Pelaw is a County Durham village, now within the conurbation on the Tyne. It sits between the older settlements of Heworth to the West and Bill Quay to the East with Wardley to the south and the southern bank of the River Tyne forming the northern border of the village, and of the county.
Pelaw came into being due to the huge Victorian factory complexes of the Co-Operative Wholesale Society ("CWS") which was the manufacturing division of the then burgeoning Co-Op company, which grew up along the length of the Shields Road. This mile long stretch of red-brick industry was home to factories making clothing and textiles, furniture, pharmaceuticals, household cleaning products, quilts, books and magazines and the world-famous "Pelaw" shoe polish. The factories created Pelaw and were practically its sole employer during most of the twentieth century but due to inevitable foreign competition, the prevailing economic climate and government policies of the times, the majority of the factories were closed and demolished between the mid 70s and early 90s to be replaced in recent years by modern housing estates. Two of the original CWS buildings, the Shirt Factory and the Cabinet Factory, are extant. The Shirt Factory no longer manufactures garments and was a private concern and the Cabinet Factory in Bill Quay, which later became a major Brentford Nylons plant, has been transformed into a modern business park by the name of Stonehills. The last factory to be demolished was the shirt Factory.
Pelaw is the site of a major rail junction located on the original route of the East Coast Main Line. Pelaw Junction was the meeting point of the Brandling Junction Railway, the Leamside Line and the Durham Coast Line. National Rail freight and passenger trains continue to use the Durham Coast Line, while a single freight line connects the junction to an oil terminal at Jarrow, running alongside the Metro line. The Leamside Line was mothballed in 1991.
Today, the area is served by Pelaw Metro station which is an interchange between trains going to South Shields and those going to Sunderland, which share the Durham Coast Line with National Rail rolling stock. The station was fully refurbished in 2006.
Sport and leisure
There is a King George V Playing Field in the village: Bill Quay Park.
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