Since 1986, the farm team has transformed this 25 acre site from dereliction into a thriving community leisure project.
Historical maps, dating from 1768, show the site as open fields, a wooded stream valley, a quarry and two dwellings. Since that time, the site has experienced a number of changes and a variety of uses. A compact riverside community developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, providing the workforce for shipyards, coal staithes and chemical works. During this time, heavy metals and combustion products from the manufacture of lead based paints, sulphuric acid, soda and soap severely polluted the site.
In 1961, the removal of a two million ton spoil heap of fuming sulphurated hydrogen began and the Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council continued site remediation through the 1960s. The concil experienced mix success in establishing a public green space in the 1980s, but with community support, Bill Quay Community Farm opened in 1986,breathing new life into the heart of the site. Much of the work to restore the natural heritage to what it is now–one of the greenest banks on Tyneside–has been achieved by volunteers.