Leazes Park is the first public park on Tyneside, officially opened by Alderman Sir John Hammond on 23rd December 1873.
Various designers John Hancock, John Laing and finally John Fulton the Town Surveyor produced designs for a new park, some of which were rejected as being too expensive or extravagant. The final layout centres around the lake which was created on the line of the Lort Burn. The Bandstand and Terrace were added and later the area was surrounded by metal railings.
The grand Jubilee gates were added to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. In 1905, a bust of Alderman Sir Charles Hammond was erected as the centrepiece to the Terrace and the park was complete.
In 1996 the first round of Heritage Lottery Bid proposals were started and on the 19th April 2001 the Heritage Lottery Fund approved the Leazes Park Restoration Project and provided a grant of 3.7 million to restore the park.
The Terrace, Bandstand Area were ornamented in the grand Victorian tradition. The bandstand was built in 1875 by George Smith and Hay of Glasgow. It disappeared in the 1960s but was recreated from historic records as part of the park restoration by Heritage Engineering. The rebuilt bandstand was constructed at ground level to allow access for wheelchair users.
The Terrace is a grand feature ornamented with vases, urns and statues. Visitors could promenade, enjoy the views and listen to music from the bandstands. Laid out in 1879, the terrace was mass produced using concrete which could be moulded into the shapes needed. It was a challenge to match the appearance of the original concrete. Brick rubble, glass, coal and even bones in the concrete were replicated using coloured gravels.
The centre of the terrace was chosen in 1902 as the best location for the bust of Alderman Sir Charles Hamond who supported the campaign for Leazes Park. The bust was recreated in 2004 after being lost in 1992.
Behind the terrace as you leave the Park you will pass through the Jubilee Gates. Constructed in 1879 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Constructed from wrought iron, they fell into disrepair but were completely rebuilt in 2004. The pedestrian gate on the right is an original gate which was saved and refurbished.
Underneath the Park flows the Lort Burn commemorated in this work of art.