Welcome to Peterlee, a town in County Durham, England that boasts a rich history, stunning landmarks, and beautiful natural scenery. Located between Sunderland to the north, Hartlepool to the south, the Durham Coast to the east, and Durham to the west, Peterlee gained town status in 1948 under the New Towns Act 1946. This act also created the nearby settlement of Newton Aycliffe and later Washington, Tyne and Wear.
The case for founding Peterlee as a new town was put forward in ‘Farewell Squalor’ by Easington Rural District Council Surveyor C. W. Clarke, who also proposed that the town be named after the celebrated Durham miners leader Peter Lee. It is one of the few places in the British Isles to be directly named after a recent individual, and unique among the post-Second World War new towns in having its existence requested by local people through their MP. A deputation, mostly if not wholly consisting of working miners, met the Minister of Town and Country Planning to put the case for a new town in the district. The Minister, Lewis Silkin, responded by offering a half-size new town of 30,000 residents. The subsequent new residents came largely from surrounding villages in the District of Easington.
One of the most famous landmarks in Peterlee is the Apollo Pavilion, which was designed by Victor Pasmore and built in 1970. Its murals faded over time, and staircases were removed in the 1980s to discourage anti-social behavior. In 1996, there was a failed attempt to list the Pavilion. English Heritage described it as an internationally important masterpiece. However, some local residents and councillors saw the Pavilion as an eyesore and campaigned to have it demolished. The campaign appeared to have been successful when demolition was proposed in 2000. However, in July 2009, a six-month revamp program was completed at a cost of £400,000. As part of this, original features such as the murals and stairs were reinstated. In December 2011, English Heritage gave the pavilion a Grade-II* listing.
Peterlee is served by the main A19 road running west of the town to Sunderland in the north and Hartlepool in the south, and the A1086 to its east leading to Easington in the north and Hartlepool to the south. The B1320 runs through the town centre linking the town to Horden and the A1086 in the east and Shotton Colliery and the A19 in the west. The B1432 to the north of the town centre leads to Easington Village, Hawthorn and Seaham on the route of the old A19. The A181 runs to the southwest of the town at the Castle Eden and Wingate junction on the A19 leading to Wheatley Hill, Thornley, and Durham.
Peterlee has been home to many notable figures, including former Premier League footballer Chris Brown, teenage rock singer Courtney Hadwin, and actress Gina McKee.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or natural beauty, Peterlee has something to offer every type of traveller. Come and explore this charming town for yourself!