SECRET GATESHEAD, by Rob Kirkup. Published by Amberley Publishing ( £14.99. Softback.

GATESHEAD has often been portrayed as the poor relative in comparison to its larger neighbour, Newcastle, but the town has a long and proud industrial and social history. Much evidence of this is sadly gone, but in recent years it has seen a revival in its social and cultural infrastructure which has placed it firmly on the tourist map.

Traces of the town’s fascinating history are visible to the enquiring eye and this local author delves into its past, blending dark deeds and strange tales with long-forgotten facts and amusing stories.