The 55-acre Saltwell Park that borders Low Fell, is arguably the North East’s best park.
Designed in part by Victorian Landscape Architect, Edward Kemp, Saltwell Park, has been part of Low Fell life since 1876 and up to 2 million visitors frequent the park annually.
The park has been given the “Britain’s Best Park” award in 2005 and the “Green Flag Award” in 2006. The Heritage Lottery Fund helped rejuvenate the park with a £10 million restoration project. The park includes public sports facilities, a refreshment house, a lake, play areas, bowling greens, Saltwell Towers, the animal house, an education centre and a maze.
There’s often something happening at the park and most local residents are familiar with the annual fireworks display every Guy Fawkes’ night.
In December 1875, John Hancock of Newcastle 1808-1890 was asked to plan Saltwell Park. However, he declined and Edward Kemp undertook the task at the price of 4 guineas each day. Edward Kemp’s ground plan was completed by February 1876.
Although the park opened in 1876 there was no official opening since the planned opening on Whit Monday was cancelled.
In 1880, the park was close to being transformed into a zoo, it had swans, ducks, peacocks and a peahen, pheasants, hens, a bantam cock and hen.
The lake was also constructed in 1880 and Joseph Swan was asked how to illuminate the lake. However, no action was taken. As well as the now common rowing boats, other types of boats were used on the lake including canoes and a motor-boat.
One of the earliest buildings in the park was the bandstand. It was planned in July 1876 and then moved in April 1882 to a site near the refreshment house. A new bandstand was built in May 1895 which was moved to the lake in 1909 then to the Grove in 1921.
The park has held many local events including fireworks displays and the Gateshead Flower show.Friends of Saltwell Park