Crowds form giant '800' ahead of North Shields' landmark anniversary next year

The vibrant community of North Shields is coming together to host a year of celebrations for the town’s 800th anniversary in 2025.

North Shields 800 will bring everyone together to enjoy a calendar of exciting events, exhibitions and performances that celebrates North Shields past, present and future. It will include a spectacular parade of sail and a blessing of the fishing fleet, a parade along the Fish Quay, exhibitions, street art murals, heritage projects and creative collaborations.

Ahead of the anniversary, over 100 people gathered to make the number '800', seen from above, at Collingwood monument at Tynemouth on Friday afternoon.

North Shields 800 will bring performing arts to the streets, stage events at local venues and capture and record memories of the town in years gone by. In 2025 it will be 800 years since a small village made up of simple huts called Shiels was founded on the north bank of the Tyne, where the Fish Quay stands today. Created in around 1225 as a small fishing port to serve Tynemouth Priory, it grew into the thriving harbour of North Shields.

From the 1760s, the town expanded to the bank above the riverside. Today North Shields and its surrounding neighbourhoods have a population of approximately 35,000. The North Shields 800 Committee has been meeting since mid-2023. It has a broad, vibrant membership made up of representatives from heritage groups, the fishing industry, the arts and cultural sector, charities, community groups, local venues and businesses.

North Shields 800 will inspire pride in the town, help people of all ages to explore its heritage and bring together the different communities that call North Shields home. It will raise the profile of the town across the region and beyond, bring a sustained boost to local businesses and increase visitor numbers.

It comes as a series of ambitious regeneration projects in North Shields are nearing completion, including: the Riverside Embankment Walkway linking to the town centre to the Fish Quay; the restoration of Northumberland Square conservation area, the Exchange Theatre and Howard Street; the creation of a new Transport Hub and Thomas Brown Town Square; a series of public art installations across the town; and improvements to the main shopping area, Bedford Street.

Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Dame Norma Redfearn DBE said: “North Shields 800 is a real community effort. It’s been shaped and directed by the people of the North Shields and the fantastic charities, venues, organisations and groups that make the town such a vibrant and friendly place to live, work and visit.

Over 100 people making the number 800 at Collingwood monument at Tynemouth
Over 100 people making the number 800 at Collingwood monument at Tynemouth -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

“This is a chance to celebrate our historic and bustling Fish Quay with its unique mix of hospitality and working fishing boats. It’s a chance to show off the newly regenerated areas as part of our Ambition for North Shields including Northumberland Square, Howard Street and Thomas Brown Square. Visitors can come and go via our new Transport Hub as they enjoy the events, entertainment, activities and exhibitions.

“North Shields has an incredible history. We will look back proudly on the past 800 years and no doubt learn a lot of fascinating facts about our heritage, recording people’s memories of the town as we go.

“We can also look forward to a new chapter for North Shields with a fast-growing creative economy supported by North Shields Cultural Quarter, new affordable housing and high-quality, smart public spaces.

”We’re sure these events will be something people from across the borough and the wider region will enjoy and we look forward to welcoming them to North Shields for the celebrations.”