The Fog on the Tyne

Recently I’ve been digging our boxes of old photographs, and boring all my Facebook friends by posting lots of scans I made from them. I seem to remember this particular batch came as a result of a stroll along the quayside of the River Tyne during one of the vacations when I was an undergraduate. I’m not very good at keeping records (or taking pictures for that matter) but at a guess I’d date them as 1984.

I’ve posted them partly because I think they’re quite atmospheric – there really was Fog on the Tyne that day – but also because the views they depict have long since vanished.

For example, there is now a new bridge – the beautiful Gateshead Millennium Bridge  – roughly at the position from which this first picture was taken. In the background (i.e. to the West) you can see the iconic Tyne Bridge and the Swing Bridge. Notice also that in those days the quayside to the right (on the Newcastle side) was virtually derelict; now it is buzzing with fancy cafés, bars and restaurants. In those days the Quayside was a rough and rather dangerous place, especially at night.

This one is of the Baltic Flour Mill, on the Gateshead side of the River Tyne, in the days when it was a disused flour mill. It’s now a famous art gallery and exhibition space, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

Next one shows a couple of trawlers tugs (see comments below). In fact there is a famous Fish Quay at North Shields further along towards the mouth of the Tyne; it dates back to the 13th Century.

And finally this contraption, which I assume is long gone. I never worked out what it was for. Any suggestions?

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4 Responses to “The Fog on the Tyne”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    I’d say it’s for transferring a cargo that is capable of flow, between a ship and a motorised transport parked beneath it. Whether it is one-way I don[‘t know. The cargo could be a genuine fluid or something like grain. Grain would be my best guess because petrochemical fluids were handled in dedicated docking facilities rather than at a general wharf, and because it looks to date from the era before modern fertilisers when Britain was not self-sufficient. But it certainly has a number of mystifying features, such as windows, and that holding tank at the top. I suspect that the delivery hose at left would be deployed in such a way that the fluid is not required to go up and then down just for the fun of it, and that we are seeing it in its storage position.

    • telescoper Says:

      Could it be an ice machine, so supply the fishing vessels with ice?

      The thing moved on the wider set of tracks, and presumably the narrower set in the middle was intended for something to go underneath, whether to receive what was being taken off a boat or to be transferred onto one.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    Those ‘trawlers’ looked more like tugs to me, so I did a bit of googling; here is some info on the one adjacent to the wharf:

    http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=1212303

    • telescoper Says:

      I stand (sit) corrected. The tugs I was used to seeing on the Tyne were much more muscular ships, used for pulling things in and out of the shipyards further along the river; these are smaller ones. I had wondered why they would be there, when they usually landed fish further East at North Shields.

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