Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Out with the old.

Demolition men at work!

I took a walk this morning before heading to the Corner Shop to begin my shift behind the counter.

I had deliberately chosen to visit the old East Holborn area of South Shields, shown in this Google satellite image, as it is undergoing some considerable change - my intention was to capture some images for use in Curly's Photoshop.

It's a very historic area of the town and it's roots go back into the eighteenth century and beyond when it was a hotbed of local industry, chemical works, shipyards, glassworks, etc. The houses around here were built upon ballast hills, spoil material deposited by years of visiting wooden hulled craft. It is also the location of The Rose and Crown public house which still retains an aged character and was the popular watering hole for shipyard workers at the old Middle Docks.

Now many of the familiar landmarks are being demolished to make way for a whole new riverfront in the future. Old factories, such as Peter Johnson's and the pipeworks have already been flattened and the Middle Docks properties are now being brought down and, possibly, the docks will be recaimed from the river. The plan is for a huge new development including mixed housing, office accomodation, hotel and leisure, and more open views of the river.

I understand that the land under development is owned by Branmore Investments Ltd.,picture of councillor allen branley, westoe ward, south shields a company headed by South Tyneside Councillor Allen Branley (pictured) and his business partner Alan Mordain who is a candidate in tomorrow's by-election in the Cleadon Village and East Boldon ward. The two hold a good hand and will be mainly responsible for the remodelling and redevelopment of the riverside, so it will be interesting and exiting to observe the progress of the project.

It has to be said that it takes people of vision, foresight, and a willingness to take a risk on the chance that lands like these become available, I would suggest that being in the right place at the right time is also an important factor.

There are only two councillors on South Tyneside Council who do not claim the Members Allowance, they are the Independants Cllr. Allen Branley and his wife Cllr. Jane Branley; Allen Branley has also faced criticism in the past year for his poor attendance record at Council meetings and has been quoted as saying that some committee meetings are nothing more than "talking shops" that "spout hot air", he reckons he can get through more council business than most others by dealing directly with officers on behalf of his constituents - obviously a man of action!

Anyway, his demolition works will make some very interesting additions to the photoblog and a lasting record to the end of an industrial era of shipbuilding and repair on the Tyne.

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