South Shields, with its important Roman, religious, and diverse industrial and trading history, is an ex-mining and shipbuilding town with six miles of coastline, nearly three miles of riverside, and a population of some 73,000. The town’s industrial past - fishing, glass-making, mining, shipbuilding, shipping, and local press - has been well-documented historically, and is of national and international significance. 

As documented by J.B. Priestley in his English Journey of 1934, the towns of South Shields, Jarrow, and Hebburn suffered greatly from unemployment in the depression years and, perhaps through necessity, evolved a proud history of volunteering and voluntary support groups, many linked to churches, and many not. Action Station on Boldon Lane was founded in 1998 by local residents, groups and churches to support the most disadvantaged residents of South Tyneside. 

It is a place where individuals and groups can access services and opportunities which will enhance their life chances and wellbeing - and it is the venue of a new Heritage Research Group (HRG) supported by the WEA’s ‘Routes of Social Change’ project. HRG members aim to meet socially every two weeks to explore, share, and document hidden layers and wider fields of local history and heritage whilst improving their own learning and skills in research, archiving, publication and dissemination.

To join in with activities of the South Shields Heritage Research Group, email [email protected] for details.

National Library of Scotland free online resource for maps through time. 

Click the link and use the slider to use the historic map overlay feature to compare maps from the late C19th and earlier with today, or you can access through the iFrame below.