St Mary’s Heritage Centre – a unique and historic venue
St Mary’s Heritage Centre is a unique Grade 1 listed building and graveyard which was once the ‘mother church’ of Gateshead. Built in the 12th Century, St Mary’s is a superb example of a medieval town church, with later additions dating from the Victorian Age to the present. St Mary’s ceased to be a church in 1979 and, after receiving funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it now has a new life celebrating 900 years of Gateshead’s history.
St Mary’s Heritage Centre has developed a reputation for hosting unique activities and events, civic functions, formal dinners, art installations, local history talks, conferences, concerts and performances, including our unforgettable annual Winter Festival during the run up to Christmas. Though not licensed for a civil ceremony, St Mary’s Heritage Centre makes a spectacular venue for a wedding reception. We have worked with people from all backgrounds, for events celebrating different cultures and traditions, and St Mary’s welcomes same-sex couples looking for a special venue to celebrate their wedding.
Conveniently located on Gateshead’s Quayside, with the majestic Tyne Bridge forming a breath-taking backdrop, St Mary’s is close to major roads and is well served by public transport. There is a small car park for visitors, with ample additional pay parking nearby.
Spaces available for hire
St Mary’s Heritage Centre is open to the public daily from Tuesday to Saturday
10am to 4pm but can be hired for evening events and all day Sunday or Monday.
In exceptional circumstances it may be available to hire on other weekdays.
On Saturday’s, St Mary’s is available to hire from 1pm on request.
The building is divided into two spaces, separated by a glass wall and sliding door
- the main hall and the Chancel. The capacity for the building is 110 people for a banquet-style event and 150 people for a less formal setting.
The Chancel, which can be booked at any time, accommodates up to 50 people depending on room layout, for an intimate reception, meeting, workshop or concert.
Equipment and support
Within the hire charge we can provide as standard:
Up to 150 chairs and 20 oblong tables. These tables can accommodate up to 80 guests in a banquet layout. We can also provide up to 52 white chair covers for the folding chairs for smaller functions - a charge is added for cleaning should you wish to use them.
We have a small PA which will run 2 microphones on stands for speeches, or you can attach a CD player, an ipod or similar MP3 player to play background music.
We also have a small low stage 2m x 4m and a Clavinova electric piano which may be used by the hirer, if requested.
There are also 2 TV screens which can show Powerpoint presentations - and one can show DVDs – as well as a projector and screen, and two lecterns.
We have the capacity to change lighting levels and colour within the venue to make it more intimate or suitable for a party atmosphere. We can also use this to illuminate a small stage area if you have performers entertaining. This is not a full theatrical lighting and sound rig – if you require more complex technical support then a technician can be hired at an additional cost.
Catering, Music & Decorations
For all functions requiring the use of caterers or a bar service, the hirer is responsible for arranging catering to be brought in. However, Gateshead’s in-house Civic
Catering team would be happy to provide a competitive quote – please phone
(0191) 433 2441 or email [email protected] to discuss your needs.
You are welcome to obtain quotes from other caterers and bar providers.
We strongly advise that caterers and bar providers visit St Mary’s before the event and talk to the staff so they fully understand the restrictions of the building.
Live music or a DJ is permitted within the license of the building.
The building is licensed until midnight on Friday-Saturday and until 11pm on Sunday-Thursday. Requests can be made to extend the license, which is decided upon solely by Gateshead Council’s Licensing Department.
You may tastefully decorate the venue to suit your occasion or simply allow the uniqueness and grandeur of the venue to add gravitas to your event.
Experienced and helpful staff
When hiring St Mary’s for your special event, our staff will be on hand throughout the planning process to advise and guide you on the details of hosting an event in this unique building. As part of your hire, you will have the appropriate number of staff for the size of your event, and they will be on hand for the security of the building and your guests.
Prices will vary according to the size and nature of the event. Please contact us with details of the event you’d like to hold and St Mary’s staff will discuss options with you and advise on costs. Prices for a large function such as a wedding reception generally start from £1200.