New Tyne Bridge to be unveiled

15 April 2011

Visitors to the award winning Saltwell Park in Gateshead will now be able to see the Tyne Bridge from its gothic mansion, Saltwell Towers.

This is not as a result of any special telescopic lenses; rather Gateshead Council will unveil a replica of the Tyne Bridge at the Saltwell Park Show this weekend.

The bridge replica is part of Gateshead Council’s most recent silver award winning Chelsea Flower Show exhibit, designed to celebrate Gateshead’s involvement in the Great North Run for its 30th anniversary.

The more permanent installation in Saltwell Park is thanks to sponsorship from Northumbrian Water. The exhibit, sponsored by Nova, was designed by Alan J Smith of Redbox Design Group on behalf of the council.

Deputy Mayor of Gateshead, Cllr Joe Mitchinson said: “The Chelsea Flower Show exhibit has been installed in the shadow of the fairytale Saltwell Towers so that it will leave a lasting legacy for local people and visitors to enjoy. We want to make sure that the local community benefits from the display, so youngsters who attend educational sessions at the park every year will learn more about it.

“I hope that many people from Gateshead, and beyond, will add seeing the exhibit to their list of fun activities to take part in this weekend at the Saltwell Park Show.”

Louise Hunter, Head of Corporate Responsibility for Northumbrian Water, said: “Northumbrian Water has been a long-term supporter over recent years of Gateshead Council’s exhibits at the biggest and best flower show in the world.

“We are pleased to have been able to preserve the latest garden exhibited at Chelsea back home in the North East as a lasting legacy for future generations and communities to enjoy.”

The exhibit features the Gateshead half of the Tyne Bridge as its stunning centrepiece, two Tyne Bridge towers and pansies planted by children from South Street Primary School to represent runners. The area around the bridge has been planted with different varieties of lavender to represent the River Tyne running beneath it.

The bridge was designed by Washington-based Clifford Chapman Metalworks and is made up of 24 separate pieces. Its dimensions are a ninth scale of the actual Tyne Bridge, this still leaves it a substantial 14 metres long and 4 metres from the top of the base to the apex of the curve.

The Friends of Saltwell Park will include the display in their regular park trails for visitors and have encouraged budding photographers to document its installation and enter images into a competition to win a camera. The best images submitted will be exhibited in Saltwell Towers.

The Saltwell Park Show is now in its sixth year and provides a fun day out for the whole family. From music and giveaways, to flower arranging and African drumming, the show has something for all ages and interests.

The show is open from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, as are the park and ride buses which will run every 15 minutes from Gateshead Civic Centre throughout the show.

To enter a photo of the new Chelsea Flower Show display into the competition, send your name, phone number, age and a title for the picture to or post a CD to Sam Reed, Gateshead Council, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1HH. Images must be received by April 18. Terms and conditions apply – for more information visit  

To become a Friend of Saltwell Park – a group designed to promote and protect the wellbeing and enjoyment of the park - contact Judy Summerson on 0191 488 3597, or visit the Friends stand at Saltwell Show on April 16 and 17 April.

Media contact: Sam Reed at Gateshead Council on Tel: 0191 4332018

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