Author Topic: South Tyneside Branch Report - January 2018  (Read 1113 times)

Offline Annf

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South Tyneside Branch Report - January 2018
« on: January 24, 2018, 03:36:44 PM »
Members of the South Tyneside Branch attended the meeting held on 17th January for an excellent talk by Susan Lynn on ‘The History of Tynemouth’.
The talk began with a reminder of childhood trips to the seaside and of course the infamous “knitted bathing costume”.  Complimented with photographs and old picture post cards, the presentation continued on to the iconic landmarks of Tynemouth, the first of which was the Priory and Castle.  With 7th century origins, the priory was reputedly the burial place of 3 kings, Oswin, Osred II and Malcolm III King of Scotland, although his body was later moved to Scotland.  Indeed the Tynemouth Coat of Arms depicted 3 crowns as well as images of a miner and a mariner.

Nearby stands a statue of Sir Cuthbert Collingwood who was born in Newcastle. Collingwood went to sea at the age of 12, he married and had 2 daughters.  On the death of Nelson he took control at the Battle of Trafalgar.  The cannon are those taken from Collingwood’s ship ‘Sovereign’.

Previously a barracks, Knotts Flats were built in 1937 by the James Knott Trust.  The Master Mariners Asylum was built to house Master Mariners and their families by a charity set up in 1829 to aid Master Mariners.  Alongside the Tynemouth Lodge was a Correction House for petty criminals, which by 1907 had become a laundry.  Next to the Gibraltar Rock was the ‘old post office’ which became a childrens convalescence home before it was demolished in the 1930s. 

With its location at ‘the Mouth of the Tyne’, no talk on Tynemouth would be complete without mention of its maritime history.  The pier was originally a curved structure but having been breached to such an extent that the lighthouse was isolated, a new straight pier was built in 1910.  The lighthouse was demolished and replaced by St Mary’s lighthouse.  The ‘Black Middens’ on the north side of the Tyne make the river a notoriously difficult place to navigate.  The R.N.L.B., founded by John Morrison and John Spence, have an interesting museum which can be found on the Spanish Battery.  Before dredging, the depth of the river could change dramatically, with stories that in 1846 and at low tide, a group of Tyne Pilots were able to walk across the river bed.
Susan continued that Tynemouth became a spa town for the rich, with the Haven opening in 1907.  The Railway Station which was completed in 1882, the Grand Hotel, the Lido, the Plaza Hotel & Winter, the bungalows on the beach, the Assembly Rooms, the Cenotaph, South African War Memorial were just some of the places included in Susan’s talk.  Whilst many of these buildings are ‘long gone’, old photographs showed that there has been very little change in Front Street itself.

This was a thoroughly informative and enjoyable talk, packed with information so much so I have been able to touch on only a part of it in this report.