The North Marine Park restoration project will return the park to its original Victorian splendour as well as introducing new features.
Restoration works started in October 2019, and is expected to be completed in autumn 2020.
The project will involve:
creating better links with Littlehaven Promenade
improving the area around the Lawe Top, which as the park's highest point, acts as an incredible viewing platform for the coastline, harbour and mouth of the river
creating a new themed play area, which will reflect the Borough's maritime links and Roman heritage
restoring the park's original features such as the grotto and the grand promenade staircase
improvements to the park's open areas, lighting, seating and footpaths
improvements to the bowling area
The latest key milestones include:
reconstruction of the park's original grotto
refurbishment of the bowling clubhouse and green
refurbishment of the Pier Parade entrance
new artwork installations
Work is still progressing on the restoration of the Grand Promenade staircase, Lawe Top embankment footpaths and the Pier Parade and Beacons entrance railings.
During the final phase, a new play area reflecting the Borough's maritime links and Roman heritage will be created. A new adult fitness trim trail is also planned, as well as new artwork installations at the performance area, grotto and site of the former Victorian pilot lookout, Trinity Towers.
This project is supported by a £2.4m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), as well as an earlier National Lottery development grant of £194,000. Esh Construction has been awarded the contract for the £3.2m project.
These pictures show what some areas of North Marine Park may look like after the restoration.
Planning for the restoration - summer 2017
In this video from summer 2017, hear from Gary Frazer, Parks Development Officer at South Tyneside Council, and see aerial footage and old images of the park.
North Marine Park is located on South Shields' seafront, near Littlehaven Beach.
This park is registered under the Historic and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by English Heritage for its special historic interest. A chain of three municipal seaside parks (including Bents and South Marine Park) developed from the 1870s and into the early 20th Century on reclaimed land.
In 1855 the Health Committee of South Shields Corporation was instructed to obtain a site for recreation within the Borough, but they reported that they saw no need as the Bents, an extensive sea-dune system, and the sea beach were readily available to the public.
In 1869, a 2 hectare children's recreation ground, including a pond for sailing model boats was opened on a former brickyard and dump in South Shields. In 1875 this was extend northwards, by incorporating 7.5 hectares of ballast hills lying south from The Lawe, an open area of headland at the mouth of the Tyne, which had been leased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by the Tyne Plate Glass Company. As The Lawe had been furnished with seas in 1862 this meant that the town was fronted on its northernmost, sea-facing side by an open expanse for recreation. Subsequently the Corporation employed Mathew Hall, Borough Engineer and Surveyor to design the new North Marine Park, where work began in 1883. In 1884 construction of the park offered a labour relief scheme for 200 men over several months who were employed in levelling the ballast hills.
Sir John Mowbray, an Ecclesiastical Commissioner and formerly MP for Durham opened North and South Marine Parks on 25 June 1890.