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South Shields

SOUTH SHIELDS, a seaport and municipal, county and parliamentary borough of Durham, England; at the mouth of the Tyne on its right bank, opposite North Shields, on a branch of the North-Eastern railway. Pop. (1901), 97, 263. It is connected with North Shields and Tynemouth by steam ferries. The principal buildings are the church of St Hilda, with a picturesque old tower; the town hall in the market-place, exchange, customhouse, mercantile marine offices, public library and museum, grammar school, marine school, master-mariners' asylum and seamen's institute. There is a pleasant marine park. The principal industries are now the manufacture of glass and chemicals, and ship-building and ship refitting and repairing, for which there are docks capable of receiving the largest vessels. The Tyne dock has a water-area of 50 acres, the tidal basin of 10 acres, and the quays and yards about 300 acres. Coal from the collieries of the vicinity is largely exported. The trade returns of South Shields are included in the aggregate of the Tyne ports (see NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE). The South Pier at the mouth of the river is a massive structure about i m. in length, and the North Pier protects the river mouth from the Northumberland bank at North Shields. The parliamentary borough returns one member. The corporation consists of a mayor, 10 aldermen and 30 councillors. Area of municipal borough, 2044 acres.

On elevated ground near the harbour are the remains of a Roman fort guarding the entrance to the Tyne, where numerous coins, portions of an altar, and several sculptured memorial stones have been dug up, and testify to its occupation for a considerable period. The site of the old station was afterwards occupied by a fort of considerable strength, which was captured by the Scots under Colonel Stewart on the 20th of March 1644. The town was founded by the convent of Durham about the middle of the 13th century, but on account of the complaints of the burgesses of Newcastle an order was made in 1258, stipulating that no ships should be laden or unladen at Shields, and that no " shoars " or quays should be built there. Until the 1pth century it was little more than a fishing station. In 1832 it received the privilege of returning a member to parliament, and in 1850 a charter of incorporation.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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