Monday, October 08, 2007


Dee as a lovely post today with some beautiful photos of where she lives.

This prompted me into thinking about my local area and made me go and do something I have been meaning to do for weeks now. Go and photograph something whilst I still can.

The cranes at Swan Hunters on the north bank of the Tyne are coming down, they are being sold to somewhere in India. In the past when hard times came and the yards lay idel the cranes stood sentry until new orders came in and work resumed, but no more. This is the end of an era for Wallsend, no more ship building on the Tyne.

When I see these images I am filled with sadness; those large red cranes are the first to go, one is already missing several parts as you can see.

These giants are what I see when I come back into Wallsend, they greet me on my way home and when I see them I feel that warm feeling you get when you are nearly back to your nest. MY skyline will eventually be completely different as they currently dominate their surroundings. You can see how much smaller the other coloured cranes are.

I am told that the green one is staying as it is a listed structure, there are apparently plans to redevelope the area as a marina with posh houseing and eateries. *sigh* Somehow I don't see the 'riverside appartments' new residents being comfortable with that as a reminder of our industrial heritage.

Walking along by the shipyard today I was struck by how quiet it was down there> It must have been so busy and noisy in it's heyday. The warehouses are already cleared. Just 3 men were fishing where once thousands worked.

When I look at this red monster I wonder how many ships she has helped to build? What were their names and to where have they sailed?

Then as I was feeling all melancholy the men working to take the cranes down started to cut the bearings free - they are working on a very precarious scaffolding and they are very high in the air. My 300mm lens couldn't get any closer than this. Suddenly there was noise and life and action again.

I will miss my view, although I could never call it picturesque it is still home, well, my adopted home. I wonder how the people who grew up here and worked at Swan's feel to see it coming down? How will they feel about a swanky new Marina? And all the new houses going up in the place of industry, will their occupants know or care what came before them? Where will they work?

I hope they do keep the green crane, we shouldn't lose it all.

Look at the site at google maps , search for Swan Hunter and zoom in until you see the dry docks; the end of the largest dock is where the men are fishing in my photo, all the buildings have been leveled.


Annette said...

It's so sad that developers and their money have more say in today's society than our heritage and history. Once it's gone it can never be reclaimed.

YarnSnob said...

goodbye swan hunter, sad to see this going soon, not a pretty skyline but brings back memories. I always look at the crane when I'm up that way...sob

stjuster said...

Howdy Jacqui, like you am very sad at the demise of one of the worlds great ship builders, Swan Hunter Wigam Richards, being an island nation, what are we doing pulling down a shipyard to sell it to another shipyard to build ships that we should be building!!???.
I visit the 'Ship in the Hole' daily with a dedicated bunch of snappers, so much so that we are called the 'CRANE PAPPARATTZI', covering the slightest movement in and around the icons of the river tyne. I live just round the corner from the yard so if anything happens down there the 'hotline 'rings and I hot foot it to capture the event