South Shields benefits from significant public and private sector investment. More recently this has included primarily the town centre, riverside and foreshore areas, given the decline of once-traditional heavy industries with the town's growing importance as a major commercial centre and tourist destination. As well as being the oldest and largest town in South Tyneside, South Shields is also one of the region's most popular seaside resorts. The area markets itself as " Catherine Cookson Country", which attracts many visitors.
Further improvements and developments to the seafront are planned. Work on the North and South Tyne Piers was begun in for the protection of shipping entering and leaving the river. It was originally intended that the North Tynemouth Pier and lighthouse would mirror their South Shields counterparts, but a series of breaches and collapses meant that the North Pier was completed much later and to a different design.
The South Pier was finished in and its lighthouse was operational that same year. It was built in and was at the mouth of the river before the north and south piers were built. It still acts as a navigational aid to ships entering the River Tyne.
The south lighthouse displays an occulting sector light with white, red and green sectors. The green sector is used to indicate safe waters near the coast to the north of Tynemouth, while red indicates an area with numerous wrecks to the east and south of the lighthouse. There is a third lighthouse just upstream of the pier, on the Herd Groyne constructed in —67 to preserve Littlehaven Beach, formerly known as Herd Sands, which had begun to be washed away by the change of currents caused by the new piers.
The Groyne shows an occulting light which marks a safe entrance course between the piers, showing white to a vessel approaching from seaward on the correct course, green to a vessel off-course to the north, and red to one off-course to the south. The Herd Groyne lighthouse was refurbished and repainted in ,  and still acts as a navigational aid to ships entering the River Tyne. A prominent landmark is the Edwardian Town Hall, built —, a sumptuous building "the most convincing expression in the county of Edwardian prosperity".
Ornamentation includes several references to the town's nautical heritage: Britannia and other sculpted figures in the pediment above the front entrance, a figure of Mercury atop a globe on the dome of the Council chamber, fountains and nymph lampholders in the forecourt alongside a statue of Queen Victoria. The foot clock tower contains a Potts chiming clock and five bells, and is topped by a weathervane in the shape of a galleon. The Old Town Hall, a handsome square building of , provides the centrepiece of the Market Place and closes the vista along King Street.
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The ground floor is open with arches on each side and a central pillar which predates the rest of the structure ; the enclosed first floor has pitched roof, topped by a wooden bell turret. Originally built and used by the Dean and Chapter of Durham , it was sold by them to the town Corporation in There is a good choice of restaurants, cafes, public houses and nightlife as well as hotels, guest houses and caravan parks. South Shields plays host to an annual free summer festival and each autumn the town is the seaside finish to the world-famous Great North Run.
South Shields is also home to Colmans, established in , which is a multi-award-winning seafood restaurant and takeaway. South Shields has also become the home of the South Tyneside Magic Festival, an annual event created by Martin Duffy, and supported by the local council, The Custom House Theatre, the local magic shop Magic Box, and numerous local and national independent investors.
The festival was started in incorporates magic in the community — magicians perform in schools, libraries and aged persons homes during the week as well as public gala shows at the Customs House. The culmination of the week is the Magic Convention — 3 days of lectures and shows by the world's best magicians. South Shields is home to South Tyneside College , one of the two leading maritime training centres in the UK, with facilities including a marine safety training centre and a simulated ship's bridge for the training of deck officers. The college was also home to the only planetarium in the region, and to an observatory ; and in its time was a popular visitor attraction for local schools and visitors in general.
The observatory was used for 20 years and in it was deemed redundant to the future curriculum needs of the college. The domed room that housed the planetarium is now a mosque. Local schooling is generally regarded as being very good, which is reflected in continuing improvements to school results and independent inspections.
The school was founded in to provide education for the children of the labouring and manufacturing and poorer classes, with regard to the principles of the established church of the same name which was affiliated with the school. This school closed July People born in South Shields are considered to be Geordies , a term commonly associated with all residents of Tyneside.
A less commonly used colloquial term is Sandancer. It is presumed to originate from the town's beach and history. Originally formed during the first decade of the 20th century, the team played in the Football League during the s. In , the club played in the semi-professional Northern League Division Two.
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The town has a local independent political party, the Progressive Party. This broadly centre-right party was formed in the s to address hostility towards the Conservative Party. The Progressives have no representation beyond South Shields. The party controlled the old County Borough of South Shields council until The Tyne and Wear Metro light rail system was introduced in the s and replaced British Rail services over the same route.
The platform at South Shields Metro station is situated on a bridge directly above King Street — the town's main shopping area. The former South Shields LNER station was also closed and the Victorian buildings survived as a secondary entrance to the Metro station until they were demolished in Long-term plans by Nexus to re-open the former Sunderland to South Shields line between Tyne Dock, Brockley Whins and East Boldon would create a direct rail service between South Shields and Sunderland, without the need for passengers to change trains at Pelaw in Gateshead.
Nexus also plans to open two new stations at Harton and Cleadon, raising the number of metro stations within the town from four to six. There are no railway stations within the town stations operated by National Rail or in the surrounding borough. There is a frequent pedestrian ferry service to North Shields on the opposite bank of the Tyne. The Shields Ferry carries tens of thousands of commuters and pleasure trippers each year. There has been a cross-river ferry service between the two towns since The Port has a freight rail connection.
There is a National Express coach service direct to London. Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. The retired 'Tyne' life boat in ; A tribute to all crewmen who served on her, some mistakenly think this is a tribute to William Wouldhave. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The metro station is located above the street, on the bridge.
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Retrieved 7 April However, the north east of England became a centre of learning and education, a beacon of light throughout Europe. King Oswald of Northumbria united the kingdoms of Bernicia to the north of the River Tees and Deira to the South creating the powerful and influential Kingdom of Northumbria.
Aidan allowed a monastery to be built. The site today is in the very town centre of South Shields and is named St. Hilda 's Church  although the original Anglo-Saxon building is but a remnant under the present Norman nave. Hilda's was one of many monastic institutions along the coast of north east England including Jarrow , where the Venerable Bede lived and worked. AD the monastery at St. Hilda's was raided by the Vikings. However the Vikings or Danes weren't just raiders; they created settlements, brought new customs, laws and Gods, effectively controlling all of northern England.
This form of government was known as the Danelaw. The Anglian or Danish influence can be seen to this day; the Geordie accent which contains words of Danish origin and has many more Anglo-Saxon pronunciations than standard English. In the Normans built St Hilda's church where the nunnery once stood, in the town's market place. The church remains one of the oldest churches in the UK. The first reference to 'Scheles' fishermens' huts occurs in , and the town proper was founded by the Prior and Convent of Durham in On account of the complaints of the burgesses of Newcastle upon Tyne, an order was made in , stipulating that no ships should be laden or unladen at Shields, and that no shoars or quays should be built there.
However, South Shields subsequently developed as a fishing port. Salt panning along the Tyne began in and achieved major importance; Daniel Defoe speaks of the clouds of smoke being visible for miles, while a witness in mentions two hundred boiling-pans. Glass manufacturing was begun by Isaac Cookson in the s  and there were eight glass works by Coal mining and chemical manufacture also became important. South Shields had the largest alkali works in the world.
Leslie captured the fort on the Lawe Top, following a lengthy siege. After the capture, the Royalist forces retreated to the south and evidence suggests a consequential skirmish may have occurred in the small town of Boldon, the ensuing skirmish is known as the Battle of Boldon Hill , though the topography of Boldon is not favourable for a battle. Following the Reform Act of , championed by Lord Grey and the Whigs , County Durham was able to return two members for two divisions, and the boroughs of Gateshead and South Shields acquired representation.
The coal industry flourished in Victorian times, drawing immigrants from far and wide. In South Shields the population soared from approximately 12, in to 75, by the late s.
Collieries in South Shields included:. Coal mining was very hazardous. Shafts could collapse at any time and before the safety lamp was invented in naked flames carried by miners to light their way could ignite gas underground causing explosions and many deaths. Some mines even had shafts that stretched several miles out under the sea. Overcrowding in the town made sanitation a problem, partly solved by Cleadon Water Pumping Station a large tower erected in above the town following an outbreak of cholera.
South Shields' place at the mouth of the Tyne with shifting and unpredictable sand bars and channels into the river meant that ships frequently ran aground. Following one such incident the world's first self-righting lifeboat was designed by William Wouldhave in In the s, with the Tyne's growing shipbuilding industry and the mouth of the Tyne. South and North Shields needed to stop the flow of sand that threatened shipping. In the first foundations were laid of the North and South Piers.
South Shields market
They were both completed in An engineering problem was encountered in managing the new piers. The sand on Littlehaven Beach was now flowing up the Tyne through the incoming tide. As a solution the Herd Groyne Pier was erected in South Shields-born Charles Palmer opened his shipyard in at Jarrow , at first building wooden ships and then moving onto iron. His shipyard patented rolled armour-plate for warships.
South Shields market is held in a traditional square with the eighteenth century old Town Hall at its heart. The historic church of St Hilda stands on the south side of the market place and there has been a church on the site since A. The market place is dominated by the elegant 'pepper pot' old Town Hall, which stands at its centre, offering shelter and a handy resting place. The market place makes an important contribution to the success of the lively pedestrianised town centre with a range of high street stores together with some excellent pubs and restaurants.
Image courtesy of See Tyne and Wear Differently. There is lots on offer at the flea market, including fresh fruit and vegetables, sweet stalls, jewellery, vintage clothing, dog treats and lots more.