10875
views

The Fall of Swan Hunters

Duration: 2:35 minutes
Accession No: TWCMS : 2009.405
This story has been viewed 10875 times

Summary
Barry tells us about the fall of Swan Hunters shipbuilders in Wallsend.

By Barry Martin

Inspiration


Sign up to the Culture Shock podcast


Find us on Facebook Follow us on twitter

You need Adobe Flash installed to watch this movie.
Get Adobe Flash

Video transcript

Although I never worked in Swans, who have been on the river for over 150 years, I was born and brought up within the sight and sounds of the yard. When I left school you had two options shipyard or coal mining. I chose to be a motor mechanic. I have seen some fantastic sights as ships are launched. Its now 2010 now and the river has just had a visit from HMS Ark Royal, 25 years after her launch. I was down at the yard when they laid her keel. The Ark is as famous as the Mauretania, another famous Swans ship built in 1907, in its day the most luxurious liner afloat, she held the Blue Ribband for the fastest crossing from UK to USA for over 20 years. When they said the cranes and all equipment were going to India I thought to myself I must capture this for future generations to see what was once on this spot, and I captured nearly everything. If I was away my friends done it for me. At the time it was said it would take 6 months to do the job in fact it took over 3 years. Everything was loaded onto a floating dock which was then loaded onto the heavy lift vessel the Osprey. I don't think there is anyone alive connected with the sea that has not heard of Swan Hunters Shipbuilders, and would hear the words “Swans to close”. At the time of the announcement of it closing after 150 years nothing seemed to be happening like the previous S.O.S. campaign (Save Our Swans) My friends And I who captured the cranes coming down are known as the Swanssnappers. We were invited by the Discovery Museum to help them prepare an exhibition all about Swans, to be called Swans of the Tyne. It was an enormous task as the museum has all of Swans archives about ships, submarines, floating docks built at their yards on the 3 rivers the Tyne, Tees and the Wear. At the moment they are making a film and all the equipment is being stored in the yard that once built ships.

brilliant but sad to see this once great place now gonePosted on 21/09/2010 at 11:39:37

VERY WELL DONE BARRY BUT ITS A PITY YOU DIDNT HAVE MORE TIME TO TALK ABOUT SWAN HUNTERS BUT ALSO GET MR.KILPATRICKS COMM ENTS WELL DONE JOHHNAPosted on 22/09/2010 at 03:25:04

Hello Barry, its now 2012 so i guess you'll never see this comment. I live near wallsend and i walk my dog on the old rail-track they carried the coals that is now a cycle track. I go by Swan Hunters, every day, My Dad worked there from 14 years old till the day he retired, and his Dad before him. Swan Hunter waws our bread and butter. he once speared a salmon while at work and brought it home and cooked it. noone would eat it, it smelled like the river tyne although cleaned up better now, it was bad then. They also built the RMS Carpathia, who rescued the RMS Titanic survivors, oh and when my Dad was about 11 years old he saved 2 young children in river tyne, it was in the newspapers and his name is John Dunn. only a child himself. while grown men watched on the river bank too scared to help because of a river current.Posted on 27/09/2012 at 00:55:34

Add your comment



Close

View all Crime stories

View all themes