DescriptionStaiths, Dunston. Gateshead, North East England. The Dunston riverside was once a hive of activity, with lots of ships waiting at the river mouth to be loaded with coal from the Keel boats as early as 1671. The Keel men had to be strong, as the Keel boats carried 20 tons of coal with just a square sail and two large oars, they did four or five trips a day, manned by two men and a boy. When the Dunston Staithes were built, sadly, the Keel men were made redundant. The Dunston Staithes (pictured above) were built by the North Eastern Railways. The first pile was driven on 26th August 1890. There was no formal ceremony when they were opened, just a few officials of the mineral traffic department were present. They were opened on Monday 16th October 1893, and the first steamer loaded at 7.20 a.m. was called 'The Holmside'. It is said that the Dunston Staithes are the largest timber structure in Europe and probably in the world. In the early 19th Century, Waggonways were used to transport the coal from the North Durham coalfields, of which there were quite a few. Dunston, at that time, would largely be agricultural, supplying food for Newcastle and Gateshead. Meat, such as pork, lamb, mutton and beef, as well as milk, vegetables, grain and hay, but the more industry increased, the food was produced locally. Ships came into the Tyne at Dunston from all over the world to collect their cargo, the crews would need feeding, so the Dunston shops did very well in those days. During the Staithes "glory days", in 1929, 140,000 tons of coal per week was loaded. In 1970 it's production dropped to just 3,500 tons per annum. Trade had steadily declined from the end of the second World War, it was never to recover. The run-down was gradual, but they closed as working Staithes in 1977, and finally in 1980.
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Further informationLink: https://www.flickr.com/photos/75480089@N04/16589484841/
Resource type: Image
Added by: Simon Cotterill
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