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Tyne and Wear HER(5239): Gateshead, Windmill Hills - Details

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Gateshead, Windmill Hills



Gardens Parks and Urban Spaces


Public Park

Early Modern


Documentary Evidence

Traditional meeting place and during the early 18th century a popular racecourse. Hoppings were held on the hill at Whitsun with activities such as wrestling. Windmill Hills gradually became more and more popular as a park, but was not suggested as a People's Park until 1857. It became Gateshead's first public park in 1859. Early useage of this site is likely to have been agricultural, but by 17th century its elevated location was recognised as useful for wind powered milling (see HER 3494). The name Windmill Hills first appears in 1436 when it was part of the manor of Gateshead claimed by St. Edmund's Hospital. It was at that time, common land for the inhabitants of Gateshead. By the 17th century however, the rights were restricted to the 'free-borough men and freeholders'. On 31st August 1640 the Scottish commander General Alexander Leslie established his camp on 'Gateshead Hill', another name for Windmill Hills (see HER 5240). The importance of Windmill Hills as a place for public outdoor entertainment and leisure was established in the course of 19th century. The Whitsuntide hoppings were held there in 1829. A 'training ground', apparently a circular running track, is shown in 1858 and the hustings for the 1868 election were held there. Throughout the 1850s the brass band from Hawks Crawshay's works gave concerts on the Windmill Hills. In 1859 it became the first public park in the borough. The Windmill Hills continued to be a popular place of resort, although terraced housing developed on the west side from 1858. The upper part of the hills was extensively remodelled before 1974 with the creation of earthen embankments and playing fields. LOCAL LIST




<< HER 5239 >> F. Green, 1995, A Guide to the Historic Parks and Gardens of Tyne and Wear, p 8; Northern Counties Archaeological Services, 1999, Windmill Hills, Town Park, Assessment of the Archaeological Potential; Grace McCombie, 2009, Newcastle and Gateshead - Pevsner Architectural Guide, p. 34; Gateshead Local List X20/LLG/12; Pearson, Lynn, 2010, Played in Tyne and Wear - Charting the heritage of people at play, p 10

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