Park was a project for unemployed

Bents Park in South Shields.
Bents Park in South Shields.

If the Marine Parks in Shields were the belles of the ball, the Bents Park, I’ve always thought, was the slightly poorer relation in the home-made dress.

As kids, it was a place to play desultorily games of tennis; but otherwise, it always seemed a quiet park, a haunt of dog walkers.

Today, a show ground for the great free summer concerts, Cinderella has turned into a diva!

I mention it only because I’ve just come across a note of when the Bents Park was being laid out in 1903.

It then covered 40 acres, between Beach Road and Mowbray Road, and was conceived as a project for the unemployed, giving work to upwards of a hundred men a week.

This involved shifting rubbish and discarded bricks, that eventually became the foundation of the extension of Erskine Road to the Coast Road.

A children’s playground, and a drill ground for the volunteers, were among the park’s original provisions.