Plans to restore one of South Tyneside's best-loved parks have been given a funding boost after securing £2.4million of National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore the historic North Marine Park back to its original Victorian character.
This support, as well as an earlier National Lottery development grant of £194,000, means that South Tyneside Council and the Friends of North and South Marine Parks group can work together to bring forward detailed plans for North Marine Park. These will seek to restore the park back to its Victorian character for future generations to enjoy.
Key elements of the project include creating better links between the park and Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall as well as improving the area round the Lawe Top which, as the park's highest point, acts as an incredible viewing platform for the stunning coastline and harbour.
The plans also include restoring original features such as the grotto and the promenade staircase as well as introducing new features such as a play area. Improvements to lighting, seating and the bowling area are also planned, as well as special art installations.
It is expected that work will start later in 2018 once planning permission has been granted and a contractor put in place.
A haven of peace and tranquility, North Marine Park offers great views and the opportunity to enjoy some gentle pastimes including bowls and pitch and putt.
The pathways meander through the park and lead to an elevated point from which there are panoramic views of the harbour mouth and coast.
Friends of group
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.