fishing lake and a golf course.