Saturday, September 28, 2013
Unveiling in Derwenthaugh
Last Saturday saw the culmination of a short project by various local history societies in western Gateshead which aimed to produce information panels about the historic crossing of the Derwent River at the site now occupied by the Butterfly Bridge. This area has had an important historical role on the Industrial Revolution and was the site in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of iron smelting and the early modern iron working industry. The site continued as a home for heavy industry until the 1980s. It is now a country park.
The history societies in Sunniside, Whickham, Swalwell, Winlaton and Winlaton Mill won Heritage Lottery Funding in the spring for the project to research and the history of the site and install three informaiton boards in Derwenthaugh. I had a very minor role to play, attending some of the research meetings (I am a member of Sunniside History Society). The information boards were unveiled on Saturday 21st September by the Mayor of Gateshead, Jack Graham. I acted as a guide on the day and over 100 people turned up for the unveiling.
There will be a DVD about the history of the site, made by Noel Adamson of the Sunniside History Society. My Dad, David, makes an appearance in the video. He talks about his memories of the Butterfly Bridge and Derwenthaugh area as a child. The DVD is not ready yet but should be available to buy shortly.