Gateshead

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Gateshead Millennium Bridge
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Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Gateshead is a town in Tyne and Wear in north-east England on the south side of the River Tyne opposite Newcastle upon Tyne which covers the North Bank. It is the main settlement in the metropolitan borough of Gateshead. Gateshead and Newcastle are linked by ten bridges which are shared by the two towns.

The town is the location of the Metro Centre, which on completion of the new red mall in October 2004, will regain its place as the biggest shopping centre in Europe. Gateshead is also the location of the Team Valley Trading Estate, initially the largest and still one of the largest purpose built commercial estates in the UK.

Gateshead has for many years been overshadowed, culturally and in repute, by its near neighbour Newcastle upon Tyne. More recently, however, riverside redevelopments have spread from the Newcastle side of the Tyne to the Gateshead side. The Gateshead Millennium Bridge, erected in the year 2001, spans the river and is of singular design. The new BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art has been established in a converted flour mill; the pair of structures are roughly comparable with London's Tate Modern and the London Millennium Bridge. The Sage Gateshead, a venue for music and the performing arts, constructed adjacent to the Baltic opened on 17 December 2004 and will strengthen the similarity between Gateshead's river waterfront, and London's South Bank.

The Angel of the North
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The Angel of the North

Gateshead is also home to the famous sculpture The Angel of the North, Britain's largest sculpture with a height of 20 metres and a 54 metre wing span. This controversial sculpture, which was erected in 1998, and was designed by Antony Gormley. It is visible from the A1 road immediately south of Gateshead, as well as from the East Coast Main Line; the statue is to the right of the road and railway line as the traveller heads north.

Gateshead International Stadium regularly holds international athletics meetings over the summer months. It is also host to rugby league fixtures, and the home ground of both Gateshead Thunder Rugby League Football Club and Gateshead Football Club. Both clubs have had their problems: Gateshead FC were controversially elected out of the football league to make way for Peterborough United in the 1960s, whilst Gateshead Thunder lost their place in Super League as a result of a takeover (officially termed a merger) by Hull FC. Both Gateshead clubs continue to ply their trade at lower levels in their respective sports, thanks mainly to the efforts of their supporters.

Gateshead is served by the Tyne and Wear Metro. There are stations at Gateshead Interchange, Gateshead International Stadium, Felling, Pelaw and Heworth.

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