Found out today that yesterday morning, Dunston Staiths was vandalised yet again and set on fire. There were ongoing repairs being made to it from the last fire in 2019, with lots of money being raised towards it. It is sad that this piece of local history is yet again vandalised, it is one of a kind, and an important reminder of the industrial heritage of the North East. But I am not sure if it is worth it to keep spending out on repairs if they can’t safeguard it, this isn’t the first, second or even the third arson attack, it feels like they are just chucking money up the chimney.
On a wet day in July Sophie and I went to the outdoor market held once a month on Dunston Staiths.
The History Bit
The Staiths are believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe, maybe the world, but who knows? It is also a Grade II listed scheduled monument and is owned by registered charity Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust (TWBPT). The structure is made of North American pitch pine timber, no longer available, from the once unlimited forest. Most of the timber used was 20 metres long, 14 inches deep and 14 inches wide. The total weight of timber is 3,200 tons. The Staithes are 526 metres long with 4 railway tracks, 6 loading berths (3 on each side), with two chutes to each berth.
The North East Railway Company opened the Staiths in 1893, and it’s purpose was to facilitate the loading of large quantities of coal…
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