Great North Feast
Great North Feast,
Tyne & Wear
About Bents Park
Situated on the seafront at South Shields this open grassy park is the venue for a wide range of events including the South Tyneside Festival Sunday Concerts, the Summer Parade, Proper Food and Drink Festival and many more.
When the park isn’t in use for events it is a perfect spot for a picnic, informal games or a gentle stroll.
This park is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by English Heritage for its special historic interest. A chain of three municipal seaside parks (including North and South Marine Park) developed from the 1870s and into the early 20th Century on reclaimed land.
In 1855 the Health Committee of South Shields Corporation was instructed to obtain a site for recreation within the Borough, but they reported that they saw no need as the Bents, an extensive sea-dune system, and the sea beach were readily available to the public.
By 1890s living conditions in the Borough had worsened due to the town’s continual and unremitting industrial expansion and exploitation and the sea-dune system along the sea shore gave concern. In 1896, the Corporation passed a Town Improvement Bill to extend their powers to take over, control and develop the sands and foreshore for recreation and bathing, and prevent further abuse and exploitation. In return for various concessions allowing them to construct and extend their mineral railways within the Borough, the Harton Coal Company surrendered their leasehold to 25ha of the foreshore between the South Marine and the Trow Rocks. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners who owned the freehold of this area invested the freehold in the Corporation on the condition that the northernmost 12ha, which were covered with old ballast hills and refuse from the glass works, were levelled, laid down to grass and developed as a recreation ground. Bents Park was laid out in 1901 under a contract costing £23,000.