Sunday, 10 July 2016
Blyth Quayside's Heritage
Interactive map of Quayside Heritage Trail (may take a few seconds to load on some devices) or click here for stand-alone larger map
The middle section of this terrace is from the late 18th century. Number 11 was converted into a bath house in the 19th century and still contains the porch with the lettering "BATHS". Clare Hickman on buildingconservation.com writes:"In 18th-century Britain the health craze of the day resulted in the creation of plunge pools and cold baths in houses and gardens across the land. These containers filled with cold water could be located within the main house or within a purpose-built structure set in the landscape, such as a grotto." These grand houses, in brick, were home to some of the most prominent of Blyth residents including many shipowners and John Carr owner of Cowpen Colliery and many other pits.
A street name on the 19th century mapping. A first though may be that this was named from the place of a port of a trading partner of Blyth, but historians believe it is a shortened version of "wapentake" - a danish meeting place - and this site could be an ancient settlement.
Built in 1925 on the site of a Church of England chapel-of-ease to the main parish church at Earsdon, several miles to the South. This was built in 1751 by the landowners, the Ridley family, to serve the ever increasing population. Nothing remains of this old church except the keystone that is visible with the date 1751 was from the entrance to the original church. "A chalice, first used in the old church in 1754, is still on exhibition in the new church", according to St Cuthbert's website.
A yard was shown at this site on the early 19th century mapping. It was on of several shipbuilding sites on the Blyth. Shipbuilding began on the river in the mid 18th century and continued until 1966 on both a large and small scale. This was a relatively small yard. The main site was just slightly upstream past the River Cafe.
The burial place of many prominent Blyth residents and home to some ornate and listed grave stones. Unfortunately there is much weathering on many of the stones. Look out for "William Watts of South Blyth Pilot taken to the Mercy of God being drowned (with three other Pilots) while employed in the duty of his Calling on the 14th day of January 1805 he left a widow & five children to bewail his loss Weep for yourselves, for me lament no more I'm safely landed on a peaceful shore My Home's in Him whose word proclaimeth this - I am the Way to everlasting Bliss". There were many tragedies on 14th January in the first two decades of 19th century and it became known as Blyth's unluckiest day, with boats being kept on shore. for a long time afterwards.
This was built in 1913. The boardroom is decorated with wood panelling and Dutch tiles from the SS Walmer Castle which was broken up at Blyth in 1932. The Harbour Commission had come into existence in 1882. The previous Harbour and Dock Company were not able to raise the necessary funding to expand and develop the port, which was much needed to cope with the increasing trade. The Harbour Commission as a public body had access to a wider range of public capital and set about a programme of developing the port to what it is today.