The Holy Cross Church in Ryton
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Ryton is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England, 5.8 miles (9.3 km) west of Newcastle upon Tyne. Historically in County Durham, it was incorporated into the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear and the Borough of Gateshead in 1974. In 2011, the population of the Ryton, Crookhill and Stella ward was 8,146.
Ryton lies midway between Crawcrook and Blaydon, both in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead. Nearby settlements include Stargate, Clara Vale, Greenside, Stella and Hedgefield. Stargate is located on the outskirts of Ryton en route to Blaydon. It has a children's park, a fish shop, a Quarry, allotments and in the neighbouring town of Crookhill there is a primary school and a general store, which can also be used as a post office. Ryton is located within Gateshead's Green Belt which mainly contains areas west and southwest of Gateshead Town because the area of South Tyneside to the east is largely urbanised.
Traditionally, Ryton's economy was built upon agriculture and coal mining. Some think that coal mining was taking place in the area as early as Roman times,however it was not until 1239 when Henry III granted that coal could be mined outside the walls that mining became extensive. There are records of coal being shipped from Winlaton to London as early as 1367. The agricultural industry in Ryton was mixed and included both pastoral farming and arable farming.
Ryton's position south of the Scottish Borders and Hadrian's Wall made it a target for Scottish attacks in the area, and it is said to have been burned by William Wallace in 1297. A further attack by David II of Scotland was recorded in 1346, during which the church was plundered.
As well as its coal industry, Ryton formerly contained the lead-smelting reverberatory furnaces of the Ryton Company, whose mines were on Alston Moor. By 1704, this business had been amalgamated into the London Lead Company.
In 1800 the Stargate Pit (Towneley Main Colliery) was opened and on 30 May 1826, a coal dust and methane (firedamp) explosion there killed 20 men and 18 boys. This became known as the "Stargate Pit Disaster". There is a memorial marker at Ryton's Holy Cross Church, and another memorial stone at the pit itself. The Stargate Pit was reopened in 1840 and not closed until 1961.
Ryton soon became a place of migration for the wealthy, who wanted to escape the urban sprawl of the Industrial Revolution in Gateshead and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. A reminder of Ryton's affluent past is found in some of the large mansions at Old Ryton Village, a place rich in rural qualities because of its proximity to Ryton Willows on the banks of the River Tyne. The most notable mansion in the village is The Grove, formerly known as Ryton Grove, a 12,000 sq ft brick building in the symmetrical Queen Anne style, believed to have been constructed for the Surtees family in 1742, and later substantially extended and remodelled in 1919. This was originally at the centre of a 350-acre estate that encompassed many houses within Ryton Village and much of Ryton Willows down to the banks of the river Tyne, including a large lake that was later divided in to two by a railway embankment. A large part of the estate became a nature reserve in 1964, with The Grove remaining in private ownership standing in 7 acres.
After the decline of the coal industry during the second half of the twentieth century Ryton became increasingly suburbanised and is now used as a commuter village for those that work in the more urban areas of Tyneside.
In local government, Ryton is located in the Ryton, Crookhill and Stella ward, which is in the outer west of the borough. The ward is served by three councillors, who represent Labour. Gateshead Council is Labour controlled.
Ryton is located within the parliamentary constituency of Blaydon. Its current MP is Labour's Liz Twist.
The neighbouring village of Crawcrook is a nexus of coal mining nostalgia also. Remnants of several old pits across Ryton and Crawcrook, including Emma, Clara and Addison can still be found. Within a couple of hundred metres of both Crawcrook and Ryton main street there is rich countryside.
Perhaps the most impressive section of this countryside is Ryton Willows Local Nature Reserve located on the banks of the Tyne, just past Old Ryton Village. It consists of 43 hectares of grassland, ponds, woodland and locally rare species of flora and fauna. Because of this it has been designated as a site of special scientific interest.
Other areas of countryside include nearby Stargate pond and Addison and Hedgefield woods. It is at Addison woods that Alexander Graham Bell made one of his pioneering telephone calls.
Further up the Tyne Valley, past the village of Crawcrook and into the border of Northumberland, there are rural market towns such as Prudhoe, Corbridge and Hexham.
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A relatively affluent area of Gateshead, Ryton has become a suburb in recent years and is now used as a dormitory town by workers in the more urban areas of Tyneside.
Ryton is a vibrant area with a variety of local amenities. In the more central part of Ryton these include a Cooperative supermarket, a Sainsbury's Local store and a selection of independent businesses and shops such as The Lane Head micro-pub, Coffee Johnny's, a dentist and various hair and beauty salons. The former Ryton Hotel public house has closed and been converted into three shops, currently to let. There is a community library. North East Falconry is based in Ryton with over 45 birds of prey. Ryton has several restaurants and public houses, two of which are located away from Ryton Main Street, in Ryton Old Village, the community-owned Ye Olde Cross and the Half Moon Inn and restaurant. The nearby village of Crawcrook offers more services, including a doctor's surgery, two veterinary surgeries, a chiropodist, another dentist, 3 pubs and a restaurant.
Ryton has an extensive Edwardian park which includes children's playing equipment and a bowling green.
Away from the town centre there are two golf courses, Tyneside golf club at Ryton and Ryton golf club in nearby Clara Vale. Both are situated in tranquil areas near the banks of the Tyne.
Ryton is home to three schools, Ryton Infants School, Ryton Junior School and Thorp Academy, all of which occupy the same site in the town. Nearby Crawcrook offers two more primary schools. Crookhill Primary is nearby.
Sport plays a role in the local community. Apart from the golf courses and the Edwardian park, Ryton has a football club, Ryton F.C., who play at Crawcrook, a rugby union team, Ryton Rugby Football Club at nearby Barmoor, and a cricket club, situated opposite Charles Thorp.
Ryton benefits from good public transport with regular bus services. A good example of this is the R3/R4 to Winlaton, Blaydon and Rowlands Gill via Stargate, and there are services to Crawcrook, Prudhoe and Hexham to the west and the MetroCentre, Gateshead and Newcastle to the east.
Both John Wesley and Charles Wesley preached at Ryton's village green, which has a rich history with religious and social significance. Like many greens in similar villages, it played host to an annual fair which included jugglers, dancers and local stalls.
The old pinfold dates back to the twelfth century. During the second half of the twentieth century the pinfold was restored.
Charles Thorp set up a savings bank in 1815 in a building within the old village known as the White House which still stands there today. It is thought to have been the first bank of its kind in England.
The annual Ryton Music Festival, held over February and March, has been held in the village for more than 60 years. It offers a variety of music and drama including choral singing and mime.
The Ryton Summer Festival, held at the local comprehensive school usually includes live music, sport and arts and crafts stalls.
Each year on the Tuesday before Christmas Eve villagers gather on the village green to sing traditional carols accompanied by a local brass band.
There are two air raid shelters in Ryton Willows, as well as other Second World War features such trenches and shower/toilet rooms with tiles, etc. still visible, next to a railway line that was apparently used to bring children up from London. A dirt road hidden under trees leading up to the bottom of the village may have been a checkpoint.
Gateshead is a large town in Tyne and Wear, England, on the southern bank of the River Tyne opposite Newcastle upon Tyne. Gateshead and Newcastle are joined by seven bridges across the Tyne, including the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. The town is known for its architecture, including the Sage Gateshead, the Angel of the North and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Residents of Gateshead, like the rest of Tyneside, are usually referred to as Geordies. Gateshead's town population in 2011 was 120,046.
Tyneside is a conurbation of the urban areas on the north and south banks of the River Tyne in North East England. Centred on Newcastle upon Tyne, it incorporates the surrounding metropolitan boroughs of Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside. The population of Tyneside as published in the 2011 census was 774,891, making it the eighth most-populous urban area in the United Kingdom. In 2013, the estimated population was 832,469 and since then has significantly increased. Tyneside is considered to be the core conurbation of the Tyneside-Wearside metropolitan area.
The Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead is a metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, North East England. It is named after its largest town, Gateshead, but the metropolitan borough incorporates the surrounding area including Rowlands Gill, Whickham, Blaydon, Ryton, Felling, Pelaw, Dunston and Low Fell. The borough forms part of the Tyneside conurbation, centred on Newcastle upon Tyne.
Blaydon is a town in the North East of England in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead and historically in County Durham. Blaydon, and neighbouring Winlaton, which Blaydon is now contiguous with, form the postal town of Blaydon-on-Tyne. The Blaydon/Winlaton resident population in 2011 was 13,896.
Blaydon is a constituency represented in the House of Commons since 2017 by Liz Twist of the Labour Party.
A civil parish is a country subdivision, forming the lowest unit of local government in England. There are 10 civil parishes in the ceremonial county of Tyne and Wear, most of the county being unparished; North Tyneside and South Tyneside are completely unparished. At the 2001 census, there were 41,044 people living in the 10 parishes, accounting for 3.8 per cent of the county's population.
Rowlands Gill is a town situated along the A694, between Winlaton Mill and Hamsterley Mill, on the north bank of the River Derwent, in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. Within Gateshead's greenbelt, the village has a picturesque setting with much open space and views across the valley to Gibside Estate, now owned by the National Trust.
Crawcrook is a semi-rural village close to the western border of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear in England. Traditionally an independent village in County Durham, it was incorporated into the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead on 1 April 1974. The population taken at the 2011 Census of the Gateshead ward had increased to 8,841.
Dunston is a western area of the town of Gateshead on the south bank of the River Tyne, in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, North East England. Dunston had a population of 18,326 at the 2011 Census.
One third of Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council in Tyne and Wear, England is elected each year, followed by one year without election.
Greenside is a village in the extreme west of the Metropolitan County of Tyne and Wear, England. Once an independent village in County Durham, it became incorporated into Tyne and Wear in 1974 and then the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead in 1986.
Winlaton is a village situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Once in County Durham, it became incorporated into the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear and Borough of Gateshead in 1974. In 2011 the village was absorbed into the Gateshead MBC ward of Winlaton and High Spen. The population of this ward at the 2011 census was 8,342.
Clara Vale is a village situated on the south bank of the River Tyne in Tyne and Wear, England. Once an independent village in County Durham it became incorporated into the new metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear in 1974 as part of the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead.
Heworth is a residential area in Gateshead, located around 3 miles (4.8 km) from Newcastle upon Tyne, 11 miles (18 km) from Sunderland, and 17 miles (27 km) from Durham. In 2011, Census data for the Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council ward of Heworth and Pelaw recorded a total population of 9,100.
Thorp Academy is a large 11-18 secondary Academy in Ryton Tyne & Wear. The academy was established in the 19th Century by Charles Thorp who went on to found Durham University. The site that Thorp Academy now stands on is the site of the original school established by Charles Thorp. In the early 2010's, Gateshead Council merged Ryton Comprehensive School and Hookergate School in High Spen. With the two schools merging, the school was renamed Charles Thorp Comprehensive School. The school later converted into an academy sponsored by Northern Education Trust and was renamed as Thorp Academy.
Thomas Young Hall was an internationally acclaimed mining engineer and coal mine owner. A native of Tyneside, he was a well-known figure in Newcastle in the mid-nineteenth century. Born in Greenside on 25 October 1802, his father, James Hall, was a mining engineer, manager of the Folly Pitt, and agent to several leading coal mine owners including the Dunns, G. Silvertop, Capt. Blackett, W. P. Wrightson, P. E. Townley, and John Buddle.
Ryton railway station was a station in Ryton, Tyne and Wear, England. This large village is situated to the south of the River Tyne, at an elevation of some 60–90 metres, some 7 miles west of central Newcastle upon Tyne and within a half mile of the Newcastle-to-Carlisle railway, which roughly follows the course of the river along its south bank. With the opening of that railway, initially between Blaydon and Hexham, in 1835, a rail station was built to serve the village, and for many decades it was used especially by commuters to Newcastle.