Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead

Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead
Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead
—  Metropolitan borough  —
Gateshead Council Building, the seat of the Borough Council

Coat of Arms of the Borough Council
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region North East England
Ceremonial county Tyne and Wear
Admin. HQ Gateshead
 - Type Gateshead Council
 - Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
 - Executive: Labour
 - MPs: David Anderson,
Ian Mearns
 - Total 55 sq mi (142.4 km2)
Area rank 189th
Population (2010 est.)
 - Total 191,700
 - Rank Ranked 88th
 - Density 3,486.7/sq mi (1,346.2/km2)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 - Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
ISO 3166-2
ONS code 00CH
OS grid reference
Ethnicity 96.4% White
1.4% S.Asian[1]

The Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead is a metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. It is named after its largest town, Gateshead, but also spans the towns of Rowlands Gill, Whickham, Blaydon and Ryton; suburban areas include Felling, Pelaw, Dunston and Low Fell.

It is bordered by numerous local authorities including Newcastle Upon Tyne to the north, Northumberland to the west, County Durham to the south, Sunderland to the south east and South Tyneside to the east.



The district has some 190,000 inhabitants and lies within the historic county boundaries of County Durham. The county borough of Gateshead was combined along with the urban districts of Felling, Blaydon, Ryton and part of Chester-le-Street Rural District into the new Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead in 1974. In 1986 the County Council of Tyne and Wear was abolished, and so Gateshead Council effectively became a unitary authority.

There were originally two civil parishes in Gateshead - Birtley and Lamesley, both from the Chester-le-Street RD. Birtley Town Council and parish were abolished on 1 April 2006.[2]


Parliamentary constituencies

In national government the borough contains two parliamentary constituencies, Gateshead and Blaydon. The Gateshead constituency covers the centre and east of the borough. The MP, elected in 2010, is Ian Mearns. The Blaydon constituency covers the west of the borough and Birtley to the south. It is represented by Dave Anderson.

Local government

In total there are twenty two electoral wards in the borough, each ward elects three councillors. The twenty two wards are: -

Gateshead Council is Labour controlled, although the borough does have a significant number of Liberal Democrat councillors. These are largely in the more affluent west of the Borough including Whickham, Ryton and Crawcrook, as well as the more central wards of Low Fell and Pelaw. In total there are 41 Labour councillors, 24 Lib Dem councillors, and 1 Liberal Party councillor.


As political parties tend are abandoning their previous policy of hosting conferences at seaside resorts, Gateshead has hosted two major political conferences. The first of these was Labour's Spring conference, ahead of the 2005 general election.[3] The Conservatives also held a conference at the Sage Gateshead in March 2008. The Conservatives don't have a single councillor in Gateshead and at the time only had one MP in the whole of the north east region. The conference is seen as an attempt to connect to voters in the area.[4]


Gateshead has a number of schools across the borough at both primary and secondary level. Results are well above average, with a number of outstanding schools.[5] Indeed, Gateshead has amongst the best primary and secondary schools in the country overall.[6] A range of schools are present in Gateshead, including Jewish, Roman Catholic, Church of England, Methodist and non-religious state schools. There is one independent school in the borough, Chase school in Whickham.[7] Further independent schools can be found in Newcastle, Sunderland and Tynedale.

Gateshead town itself has a further education college, Gateshead College, and a leading Jewish higher education institution.


Gateshead has a variety of landscapes, urban and industrial areas include the town itself, Felling and Blaydon, with more semi-rural and rural locations in the west including Ryton and Rowlands Gill. Overall though, it is a fairly green area with over half of the borough being green belt or countryside.[8] Most of this is located away from built up Tyneside to the south of the borough into Derwentside/Chester-le-Street and to the west into Tynedale.

In total, there are over twenty countryside sites in the borough, from ancient meadows and woodland to local nature reserves.[9]

Notable features of Gateshead's countryside include Ryton Willows, found at Old Ryton Village on the banks of the Tyne at Ryton. Ryton Willows is 43 hectares of locally rare grassland and ponds located near to an affluent village with Georgian and Victorian houses. Because of this it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[10][11]

The Derwent valley, in the south/south west of the borough, offers panoramic views and pleasant walks. It was in the Derwent valley, near Rowlands Gill, that the Northern Kites Project re-introduced Red Kites. This was part of a national project to introduce the birds, that were once so commonplace across the country, back into the wild. This scheme has proven to be a big success, with birds being spotted across the west of the borough, from Crawcrook to Rowlands Gill itself.[12][13]

The borough also contains one National Trust site, the expansive Gibside estate near Rowlands Gill, containing a stately home and a chapel, parts of its grounds have also been give SSSI status.[14]

Even in the more urban areas of the Borough, in Gateshead itself and to the east, efforts have been made to maintain green spaces and wildlife sites. One such project is Bill Quay Community Farm in east if the borough. Offering a rural experience within an urban setting, it provides an important educational tool for local schools.[15]


The 2001 census stated that the borough's predominant religion was 80.25% Christian. Other statistics found 10.94% of No religion, 6.94 unstated, 0.82% Jewish and 0.60% Muslim.[16]


The area was once dependent on heavy industry such as steel making in the Derwent Valley and coal mining (across the borough). Shipbuilding on the Tyne was also a major source of employment. However, with the decline of these industries, Gateshead has attempted to re-invent itself. Although there are significant areas of deprivation in the borough, particularly in the centre and east, a number of towns and villages in the borough are popular with commuters and professionals who are employed in the service industry and well paid areas of secondary industry such as engineering (which remains a major source of employment). Such commuter areas include Ryton, Rowlands Gill, Whickham and Low Fell. The borough is host to Tyne Yard, a major rail freight yard serving the North East.

Gateshead Quayside, once dominated by industry, has benefited from significant investment and gentrification in the past decade.[17] It is now home to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Sage Gateshead. The Anthony Gormley structure, the Angel of the North (the largest free standing sculpture in the United Kingdom) is also nearby. This puts Gateshead at the forefront of the arts both regionally and nationally.[18]

The area is also an important retail hub, with the largest shopping centre in the European Union, and second largest in Europe as a whole, the MetroCentre, situated adjacent to the A1 trunk road. Further retail, and a significant number of engineering companies are located in the Team Valley Trading Estate, which at one time was the largest industrial estate in Europe.[citation needed]


Gateshead has a Association Football team, Gateshead F.C., who play in the English Conference National, as well as a Rugby League team, Gateshead Thunder, in the Championship. Both play at the Gateshead International Stadium, which also hosts athletics


  1. ^
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "North East and Cumbria - Labout Sages?". BBC News. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  4. ^ "Hague Woos North With Road Pledge". BBC News. 15 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  5. ^ "'Outstanding Schools Praised'". BBC News. 7 February 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  6. ^ "'Top Marks in New Tables'". 9 January 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  7. ^ "'Chase School's ISD Profile". Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  8. ^ "Countryside in Gateshead". Gateshead Council. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  9. ^ "Countryside sites in Gateshead". Gateshead MBC. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  10. ^ Cycle-routes
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ "Delight as red kite chicks hatch". BBC News. 16 June 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  13. ^ "Young Red Kite Takes First Flight". BBC News. 2006-07-27. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ "Bill Quay Community Farm". Gateshead Council. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  16. ^ 2001 Census
  17. ^ "'News from the Other Side'". Newcastle City Council. Retrieved 2008-03-16. [dead link]
  18. ^ "'Region's Light is No Longer Hidden'". Newcastle Journal. 27 March 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 

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