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Peterlee towncentre.JPG
Peterlee town centre
Peterlee is located in County Durham
Peterlee shown within County Durham
Population 20,164 (2011)[1]
OS grid reference NZ430409
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PETERLEE
Postcode district SR8
Dialling code 0191
Police Durham
Fire County Durham and Darlington
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament
List of places
County Durham
54°46′N 1°20′W / 54.76°N 1.33°W / 54.76; -1.33Coordinates: 54°46′N 1°20′W / 54.76°N 1.33°W / 54.76; -1.33

Peterlee is a small town in County Durham, England. It was founded in 1948, and built under the auspices of the New Towns Act 1946.

It has economic and community ties with Sunderland, Hartlepool and Durham.


The case for Peterlee was put forth in Farewell Squalor by Easington Rural District Council Surveyor C.W. Clarke, who also proposed that the town was named after the celebrated Durham miners' leader Peter Lee.[2] Peterlee is unique among the new towns which came into being after the Second World War in that it was the only one requested by the people through their MP. A deputation, mostly if not all working miners, met with the Minister of Town and Country Planning after the Second World War 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 the surrounding villages in the District of Easington.

The Peterlee Development Corporation was established in 1948, first under the direction of A V Williams, then under Dr. Monica Felton.[3] The original master-plan for towering blocks of flats by Berthold Lubetkin was rejected as unsuitable for the geology of the area, which had been weakened by mining works, and he resigned in 1950. George Grenfell Baines replaced Lubetkin and began to build quickly, resulting in buildings of poor-quality construction. Williams invited an artist Victor Pasmore to be head of the design team for the landscaping.


  • Peterlee Town Council
  • Durham County Council


Apollo Pavilion[edit]

The Apollo Pavilion

The Apollo Pavilion, designed by Victor Pasmore, was completed in 1970. 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 became a target for vandals and anti-social behaviour. Original murals on the building faded, and to discourage anti-social 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 saw Pavilion as an eyesore and campaigned to have it demolished. The campaign appeared to have been successful when demolition was proposed in 2000.[10] However, in July 2009, a 6-month revamp programme was completed at a cost of £400,000. As part of the revamp, original features such as the murals and stairs were reinstated.[5][11]

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



Peterlee is served by two main roads, The A19 runs to the west of the town leading to Sunderland in the north and Teesside in the south, the A1086 runs to the east of the town 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 runs to the north from the town centre leading 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 road was extended to the A181 at Running Waters from the A1(M) junction at Bowburn, this created a new 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 who provide services in the local area and to Dalton Park as well as to the following towns and cities: Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, Hartlepool, Sedgefield, Newton Aycliffe, Billingham, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Darlington.


Peterlee was served by Horden railway station on the Durham Coast Line until it closed in 1964. However, in 2017, Durham County Council announced that a new station for Horden will be built after a successful bid for funding.[13]



  • Acre Rigg Infant School
  • Acre Rigg Academy
  • Dene House Primary School
  • Sea Scape Primary School
  • Howletch Lane Primary School
  • Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Primary School
  • Shotton Hall Primary School


6th Form facilities[edit]

  • Byron Sixth Form College (On the site of St. Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School)
  • East Durham Sixth Form (Opened at East Durham College in 2012)


  • East Durham College – The building at the town centre is now closed as the college is now on one site at Howletch. Peterlee Library remains at its current location.

Adult education[edit]

  • Adult Learning is provided by East Durham College, Durham County Council and other organisations.


  • Peterlee holds a two-day event called the Peterlee Show, which is held at the end of the summer holidays (usually the first weekend of September) on Helford Road Cricket Ground, which is not far from Victor Pasmore's Apollo Pavilion. A fireworks display is held at the same venue every November.
  • Castle Eden Dene mostly within Peterlee's boundaries, is a national nature reserve.[14]

Town twinning[edit]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  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 on [1]
  4. ^ a b c List Entry, English Heritage, 14 December 2011, 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. ^ New station for Horden - Durham County Council Archived 1 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^