Tyne View by Port of Tyne Writer in Residence
Last year, at the Port of Tyne Reflect Awards, we asked all those attending to jot down on a postcard what the Tyne meant to them
We got some fascinating and touching responses.
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The River is many things to many people. A working environment for some and pleasure for others. For me I am lucky to say it has been both. Rivers flow well and if lucky life does too.
P L Whale
As a young girl I had a bike called ‘Blue Bird', made up of bits and pieces of other bikes which my uncle found and joined up. I loved that bike, every weekend I would ride up the West Road and heard out towards Ovingham. There I would stop, buy some bread at the little bakery, then take my bread and head for the River to sit and eat it. There I would sit until late into the afternoon drinking in everything I saw - birds, people, beetles, butterflies, I learnt so much about nature i.e. the tributaries of the Tyne, the River I also love so much. (My present dog is called Tyne). I would ride home so happy and relate everything I has seen to my parents and family. Happy Memories.
There really is no place like home. The people are world renowned. The rivers are the ‘Best in Europe' and the environment is what made me move back home.
Journeys and coming home. We all do that in one way or another...When I was a boy, I used to lie in bed at night, in the darkness, near the Ouseburn, listening to the hooting of ships working upriver. Years later I stood on the Spanish Battery watching another ship enter its home port with my brother on board, its 5th engineer, home from South Africa. He bought me a carved spear which I still have today.
I lived at the top of Borough Bank in North Shields and I worked in South Shields. I left the house at 8.25am, ran down the bank for the 8.30am ferry (car ferry). The skipper would shout "ok she's on board - lift the drawbridge, we can go now!"
Travelling from South Shields to North Shields on the ferry when I was only about 3 years old. I remember landing on the north side and visiting a café near what was known as the ‘Jungle'.
Early morning mist coming off the river, sun coming up - spring, salmon on the line.
A perfect day.
The sound of the QE2 hooter telling us that she was coming into Port, memorable and wonderful with a tear in my eye.
I'm a ‘newcomer'. I love the Tyne. I'm fascinated by its history and I love its transformation. I just struggle to understand the divide between the two sides of the river. In any other city we would be talking about South Side and North Side.
The Iconic ‘Tyne Dock' Arches. I moved to Simonside in 1978 and within 12 months they were gone! We once transported coal to the four corners of the earth, now we import it.
One of my earliest memories is watching the workmen from Middle Docks, Redheads etc striding up Eldon Street in South Shields at noon for their dinner hour. They were dressed in black, filthy and reminded me of an army of marching ants.
The Esso Northumbria reaching past the River on its maiden voyage (a view from Whitley Bay promenade).
Loading cranes by crane on to the ‘Leda' at the Tyne Commission Quay (now Northumbrian Quay).
Fishing for whiting at North Shields Fish Quay.
I was born on the banks of the Tyne - is it possible to be more ‘Geordie' than that? On the south side of the bridge at Corbridge is a block of flats - which used to be a pub called the ‘Lion of Corbridge' and before that it was a maternity hospital (50ish years ago) My friend Phillip Crawley - Gateshead, London, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Toronto - was also born there. Apparently there's a group of people who meet regularly who were amongst the last born there before it was closed down. I have wonderful memories of a life lived from time to time very close to the wonderful River Tyne.
As a ‘Geordie-by-adoption' I can't think of anywhere I'd rather come home to. To cross the Tyne on the King Edward Bridge and to see the bridges is the most wonderful feeling - a mixture of pride and joy at belonging to such a beautiful, friendly place.
My dad was a Caulker Burner, he fixed ships that caught whales, and as a child I remember the incredible noise of a working river. Now this artery to our region is almost silent but for the cries of seagulls and the hooters of various visiting cruise liners... how times have changed!