While the whole Globe commemorates WW1, 
lets us here also celebrate wor one world....
 A Canny Town just ower the Tyne from The Toon

Gateshead History

The header of this website is adapted from the mural painted by youths from Felling-based Christ Church Youth and Community Project and volunteers from paint manufacturer AkzoNobel’s Felling site. see pic at bottom of page

Welcome to Gateshead History

Let me introduce myself. I'm Jon Bratton, a Gateshead 9 lad born and bred and dead proud of it but also dead proud of Newcastle and Durham and Northumberland and the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. I bring you, on this page, Gateshead's iconic buildings and structures, famous people from Gateshead, things Gateshead is famous for, past and present

and on other pages, the following ...

Low Fell History, Felling History, Dunston, Wrekenton, Lamesley, NewcastleGateshead 21st century.  
plus Links to Lovely Local Websites. Here's a Gateshead History Photographs one

On 24th December 2014 I put into Google the following names
Clarence Walton, John Oxberry, Peter Haywood, Joan Hewitt, Chas C.Taylor et al 
and Google was stumped. Let's see how long before they return this website for this search


The Home of... THE METRO CENTRE, Europe's largest shopping centre

GATESHEAD INTERNATIONAL STADIUM, Britain's most important athletics venue outside London,

SALTWELL PARK, the region's biggest and the Nation's best Victorian Public Park,

JOSEPH SWAN'S house, Underhill, the home first lighted by electricity in the world,

Left click to enlarge

THE SAGE and THE BALTIC, the Country's latest centres of excellence for music and contemporary art,

THE ANGEL OF THE NORTH, the most viewed public art in the world 

This is a history of Gateshead as it was originally and includes, on other webpages, the history of places now Gateshead ...Felling and Dunston, for example, as well as Low Fell, Sheriff Hill, Lamesley, Wrekenton but also links to other excellent websites with information, history and photographs


50% owners of the world famous TYNE BRIDGE,
From where TYNE TEES TV broadcast the region's television,

Gateshead formally submitted its bid for official city status, one of a number hoping to win the title as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. 

We're ower the waater from the City
That we aall caall the Toon
If they make us a City
We'll aall be ower the moon

Aye, there's nee doot aboot it
We'd be deed prood, indeed
But they'd be still caalled the Toon
And we'd be still be caalled the Heed

We didn't win City status in 2012... nor the play off at Wembley in 2014

 Gateshead's a hotch potch of littler toons
So decreed Her Majesty, the Queen
It's Crawcrook, Birtley and Bill Quay
And aall points in between

If you have arrived here from a far flung corner of the World, Gateshead is part of Newcastle Gateshead a passionate city and town sitting either side of the mighty River Tyne in the North East of England about 65 miles south of the English / Scottish border.

It is a tad less than 55° N in latitude, which equates to Vancouver...nearly...,the southern tip of Alaska and the only other cities in the World sitting on 55°N are all along the Trans Siberian railway viz Russia's third largest city and Siberia's largest, Novosibirsk, population 1.5 million, Ufa, (pop 1 mil) Omsk, (pop 1.1mil) Chelyabinsk (pop 1 mil) and Kaunas (pop 0.36mil) in Lithuania

That makes it sound a cold place but, in these global warming times, it aint. I golf all winter in a sweater and the rest of the year in shirt sleeves. It's a lovely place...do visit our World Heritage sites Durham Cathedral and Castle and Hadrian's Wall...check 'em out 


2014 is the centenary of the outbreak of World War One and additional attention is being paid to this monumental event. Speaking of monuments...to the fallen..I am shocked and stunned at the willingness of major organisations to allow War Memorials to be destroyed. The World War Memorials (I and II) of Gateshead Grammar School were destroyed by Gateshead Council officials. The pant in Felling Square was a War Memorial (the Boar War?) which was destroyed by Felling UDC officials. The Heworth Colliery WWI Memorial was destroyed by the NCB or was it? In some cases no effort was made even to record the names. Fortunately, there are others, newmp, for example, who do care and give heed to this

This is from this

Issued with the "Deadman's Penny" to commemorate each British life lost in WWI

This is from me
If the stones and mortar are gone 
Let's make sure the names live on
Jon Bratton 2014

Rant over...

Methodist Chapels in the Bede Circuit are extremely well documented and photographed and there's a great collection on Flickr well worth a flick through. You don't have to be a Methodist to appreciate the rich history
Methodist Chapel Pics Bede Circuit

If you're interested in North East History this is a good online read by Sheila Convey

The coaly Tyne...a big river

Gateshead...where the lads are footie fans, the lasses are hard and the bridges arch, swing and tilt

Gateshead is south of the river Tyne
Rich in hills and Geordie Pride
There's Windmill, Carr Hill and Sheriff Hill
Shipcote, Team Valley, Sunniside 

As well, it's very well rich
Springwell, Swalwell, Saltwell wey aye
Bill Quay, Low and High Felling
And, without the ing, there's the Fell, Low and High 

There's also tons of ton toons
Winlaton, Dunston, Wrekenton and Ryton too
And reflecting coalfields there's Team Colliery
And Cube Pit or is it Q? 

There's hams like Whickham, Bensham and Deckham
There's Salt Meadows, Friars Goose and more
Crawcrook, Mount Pleasant and Blaydon
Windy Nook, Felling Shore and Pelaw 

Eeh, there's Lamesley, Wardley and Birtley
Heworth, Beacon Lough, Rowlands Gill
The Teams, Eighton Banks and The Old Fold
And did I mention Lobley Hill?
Jon Bratton © 2007

Famous People from Gateshead or who have been residents include:- 

Eliezer Adler, Founder of Jewish Community.
David Almond, Author, (from Felling, now part of Gateshead
John Barras, Brewer, Founder of Newcastle Breweries

Marcus Bentley Narrator of Big Brother
Thomas Bewick Engraver
William Booth Founder of the Salvation Army
Catherine Booth William's wife
Mary Bowes, Countess of Strathmore Author and celebrity sleep-about
Harry Clasper Oarsman
David Clelland Labour politician and M.P.
Joseph Cowen Radical politician
Steve Cram Athlete
Emily Davies Educational reformer and feminist. Founder of Girton College Cambridge
Daniel Defoe Writer and government agent
Madeleine Hope Dodds Historian and her two sisters
Jonathan Edwards, Athlete and television presenter
George Elliott Industrialist and M.P.
Brendan Foster, Athlete and television presenter
William Falla (see above) Nationally-known commercial gardener 

Paul Gascoigne Footballer
(I recommend you also watch Parts 1 and 3 of this inerview
Norman Hunter, Lawrie McMenemy, Frank Clark, Chris Waddle, Bob Moncur and many other football players, managers
Alex Glasgow Singer Songwriter
James Hill, Musician..subject of public art on Bottle Bank
Jill Halfpenny, actress
Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament
Arthur Holmes, Rock Star (Geologist who dated the World)
Brian Johnson, Lead singer with rock band AC/DC
James Leathart of Brackendene, Industrialist and art collector

George Leybourne, (Champagne Charlie) Music Hall performer and lyricist
John Thomas Looney, Shakespeare scholar
Angus Monro, Top Retailer, Matalan Maestro
Other ex Gateshead Grammar pupils listed here
Jimmy Nail, Actor/Singer
Robert Stirling Newall, Industrialist
Bobby Pattinson, Comedian/Actor
Bezalel Rakow, Communal rabbi
James Renforth, Oarsman
Geordie Ridley, Composer of 'Blaydon races'
William Shield, Master of the King's Musick
Githa Sowerby, Playwright/Children's book author
Christina Stead, Australian novelist
John Steel, Drummer, The Animals
Sir Joseph Swan, Inventor of the electric light bulb
Isaac Tucker, Brewer
Jonathan Tulloch, Author, former Gateshead teacher
Chris Waddle, footballer (from Felling now part of Gateshead)
William Wailes, Stained glass maker
Robert Spence Watson, Author, arbiter and public benefactor
Taylor Wane, Porn Star
Sylvia Waugh, Author of the 'Mennyms' series for children
Thomas Wilson, Poet

Daniel Defoe, who did live for a time in Gateshead is remembered as the father of the English novel but it is a little known possible fact that his most famous novel Robinson Crusoe was possibly written in Gateshead. And Alice in Wonderland was partly written by Lewis Caroll, in the Ravensworth Arms, Lamesley. Christina Stead, the Australian author, set her only English novel, Cotter's England partly in Gateshead (called Bridgehead in the novel). 


In the course of creating this website I have waded through reams of news stories about the North East in the period 1830s-1860s and those relating to Gateshead are contained on this website in individual sections eg Felling or Railways and the remainder gathered here

Here are my general observations

The weather was extreme then compared with now or even compared with my childhood in the 1950s. Extremes of wind and rain and snow caused huge amounts of property damage and loss of lives. It seems that the Tyne overflowed surprisingly often flooding riverside areas, including Dunston

It seems that it was a careless, accident prone, dangerous time back then, not just mining accidents, which were many, not just steam boilers bursting, or major fires which were many but a surprising number of people fell out of windows. Here's an example of an explosion/fire which is also pit related and careless in the extreme
1848 December 19. A most singular accident occurred at Trimdon
Colliery. A little boy, nephew of a pitman, named Dinning, had
been sent for some milk, and on carrying it home he fell and
spilled it ; on informing his uncle of the accident, the latter threw
a bag of gunpowder at the boy's head, and, the bag bursting by
the violence of the blow, a portion of the contents went into the
fire and the whole exploded. The house was almost completely
destroyed. The boy, as well as another child, was killed, and the
other inmates were sadly burnt.

I am also surprised at how many people seemed to have the middle name of Shaftoe


Gateshead's got 11 bridges, so that ye'll not droon
When ye're getten ower the Tyne, comin from The Toon
It's full of passionate people, it's a vary passionate place
It saw the return of it's prodigal son, Journey inte Space

We're now being marketed as NewcastleGateshead because our economic fortunes are inextricably linked but then they always have been
Most of the Newcastle coal came from Gateshead
The famous Newcastle Grindstones were quarried in Gateshead
Newcastle Breweries was 'born' in Gateshead
The Geordie Anthem was composed in Gateshead
and, as said earlier, now many of the region's icons
The Metro Centre, The Hilton Hotel, Newcastle Gateshead, The Angel of the North, The Millennium Bridge
The Region's Independent Television, The Sage, The Baltic,
The International Athletics Stadium
are all in Gateshead 

I defy you to watch the above video right to the end and not shed a tear

Eiteen hundred an' sixty-two, on a summer's efternoon;
Aw tyuk the 'bus frae Balmbra's, an' she wis heavy laden,
Away we went alang Collingwood Street, that's on the road to Blaydon.


Oh me lads, ye shud only seen us gannin',
We pass'd the foaks upon the road just as they wor stannin';
Thor wes lots o' lads an' lasses there, all wi' smiling faces,
Gawn alang the Scotswood Road, to see the Blaydon Races.

We flew past Airmstrang's factory, and up to the "Robin Adair",
Just gannin' doon te the railway bridge, the 'bus wheel flew off there.
The lasses lost their crinolines off, an' the veils that hide their faces,
An' aw got two black eyes an' a broken nose in gan te Blaydon Races.


When we gat the wheel put on away we went agyen,
But them that had their noses broke they cam back ower hyem;
Sum went to the Dispensary an' uthers to Doctor Gibbs,
An' sum sought out the Infirmary to mend their broken ribs.
Proof, if proof was needed, it was written by a Gateshead lad


Noo when we gat to Paradise thor wes bonny gam begun;
Thor was fower-an-twenty on the 'bus, man, hoo they danced an' sung;
They called on me to sing a sang, aw sung them "Paddy Fagan",
Aw danced a jig an' swung my twig that day aw went to Blaydon.


We flew across the Chain Bridge reet into Blaydon toon,
The bellman he was callin' there, they call him Jackie Brown;
Aw saw him talkin' to sum cheps, an' them he was pursuadin'
To gan an' see Geordy Ridley's concert in the Mechanics' Hall at Blaydon.


The rain it poor'd aw the day an' myed the groons quite muddy,
Coffy Johnny had a white hat on - they war shootin' "Whe stole the cuddy."
There wes spice stalls an' munkey shows an' aud wives selling ciders,
An' a chep wiv a hapenny roond aboot, shootin' "Now, me boys, for riders."


Now a word for Bobby Robson, hero of the Toon
A football man, a gentleman, who niver let wer doon
A friendly word, a cheery smile and brave right to the end
We're proud that you were one of wors,
Sir Bob,
Auf Wiedershen

And now for something completely different

On 27th May 1824 The Rev. John Collinson, rector, the four-and- twenty, the churchwardens, and a great number of other inhabitants, accompanied by Mr. Forster, steward to Cuthbert Ellison, esq., M. P., lord of the manor, perambulated the boundaries of the parish of Gateshead. They commenced at the Blue-stone, on Tyne Bridge, at nine o'clock, attended by two constables with flags, and two excellent pipers, and were greeted at their departure by a salute of guns from Mr. Price's glass-works, and a peal of bells from St. Mary's church. They proceeded by the northern and the western boundaries to Wreckinton, where refreshments were provided for them, and music from an excellent band afforded amusement for the ladies in the festive dance. From hence the procession moved along the southern and eastern boundary to the river Tyne, where the constables and pipers took boat, and proceeded to the bridge.

A number of medals were distributed on the occasion bearing on the obverse, within a circle of dots, the arms of Gateshead, round which " Gateshead Parish Boundary Token ;" and on the reverse, within a circle of dots, " The Rev. John Collinson, Rector," round which, " Perambulated 27th May, 1824." As there had not been a perambulation since the year 1792, a great number of persons attended. The perambulation ended at half-past four o'clock, when the party sat down to an excellent dinner, at the Black Bull Inn, Sir R. S. Hawks, knt., in the chair.

Now there's a good idea. I write this on 27th May 2013 which is a Bank Holiday and would have been perfect for a perambulation by athletes for the boundary is now Crawcrook in the west, Bill Quay to the east and Birtley to the south. That's a canny hike, like!

The perambulation description is contained in a Google digitized book

Simon Harrison and Alex Sandilands from AkzoNobel with Oliver Bratton from Tyne & Wear Metro.