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.
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.