Birtley is a moderate sized town of around 25,000 (2001 Census) in the Borough of
Gateshead, on Tyneside, England.
It lies between the local cities of Newcastle (5 miles north), Sunderland (9 miles
east) and Durham (10 miles south) and nestles between the A1 motorway to the east
and the main east coast railway line to the west of the town.
Birtley was originally in Co Durham until 1974, when it transferred to Gateshead
in the new Metropolitan Borough of Tyne and Wear.
Despite this, it kept the postal address of Co Durham, so may be listed as 'Co Durham'
or 'Tyne and Wear' or ‘Gateshead’ (or any combination of the three).
Just to totally confuse the situation, there is also a small village called Birtley
in Northumberland about 20 miles north west of us, near Hexham.
Birtley has a long industrial past, mainly in coal mining, brick making and heavy
The present day town has formed from the various small communities, mainly around
former coal mines, which have grown and merged.
However, many of the original locality names are still used within the town.
'The Angel' is actually situated on the site of one of the former coal mines.
The mining is now long gone and much of the industry has changed, but Birtley remains
a thriving industrial and business centre for both the local community and the region.
Today it's major industries includes a broad mix of engineering, chemicals and distribution
warehouses, with numerous smaller manufacturing and service industries.
There is a busy shopping area along the main road through the Town Centre which hosts
a range of retail outlets, and business services.
Probably our best landmark and greatest claim to fame is Antony Gormley's famous
'Angel of the North'.
‘The Angel’ overlooks the town from the north and can be seen from much of the town.
At present we have four Churches - St John's (Anglican), St Joseph's (Roman Catholic),
a Methodist Church and a Community Church.
There is a large cemetery at the north of the town, with attached Chapel and Crematorium
serving the surrounding district.
We also have a 9 hole golf course, a sports centre with a local football team, a
large swimming pool, library and medical centre, 4 primary schools and a large Comprehensive
We are quite central for many of the regions attractions, including:
Beamish Open Air Museum,
Gateshead Metro Shopping Centre,
Gateshead & Newcastle Quay side (notably The Sage, The Baltic Arts Centre and Millennium