infobox UK place

country = England
official_name= Peterlee
latitude= 54.76
longitude= -1.33
population = 30,093 (2001) [$file/Easington+Settlement+Summary+Sheets+Numbers.pdf]
shire_district= Easington
region= North East England
shire_county = County Durham
constituency_westminster= Easington
post_town= PETERLEE
postcode_district = SR8

postcode_area= SR
dial_code= 0191
os_grid_reference= NZ430409

Peterlee is a new town in County Durham, England. Founded in 1948, the town is named after Peter Lee, a prominent local miner. Peterlee town originally mostly housed coal miners.

Peterlee has strong economic and community ties with Sunderland and Hartlepool.

General information


Peterlee is unique among the new towns which came into being after the Second World War in that it was the only one requested by the people through their political representatives - though whether a majority of the people living in the surrounding colliery villages actually wanted the place to be built remains a moot point. It can certainly be argued that the building of Peterlee was at the expense of such nearby colliery villages as Thornley and Wheatley Hill where development was deliberately suppressed by the local council in favour of the new town. The colliery village of Horden has, however, suffered perhaps more; its proximity to Peterlee has seen it lose all of its major services, including police and fire stations to the new town.

A deputation, mostly if not all working miners, met with the Minister of Town and Country Planning after the Second World War to put the case for a new town in the district. The minister John Silkin responded by offering a half size new town of 30,000 residents. Subsequently, they came largely from the surrounding villages in the District of Easington.

The Peterlee Development Corporation was established in 1948 under the direction of A V Williams. The original ambitious master-plan for towering blocks of flats by Berthold Lubetkin was rejected as unsuitable for the geology of the area which had been weakened by mining works and he resigned in 1950. George Grenfell Baines replaced Lubetkin and began to build quickly resulting in buildings of poor quality construction. In a bold move Williams invited an artist Victor Pasmore to be head of the design team for the landscaping. The Apollo Pavilion was completed in 1970 at centre of the Sunny Blunts estate and was named after the Apollo Space Programme. As well as a visual focus the structure acted as a bridge across a small lake. Nikolaus Pevsner provides a glowing commentary on the interaction of the housing units and the Pavilion with the landscape; however, the structure became a meeting point for unruly locals and was soon defaced with graffiti and a congregation area for drug users and drinkers. In 1982 Pasmore agreed to the connecting stairs being removed.

In 1975, Artist Placement Group had contacted new towns to set up the terms for artists to propose projects. The Development Corporation of Peterlee New Town responded and in 1976, Stuart Brisley was appointed. The project contained three distinct parts:

* to develop an ongoing process of collecting and disseminating information under the title "History Within Living Memory"
* to establish a publicly available history of the Development Corporation made in association with the Sociology Dept of the University of Durham
* to introduce a community workshop which began in 1977

Some local residents and councillors have petitioned to have the Pasmore Pavilion demolished, citing it as an eyesore. Some locals also refer to the Pavilion as 'the Monstrosity' and an application to have the structure listed was rejected. There have been various proposals to rehabilitate the structure including converting it into an exhibition space. In 2001 it was proposed that the lake be enlarged so that a refurbished Pavilion could not be reached by vandals. Indeed, during the summer months the lake attracts dragonflies to the area and it does hold potential to be improved to encourage more wildlife to area, especially if the nearby woodland is also cleaned up.

Entertainment, Shopping and Services

Peterlee holds a two day event called the Peterlee Show, which is held at the end of the summer holidays (usually the first weekend of September) on Helford Road Cricket Ground, which is not far from the Pasmore Pavilion. The event contains a variety of attractions such as rides, loads of entertainment and also tributes and local music acts on the stage (some of the acts that have played in recent years include tributes to Abba, Tina Turner, the Bee Gees, The Rolling Stones and Nirvana, all of which have played in front of an audience of approximately 500 people). The Peterlee Show also has a parachutes display (weather permitting), usually held on the first day of the event as well as horticultural competitions, Arts & Crafts stands, dog shows, bird of prey flying, motorcycle stunts and a fireworks display can be seen on one or both nights. Peterlee also holds a fireworks display on Bonfire Night, which is also held at Helford Road Cricket Ground.

Peterlee has seen a number of changes in the last several years, this includes a Bus Station and also a partial covering up of the shopping centre, which was given the name Castle Dene Shopping Centre. A new ASDA store was built and opened in November 2001. The old ASDA store has been utilised by various retailers in 2002 including a Buckingham Bingo hall, a Global Video rental store, a JD Wetherspoon public house, a Wilkinson store and a Poundworld store.

The latest redevelopment has gained a number of new clothes shops including [ New Look] , Select and The Officers' Club. A brand new [ Sports Direct] , Walter Wall and Storeys Carpets has also opened in the building that once housed Safeway. The town also has an Argos, Boots and various shoe shops, plus a couple of places serving home-made food. After the removal of the old ramp and steps, a new lift and staircase were installed in the market square of the town restoring access to ASDA and various shops and services on the top level. A new Gamestation opened in February 2007 due to popular demand, the only specialist video game store in the town since Games Arena closed in 1999. The pub originally known as the Gamecock re-opened recently, now named the Red Lion, offering meals and a carvery. The Argus Butterfly pub has also been refurbished and is about to be open soon. The lower deck carpark near ASDA is used most Bank Holidays for a Market, which in the main sells clothes, tools and music.

As far as education goes, Peterlee offers potential for students via East Durham and Houghall Community College that has started a redevelopment project on the Howletch Site, which when completed will place the college on one site rather than split between two. In addition there is also a drive and focus on Adult Community Education in the town through Learn East, which is situated in Peterlee Town Centre. Learn East offers a variety of educational services and courses within Peterlee and East Durham for people who want to learn new skills or build up their Literacy and Numeracy Skills. Peterlee also has some schools and a Sixth Form College, which is part of St Bede's Roman Catholic Comprehensive School.

As with many towns, Peterlee has areas that need attention due to untidiness; it is certainly not a concrete town and has plenty of open spaces, fields and trees plus some of the views near the A19 looking down towards the North Sea are wonderful. Some of the problem areas include parts of the woodland areas which were once a part of the Dene. Ponds have been left to go stagnant, contain rubbish, and the gangs of people that congregate in these areas cause devastation to the natural beauty. It is disheartening that certain people treat their own town in such a way. There are times when people fear walking through these woodland areas because of the gangs. There has also been a spate of vandalism of brand new bus stops, and the bus station has also been abused, which is rather shameful.

There are also future redevelopment plans with the Eden Hill area of the town, which has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of empty housing; the empty housing are earmarked for demolition with hopefully new building companies buying the land for housing or commercial use.

Peterlee is situated next to [ Castle Eden Dene] . This area of natural beauty is where you can see Red Squirrels and other wildlife. It also has a golf course nearby.

East Durham & Houghall Community College recently showed an amateur production of Fiddler on the Roof back in October 2006, the show received great reviews.

On the 29 January 2005, the band The Arnells played a gig in aid of Tsunami relief at East Durham and Houghall Community College.

Famous residents that lived in Peterlee during the 1970s include The KrankiesFact|date=February 2007 and Roy Walker [] , the original presenter of Catchphrase.

In the past few years, Freaky Weasel Promotions have been holding monthly music events to the local people of 14 years plus. This was to replace the popular Sounds Alive nights at East Durham College. The events attract 600+ youngters every month, which seems to be the only event that is tailor-made for such a crowd in the area. Freaky Weasel also plan to hold a Festival on the 28th June 2008 at East Durham College's Howletch Campus, and again is 14 years plus.



Peterlee is served by two main roads, The A19 runs to the west of the town leading to Sunderland in the north and Teesside in the south, the A1086 runs to the east of the town leading to Easington in the north and Hartlepool to the south. The B1320 runs through the town centre linking the town to Horden and the A1086 in the east and Shotton Colliery and the A19 in the west. The B1432 runs north from the town centre to Easington Village, Hawthorn and Seaham on the route of the old A19.


Peterlee is served by Arriva North East and Go North East who provide services around the town the surrounding villages and to Sunderland, Durham, Hartlepool, Stockton, Billingham, Thornaby and Middlesbrough. Scarlett Band also operate the 25 to Spennymoor on part of the old Arriva and United 215 service route to Bishop Auckland. Go North East bought Jayline in 2007 and now run more services around the town and the surrounding villages. Arriva has changed all the services run from the Peterlee depot and the old services had been running for over the past 40 years such as the 242 from Durham to Hartlepool.


Peterlee was served by Horden Railway Station on the Durham Coast Line until it closed in 1964. There have been plans for the station to be rebuilt and then it would be served by Northern Rail services to Seaham, Sunderland, Heworth, Newcastle and the MetroCentre in the north and Hartlepool, Seaton Carew, Billingham, Stockton, Thornaby and Middlesbrough in the south. The service provided by Grand Central between Sunderland and King's Cross could also stop at Horden if there was a station and the residents of the East Durham area would benefit to a direct train service to London. Unfortunately there has been talk but no action of a station.

chools and Colleges


* Acre Rigg Infant School
* Acre Rigg Junior School
* Dene House Primary School (Now Dene School of Technology)
* Eden Community Primary School
* Howletch Lane Primary School
* Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Primary School
* Shotton Hall Infant School
* Shotton Hall Junior School
* North Blunts Primary School (Closed in 2003)


*Dene Community School of Technology - Specialist Sports College
*Shotton Hall School - Performing Arts College
*St. Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School - Specialist Humanities

6th Form Facilities

* [ Byron Sixth Form College (On the site of St. Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School) ]


* [ EDHCC] (East Durham & Houghall Community College) - Has 2 sites in the town. Site at Howletch is currently being rebuilt to offer the most up-to-date facilities in County Durham. Howletch site houses Sport and an A level centre. Town Centre campus mainly house Performing Arts and has its own theatre. The college also shares its site with Peterlee Library.

Adult Education

* [ Learn East]


* [ Peterlee Town Council]
* [ Easington District Council]
* [ Durham County Council]

Town twinning

*flagicon|Germany Nordenham, Germany (since 1981)

External links

* [ The Peterlee Project web site]
* [ BBC Tees - Pasmore Pavilion photos]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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