Coordinates: 54°46′N 1°20′W / 54.76°N 1.33°W / 54.76; -1.33
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Peterlee town centre
Peterlee is located in County Durham
Location within County Durham
Population20,300 (2021)[1]
OS grid referenceNZ430409
Civil parish
  • Peterlee
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSR8
Dialling code0191
FireCounty Durham and Darlington
AmbulanceNorth East
UK Parliament
List of places
County Durham
54°46′N 1°20′W / 54.76°N 1.33°W / 54.76; -1.33

Peterlee is a town in County Durham, England, with Sunderland to the north, Hartlepool to the south, the Durham Coast to the east and Durham to the west. It gained town status in 1948 under the New Towns Act 1946. The act also created the nearby settlement of Newton Aycliffe and later Washington, Tyne and Wear.


The case for founding Peterlee was put forward in Farewell Squalor by Easington Rural District Council Surveyor C. W. Clarke, who also proposed that the town be named after celebrated Durham miners' leader Peter Lee.[2] It is one of the few places in the British Isles named after a recent individual, and unique among post-Second World War new towns in having its existence requested by local people through their MP. A deputation, consisting mostly of working miners, met the Minister of Town and Country Planning to put the case for a new town in the district. The minister, Lewis Silkin, responded by offering a half-size new town of 30,000 residents. The subsequent new residents came largely from surrounding villages in the District of Easington.

Peterlee Development Corporation was founded in 1948, first under Dr Monica Felton,[3] then under A.V. Williams.The original master plan for tower blocks of flats by Berthold Lubetkin was rejected as unsuitable for the area's geology, which had been weakened by mining works, and Lubetkin resigned in 1950. George Grenfell Baines' plan was accepted, and construction quickly began, but it was of poor quality. Williams invited artist Victor Pasmore to head the landscaping design team.



Peterlee's first elected mayor was William Whitehouse, who previously served on its council. Earlier he was in the Royal Air Force and taught at a school in Horden.


Apollo Pavilion[edit]

The Apollo Pavilion

The Apollo Pavilion (1970) was designed by Victor Pasmore. It provided a focal point for the Sunny Blunts estate as well as a bridge across a water-course.[4][5][6] It was named after the Apollo Moon missions.

From the late 1970s the Pavilion suffered from vandals and antisocial behaviour. The murals on the building faded, and to discourage antisocial behaviour, staircases were removed in the 1980s.[4][7][8][9] In 1996, there was a failed attempt to list the Pavilion. English Heritage described it as "an internationally important masterpiece"; however, some local residents and councillors considered it an eyesore and campaigned to have it demolished. The campaign seemed to have been successful when demolition was proposed in 2000.[10] However, in July 2009, a six-month revamp programme was completed at a cost of £400,000, which includes reinstating the original murals and stairs.[5][11]

In December 2011, English Heritage gave the pavilion a Grade-II* listing.[4][12]



Peterlee is served by the main A19 road running west of the town to Sunderland in the north and Hartlepool in the south, and the A1086 to its east leading to Easington in the north and Hartlepool to the south. The B1320 runs through the town centre linking the town to Horden and the A1086 in the east and Shotton Colliery and the A19 in the west. The B1432 to the north of the town centre leads to Easington Village, Hawthorn and Seaham on the route of the old A19. The A181 runs to the south-west of the town at the Castle Eden and Wingate junction on the A19 leading to Wheatley Hill, Thornley, and Durham. In 2008, the A688 was extended to the A181 at Running Waters from the A1(M) junction at Bowburn, creating a trunk road from Peterlee to the A1(M) via the A19, A181 and A688.


Peterlee is served by Arriva North East and Go North East in the local area, to Dalton Park, and to the towns and cities of Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, Hartlepool, Sedgefield, Newton Aycliffe, Billingham, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Darlington.


Peterlee is served by Horden, approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometres) east, on the Durham Coast Line. This station, which opened on 29 June 2020,[13] replaced Horden's earlier station which closed in May 1964.[14] Until 1952, there had also been a station approximately two miles (three kilometres) west in Shotton Colliery called Shotton Bridge.[15]




  • Castle Eden Dene, most of which is within the boundaries of Peterlee, is a national nature reserve.[16]

Town twinning[edit]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ {{Cite web |url=
  2. ^ David Kynaston (2008). Austerity Britain 1945–51. Bloomsbury. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7475-9923-4.
  3. ^ Mark Clapson, The rise and fall of Dr. Monica Felton, British town planner & peace activist,[1] Archived 18 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c Historic England (14 December 2011), "Apollo Pavilion (1400364)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 26 June 2012
  5. ^ a b "Peterlee pavilion's £400,000 revamp is one giant leap", Sunderland Echo, 13 July 2009, retrieved 26 June 2012
  6. ^ "Public artwork's plans go on show", BBC News, 21 January 2006, retrieved 26 June 2012
  7. ^ Glancey, Jonathan (12 November 2001), If they had an A-bomb..., retrieved 26 June 2012
  8. ^ McIntyre, Marjorie (2 July 2008), "Controversial sculpture to get £336,000 facelift", The Northern Echo, retrieved 26 June 2012
  9. ^ "Revamp for moon mission pavilion", BBC News, 12 July 2009, retrieved 26 June 2012
  10. ^ Burnham, Nigel; Harrison, David (16 July 2000), "Sixties 'concrete bungle' sculpture to be scrapped", The Daily Telegraph, retrieved 26 June 2012
  11. ^ "Revamp for moon mission pavilion", BBC News, 12 July 2009, retrieved 26 June 2012
  12. ^ "County Durham pavilion awarded Grade II-listed status", BBC News, 15 December 2011, retrieved 26 June 2012
  13. ^ Thompson, Fiona (29 June 2020). "First trains to make their stop at new £10.55 million train station in Horden". Sunderland Echo. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  14. ^ Waller, Paul (2013). Rail Atlas: The Beeching Era. Ian Allan Publishing Ltd. pp. 67 and 104. ISBN 9780711035492.
  15. ^ Hoole, K. (1985). Railways of East Durham. Clapham, Lancashire: The Dalesman Publishing Company Ltd. pp. 8–9 & 33. ISBN 0852068352.
  16. ^ Natural England site.
  17. ^ "Player's goal". ChronicleLive. 24 February 2005.
  18. ^ Duke, Simon (13 June 2017). "Watch: Courtney Hadwin, the Peterlee school girl with the huge voice". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Mum of America's Got Talent star Courtney Hadwin speaks of pride after teenager singer lands record deal". 18 December 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  20. ^ Lane, Harriet; "'I had nothing to lose'", 30 November 2008 (Retrieved: 1 August 2009)
  21. ^ "Cleaning up with Crissy Rock – from Liverpool to Peterlee, via Benidorm". 9 April 2015.