Newcastle-Gateshead to host Great Exhibition of the North in 2018


A competition to host the so-called Great Exhibition of the North has been won by Newcastle-Gateshead.

The winning bid, which will receive millions of pounds in Government funding, saw off competition from Blackpool, Bradford and Sheffield to host the event, which it is hoped will boost tourism and investment.

The event will take place in the summer of 2018, with new walking trails, exhibitions and "artistic and creative commissions".

The Government is contributing £5 million towards the exhibition itself and a further £15 million into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment as part of its Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: "The Great Exhibition of the North is fantastic news for Newcastle-Gateshead. It will showcase the dynamic arts, cultural and design scenes in the city and across the whole of the North.

"It's so important that, regardless of where you're from in the country, everyone is able to enjoy and access great culture.

"This cultural investment will bring enormous benefits to the region, including regeneration, increased tourism and cultural engagement."

The Tyneside bid was run by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and was chosen by a competition board chaired by businessman Sir Gary Verity.

Carol Bell, culture and major events director at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: "We are delighted to have secured the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018. It's a fantastic achievement and a testament to the creative and innovative bid we developed with the support of many venues, organisations, partners and stakeholders here in the North East."

She added: "Together we will develop and stage an event that the whole of the North can be proud of and which we hope will have far-reaching benefits for culture, communities, tourism and businesses - in 2018 and beyond."

Plans for the event include three walking circuits around Tyneside focusing on arts, design and innovation, and a major exhibition hub at Great North Museum: Hancock.

There will also be a summer camp for families at Exhibition Park and an education programme.

Science Museum Group director Ian Blatchford said talks had begun about the possibility of loaning Stephenson's Rocket - the early steam locomotive which was built in Newcastle - to the exhibition.

He said it was "one of the nation's greatest historic objects", adding: "We look forward to detailed discussions about this in the coming months."