History of "The People's Park"
Saltwell Park originated from Saltwell Cottage Estate, owned by William Wailes, a leading stained glass manufacturer. William Wailes had Saltwell Towers built as his family home.
He sold it to Gateshead Corporation to use as a public park. At that time many local people lived in cramped, dirty conditions with no sanitation. Diseases such as cholera and diphtheria were rife. The Park 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.
The Park provides valuable habitat for wildlife. Bats, foxes, damselfly and over 100 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.