The historic North Marine Park located on South Shields seafront has been extensively refurbished in keeping with its original Victorian splendour in a £3.2m development delivered by Esh Construction.
On behalf of South Tyneside Council and supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund, the scheme was commissioned to restore and enhance the parks original features, improve accessibility and enhance open areas, and introduce a new themed play area to reflect the Borough’s maritime links and Roman heritage.
Many of the key elements have undergone reconstruction, including the park’s original grotto feature, the refurbishment of the bowling clubhouse, bowling green and park pavilion. Previously decayed peripheral features including the pier parade, beacon entrances, sea road wall balustrades, and stone copings have been replaced.
The grand promenade staircase which links the lower and upper levels of the park has been reinstalled, based on designs from photographic records, historic maps and the original Borough engineers’ plans. The ornamental terracotta urns featuring lions head designs, lost when the staircase was removed have been included in the new installation, mounted on new sandstone pillars each side of the steps as a key feature of the works.
Working in partnership with Southern Green Landscape Architects, final decoration along the footpaths of the 7.5-hectare park comes from new public art installations, picnic seating and benches, street lighting and soft landscaping.
Steve Conn, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, said: “Restoring such an iconic visitor attraction on South Shields seafront is a scheme we are proud to add to our portfolio. Work was delivered in phases to ensure that areas of the park could stay open for visitors while construction was underway. With most people relying on their local parks and green spaces during the Covid-19 lockdowns, the regeneration of North Marine Park has never been more important.”
David Renwick, Area Director for the North, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Regenerating and conserving public parks remains a high priority for us as we commit to promoting more environmentally-sustainable heritage and improving people’s health and wellbeing. We are proud to support South Tyneside Council in their restoration of North Marine Park.”
The new Roman-themed children’s play area and adult fitness trim trail was the final section to complete and is now open to the public as per the latest Covid-19 guidance.
Local residents and visitors have provided positive feedback throughout the development, with one onlooker commenting: “I would like to thank all the team involved in the North Marine Park restoration. I have been attending the park throughout the works and I have to say, I’m very impressed. Not only has the team made the park come alive they have managed to keep the works going during the pandemic. I have particularly enjoyed watching the reconstruction of the new staircase and pathway. Well done to all involved.”
Restoring such an iconic visitor attraction on South Shields seafront is a scheme we are proud to add to our portfolio. Work was delivered in phases to ensure that areas of the park could stay open for visitors while construction was underway. With most people relying on their local parks and green spaces during the Covid-19 lockdowns, the regeneration of North Marine Park has never been more important.”