Exhibition Park, Newcastle

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Exhibition Park's entrance

The Exhibition Park is a short walk from Newcastle City Centre.

History[edit]

The 1870 Town Moor Improvement Act determined that 2 x 35acres of land to be developed for recreation one would become Leazes Park and one at the Town Moor. The original location of the park was to be the Bull Park where the City’s bull was penned for stud. The site was the wedge of land at the corner of Claremont Road and the Great North Road. Later this land became the Hancock Museum. The committee realised that the Bull Park was too small for the Exhibition and requested Town moor recreation ground. This is where the current park is now. The Royal Jubilee Exhibition was duly held in 1887 and proved a tremendous success and attracted 2,000,000 visitors.[1]

The name Exhibition Park was first used during the Jubilee Exhibition of 1887 but the old name of Bull Park remained for some time. The only remaining item from the 1887 Exhibition is the bandstand.[2]

The North East Coast Exhibition[edit]

This exhibition was held at the Exhibition Park from May to October 1929 and was opened by HRH the Prince of Wales on 14 May 1929.[3] It was a symbol of pride and industrial success of the region and at the same time an advertisement for local industry and commerce. The disused military museum is the only building still remaining in the park today from this exhibition.

  • During 24 weeks operation a total of 4,373,138 people attended.
  • Gold watches were given to each one-millionth visitor.
  • Only seven criminal offences recorded (six drunken offences and 1 pick pocketing)
  • It closed on 26 October 1929 with a massive fireworks display.

The Science Museum, Exhibition Park[edit]

Until 1983 a Science Museum was located in the Exhibition Park pavilion. The museum was founded in 1934.[4] It housed for a period Turbinia. The collections in the main transferred to Discovery Museum. A military vehicle museum was then housed here 1983-2006.[5]

The city council put the building up for sale in 2011, declaring that it could no longer afford repairs. It was purchased by Shepherd Offshore Ltd who stated that they intended to create a collection of horse-drawn carriages and vintage automobiles.[6] The planned opening date is Easter 2015.[7]

Tyneside Summer Exhibition[edit]

This event began to be held by the city council in the 1960s, and attempted to capture many of the elements of the earlier exhibitions, however, it was last held in 1986 when a £60,000 loss was recorded.[8]

Exhibition Park today[edit]

Facilities[edit]

  • There are two croquet lawns, two tennis courts and one basketball court.
  • There is a fenced playground with safety surface containing swings, slides, climbing frames, spring toys and seating.
  • A disused boating lake.
  • A disused crazy golf course.
  • A park café (rarely open, and during spring and summer months only).
  • A skatepark has been developed at the main entrance to Exhibition Park.
  • The Tyneside Society of Model and Experimental Engineers (TSMEE) operate a miniature railway in the park.[9]

Events in the Park[edit]

Al mela (a celebration of Asian cuisine, music and art) is held annually over the August bank holiday weekent.

Refurbishment[edit]

Exhibition Park was restored by a £3million redevelopment programme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which had a projected completion date of late Summer 2014.[10]

The refurbishment scheme included the following:

  • Installation of a new children’s play area, which includes outdoor gym equipment.
  • Traditional style railings and gates at the park entrance.
  • A new skate park adjacent to the current one.
  • New LED lighting in the underpass leading into the park.
  • Resurfacing of the tennis courts.
  • Restoration of the bandstand based on the original catalogue design.
  • Reconstruction of the cafe with a new events/performance area adjacent.
  • Engineering works to the lake to improve the environment and prevent flooding.[11]

The park was officially reopened in July 2015.[12]

Transport links[edit]

The nearest Metro and bus stations are at Haymarket and a taxi rank is located at Park Terrace near the park entrance.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Baglee, Christopher. The North-East Coast Exhibition, 1929. Frank Graham, 1979, ISBN 0-85983-175-2

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°59′02″N 1°36′54″W / 54.984°N 1.615°W / 54.984; -1.615