When my work colleague Sally mentioned she was organising the Staiths Food Market with her friend Liz Hall, we were keen to pop down and see what it was all about. It’s great to support new ventures and to explore different parts of our local area that we wouldn’t necessarily think of going to. Furthermore the promise of local fresh produce in an unusual, quirky setting appealed to us and as we still had Milly (the Maltese) we were on the hunt to find a dog friendly place to take her for a bracing walk.
Heritage and History
If you haven’t heard or been to the The Staiths it really has a fascinating history and worth checking out. This Grade II listed wooden structure forms part of Gateshead’s industrial heritage. In the Victorian era millions of tonnes of coal was brought here on the train from the Durham coal fields, loaded onto ships then made their way across the world fuelling industry across the British Empire.
Some local bods among you, may remember parking up for the Garden Festival in 1990 at the Staiths and hopping onto the monorail to the attractions. Best thing ever for an 8 year old! For me it was like Disneyland half an hour away from our home! I couldn’t get enough of the place!
Sadly in 2003 a large fire damaged a large part of the structure, but due to grants from the Heritage lottery, and the work of the volunteers of the ‘Friends of the Staiths‘, the pier has now been restored and ready to be opened to the public at special events such as this!
We jumped in the car, with the dog on the back seat, and headed to Dunston Staiths, aiming for the main entrance of the estate parking up on the road. The estate has grown enormously since the last time I was here. My friend Jess (who coincidentally now lives on the estate as us in Gosforth) had a gorgeous town house down here and I loved the communal gardens, BBQ pits, play areas and the sense of community. Wayne Hemingway, of Red or Dead fame had been part of the original planning team which added a cool stamp to the development. The estate now has it’s own cafe The Staiths Cafe which is bursting with local art and produce, and the development has probably doubled in size since I was last down here 5 years ago.
The food market was well sign posted and very difficult to miss. We wandered down on the riverside and the girls stopped to play on the small park before coming to the entrance (50p for adults, children free).
The girls loved the fresh juice from Ugly Duckling.
Brownies from I Love Brownies.
The sausages from Spotted Meats went down very well in sandwiches for tea. Sadly as we got there quite late in the afternoon some of the stalls had sold out – still need to have a Scream for Pizza Pizza!
Sally and Liz were delighted by the number of people who came down to the market. The girls have doubled the number of stall holders for their next event on the Saturday 9th July and hope that the event will grow and become a firm fixture on the North East foodies scene. If you are free pop down and check it out…
for this view alone…
For more up to date details like their page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staithsfoodmarket/