Bradford and Sheffield lose out as Gary Verity’s team hands Great Exhibition to Newcastle

Bradford Council leaders launch their bid for the exhibition last May
Bradford Council leaders launch their bid for the exhibition last May
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BRADFORD and Sheffield have lost out in their bids to host a so-called Great Exhibition of the North - which will be held instead in Newcastle and Gateshead.

The event will receive millions in Government funding, and is aimed at boosting tourism and investment.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

Blackpool had also submitted a bid to host it.

The event will take place in the summer of 2018, with new walking trails, exhibitions and “artistic and creative commissions”.

The Tyneside bid was run by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and was chosen by a competition board chaired by Welcome To Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity.

The Government is contributing £5 million towards the exhibition itself and a further £15 million into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment as part of its Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “The Great Exhibition of the North is fantastic news for Newcastle-Gateshead. It will showcase the dynamic arts, cultural and design scenes in the city and across the whole of the North.

“It’s so important that, regardless of where you’re from in the country, everyone is able to enjoy and access great culture.

“This cultural investment will bring enormous benefits to the region, including regeneration, increased tourism and cultural engagement.”

Carol Bell, culture and major events director at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We are delighted to have secured the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018. It’s a fantastic achievement and a testament to the creative and innovative bid we developed with the support of many venues, organisations, partners and stakeholders here in the North East.”

She added: “Together we will develop and stage an event that the whole of the North can be proud of and which we hope will have far-reaching benefits for culture, communities, tourism and businesses - in 2018 and beyond.”

Plans for the event include three walking circuits around Tyneside focusing on arts, design and innovation, and a major exhibition hub at Great North Museum: Hancock.

There will also be a summer camp for families at Exhibition Park and an education programme.

Science Museum Group director Ian Blatchford said talks had begun about the possibility of loaning Stephenson’s Rocket - the early steam locomotive which was built in Newcastle - to the exhibition.

He said it was “one of the nation’s greatest historic objects”, adding: “We look forward to detailed discussions about this in the coming months.”

Bradford Council said it was willing to help Newcastle stage the event, by acting as a “satellite venue”.

Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Obviously I am really disappointed that Bradford won’t be the host city for the Great Exhibition but I congratulate Newcastle-Gateshead and am sure they will stage a great event in 2018.

“The Great Exhibition is all about the North of England of which Bradford is a major part. So, we will seek to work with Newcastle-Gateshead to play our part in its success. We have a reputation for being a welcoming and friendly city and I think that makes us an excellent partner to support Newcastle-Gateshead in delivering the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018.”