Developing Morpeth and making it a more accessible, interesting and enjoyable town and improving the quality of life of the community is the main focus for GMDT. We achieve this using a project-led approach, putting together bespoke combinations of partners, funders and experts to deliver the desired outcomes most effectively.
Morpeth Railway Station
20 July 2016
Following four years of research, preparation and negotiation, plans to re-model the Grade II listed Morpeth Railway Station as a building fit for 21st century use by not only rail travellers but business users as well, has been awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) of £797,000.
The plan is to restore the historic features of the station’s buildings as well as developing offices to create a sustainable future for them by providing enterprise space for seven small businesses. The £1.6m scheme also includes work to re-open the station’s original portico entrance as well as providing a cafeteria/bistro and modernising the ticket office and toilets facilities.
In addition to the National Lottery funding GMDT had previously secured £250,000 from the Railway Heritage Trust which supports the preservation, upkeep and future sustainability of buildings and structures that form part of Britain’s historic rail network, and is in advanced talks with potential partners including Northumberland County Council, Network Rail and train operator’s Northern Rail/Arriva to complete the required final funding package.
With a build time of around eight months the Trust hopes that the work on the renovated station buildings would be complete by the end of summer 2017.
Read the full press release
An on-line survey for station-users and other interested parties - with a separate dedicated survey for businesses based on Coopies Lane - was carried out in December 2015
Morpeth is a perfect fit for proposals to preserve and conserve one of the most noted surviving historic railway stations along the East Coast main line. Designed by renowned architect Benjamin Green, the station was built for the Newcastle & Berwick Railway Company in 1847. Green, along with his father John, was responsible for the design of other iconic North East structures such as Newcastle’s Theatre Royal, Grey’s Monument and the Penshaw Monument folly.
Although platform facilities have been improved recently, with the installation of lifts to access the two platforms, a new shelter on the southbound platform and realtime train information displays, there has been no major investment in the Morpeth station buildings for the past 20 years resulting in its somewhat run-down appearance with much of its building space unused.
Under the GMDT plans trackside buildings would be repaired and modernised and the station’s impressive portico entrance would be opened up, new toilet, cafeteria and ticket office facilities provided. Around 500 square metres of floor space would then be used to create modern office facilities for up to seven small businesses.
For more information, download the PDF
In parallel with this, the Trust is is also embarking on a community based heritage project to capture the 169 year old history of the station - first opened in 1847 - which is still regarded as one of the finest surviving examples of the Victorian railway network along the East Coast main line.
We are hoping to build up a quality collection of archive material about the railway station with the help of local people who may have old photographs, stories, documents or memorabilia which they are prepared to either donate or allow to be scanned and copied as part of the project.
HeArt Feasability Study
30 October 2015
There has been a long history of discussions relating to the possibilities of establishing an Arts Centre and/or Museum / Heritage Centre in Morpeth. However, although there was a local heritage museum at the Morpeth Chantry lasting from 1965 to 1997, unfortunately this has never progressed to a point where there is a sustainable cultural and arts facility in the town.
Recent work on the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan showed there is still a significant popular appetite for dedicated cultural and heritage facilities in the town, and NCC's emerging Town Asset Plan for Morpeth offers potential for a broader and more integrated approach to redevelopment opportunities in the town.
So, in February 2015, acting on behalf of the Morpeth Heritage Network, GMDT facilitated the establishment of the HeArt (Heritage-Arts) Steering Group to explore options for such facilities more actively. In May 2015 the group, thanks to funding from Morpeth Town Council, the Friends of Morpeth Museum and Queen’s Hall Arts, commissioned Karen Taws to undertake a feasibility study to explore the potential to establish a sustainable Cultural Centre at the HeArt of Morpeth.
(artist's impression of possible Cultural Centre).
The report was published in October 2015 - download the Executive Report here, apply to GMDT for the full Report.
- analyses the potential audience
- assesses potential programme and activities
- considers what resources would be needed for management of the facility
- reviews options for revenue streams needed to make the facility financially viable
- establishes criteria against which potential sites should be assessed, and
- provides pointers towards capital funding of the project.
Restoration of Emily Wilding Davison's Grave
10 June 2015
The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £49,900 to restore the gravestone of Emily Wilding Davison, the suffragette who is one of the most famous of the early 20th century Suffragettes. It was Emily Wilding Davison who threw herself under the king’s horse at the 1913 Derby thus making her mark in history. Her death and the fervour of the crowds who poured out to witness her funeral and burial can truly be said to have changed the course of history.
Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) in partnership with Morpeth Town Council (MTC) and the Emily Wilding Davison Working Group, has restored her gravestone in St Mary’s Churchyard, Morpeth, Northumberland. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund there is signage and interpretation in and around the graveyard; an education package for schools and local youth groups; “Morpeth Town Trail” signs directing tourists to the graveside, and a number of adjacent gravestones have also been restored.
Project carried out in 2007
Download PDF for more information,
Whorral to Bothal Project
30 September 2010
The restoration of an historic riverside walk through ancient woodland was project managed Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) in 2007-10.
The project marks the final stage in the inspirational Castle Woods & Water (CWW) initiative to restore and make country and riverside walks in and around Morpeth more accessible and inviting for local residents.
The restored walk follows the bank of the River Wansbeck as it meanders from the western fringes of Morpeth through to the picturesque village of Bothal on the outskirts of Ashington.
For more information, download the PDF
Castle Woods and Water (CW&W)
19 June 2009
An initiative aimed at maintaining and improving woodlands, paths and historic buildings in the five-mile corridor between Mitford and Bothal castles - the former Castle Morpeth Borough Council secured funding for the initiative from the Government’s ‘Liveability Fund’ and in 2007, the responsibility for management of the initiative was passed over to GMDT. Over the years, GMDT has worked with the Borough Council, the County Council and various other local partners and the community to complete improvements throughout Morpeth:
- Work to consolidate the steps up to the A1 underpass was completed in May 2007.
- The three year Signage and Interpretation project started in 2008.
- 2008 and 2009 saw major developments both internally and externally to Morpeth Town Hall.
- Tommy's Field Footpath Improvements completed in 2009.
- The Lady’s Walk Footpath Improvements footpath Improvements completed in 2010
- with the final phase of the project: major footpath restoration between the Whorral Bank and Bothal Woods completed in 2012.
For additional information on these or any other project, please get in touch - and keep checking the website for updates on current and emerging projects.
Ice Festivals in Morpeth
31 March 2009
The Ice Festivals were a community event organised by GMDT in Carlisle Park between 2007-2009 during the months of February and March.
Each year the ice rink was being brought to the Park and people flocked to the Park to sample the skating.
For more info download the PDF.