Tuesday, 3 August 2010

South Shields

South Shields is my home town and although I complain about it sometimes, deep down I love it. Growing up by the sea can't possibly be something to complain about.

South Shields is a coastal town in Tyne and Wear, England, located at the mouth of the River Tyne to Tyne Dock, and about 4.84 miles (7.79 km) downstream from Newcastle upon Tyne. The town has a population of 82,854,[1] and is part of the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside, which includes the riverside towns of Jarrow and Hebburn and the villages of Boldon, Cleadon and Whitburn. South Shields is represented in parliament by Labour MP David Miliband.


South Shields is situated in a peninsula setting, where the River Tyne meets the North Sea. It has six miles of coastline and three miles of river frontage, dominated by the massive piers at the mouth of the Tyne. These are best viewed from the Lawe Top, which also houses two replicas of cannon captured from the Russians during the Crimean War, the originals having been melted during World War Two.

The town slopes gently from the Cleadon Hills down to the river. The Cleadon Hills are made conspicuous by the Victorian water pumping station (opened in 1860 to improve sanitation) and a now derelict windmill which can be seen from many miles away and also out at sea.

The town has extensive beaches including sand dunes as well as dramatic sandstone cliffs with grassy areas above known as The Leas, which cover three miles of this coastline and are a National Trust protected area. Marsden Bay, with its famous Marsden Rock, is one of the largest seabird colonies in Britain.

One of the most historic parts of the town is Westoe village, which consists of a quiet street of Georgian and Victorian houses, many being built by Victorian business leaders in the town, including those who owned mines and shipyards. This street was the setting for a number of books by the novelist Catherine Cookson.[18] Westoe village was once a separate village about a mile from South Shields but urban sprawl has now consumed it along with the village of Harton slightly further along the same South Shields to Sunderland road.

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