Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead
Angel of the North
Location in England
Location in England
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
RegionNorth East
CountyTyne and Wear
Admin. HQGateshead
 • MPsIan Mearns (L)
Liz Twist (L)
 • Total54.9 sq mi (142.3 km2)
 • Rank168th
 • Total196,154
 • RankRanked 99th
 • Density3,600/sq mi (1,400/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
ONS code00CH (ONS)
E08000037 (GSS)

The Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead is a metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, England. It includes Gateshead, Rowlands Gill, Whickham, Blaydon, Ryton, Felling, Birtley, Pelaw, Dunston and Low Fell. The borough forms part of the Tyneside conurbation, centred on Newcastle upon Tyne. At the 2021 census, the borough had a population of 196,154.

It is bordered by the local authority areas of Newcastle upon Tyne to the north, Northumberland to the west, County Durham to the south, Sunderland to the south-east, and South Tyneside to the east.


The town of Gateshead was an ancient borough, having been granted a charter in 1164 from Hugh Pudsey, the Bishop of Durham.[2] The borough's functions were relatively limited until 1836, when it was made a municipal borough under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, which standardised how most boroughs operated across the country.[3][4] When elected county councils were created in 1889, Gateshead was considered large enough to provide its own county-level services, and so it was made a county borough, independent from the new Durham County Council.[5]

The modern borough of Gateshead was created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, as one of five metropolitan boroughs within the new county of Tyne and Wear. The borough covered the whole area of five former districts and part of a sixth, which were all abolished at the same time:[6][7]

Aside from Gateshead, the other districts had all been lower-tier district authorities subordinate to Durham County Council prior to the 1974 reforms. Whilst administratively independent from Durham County Council, the county borough of Gateshead had been part of County Durham for the ceremonial purposes of lieutenancy and shrievalty.[8]

From 1974 until 1986 the borough council was a lower-tier district authority, with Tyne and Wear County Council providing county-level services. The county council was abolished in 1986, since when the borough council has provided both district-level and county-level services, as the old county borough of Gateshead had done prior to 1974. Some functions are provided across Tyne and Wear by joint committees with the other districts. The county of Tyne and Wear continues to exist as a ceremonial county for the purposes of lieutenancy, but has had no administrative functions since 1986.[9]


Gateshead Council
Coat of arms or logo
Eileen McMaster,
since 19 May 2023
Martin Gannon,
since 20 May 2016
Sheena Ramsey
since February 2017[10]
Seats66 councillors
Political groups
Administration (49)
  Labour (49)
Opposition (17)
  Liberal Democrats (17)
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
2 May 2024
Meeting place
Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1HH

Since 1986, Gateshead Council has provided both district-level and county-level functions, with some services being provided through joint arrangements with the other Tyne and Wear councils. Since 2014 the council has been a member of the North East Combined Authority, which is due to be replaced by the larger North East Mayoral Combined Authority in May 2024.[11]

There is one civil parish in the borough at Lamesley, which forms an additional tier of local government for its area; the rest of the borough is an unparished area.[12] Birtley was also a civil parish with a town council until it was abolished in 2006.[13]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since the modern borough's creation in 1974.[14]

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Gateshead. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 2002 have been:[15]

Councillor Party From To
Mick Henry[16] Labour 2002 20 May 2016
Martin Gannon Labour 20 May 2016


Following the 2023 election the composition of the council was:[17]

Party Councillors
Labour 49
Liberal Democrats 17
Total 66

The next election is due in May 2024.


See also: Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2004 the council has comprised 66 councillors representing 22 wards, with each ward electing three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four, with a third of the council (one councillor for each ward) elected each time for a four-year term of office.[18]

The wards are:


The council is based at the Civic Centre on Regent Street, which was purpose-built for the council and was completed in 1987.[19]

Old Town Hall: Council's headquarters 1870–1987

Prior to 1987 the council had been based at the Town Hall on West Street, which had been completed in 1870 for the old Gateshead Borough Council.[20]

Parliamentary constituencies

In national government the borough contains two parliamentary constituencies, Gateshead and Blaydon. The Gateshead constituency covers the centre and east of the borough. The MP, first elected in 2010, is Ian Mearns (Labour). The Blaydon constituency covers the west of the borough and Birtley to the south, and has been represented since 2017 by Liz Twist, also for Labour. The Jarrow constituency takes in the very eastern tip of the borough, including Pelaw. It is represented by Kate Osborne (Labour).

Political conferences

Gateshead has hosted two major political conferences. The first of these was Labour's spring conference, ahead of the 2005 general election.[21] The Conservatives also held a conference at the Sage Gateshead in March 2008. The Conservatives do not have any councillors in Gateshead and at the time only had one MP in the whole of the north east region. That conference was seen as an attempt to connect to voters in the area.[22]


See also: List of schools in Gateshead

Gateshead has a number of schools across the borough at both primary and secondary level. Results are well above average, with a number of outstanding schools.[23] Gateshead has amongst the best primary and secondary schools in the country overall.[24] A range of schools are present in Gateshead, including Jewish, Roman Catholic, Church of England, Methodist, and non-religious state schools. There is one independent school in the borough, Chase school in Whickham.[25] Further independent schools can be found in Newcastle, Sunderland, and Tynedale.

Gateshead town itself has a further education college, Gateshead College, and a leading Jewish higher education institution, Beth Midrash Lemoroth — Jewish Teachers Training College. [26]


Gateshead has a variety of landscapes, urban and industrial areas include the town itself, Whickham and Blaydon in the west, with more semi-rural and rural locations in the west including Ryton and Rowlands Gill. Overall though, it is a fairly green area with over half of the borough being green belt or countryside.[27] Most of this is located away from built up Tyneside to the south of the borough into Derwentside/Chester-le-Street and to the west into Tynedale.

In total, there are over twenty countryside sites in the borough, from ancient meadows and woodland to local nature reserves.[28]

Notable features of Gateshead's countryside include Ryton Willows, found at Old Ryton Village on the banks of the Tyne at Ryton. Ryton Willows is 43 hectares of locally rare grassland and ponds located near to an affluent village with Georgian and Victorian houses. Because of this it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[29][30]

The Derwent Valley, in the south/south west of the borough, offers panoramic views and pleasant walks. It was in the Derwent Valley, near Rowlands Gill, that the Northern Kites Project re-introduced red kites. This was part of a national project to introduce the birds, that were once so commonplace across the country, back into the wild. This scheme has proven to be a success, with birds being spotted across the west of the borough, from Crawcrook to Rowlands Gill itself.[31][32]

The borough also contains one National Trust site, the expansive Gibside estate near Rowlands Gill, containing a stately home and a chapel, parts of its grounds have also been given SSSI status.[33]

Even in the more urban areas of the borough, in Gateshead itself and to the east, efforts have been made to maintain green spaces and wildlife sites. One such project is Bill Quay Community Farm, east of the borough. Offering a rural experience within an urban setting, it provides an important educational tool for local schools.[34]


The 2001 census stated that the borough's predominant religion was 80.25% Christian. Other statistics found 10.94% of no religion, 6.94 unstated, 0.82% Jewish and 0.60% Muslim.[35]

The 2011 census, stated that the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead was 67.0% Christian, 0.9% Muslim, 1.5% Jewish, 23.9% were not religious and 5.7% of the population refused to state their religion.[36]


The area was once dependent on heavy industry such as steel making in the Derwent Valley and coal mining (across the borough). Shipbuilding on the Tyne was also a major source of employment. However, with the decline of these industries, Gateshead has attempted to re-invent itself. Although there are significant areas of deprivation in the borough, particularly in the centre and east, a number of towns and villages in the borough are popular with commuters and professionals who are employed in the service industry and well paid areas of the secondary sector such as engineering (which remains a major source of employment). Such commuter areas include Ryton, Rowlands Gill, Whickham and Low Fell. The borough is host to Tyne Yard, a major rail freight yard serving the North East.

Gateshead Quayside, once dominated by industry, has benefited from significant investment and gentrification in the past decade.[when?][37] It is now home to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Sage Gateshead.

The area is also an important retail hub, with the largest shopping centre in the European Union, and second largest in Europe as a whole, the MetroCentre, situated adjacent to the A1 trunk road. Further retail, and a significant number of engineering companies are located in the Team Valley Trading Estate, which at one time was the largest industrial estate in Europe.[citation needed]

Arts and culture

Gateshead is home to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Sage Gateshead. The Anthony Gormley structure, the Angel of the North (the largest free standing sculpture in the United Kingdom) is in Gateshead. This puts Gateshead at the forefront of the arts both regionally and nationally.[38]

The Shipley Art Gallery, housing outstanding collections of contemporary craft, studio ceramics, paintings and decorative art, is managed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums on behalf of Gateshead Council. Gateshead is a library authority and within its Central Library is a large venue facility called the Caedmon Hall.[39]


Gateshead has an association football team, Gateshead F.C., who play in the English National League. They play at the Gateshead International Stadium, which also hosts athletics.

Freedom of the Borough

The following people have received the Freedom of the Borough of Gateshead:[40]

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2019)

In addition, freedom was granted to 72 Engineer Regiment on 9 July 2011.[42][40]


  1. ^ The parish of Birtley was also reduced in area as part of the 1974 reforms to exclude the part within the designated area for the new town of Washington, which went to the borough of Sunderland.
  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Gateshead Local Authority (E08000037)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ Historical Account of Newcastle-upon-Tyne including the borough of Gateshead. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Mackenzie and Dent. 1827. pp. 745–760. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  3. ^ Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Municipal Corporations in England and Wales: Appendix 3. 1835. p. 1525. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  4. ^ Municipal Corporations Act. 1835. p. 456. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  5. ^ "Local Government Act 1888",, The National Archives, 1888 c. 41
  6. ^ "Local Government Act 1972: Schedule 1",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70 (sch. 1), retrieved 4 April 2024
  7. ^ "The Metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/137
  8. ^ "Durham: Diagram showing administrative boundaries, 1972". National Library of Scotland. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  9. ^ "Local Government Act 1985",, The National Archives, 1985 c. 51, retrieved 29 March 2024
  10. ^ "10 Questions: Sheena Ramsey". North East Times Magazine. 2 October 2019. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  11. ^ "North East devolution deal". GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  13. ^ "Birtley Town Council – Arrangements for Transfer of Services and Employees to Gateshead Council". Gateshead Council. 20 September 2005. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007 – via Internet Archive.
  14. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Council minutes". Gateshead Council. Retrieved 14 August 2022.
  16. ^ Tallentire, Mark (26 April 2016). "Gateshead Council leader quits after 14 years". Northern Echo. Retrieved 14 August 2022.
  17. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  18. ^ "The Borough of Gateshead (Electoral Changes) Order 2004",, The National Archives, SI 2004/361, retrieved 4 April 2024
  19. ^ "Gateshead". Historic England. pp. 13–18. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  20. ^ Historic England. "Town Hall, ancillary buildings and former Police Station to rear, West Street (Grade II) (1277845)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  21. ^ "North East and Cumbria - Labour Sages?". BBC News. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  22. ^ "Hague Woos North With Road Pledge". BBC News. 15 March 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  23. ^ "'Outstanding Schools Praised'". BBC News. 7 February 2004. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  24. ^ "'Top Marks in New Tables'". 9 January 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  25. ^ "'Chase School's ISD Profile". Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  26. ^ Eremeev, Egor. "Beth Midrash Lemoroth — Jewish Teachers Training College (Sunderland, United Kingdom) - apply, prices, reviews | Smapse". Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  27. ^ "Countryside in Gateshead". Gateshead Council. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  28. ^ "Countryside sites in Gateshead". Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  29. ^ "Cycle gateshead - Keelman's Way - Landmarks". Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008. Cycle-routes
  30. ^ "Natural England - SSSIs : SSSI information". Archived from the original on 25 May 2011.
  31. ^ "Delight as red kite chicks hatch". BBC News. 16 June 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
  32. ^ "Young Red Kite Takes First Flight". BBC News. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
  33. ^ "Search results". Archived from the original on 25 May 2011.
  34. ^ "Bill Quay Community Farm". Gateshead Council. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  35. ^ "Check Browser Settings". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011.
  36. ^ "Gateshead - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data.
  37. ^ "'News from the Other Side'". Newcastle City Council. Retrieved 16 March 2008.[dead link]
  38. ^ "'Region's Light is No Longer Hidden'". Newcastle Journal. 27 March 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  39. ^ Caedmon Hall
  40. ^ a b "Honorary Freemen of Gateshead - Gateshead Council".
  41. ^ a b Dawson, Kristy (4 December 2023). "Historian David Olusoga and ex-council leader Mick Henry given the Honorary Freedom of Gateshead". The Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 5 December 2023.
  42. ^ Hutchinson, Lisa (24 March 2014). "Crowds line the streets of Gateshead for soldiers' freedom parade".

54°57′N 1°36′W / 54.950°N 1.600°W / 54.950; -1.600