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Arts and crafts in Tyne and Wear

Tyne and Wear (including Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland) is in the North East of England. It has a population of around 1,100,000 and covers approximately 54,000 hectares. Here is a list of nearby or neighbouring counties: Durham, Northumberland.

County flag of Tyne and WearThe county of Tyne and Wear was created in 1974, has a border on the North Sea coast and is located at the mouths of the River Tyne and River Wear. Within the county are the boroughs of Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and the cities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland. Built between 1994 and 1998 in Gateshead, the Angel of the North quickly become a famous regional landmark. The steel sculpture is 20 metres (66 feet) high and is 54 metres (177 feet) wide from wing tip to wing tip. During the industrial revolution heavy industries such as mining and shipbuilding became a major part of the local economy. Though some manufacturers remain, the areas traditional industries began to decline during the twentieth century. In recent years the service sector, tourism, education, the arts, creative and cultural industries have increased. Performing arts venues in Tyne and Wear include the Sunderland Empire, the Newcastle Arts Centre, the Customs House in South Shields, the Playhouse Whitley Bay, the Sage Gateshead and the Theatre Royal in Newcastle upon Tyne.

There are a number of galleries and museums in Tyne and Wear. The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne has a collection including paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics. It is also a venue for cultural and educational events and exhibitions of contemporary art. The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland hosts exhibitions of work by emerging as well as established artists, from across the United Kingdom and overseas. The large exhibition space has the flexibility to be adapted for a variety of shows such as paintings, photography, sculpture, installation art and multi-media. Artists including Sam Taylor-Wood and Adam Chodzko received commissions and had the opportunity to show their work early in their careers and the gallery also runs activities such as visual arts workshops and educational events. Located on a quayside in Gateshead, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is housed in a converted Flour Mill and hosts various arts exhibitions and events. Visitors can enjoy a good view of the surrounding area from the 5th floor viewing box. Other attractions in Tyne and Wear include the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, Seaton Delaval Hall, the Great North Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

Catherine Cookson

(Born 1906 in South Sheilds in Tyne and Wear), Fiction

An English author of mainly historical fiction, Catherine Cookson became the most widely read novelist in the UK. Her first novel was Kate Hannigan which was published in 1950 and she went on to write almost 100 books. Many of her novels were transferred to film, stage and radio. She received an OBE in 1985 which was elevated to a DBE in 1993.

Flora Robson

(Born 1902 in South Sheilds in Tyne and Wear), Theatre

An English actress who made her stage debut in 1921 at the age of 19, appearing in theatre, film and television. She received a CBE in 1952 which was elevated to a DBE in 1960.

Elinor BrentDyer

(Born 1894 in South Sheilds in Tyne and Wear), Fiction

She was an English childrens writer, whose first novel Gerry Goes to School appeared in 1922. She wrote adventure and school stories and was known for the Chalet School series. In her lifetime she wrote over 100 books.

William Shield

(Born 1748 in Swalwell in Tyne and Wear), Music

He was the principal violinist at the Opera Covent Garden which is now the Royal Opera House. He was also a composer and got a lot of his music from old Northumbrian folk music.