GATESHEAD, a municipal and parliamentary borough and market-town of England, county of Durham, is situated on the right bank of the Tyne, opposite Newcastle, of which it practically forms a part, being united with it by three bridges. The town consists of two principal and nearly parallel streets, from which others diverge in various directions. A great fire which occurred in 1854 was taken advantage of for the carrying out of improvements in the old part of the town, and it is now much less crowded than formerly. In the suburbs there are a considerable number of fine mansions. The parish church, recently restored, is an ancient cruciform edifice surmounted by a lofty tower ; and several of the other churches and chapels are handsome buildings. The Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, the Congregationalists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics are all represented. The town possesses a fine cemetery, a well laid out public park, a new town-hall, a grammar school, a hospital (St Edmund's) for fifteen indigent persons, a reformatory, a mechanics' institute, and a dispensary. There are large iron works (including foundries and factories for engines, boilers, chains, and cables), shipbuilding yards, glass manufactories, chemical, soap, and candle works, brick and tile works, breweries and tanneries. The town also contains the principal depOt of the North-Eastern Railway, with large stores and locomotive works. Extensive coal mines exist in the vicinity; and at Gateshead Fell are large quarries for grindstones, which are much esteemed and are exported to all parts of the world.
The large number of Roman relics found at Gateshead would seem to indicate that it was originally an outwork of the Roman station at Newcastle. The name is mentioned as early as 1080, and in 1164 the bishop of Durham granted to its burgesses equal privileges with those of Newcastle. On the dissolution of the see of Durham in 1552, an Act was passed for uniting the town to the borough of Newcastle, but on the restoration of the rights of the bishopric it was again placed under that jurisdiction, being governed, from 1317 to 1695, with the exception of that short intermission, by a bailiff nominated by the bishop. From 1695 to 1826, when it became a municipal borough, it was governed by two stewards, elected by the inhabitants. Gateshead returns one member to parliament. The population of the municipal borough, which in 1861 was 33,587, was 48,627 in 1871.