Pictures of Gateshead
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The urban sprawl of Gateshead rises majestically skywards in a seemingly endless mixture of concrete and glass. Gateshead stretches for almost 13 miles along the banks of the River Tyne. The new high rise glass buildings disguise the fact that Gateshead is an ancient place with roots going back to Roman times. Roman coins where discovered here late in the 18th-century and recent archaeological diggings have exposed evidence of a Roman Road and buildings in the Bottle Bank area. When the present Swing Bridge was constructed across the Tyne Gorge in 1875, an alter dedicated to Neptune was dredged from the river bed, further evidencing the occupation and strategic importance of the area for the Romans.
Not a great deal of historic Gateshead remains - the town was virtually raised to the ground in the great fire of 1854 but the beautiful church dedicated to St. Mary remains, and is now a Visitor Centre. The building, which is Grade I Listed still shows fragments of Norman work. Medieval St.Edmunds Chapel which was originally part of The Chapel and Hospital of St.Edmund, Bishop and Confessor, dates from the middle of the 13th-century.
During the 16th-century the sweeping agricultural landscape of Gateshead gave way to the coal fields that eventually brought prosperity to the whole of the Tyne and Wear region. The coal industry was to flourish for centuries and when, in 1970 the last pit in Gateshead closed, mining had dominated for over 300 years. The years of the Industrial Revolution played a big part in the building of Gateshead; locomotives were built here, iron foundries and giant chemical plants where built, leading more workers arriving in the town and a demand for more and better housing. By the turn of the 20th-century Gateshead had developed from a small market town into a thriving industrial heartland.
Today, there remain traces of a rich and varied historic past. Vast estates built by pit, foundry and factory owners still exist, in particular, in the beautiful Derwent Valley where you will find Gibside Hall and Axwell Park, the respective homes of George Bowes and Sir Thomas Clavering. In 1886 skaters on Swan Pond in Gateshead Fell, were the very first to skate under the misty, outdoor charm of the electric light bulb invented by Sir Joseph Swan. The engraver Thomas Bewick lived in the town, so too did William Wailes, noted stained glass artist, who lived at Saltwell Towers.
The Gateshead of today sits comfortably with the past. Old industries have long since gone to be replaced with business, commerce and new technology. An excellent college attracts a youthful community and good hotels attract tourists to come and explore for themselves the legacy of past industries whilst enjoying the very best of a modern ' up-beat' town which is close to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and not far distant from the bays and beaches of the North coast. There is no shortage of excellent restaurants, cafe's, pubs and inns; you will be able to search out several museums where you can learn of the regions cultural heritage and modern shops provide for the most demanding shopper. A few miles further north will bring you to the beautiful Northumbrian countryside and the wild beauty of the lonely Cheviot Hills.
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