LSE – Tyne & Wear in 1986: From the Metrocentre to Nissan to Queen in 10 photographs
10 striking photographs from the ChronicleLive archive give a taste of what was going on across our region 35 years ago
What do you remember of 1986?
Thirty-five years ago, the inexorable rise of retailing continued.
The American mall experience had already reached the North East in the shape of Newcastle’s Eldon Square shopping centre in 1976.
A decade later, across the Tyne on the site of former industrial land in Gateshead, the Metrocentre opened to become one of the largest shopping sites in Europe.
Also in 1986, another regional success story began. Japanese car giant, Nissan, officially opened a factory in Washington, providing work for thousands of local people. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prince Charles were high-profile visitors as the cars began to roll off the production line.
The arrival of the Metrocentre and Nissan provided a much needed boost at a time when the spectre of industrial decline and mass unemployment loomed large. A second Jarrow Crusade, 50 years after the infamous first march for jobs, saw history repeating itself.
At Newcastle United, the outrageously skilful 19-year-old Paul Gascoigne was beginning to light up St James’ Park on a regular basis, although even his prodigious star quality was outshone by rock giants Queen who graced the stadium in the summer.
Fresh from their sublime performance at the previous year’s Live Aid concert, Freddie Mercury and the boys pulverised a 35,000-strong Newcastle audience into submission.
In the wider world, 1986 saw the marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson (referred to by the tabloid press as Randy Andy and Fergie); the “big bang” saw the deregulation of the London Stock Exchange and the start of computerised share dealing; and ‘mad cow disease’ or BSE was first identified.
Elsewhere, Mike Tyson became the youngest ever world heavyweight boxing champion; the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, was laid to rest alongside her late husband, the former King Edward VIII; and an explosion at a Ukranian nuclear power plant in Chernobyl would prove to be a major disaster.
In the pop charts in 1986, Madonna, The Bangles, and Whitney Houston were all riding high. Major draws at the cinema included Top Gun, Aliens, and Platoon. And on UK television, Lovejoy, Catchphrase and Jossy’s Giants made their debuts.
At a time when the average UK house price was £44,000, a gallon of petrol was £1.90, and a pint of beer was 82p, this was some of what was happening 35 years ago.
Don’t miss our Memory Lane local history website.
LSE - Tyne & Wear in 1986: From the Metrocentre to Nissan to Queen in 10 photographs