South Shields Foreshore – preserving the memories

Tyne & Wear Archives is delighted to present a new flickr set of images relating to South Shields. This set has been created to celebrate the opening of South Tyneside Council’s new leisure centre, Haven Point, on 28 October. Haven Point is located on Pier Parade, South Shields and is major part of the Council’s ambitious plan to transform the town’s foreshore.

Most of the images are taken from the records of the Newcastle-based photographers Turners Ltd. The set focuses in particular on life along the foreshore during the 1950s but also includes a few images from further down the coast, such as this image of the Marsden Grotto taken in May 1953.

Aerial view of Marsden Grotto, May 1953 (TWAM ref. DT.TUR/2/9996B)

Aerial view of Marsden Grotto, May 1953 (TWAM ref. DT.TUR/2/9996B)

The images include a superb series commissioned by South Shields Borough Council in August 1950 to promote local tourism. South Shields has long been a popular seaside resort and the images reflect this. There are shots of families relaxing on the beach and having fun at the amusement park.

Miniature railway at the Amusement Park, South Shields, August 1950 ( TWAM ref. DT.TUR/2/5197M)

There are also views promoting the town’s parks and the beach chalets, which were so popular for holidaymakers.

Family in a beach chalet, South Shields, August 1950 (TWAM ref. DT.TUR/2/5255C)

I hope that these images stir a few happy trips down memory lane. If you’d like to share your memories then please do leave a comment.

Turners also took some excellent aerial photographs of the foreshore and the surrounding area. These include this view of Westoe Colliery in May 1954.

Aerial view of Westoe Colliery with foreshore in the background, South Shields, May 1954 (DT.TUR/2/11668A)

Photographs such as these are an important reminder of the town’s proud industrial history. Old industries such as coal mining and shipbuilding may have disappeared but their memory lives on through the men who worked in them and their descendants. Those families will help to write the next chapter in South Shields history.

The images in the flickr set, together with a fascinating selection of photographs from South Tyneside Local Studies Library, will be on show in a digital exhibition at Haven Point. The exhibition includes 59 images from the Local Studies collections and contains some remarkable views of the town’s old swimming facilities such as the Open Air Pool on the north foreshore and the Victoria Sea Water Baths. You can also see images from the Local Studies Library online at

Over the coming years South Shields will continue to be regenerated and many areas will be changed forever. While it’s important that the town looks forward to an exciting future it’s also vital that its heritage is preserved and appreciated. Tyne & Wear Archives and South Tyneside Local Studies have a crucial role to play in this. We serve as the region’s memory. We keep alive a window into the town’s past, preserving the history of people, places and industries that no longer exist.


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