Walking in the Footsteps of Victorian Park Visitors
An iconic stone staircase reinstated as part of the restoration of an historic South Tyneside park is now available for visitors to enjoy over the winter period.
The Grand Promenade Staircase is a key feature in the National Lottery funded £3.2m project to transform North Marine Park, at South Shields seafront, back to how it was when it first opened in 1890.
As an important element of the park's original layout, the promenade staircase had helped to link the lower and upper parts of the park, providing attractive pathways to view the sea, river and coastline.
The striking new steps have been recreated with the design based on photographic records, historic maps and the original Borough engineers' plans, complementing a new, more user-friendly pathway layout.
Now the temporary fencing has been removed making the steps, and connecting footpaths, available to all park users.
Councillor John Anglin, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy at South Tyneside Council, said: "Opening up the beautiful Grand Promenade Staircase is a real milestone in the restoration of North Marine Park.
"Set in the location of the original landmark, visitors can be transported back in time to walk in the footsteps of the generations before them from many years ago.
"It is really exciting to be able to make this stunning new feature available for people to use and enjoy such fantastic south-facing views along the promenade. And with the newly formed footpaths and opened-up spaces, it really does offer a wonderful, tranquil place for visitors to enjoy wintery walks during these cold months."
Councillor Anglin added: "It is clear from the current pandemic that places like the beautifully restored North Marine Park and the wider regenerated foreshore area have never been more important. The Council continues to invest a significant amount of money to ensure that all residents have access to these wonderful spaces."
To finish off the staircase, work will soon get underway to mount decorative urns on top of the four sandstone pillars on each side of the steps. The replicas will feature the original terracotta Lion's heads design.
Major construction works have been completed as part of the restoration scheme, which has involved reinstating some of the park's original features as well as introducing new elements.
Restoration has included a reconstruction of the park's original grotto feature, the refurbishment of the bowling clubhouse and green, park pavilion and the Pier Parade and Beacon entrances and decorative new balustrades and stone copings.
New public art installations include a Word Beacon in recognition of the area's maritime and shipping heritage, as well as a low-level performance backdrop, which has been adorned with details from the ornate ironwork of the park's former bandstand.
A new Roman-themed children's play area and adult fitness trim trail is undergoing final checks, while new historical plaques and information boards are being sited throughout the park. One board marks the site of the park's former Trinity Towers building, which was built in 1810 and demolished in 1969.
The project, supported with £2.4m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, is a partnership between South Tyneside Council, Esh Construction, Southern Green landscape architects and the Friends of North and South Marine Parks, who have been working closely with the Council's regeneration team as well as dedicated Parks Officer, Jade Ridley.
David Renwick, Director England North, at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "Investing in heritage means investing in the community it belongs to, which is why we are proud to support South Tyneside Council's project to transform North Marine Park.
"Thanks to National Lottery players, this iconic stone staircase has been reinstated, preserving the important heritage of this historic Victorian park for the enjoyment of locals and visitors, and playing a role in the wider regeneration of South Shields."
North and South Marine Parks opened in June 1890. The northern park was created on 7.5 hectares of former ballast hills, with more space dedicated to trees, pathways and shrubbery. This park provided a more tranquil space than its southern neighbour, offering gentle pastimes such as bowling.
For further information about the restoration of North Marine Park visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/northmarinepark or email the project team at email@example.com
Notes to Editors:
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK's heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk. Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund