Friends of Saltwell Park

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History of "The People's Park"


Saltwell Park originated from Saltwell Cottage Estate, owned by William Wailes, a leading stained glass manufacturer. 


He sold it to Gateshead Corporation to use as a public park.  At that time local people lived in cramped, dirty conditions with no sanitation. Diseases such as cholera and diphtheria were rife.  It provided a "green lung" to local folk to improve their health.  It opened to the public in 1876 as "The People's Park" and was an immediate success.

Our Park Today

Saltwell Park is one of Britain's finest examples of a Victorian Park and is Grade 2 listed.  It is also registered as a Garden of Specific Historic Interest by English Heritage.  It covers 55 acres and holds 12 Grade 2 listed structures, including Saltwell Towers,  It has a green gym and tennis courts, free and available to all. 

The Park provides valuable habitat for wildlife.  Bats, foxes, damselfly and over 90 species of birds have been recorded, including kingfisher and redwing.  Plants in the park include wood garlic, wood avens and a significant variety of tree species.