In 1887 Sir William Armstrong donated a large area of land adjacent to Heaton Park, which become Armstrong Park. In 1883 Sir William Armstrong offered Jesmond Dene, the landscaped grounds to his house, to Newcastle City and this was incorporated with Armstrong Park. Heaton and Armstrong Parks have been known under different names over the years. Heaton Park was changed to Armstrong Park when Lord Armstrong donated the adjacent land and since then Armstrong Park is referred collectively as Heaton Park, Armstrong Park and Jesmond Dene.
Later the Council minutes reverted to dividing the sites properly for clarity. Now Armstrong Park is referred to as its original area of land given by Lord Armstrong and Heaton Park is known separately.
The woodland in Armstrong Park had the advantage of being already mature as the grounds were laid out during the 18th century to enhance Heaton Hall (one of those residential estates, like many round the Cities and townships, that have been planted and adorned for best part of a century.) but in contrast to Jesmond Dene the planting was mostly native.
Armstrong Park Shoe Tree(s)The Newcastle shoe tree has been around for a few years now and I guess it must have been the amount of shoes on the original tree that made the local council cut down a few of the most decorated branches leaving it a shadow of it's former self. In the last couple of years people have been adding shoes to the other trees along that particular pathway making it more of a shoe tree alley these days.
A nearby sign about the shoe tree says The shoe tree is an old Sycamore, which reaches nearly 40 metres high. There are lots of different stories about how the shoe tree came about, but it is thought some time ago this fine, but ordinary tree became the shoe tree when young people celebrated the completion of their exams by throwing their shoes high into the branches. This has continued and there are now shoes of all different types, showing the fashion trends of the last 20 years. The shoe tree was made famous by the novel "The Taxi Driver's Daughter" by Julia Darling.
Sometimes the tree has too many shoes and the numbers have to be controlled. This is because they can affect the health of the tree and too many can be unsafe. There is therefore an annual harvest of shoes so we can protect this lovely tree.
OLD PHOTOS OF ARMSTRONG PARK
More Information: Heaton and Armstrong Parks