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St Leonard’s Hospital Community Archaeology Project

Initiated and run by

David Heslop for the Tyne & Wear Specialist Conservation Team.

Funding sources

Heritage Lottery fund with some matching funding by North Tyneside MBC.


To establish the potential of the site of a Medieval Hospital (St Leonard’s Hospital, Spittal Bridge, Tynemouth) as a subject for excavation, consolidation and interpretation as part of a wider programme of enhancement of Northumberland Park, a municipal park owned by North Tyneside MBC.

Work done and results

When the HLF agreed to fund a pilot phase of exploratory excavation and project development, the County Archaeologist, working for NTMBC, organised a series of events with the Friends of Northumberland Park to plan and undertake a community archaeology project on the medieval hospital. Working groups were formed covering historical research (“The Documentary Detectives”) and fieldwork (“The Dig Team” ) a group to research and design a medieval herb garden of the type that would have been used at the hospital (“The Garden Group”) and a general management team of the Friends, Local Authority officers and archaeologists. The project has been nominated for a "Europa Nostra" community heritage award.

Lessons learned

The pilot scheme demonstrated a real interest from the community group to undertake this kind of work. Enthusiasm did not diminish during the course of the project and future seasons are being planned, subject to HLF support for the park renovation.

Further information

ALGAO general enquiries
01223 728592
admin [at]