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Black Middens Rocks


The Black Middens are a rock formation at the mouth of the River Tyne. In the past they were a particularly dangerous hazard to ships as they are mostly hidden below the water level at high tide. Many ships have been wrecked on the Black Middens over the years, particularly in high winds. The High and Low Lights of North Shields were constructed in 1536 on the orders of Henry VIII to make the passage into the Tyne safer for ships (these were replaced with new lights in 1727). Despite these, 5 ships were wrecked on the rocks during 3 days of storms in November 1864. In response to this tragedy the Borough of Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade was founded on the 5th December 1864. The Cullercoats Volunteer Life Brigade was founded 3 days later. Completion of the North Pier and South Pier at the mouth of the Tyne improved safety, but the rocks still remain a potential hazard. There is a fable about the rocks formation.

The Black Middens is the name given to a reef at the mouth of the River Tyne in North East England, noted for the danger it poses to shipping.

Shipping hazard

The Black Middens is a rock formation at the mouth of the River Tyne, particularly dangerous as it is mostly below the water at high tide when shifting sand bars form around it. Many ships have been blown on to the Black Middens and wrecked – five ships during three days of storms in 1864, whose wrecks resulted in 34 deaths within close sight of the shore. In order to mitigate such disasters, the Lights of North Shields were constructed in 1536 on the orders of Henry VIII, to guide mariners into the river. The first Volunteer Life Brigade was formed in Tynemouth in 1864, to rescue sailors who navigated into danger despite the lights.

Name

"Midden" is a Scandinavian word, common in a number of north-east English dialects, used to describe a heap or dump of domestic waste; local legend has it that the devil threw the Black Middens into the Tyne to spoil the rich trade in coal shipped from Newcastle.

History

A fishery was long based here, extending from the Black Middens to Howdon Head. In the 15th century, the Prior of Tynemouth had three fishing weirs; large isolated rocks nearby are known as the Prior's Rocks or Stones. In the 17th century, it was known as Robert Ramsey's fishery. In the 18th century, nets were used and hundreds of salmon were caught.

Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 19/12/2016).
Visit the page: Black Middens for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.
Tynemouth Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House Museum Tynemouth Pier and Lighthouse Black Middens Fable
from Flickr (flickr)
Black Middens

Pinned by Peter Smith
from Flickr (flickr)
North Shields

Pinned by Peter Smith
from Flickr (flickr)
Black Middens Wreck

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
from Geograph (geograph)
Black Middens

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
from http://twsitelines.info/SMR...
Tyne and Wear HER(12972): Tynemouth, Black Middens, Stanley
- "On 24 November 1864 the passenger steamer Stanley, sailing from London to Aberdeen, sank having hit Black Middens rocks in a violent storm The local lifeboat (Constance) could not reach ...

Added by
Simon Cotterill
from Geograph (geograph)
Black Middens

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade
  Co-Curate Page
Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade
- In November 1864 five ships were wrecked on Black Middens rocks during 3 days of storms, adding to the many lives lost over the years because of the treacherous rocks. ...

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