River Tyne

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The River Tyne has a long history, not merely as a waterway to the sea, but as a working river.

Today you are more likely to see leisure cruise craft, ferries or speedboats on the river, however in years gone by you could have seen keelmen loading all types of different cargo on to ships bound for ports worldwide.

The tradition of shipbuilding remains alive albeit on a much smaller scale. I’ll never forget seeing my first ship launch on to the river. For months the structure had been built at the Swan Hunter yard. Initially you could only hear the men working, then came the steel poking up over the railway line at the bottom of the terraced street. As the ship neared completion the light started to be blocked out and the ship dominate the view down the street. 

On a boiling hot sunny day it seemed as though the entire community had turned out to send the ship on its way. With a smash of a bottle of champagne on the steel side of the ship, a cheer from the crowd went up, as the massive structure slowly slide into the Tyne. Before we knew, the ship had been turned and sailed out to sea for it trials. Then the process began all over again with the next order.

The river has changed a lot since those days.


River-side apartments have sprung up on the north and south banks of the river. Even a new tilting bridge has been added that looks like a blinking eye when it is raised to let vessels pass up or downstream.


The arts have arrived in the shape of the Baltic Art Gallery to the left in the picture above, sitting just in front of a world class music venue that looks a little bit like an armadillo from the outside, The Sage.

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