Archive for May 2007
Faramir leaves the Tyne
The yacht Faramir leaving the River Tyne and on her way to the North Sea
“This company will return one day
Though we feel your tears
Its the price we pay
For there’s prizes to be taken
And glory to be found
Cut free the chains
Make fast your souls
We are Eldorado bound
I will take you
For always, forever, together
Until hell calls our names
Who’ll drink a toast with me
To the devil and the deep blue sea
Gold drives a man to dream
Taken from “Pirates” (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer)
Picture taken at Coble Landing, South Shields
Revd. James Jeremy Taylor
We can learn so much from the graveyards and cemetaries, our forebears buried their dead they had no nice clinical cremators, and their masons and stonesmiths left many stories behind them, etched and carved in sandstone, granites and marble. Our oldest municipal cemetary is in Westoe, it was there when South Shields and Westoe were two separate places connected only by a bridlepath, and it is here that the early allumnii of South Shields are buried, shipowners lie side by side with doctors, landowners, shipbuilders, collierymen, and of course servicemen too.
Some of South Shields most famous names are buried here, we named streets and parks after them as the town grew and developed, names like Readhead, Imeary, Salmon, George Potts, and Winterbottom too.
Here we find the grave of the Reverend James Jeremy Taylor M.A. priest at St. Mary, Eldon Street who died in 1893 aged 63 years. He was installed as the priest of the Tyne Dock parish church in 1860 and during his time serving his congregation of (mainly) shipyard workers, he lost his son Charles Wentworth aged one year, a daughter Constance Francis aged 9 weeks, and his wife Esther aged 43 years. This man’s fortitude and courage ensured that he stayed in South Shields, despite the hardships at that time, to complete his mission and he died in post in 1893.
His is not the only sad tale to be told in Westoe Cemetary, and the rapid growth of industry and townships was not accompanied by a similar growth in public health until many years later, John Readhead the builder of many ships at his family’s yard in Commercial Road, South Shields saw most of his children buried before his wife and he reached the end of their lives.
This is the final picture from the inside of South Shields Town Hall for now. In recent years (since a change in regulations) licensed registrars have been able to visit the Town Hall to conduct marriage ceremonies. Here, the happy couple sign the register, signifying a contract between each other.
The window has had a little help from Photoshop.
The Victoria Cross
Two sculptures by Roger Andrews have been placed in niches on either side of the main staircase in South Shields Town Hall earlier this month, they commemorate the awarding of the Victoria Cross to two of South Tyneside’s military heroes who showed immense bravery under fire during the last two great wars. The money to pay for these tributes was raised by public subscription and the popular feeling is that the artist has portrayed the men faithfully.
Capt. Richard “Dicky” Annand (pictured left) won the Army’s first Victoria Cross of the Second World War when serving with the 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, and Private Thomas Young (pictured right) won his VC when in March 1918, after an offensive near Arras, he returned time and again to no-man’s-land to rescue nine men lying wounded in shell craters.
Annand spent most of his life living in South Shields and was a resident of Westoe Village before moving to the City of Durham where he died aged 90 in 2004. Thomas Young was from Boldon and died in Whickham aged 71 in 1966.
The bronze statues are just about life size at around six feet tall each and face visitors as they enter the Town Hall.
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry in the British military structure and each medal is cast from bronze from two guns of Russian (or Chinese) origin captured during the Crimean War.
You can read about the history of the Victoria Cross here.
You can see a larger image here.
The Council Chamber
I have always thought that the Edwardian Town Hall in South Shields is one of the finest public buildings in the north of England, and my opinions were strengthened on becoming a borough councillor in 1980.
Here we see the Council Chamber where decisions are taken by the 54 elected councillors representing the Metropolitan District Borough of South Tyneside. The Mayor Cllr. Tracey Dixon occupies the tallest of the five chairs located behind the Ceremonial Mace near the centre of the rear wall. Above The Mayor’s head is the magnificent hand carved coat of arms of South Shields featuring Wouldhave’s lifeboat “The Tyne” and our motto “Always Ready”, above that is the electronic “scoreboard” which shows the voting record after debates.
All of the benches, tables, and panels are of hand carved and engraved English oak, and the upholstery is of the finest leather, behind the opened door on the left is the Members’ lounge and beyond that The Mayor’s Parlour. The Majority party occupy the benches to our left and the Opposition parties occupy the benches on the far side of this horse-shoe shaped debating chamber. The public gallery is located behind my back.
The Town Hall was opened in 1910 by the then Mayor Alderman George Gray, who was the grandfather of Cllr. Arthur Gray, the former Conservative Leader of Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council.
My lens on my Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 is not small enough to provide a wide enough angle for this type of shot, therefore I turned the camera to the upright vertical position (portrait) mounted it on a tripod, and exposed three shots all 1/10 second at f4 and stitched them together in Photoshop to make this panoramic view. I committed the cardinal sin of exposing the left hand frame first, instead of the centre, which makes the stitch a little more difficult to achieve with three frames. However, I’m satisfied with the result.
You can see a larger image by clicking on the picture.
Photography is not normally permitted within the Council Chamber and I was only able to gain access for these shots after being invited to the Town Hall by the Mayor of South Tyneside.
Whitburn Hall was the ancestral home of Sir Hedworth Williamson and his family and it was located adjacent to the cricket club in Whitburn Village near South Shields.
Sir Hedworth himself was a keen cricketer and appeared many times for the club. His other interests included helping charities and was an eager supporter of the R.S.P.C.A. A J.P. of the County of Durham he was well known for his sympathy with unfortunate defendants and also for stern justice he handed out to ‘real bad uns’.
Sir Hedworth Williamson, as he got older, suffered from general decay but his death at 74 on 24th August 1900, was accelerated by an attack of diabetes. Generous to a fault it was he who allowed part of his grounds to be used as a field for the Whitburn Cricket Club, making a stipulation that no gate money should be taken at matches.
Williamson was also a breeder of thoroughbred race horses.
Sir Hedworth Williamson (1827-1900) was the 8th Baronet of a title created in 1642. Educated at Eton and Oxford he was appointed attaché to the embassy at St. Petersburg at the age of 21. He later represented Sunderland in Parliament for many years. A politician of ‘decidedly liberal views’ he was not known as a great debater. However, his speeches on home ground in Sunderland were always humourous and well received. Williamson was a strong opponent of Home Rule and quit the Liberal Party in 1886 in protest at Gladstone’s measures. He was a River Wear Commissioner for many years and a highly respected JP. Living in Whitburn Hall, he owned most of Monkwearmouth, presenting a large portion to the city to make Roker Cliffe Park. The privileged lifestyle enjoyed at Whitburn Hall ended with his death, upon which the title passed to his son, also Hedworth.
These remains of the outer walling around the old Whitburn Hall look as though they could easily have been the set for “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom“, the hall was demolished a long time ago and replaced by luxury apartments, all that remains is the rather beautiful cricket ground, which I will show at a later date.
Tomorrow at midnight I will publish the 300th. post of this photoblog.
I was always confident that I could find sufficient material in and around South Shields and South Tyneside to keep it refreshed on a daily basis, and I am very thankful to the other members in the Daily City Photo community for their support and encouragement. I still endeavour to visit as many as possible of the other 254 Daily and City photoblogs as and when time permits and to make comments on their work and their hometown. I have found it an enriching experience which educates and informs as well as any school lesson, and allows us all to encompass the breadth of the human experience in towns and cities around the world.
Tomorrow’s (and the next few days) posts will be rather special and were only possible with the assistance and help of The Mayor of South Tyneside Cllr. Tracey Dixon, who by her invitation (see this post) allowed me to access parts of our Town Hall where normally photography is not permitted. I am extremely grateful.