The North and South Marine Parks are large civic parks located at the seafront in South Shields alongside other parks and open spaces.
The South Marine Park first opened in 1890 and was designed by Matthew Hall, the Borough Surveyor and Engineer and John Peebles was appointed head gardener. The park was created over an area of waste tips formed from ballast off loaded from incoming ships. It cost the Borough £20,000 and it has continued for over a hundred years to hold a special place in hearts and memories of residents and visitors.
The Park received Heritage Lottery funding in 2007 and extensive work was carried out to restore much of its’ Victorian designs including a very fine bandstand which is the venue for live music from July to September. The park also boasts a large boating lake and island, a miniature railway, various art installations (some only visible to the keen observer), picnic areas, waterfall and grotto and a very popular cafe.
The North Marine Park was also opened in 1890 and is registered as an historic park with English Heritage.
The character of the park has changed over the years from being a Victorian style formally laid out park to its present state of more informal woodland features with meandering paths, which lead to bowling greens, a community garden and petanque terrains. The upper reaches of the park command unrivalled views of the harbour mouth and the north and south headland.
South Tyneside Council are presently working to complete a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund enable them to open up the park to the newly landscaped North Foreshore and to create easier access to viewpoints. Exciting new features relating to the park’s long history will also be introduced.