It hasn't proved to be the easiest undertaking, but for those of you who are old enough to remember Blyth Harbour in its heyday, and have arrived at this page by looking up the town on the web for old time's sake, it might rekindle memories of an era long since consigned to history.(Above & Right) An enlarged section of the 1934 LNER map showing the lines serving Blyth station, along with the goods yard and the six-road South Blyth engine shed.
The huge staiths in the town were gone, cropped down to their current level in 1966-67.All the staiths - barring the West Staith - ceased to be used in 1964 and after a few years lying out of use, they too were demolished before I was born and of an age where I could fully appreciate the importance of Blyth as a port and its place in history.(Left) This is me on the far left, bottom row in the Class of 1973 at Bebside Infants School.Taking Dennis at his word and yielding to no one, she mounted the kerb and drove straight over the island at 30 mph! Needless to say, it was the last time he took his wife out in the car, but after a course of driving lessons she did pass her test eventually. Many other childhood memories have been sparked by finding such familiar places on this old LNER map.Arriving at the other side she swerved oncoming traffic, before a shocked Dennis told her to pull over and asked why she had done such a thing, to which she replied - 'But you said go straight across! I didn't think I'd have much to say, or be able to add any more to what has already been posted on the web about the history of Blyth, but David has cajoled me (bullied me, more like) and having studied this map I am at a loss for words, in the sense that I now have too much to say! Perhaps I should begin by describing how this map has reignited my passion for my old hometown of Blyth.Moving south we have the original Cowpen Quay, which became the Cowpen Dry Docks, which also had two shipbuilding slipways.
Blyth Station is prominent in the centre of the map, with the South Staith heading out past Low Quay and Quay Road (with spouts 1-8) before turning away from the riverside through the mass of sidings adjacent to Ridley Park from which access could be gained to the Blyth Harbour Commission's network of lines serving the various quaysides and timber yards to the South.
The map is not on the usual alignment since the North is off to the left in the top left corner of the map.
Therefore, working our way from left to right (north to south) we have initially the West Staith (with spouts 17-20) protruding into the River Blyth on a more or less north-south alignment.
Phil's quite obvious enthusiasm for Blyth is infectious - his love of the Northumbrian town shines through, and so I am pleased he has agreed to input his childhood memories on this site.
Although Phil was born long after Blyth's heydays as a major port, his research into the compilation of this page has been an interesting journey for him - and a most rewarding one for the both of us.
On seeing the network of lines serving the West Staithes at Cambois it immediately sparked memories of class 08 diesel shunters creeping out onto the long wooden structure with rakes of coal wagons.