Skip to content

Local History Month

Join the library Find or renew books

This year Local History Month is happening in September to coincide with Heritage Open Days. We have a great events programme for you happening across the borough of Gateshead. We are pleased to welcome new partners - The Land of Oak & Iron - to the programme who will be telling us about the fascinating history of Gateshead's landscape and industry in a series of events at their venues. Alongside this we have plenty of walks, talks and displays to enjoy. 

Events programme September 2019  

Tales of the Tyne
Birtley Library
Tuesday 3 September, 2pm  

Jo Bath tells us some interesting stories about our favourite river.

Just turn up
£2 payable at the door
For details phone: 0191 433 6101 
Crawcrook Then and Now
Crawcrook Library
Monday 9 - Friday 27 September

A display of photographs and images of Crawcrook and surrounding area through time.
Free - just turn up  
Elisabethville Walk
Meet at Birtley Library
Tuesday 10 September, 10am  

Birtley Heritage Group will lead this walk. The Birtley Belgians had their own self-contained village in Birtley: see the sites where there used to be the shops, church, hospital and school and into the Birtley Cemetery.

This walk takes 2 hours: please wear suitable clothing  

Free - advance booking essential
For details call: 0191 433 6101 
An Evening with John Grundy
St Mary's Heritage Centre
Tuesday 10 September, 7pm

John Grundy returns in an evening of history, culture and reminiscences. Always entertaining, never dull, John is one of Tyneside's local heroes and patron of St Mary's Heritage Group as well.

£3 - book in advance  
Love and Lust at Gibside
Blaydon Library
Friday 13 September, 1.30pm

We all love a bit of juicy gossip, but this is nothing new. Discover the lives, loves and passions of the Bowes family at Gibside and the scandals which were often reported.

Free - book in advance  
Gateshead's Historic Quayside Images
St Mary's Heritage Centre
Friday 13 September to Saturday 26 October (Viewing available 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 1pm Saturday)

Gateshead began life as a small settlement on the south bank of the River Tyne. Over the centuries the riverside area of the town developed into a bustling commercial, residential and industrial area. This display brings together historic photographs of streets, buildings and other interesting features that once defined the riverside.

Free - just turn up  
Coffins, Plagues and Burials Walk
St Mary's Heritage Centre
Friday 13 September, 10am  

Life along Gateshead's quayside was tough. Overcrowding, poor quality housing, and dampness all led to the spread of diseases such as cholera. Discover more in this walk with local historian Anthea Lang and explore some of the ways people lived and died as well as discovering some of the more bizarre remedies which were available.

Free - advance booking essential  
Winlaton Cottage Forge
Church St, Winlaton, Blaydon, NE21 6AR
Saturday 14 September, 10am to 12 noon

Winlaton Cottage Forge is the last remaining link in the village with Crowley's, a firm which dominated the iron manufacturing trade in the North East of England throughout the 18th Century. Visit the cottage forge containing various artefacts and information about the history of Winlaton.

Free - just turn up  
North East Life in the 1970s and 80s
St Mary's Heritage Centre
Saturday 14 September, 11am

Remember the days of flared trousers, decimalisation and power cuts with local author Andrew Clark. 'North East Life in the 1970s & 80s' is an illustrated talk that also recalls popular toys and games, early computers and video recorders, first holidays abroad, local music, television shows and films. Reminisce about how the region changed in those two decades. You can also purchase a signed copy of the North East Life books, on sale at a special promotion price.

Free - book in advance 
Discover Derwentcote Steel Furnace
Forge Lane, Hamsterley Colliery  NE17 7RS
Saturday 14 September 12 to 4pm

Find out how iron was turned into steel hundreds of years ago and get hands on with our family friendly activities. A rare opportunity to see inside this 18th century furnace which is one of the few remaining examples of this type of furnace in the country. Browse the information boards, see the workers cottages, explore the beautiful woodland on our family trail, learn how a rusted wooden bench is crafted and have a go at wood carving or take part in a free art activity. Family friendly event with a toilet, refreshments and free parking; dogs welcome on a lead.

Free - just turn up  
Introduction to Family History 3 week course
Crawcrook Library
Monday 16, 23 and 30 September 2 to 3pm

This short course will help you through the general research process for doing your own Family History. Aimed at beginners and those with very little experience.

Free - pre-booking essential 

Derwentcote Steel Furnace Tour
Forge Lane, Hamsterley Colliery NE17 7RS
Monday 16 September 5 to 7pm
Friday 20 September 10am to 12pm

Find out how iron was turned into steel hundreds of years ago at Derwentcote Steel Furnace. Learn how wrought iron was turned into steel through the cementation process. Hear how the furnace operated and what it was like to work there several hundred years ago. Visit the remains of the workers cottages and discover what life was like in this idyllic woodland setting.

Free - pre booking essential  
Tickets: 01207 524883
Photomerging - Then and Now
Birtley Library, Tuesday 17 September, 2 to 3pm
Blaydon Library, Thursday 19 September, 10 to 11am

Find out more about photo editing on our ipads.  Our digital team will share some basic photo editing tips and help you merge photos of old and present day Gateshead. Suitable for beginners.

Free - book in advance  
Ambrose Crowley, a man ahead of his time
Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre, Winlaton Mill
Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 August 5.15 to 7 pm

Was Crowley's Mill No. 1 the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution? Find out all about Ambrose Crowley's Ironworks at this informative session. Browse the exhibition about the heritage of Derwenthaugh Park, before buying a drink in café shrub. The talk will be followed by a walk through the Park to see the low dam and spillway which have recently been uncovered.  

Free - pre booking essential
Tickets: 01207 524883 
Whinfield Coke Ovens Guided Walk
Highfield Road, Whinfield Industrial Estate, Highfield, NE39 1EN
Thursday 19 September 6 to 8pm

Learn about the history of the coke ovens, which were the last to operate in Britain up until 1958 and enjoy a guided walk towards the tunnel at Victoria Garesfield. Join Penny Middleton, Northern Archaeological Associates built heritage and conservation specialist and find out the history of this nationally significant site. Walk along the former mineral line towards Victoria Garesfield Colliery, learning about other archaeological sites.

Free - pre booking essential  
Tickets: 01207 524883
Headstones and Heritage
St Mary's Heritage Centre 21 September, 11am

Discover the hidden glories of St Mary's both inside and outside in this 90 minute tour. Once Gateshead's 'mother church', this is the oldest building on the quayside. But how much do you really know about it? Come and find out with our knowledgeable guides.

Free - book in advance 
Family Hands on Heritage
Chopwell Wood, Hookergate Lane, High Spen
Sunday 23 September 11am to 3pm

Get stuck in to heritage with traditional skills for the whole family as we celebrate Land of Oak & Iron and 100 years of forestry. Discover heritage as we celebrate a centenary of forestry. Demonstrations and activities for the whole family including green woodworking, willow weaving, charcoal making, wool spinning, clay tile and pot making and flint napping. See vintage forestry vehicles, heavy horse logging and find out how to enjoy our fantastic natural heritage in the modern day.

Free - just turn up 
Kojay's Kingdom
Blaydon Library  Tuesday 24 September, 1.30pm

In the 1950s Winlaton village cobbler Frank Kojay compiled a unique and eccentric scrapbook detailing his love of the Vale of Derwent. Susan Lynn takes a look at his life and the drawings and pictures from a changed world.

Free - book in advance 
Historic Chopwell Woodland Park
Chopwell Wood, Hookergate Lane, High Spen
Sunday 22 September, 1pm  

Walk through Chopwell Woodland Park and discover how it has changed over several thousand years. Chopwell Woodland Park has links as far back as 650AD. The woodland has had many different forms throughout its life from wild forest, to part of the Manor of Chopwell and then to what we see today. Join us on a gentle walk to explore the vast history of this woodland, at the heart of Land of Oak & Iron.

Free - pre-booking essential  
Tickets: 01207 524883 /
Queen Elizabeth I
Pelaw Library
Thursday 26 September, 7pm

Professor Derry tells us a fascinating story of one of our greatest monarchs.  

£2 pay at the door
For details call: 0191 433 6409 

Further details

Local History Month is organised by Gateshead Council Library Service. For further information contact

Share this page