The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore

Peterlee

(from a visit on 16 February 2014)

Peterlee is a New Town in County Durham in the North East of England. The town is named after Peter Lee the miner’s leader and county councillor.

Built in the 1950s under the New Towns Act of 1946 the town originally housed coal miners and their families. George Grenfell-Baines was the primary architect on the project, having replaced Berthold Lubetkin who resigned from the Peterlee Development Corporation in 1950, his ambitious plans for tower blocks having been rejected as unsuitable for the geology of the area which had been weakened by mining works.

I wanted to visit the town for two reasons, firstly as part of my project to photograph all of the designated New Towns in the UK and secondly to visit Victor Pasmore’s Apollo Pavilion – a brutalist public artwork that dates from 1969, to celebrate the Apollo missions and moon landing of that year.

I drove up to Peterlee on a bright February weekend in 2014 and had a day to wander around with my camera. I spilt the walks into three;

  • A three mile loop around the housing estate around Passfield Way, starting and ending at Our Lady Of The Rosary church (map)
  • Sunny Bunts and the Apollo Pavilion (map)
  • The Town Centre and Castle Dean Shopping Centre

Passfield Way
Our Lady Of The Rosary Church
Our Lady Of The Rosary Church
Peterlee housing designed by George Grenfell-Baines
Peterlee housing designed by George Grenfell-Baines
Oakerside Drive Silhouette
Oakerside Drive Silhouette
Peterlee housing designed by George Grenfell-Baines
Peterlee housing designed by George Grenfell-Baines
Peterlee housing designed by George Grenfell-Baines
Peterlee housing designed by George Grenfell-Baines
Peterlee housing designed by George Grenfell-Baines
Peterlee housing designed by George Grenfell-Baines
The Moorcock Public House
The Moorcock Public House
Our Lady Of The Rosary Church
Our Lady Of The Rosary Church
Sunny Blunts and the Apollo Pavilion
The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore
The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore
The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore
The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore
The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore
The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore
Peterlee Sunny Blunts
Sunny Blunts
The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore
The Apollo Pavilion by Victor Passmore
Caravan, Sunny Blunts
Caravan, Sunny Blunts
Oakerside Drive, Peterlee
Oakerside Drive, Peterlee
Castle Dean Shopping Centre
Castle Dene Shopping Centre
Castle Dene Shopping Centre
Lee House, Castle Dene Shopping Centre
Lee House, Castle Dene Shopping Centre
Lee House, Peterlee
Lee House, Peterlee
Lee House, Castle Dene Shopping Centre
Lee House, Castle Dene Shopping Centre
St Cuthbert’s Church, Peterlee
St Cuthbert’s Church, Peterlee
St Cuthbert’s Church, Peterlee
St Cuthbert’s Church, Peterlee

It was a beautiful day to be out shooting and I would have loved to have spent more time exploring the area but as it was I needed to head back down south. However there are more New Towns in the North East (Washington, Cramlington, Killingworth and Newton Aycliffe) so I do indeed plan to return.

6 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

David Nixonreply
29th May 2017 at 23:05

Great memories…. a lifetime ago I grew up in Peterlee through the late 1960’s and 1970’s. A magical childhood in this new town, Thank you so much for the trip down memory lane.

Chris Guyreply
3rd June 2017 at 15:13
– In reply to: David Nixon

Thanks David. Glad you liked the photos – I appreciate the feedback from a Peterlee local!

RICHARD VANEYreply
6th November 2019 at 04:13

Hi my grandfather George Edward Griffin worked on the development from 1960 to 1962 he lived at 4 dart rd and was there for 2 years working on the housing most of the houses had flat roofs when built but we’re later changed as flat roofs needed changing on a regular basis.

Chris Guyreply
6th November 2019 at 11:07
– In reply to: RICHARD VANEY

Hi Richard, thanks for getting in touch and intersting to hear about your grandfathers involvement in the building of Peterlee.

Dominic Wadereply
10th May 2020 at 16:09

Hello there. Thank you for sharing your photos of my hometown. I love the forward facing view of Lee House (3rd picture from the bottom) – I must try and get a similar picture – would make a great black & white.

Chris Guyreply
12th May 2020 at 10:42
– In reply to: Dominic Wade

Hi Dominic, thank you – I really enjoyed visiting and taking these shots. You’re right about the B/W of Lee House, I might have to try that out!
All the best,
Chris

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