Tyne and Wear
Tyne and Wear (/ ... /) is a metropolitan county in North East England, situated around the mouths of the rivers Tyne and Wear. It came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. It consists of the five metropolitan boroughs of Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and the City of Sunderland. The county is bordered to the north by Northumberland, to the south by County Durham and to the east of the county lies the North Sea. It is the smallest county in North East England by area, but by far the largest in terms of population.
Prior to the 1974 reforms, the territory now covered by the county of Tyne and Wear straddled the border between the counties of Northumberland and Durham, the border being marked by the river Tyne; that territory also included five county boroughs.
Tyne and Wear County Council, based at Sandyford House, was abolished in 1986 along with the other metropolitan county councils in England by the Local Government Act 1985, and so its districts (the metropolitan boroughs) have since functioned effectively as unitary authorities. However, the metropolitan county continues to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference, and as a ceremonial county.
The Local Government Act 1888 constituted Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead and Sunderland as county boroughs (Newcastle had "county corporate" status as the "County and Town of Newcastle upon Tyne" since 1400). Tynemouth joined them in 1904. Between the county boroughs, various other settlements also formed part of the administrative counties of Durham and of Northumberland.
The need to reform local government on Tyneside was recognised by the government as early as 1935, when a Royal Commission to Investigate the Conditions of Local Government on Tyneside was appointed. The three commissioners were to
The report of the Royal Commission, published in 1937, recommended the establishment of a Regional Council for Northumberland and Tyneside (to be called the "Northumberland Regional Council") to administer services that needed to be exercised over a wide area, with a second tier of smaller units for other local-government purposes. The second-tier units would form by amalgamating the various existing boroughs and districts. The county boroughs in the area would lose their status. Within this area, a single municipality would be formed covering the four county boroughs of Newcastle, Gateshead, Tynemouth, South Shields and other urban districts and boroughs.
A minority report proposed amalgamation of Newcastle, Gateshead, Wallsend, Jarrow, Felling, Gosforth, Hebburn and Newburn into a single "county borough of Newcastle-on-Tyneside". The 1937 proposals never came into operation: local authorities could not agree on a scheme and the legislation of the time did not allow central government to compel one.
Tyneside (excluding Sunderland) was a Special Review Area under the Local Government Act 1958. The Local Government Commission for England came back with a recommendation to create a new county of Tyneside based on the review area, divided into four separate boroughs. This was not implemented. The Redcliffe-Maud Report proposed a Tyneside unitary authority, again excluding Sunderland, which would have set up a separate East Durham unitary authority.
The White Paper that led to the Local Government Act 1972 proposed as "area 2" a metropolitan county including Newcastle and Sunderland, extending as far south down the coast as Seaham and Easington, and bordering "area 4" (which would become Tees Valley). The Bill as presented in November 1971 pruned back the southern edge of the area, and gave it the name "Tyneside". The name "Tyneside" proved controversial on Wearside, and a government amendment changed the name to "Tyne and Wear" at the request of Sunderland County Borough Council.
Although Tyne and Wear County Council was abolished in 1986, several joint bodies exist to run certain services on a county-wide basis. Most notable is the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority, which co-ordinates transport policy. Through its passenger transport executive, known as Nexus, it owns and operates the Tyne and Wear Metro light rail system, and the Shields ferry service and the Tyne Tunnel, linking communities on either side of the River Tyne. Also through Nexus, the authority subsidises socially necessary transport services (including taxis) and operates a concessionary fares scheme for the elderly and disabled. Nexus has been an executive body of the North East Joint Transport Committee since November 2018.
Other joint bodies include the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, which was created from the merger of the Tyne and Wear Archives Service and Tyne and Wear Museums. These joint bodies are administered by representatives of all five of the constituent councils. In addition the Northumbria Police force covers Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.
There have been occasional calls for Tyne and Wear to be abolished and the traditional border between Northumberland and County Durham to be restored.
Climate and environment
Tyne and Wear either has or closely borders two official Met Office stations, neither located in one of the major urban centres. The locations for those are in marine Tynemouth where Tyne meets the North Sea east of Newcastle and inland Durham in County Durham around 20 kilometres (12 mi) south-west of Sunderland. There are some clear differences between the stations temperature and precipitation patterns even though both have a cool-summer and mild-winter oceanic climate.
Tyne and Wear contains green belt interspersed throughout the county, mainly on the fringes of the Tyneside/Wearside conurbation. There is also an inter-urban line of belt helping to keep the districts of South Tyneside, Gateshead, and Sunderland separated. It was first drawn up from the 1950s. All the county's districts contain some portion of belt.
Tyne and Wear is divided into 12 Parliamentary constituencies. Historically, the area has been a Labour stronghold; South Shields is the only Parliamentary constituency that has never returned a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons since the Reform Act of 1832.
Newcastle and Sunderland are known for declaring their election results early on election night. Therefore, they frequently give the first indication of nationwide trends. An example of this was at the 2016 European Union referendum. Newcastle was the first large city to declare, and 50.6% of voters voted to Remain; this proportion was far lower than predicted by experts. Sunderland declared soon after and gave a 62% vote to Leave, much higher than expected. These two results were seen as an early sign that the United Kingdom had voted to Leave.
Italics indicate the district centre. For a complete list of all villages, towns and cities see the list of places in Tyne and Wear.
Places of interest
- Angel of the North
- Beamish Museum, which straddles the Gateshead/County Durham boundary
- BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
- Dunston Staiths
- Gateshead International Stadium
- Gateshead Millennium Bridge
- Saltwell Park
- Shipley Art Gallery
- Tanfield Railway, Sunniside (crosses boundary into County Durham)
- The Sage Gateshead
- Tyne Bridge (Shared with Newcastle upon Tyne)
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- Discovery Museum (previously Museum of Science & Engineering)
- Hadrian's Wall
- Hancock Museum
- Jesmond Dene public park
- Newcastle Castle Keep
- St James' Park
- Leazes Park
- Centre for Life
- Town Moor
- Tyneside cinema
- Chinatown, Newcastle
- Utilita Arena
- Laing Art Gallery
- Theatre Royal
- Northumberland Street
- Grey Street
- Grey's Monument
- The Biscuit Factory
- Tyne Bridge (Shared with Gateshead)
- North Tyneside
- South Tyneside