A river-scape of beauty that is unrivalled
in its photogenic..ness

Gateshead Quayside

View of Gateshead Quayside from High Level Bridge, c1925
Photographer:  Unknown
Reference Number:  GL000411
The Georgian Tyne bridge was demolished and the Swing Bridge was built on the site to provide access for larger shipping travelling up river. The bridge pivots on a central pier in the river, and when opened swings through 90 degrees. The road deck is flanked by low steel arches, and is capped by a central control room.
The bridge is 281 feet (85.6 m) long and weighs 1,450 tons. It was built by W G Armstrong & Company at a cost of £222,000. It is driven by the original Armstrong hydraulic engines although the original steam pumps were replaced by electric pumps in 1959.
The Swing bridge was opened to traffic in 1876 and at the time, was the largest swing bridge in the world. It’s introduction, coupled with improved dredging of the river and the consequent removal of the island known as King’s Meadow, led to increased development of the shipbuilding industry in the Elswick and Scotswood areas on the north bank of the Tyne and Dunston and Blaydon in the south. In its heyday, it could open over 30 times a day.

View of Gateshead Quayside from High Level Bridge, 2007
Photographer:  Maughan, Jenifer
Date:  2007
Reference Number:  GL007893
This photograph shows the same view as GL000411....very different but 82 years separate them...look at these next three where 90 years separate them from the first. See below for creation of this iconic scene

from City Breaks




Alan Green Photography

Alan Green

Congratulations to Gateshead Council in commissioning two structures which reflect and complement the iconic shape of the Tyne Bridge. They have created a river scape of beauty that is unrivaled.

Back to History

Tyne Bridge Under Construction, taken from Newcastle Quayside, 9th February, 1928
Photographer:  Johnston, H.
Date:  9/2/1927
Reference Number:  GL001230
No.31 of Johnston postcard series. The building of the Tyne bridge which began in 1924, meant the whole-scale demolition of much of the area around St Mary’s Church, Gateshead together with part of the High Street. Bridge Street, Church Street and the east part of Bottle Bank
King George V opened the bridge on 10 October 1928.
The bridge stands 1,275’ long with a total height above the high water level of 193’ and cost £1.25 million to build. The architect was R Burns Dick, Mott, Hay & Anderson were the engineers.
It is a copy of the Sydney Harbour Bridge but it was completed first because it is a river bridge and therefore so much smaller. Special building method to keep the busy river open for business

Certificate presented to attending schoolchildren

see more

Asian Hercules II crane putting Millennium Bridge in place (see more). Work also going converting flour mill

Sage during construction

Title:  Hillgate, Gateshead Quayside, 1930s
Photographer:  Gateshead County Borough Public Health
Date:  C1931
Reference Number:  GL003023
Hillgate was anciently referred to as ‘Hellgate’ and mentioned as early as 1354. Daniel Defoe is known to have lodged in Hillgate in the early eighteenth century. The street was of medieval origin although was largely rebuilt in the eighteenth century. Hillgate consisted of a combination of small factories workshops and tenemented houses. Much of the street was destroyed during the great fire of 1854 and other parts cleared in the early 1920s to accommodate the Tyne Bridge which was opened in 1928.

This photograph was taken during a survey of Gateshead housing taken in the 1930s. Under the Housing Act of 1930, the Council was given much greater legal power to deal with slum housing. The worst housing was around the High Street and Quayside areas of the town. Four and five storey tenements in the Pipewellgate and Hillgate areas housed muiltiple families and huddled narrowed courts provided accomodation in the High Street and Oakwellgate areas. The Housing Act meant that whole areas of housing could be demolished and between 1932 and 1935 Barn Close, Pipewellgate, Hillgate, Bridge Street, Church Street, Old Fold and many of the High Street courts were acquired by compulsory purchase order and demolished. (Manders, 1973)

Title:  Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside from Swing Bridge, May 2002
Photographer:  Lang, Anthea
Date:  May 2002
Reference Number:  GL003563
Item Description:  Shows construction of the Sage Gateshead to right.

Not to harp on about the Quayside...

...but even before the Sage and The Millennium Bridge, the old fashioned one was still bordering on magnificent

Gateshead Quayside pictures brought to you by

The Felling Heritage Group