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Tyne and Wear HER(5945): Gateshead Head Way - Details

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Gateshead Head Way






Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

The route of the Gateshead Head Way is uncertain but may have been that recorded in the lease of a small staith in the Salt Meadows with wayleave for a waggonway in September 1656 (Lewis 1970, 95). It was granted to Edward Green, a shipbuilder and may have terminated at Salt Meadows in the north-east corner of Gateshead, which was part of the Bishop’s Grand Lease manor and was an ideal place for shipbuilding. There had once been a small colliery here too but this did not belong to Green. His reason for gaining the lease is unclear. In 1636 there had already been a Gateshead Head colliery, initially worked by a wain, but a waggonway had been laid by April 1660. The small profit from the colliery, a mere £300, leads Bennett et al (1989, 55) to remark that it was odd for a waggonway to be constructed. Although nothing is known about the colliery, waggonway or its staiths, the waggonway of the post-1750 Claxtons colliery may be a truncated remnant of the Gateshead Head Way. However, other possibilities for the site of the Gateshead Head Way staith exist at downstream from the present Redheugh Bridge. If so, the waggonway would have been much longer and probably not an independent one but a branch of other ways.




<< HER 5945 >> G. Bennett, E. Clavering & A. Rounding, 1990, A Fighting Trade - Rail Transport in Tyne Coal, 1600-1800, vol 1, p54-6 M.J.T. Lewis, 1970, Early Wooden Railways, p 95 A. Williams, 2004, A Fighting Trade - Review and mapping of routes; unpublished document for Tyne & Wear Heritage Environment Record

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