The South Tyneside greats to be honoured with Blue Plaques in latest round of issues

St. Hilda's Colliery, South Shields. Picture: TOM BANKS
St. Hilda's Colliery, South Shields. Picture: TOM BANKS

Some of South Tyneside’s best known and loved personalities and places have been overlooked in a new list of Blue Plaque issues.

Despite being nominated, there is no place for TV agony aunt Denise Robertson, historian and photographer Amy Flagg, or Arsenal footballer George Armstrong.

bandstand in the West Park, South Shields

bandstand in the West Park, South Shields

Instead, plaques will be put up later this year to honour John Dagnia, who built Cleadon House in 1738, and former borough councillor, mayor and organiser of the Jarrow Crusade, Joseph Bede Symonds.

The St Hilda pithead in South Shields and St Hilda’s Colliery Band will also be commemorated with a single plaque in a joint nomination approval.

The decision by members of South Tyneside Council’s Place Select Committee aims to boost the borough’s standing in the national Blue Plaque league table.

In 2015, it was ranked in the bottom ten in the country for its heritage by the Royal Society of Arts.

Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom

Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “The Place Select Committee reviewed the long list of candidates suggested by members of the public and supported the prioritised schemes that were outlined in the report.

“These were chosen in light of their significant contribution to the borough’s cultural, industrial or civic legacy and the valuable role they have played in the history and development of South Tyneside.”

It is hoped the first plaque will be in place by Christmas with the others in place in the next six months.

Other people nominated by groups or individuals were Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom, whose financial legacy led to the founding of today’s South Tyneside College, and geologist Arthur Holmes.

Richard Thornton, founder of the Moss Thornton theatre empire, and Victorian music hall entertainer and songwriter James Wemyss, also made the list.

Places of interest put forward were the West Park bandstand, and the bandstand in the South Marine Park, both South Shields.

South Tyneside has 21 plaques which have been installed by various organisations. These include The Old Town Hall in South Shields Market Place, one to Catherine Cookson in Mill Dam, South Shields and a memorial plaque to the Gallipoli campaign at Little Haven.