Dunston, Tyne and Wear

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 54°57′07″N 1°38′20″W / 54.952°N 1.639°W / 54.952; -1.639

Dunston Staiths, 2006

Dunston was originally an independent village on the south bank of the River Tyne. It has now been absorbed into the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead in the English county of Tyne and Wear. Much of Dunston forms part of the inner Gateshead regeneration area. Dunston has a population of 770 according to the 2011 Census.


The Dunston area is served by the Dunston railway station, along the Tyne Valley Line.[1]

Dunston is now split into two distinct areas separated by the A1 dual carriageway. Much of the area south of the A1 is known as Dunston Hill.

To the west of Dunston is the site of Dunston Power Station, now demolished. The site is now home to Costco, with the MetroCentre (which is the second largest shopping and leisure centre in Britain) occupying the former site of the station's ash ponds.[2] As of 2013, Go North East are constructing a new bus depot to replace their Sunderland Road and Winlaton depots on the eastern part of the power station site.[3] Another Dunston landmark was the Derwent Tower, commonly known as the "Dunston Rocket", a tower block that was once the highest in Gateshead, which was designed by the Owen Luder Partnership and completed in 1973.[4] It was finally demolished in 2012, having always proved unpopular with residents, and fallen into such a poor condition that Gateshead Council decided renovation costs would be prohibitive.[5] Luder also designed the similarly maligned Trinity Centre Multi-Storey Car Park (now also demolished) in Gateshead town centre.

On 6 June 1993 the IRA attacked a gas holder in the nearby area of Low Team. The damage was limited and no one was injured.[6]

Dunston Staithes[edit]

Dunston is particularly known for its wooden staithes, first opened in 1893 as a structure for loading coal from the North Durham coalfield onto ships. In the 1920s 140,000 tons of coal per week were loaded from the staithes, and they continued to be used until the 1970s. Their use gradually declined with the contraction of the coal industry, and they were finally closed and partially dismantled in 1980.

Dunston, 1971

The staithes were restored and reopened for the Gateshead Garden Festival in 1990. Following similar events in Liverpool (1984), Stoke on Trent (1986) and Glasgow (1988), the Garden Festival occupied a large area of Dunston and Team Valley. Though other parts of the Garden Festival site, such as the Eslington and Norwood areas of Team Valley, gained an immediate spur for regeneration, the area around the staithes remained derelict and inaccessible for the whole of the 1990s.

Today, the staithes are reputed to be the largest wooden structure in Europe,[7] and are protected as a Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

In 2002, work began on a development of riverside apartments and houses designed by Wayne Hemingway. Known as Staiths South Bank, this development celebrates the area's heritage as well as improving the setting for the historic structure. In the early hours of 20 November 2003, a section of the staithes was destroyed by fire.[8] As a result, access onto the Staithes themselves is not possible, but the structure can be viewed from the new riverside walkway constructed as part of the Staiths South Bank development. In 2005 Gateshead Council commissioned a study into possible options for the Staithes' restoration.

The Staithes suffered further fire damage in July 2010.[9] Following the award of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of almost £420,000 restoration of the structure is expected to begin in April 2014.[10]

Notable people[edit]

Footballers Paul Gascoigne[11] and Ray Hudson[12] and lead singer of AC/DC Brian Johnson[13] grew up in Dunston, and champion rower and boat-builder Harry Clasper[14] was born in Dunston.


External links[edit]