South Shields park steps back in time as stairs which echo its past are reinstated in £3.2 million revamp

A staircase which once took visitors through a seafront park has been opened ready for people to use during the festive break as work progresses on its £3.2 million transformation.

The Grand Promenade Staircase is a key feature in the National Lottery-funded project to restore North Marine Park on the South Shields seafront to how it was when it opened in 1890.

Part of the park’s original layout, the promenade staircase linked the lower and upper levels, giving people a route to enjoy views of the sea, river and coastline.

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Now the striking steps have been recreated with a design based on photographic records, historic maps and the original borough engineers’ plans.

The Grand Staircase and elevated walkway in North Marine Park, South Shields, is complete, with just the decorations to now add.
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Councillor John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy at South Tyneside Council, said their completion was a “real milestone" in the project and added: “Set in the location of the original landmark, visitors can be transported back in time to walk in the footsteps of the generations before them from many years ago.

“It is really exciting to be able to make this stunning new feature available for people to use and enjoy such fantastic south-facing views along the promenade.

"And with the newly formed footpaths and opened-up spaces, it really does offer a wonderful, tranquil place for visitors to enjoy wintery walks during these cold months.”

Replicas of the lion heads will be added to their staircase soon.

To finish the stairs, decorative urns will top off the four sandstone pillars on each side of the steps, with the replicas to feature the original terracotta Lion’s heads design.

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Restoration has also included a reconstruction of the park’s grotto feature, the refurbishment of the bowling clubhouse and green, park pavilion and the Pier Parade and Beacon entrances and decorative balustrades and stone copings.

A photo showing what the original staircase looked like.

A Roman-themed children’s play area and adult fitness trim trail are undergoing final checks, with historical plaques and information boards to go on show.

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The project, supported with £2.4 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, is a partnership between the council, Esh Construction, Southern Green landscape architects and the Friends of North and South Marine Parks, who have been working closely with the regeneration team and parks officer, Jade Ridley.

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An old postcard captures the view from the park in the past.
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The view from the steps in North Marine Park, South Shields.
The steps are now open to use in North Marine Park, South Shields.
The elevated walkway helps people walk through the park if they want to avoid steps.