South Shields

by Robert Moffat July. 01, 2012 6708 views

South Shields is situated in a peninsula setting, where the River Tyne meets the North Sea. It has six miles of coastline and three miles of river frontage, dominated by the massive piers at the mouth of the Tyne. And - most importantly it is where I grew up! - The last pictures are of the house I lived in until I was in my 20's.

Today South Shields gets a little fame as being the constituency of David Milliband MP - the man who might have been …..

In the Victorian era, coal mining led to a boom in the town, increasing the population from 12,000 in 1801 to 75,000 by the 1860s. Then came shipbuilding and repairing and a boom! But after boom as always came the bust! and the last shipbuilder, John Readhead & Sons, closed in 1984 and the last pit, Westoe Colliery, in 1993. With that, Shields as it is known, lost its sea-front coal washer - a landmark blot on the landscape! and now it all looks rather good! Mind you it was a filthy day when we were there and not a day for going in the sea!

Marsden Rock is a rock formation owned by the National Trust - it is a local land-mark and the beach here is where I went as a child. The face of the rock was changed forever when tidal erosion caused the arch to collapse in 1996 - so it is not how I remember it! The rock is a 100-foot sea stack of periclase and Magnesian Limestone which lies 100 meters off the main cliff face.

The rock and the cliffs are home to sea bird colonies, with thousands of pairs of Black-legged Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Gulls and Cormorants.

The Marsden Grotto, ‘The Grotto’, is one of the only ‘cave bars’ in Europe, originally created by a quarry-man Jack - who created a home by digging out caves. It is an amazing place - and if it was anywhere else would be a real destination! But for some reason it's had a difficult time - several owners and never quite reached the status it should. It is incidentally the place I first drank beer! So it has a place in my history!

The Custom House quay

When I was a boy there would be ships everywhere you looked - even the great whalers - hundred of ships and now…. the ferry to Denmark is all you can see.

looking down river - there is the ferry which will take you across the Tyne to North Shields and Northumberland

This is the old Customs House - lovely building now used as an arts centre

Great pub - but look at the flag!

Missed out the centre of town and the sea front - and now along to Marsden and the famous rock. You can see a flight of stairs here which date back to the early 1800's and apparently in 1903 some choirs actually sang on the top of the rock! Glad it wasn't me!

looking north to the piers and with the lift down to the beach in the forefront

a better view - in the distance we can see the mouth of the tyne - the piers and Tynemouth priory

the rock is a lot smaller now with the rocks on the ground where it collapsed

just look at all the birds!

It was a rather bleak day - shame! This is where I went to the beach when I was a boy

and here is the Grotto

and a cold Sam!

Inside the grotto

an atmospheric place to eat and drink!

and here is where I lived from where I was a baby until I was in my twenties

memories! Though it didn't have the room in the roof in my day.

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Jacki 9 years ago

Sam is a good sport to be out an about in what looks like dreadful weather!

I do love these travel log kind of posts where I can see the world from me couch! The customs house is a beautiful building.... the beach area and big rock are awesome... nice place where you grew up... but the grotto wouldn't be so much for me, being a little claustrophobic! 8^)

9 years ago Edited