Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Dunston Staithes (NZ237626)

© Copyright AndrewCurtis and licensed for reuse under this CreativeCommons Licence.

The riverside monster that is Dunston Staithes is well known to all Tynesiders. Despite being severely damaged by fire twice of late, its skeletal form still looms large over all within a good mile or so of its muddy situate on the southern shore of the River Tyne.

The bare facts alone are all you need to know…

  • Contructed by the North Eastern Railway Co. during 1890-93 to transfer coal from trains into seagoing vessels
  • 1,709ft long, 50ft wide and 40ft high – reputedly the largest timber structure in Europe (and possibly the world)
  • Total weight of timber: in excess of 3,000 tonnes
  • Cost: £120,000+
  • Materials: North American Pitch Pine
  • Shipped 1.5 tonnes of coal in first year
  • Peaked in 1939 with nearly 4 million tonnes shipped
  • Operations ceased in 1977, and structure closed in 1980
  • Centrepiece of Gateshead Garden Festival in 1990

Recent uncertainty over the structure’s future seems to have been averted as plans are afoot to preserve and develop the site.

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