Is this progress or what?

29th August 2007, 04:38
These photos have appeared on the site recently and it sparked thoughts in my mind. They are great shots - but they show two of Britain's main rivers that used to be hives of shipbuilding and industrial activity. Now they seem to be becoming gentrified.
I can't help feeling that we should not be too pleased with the current pictures, unless there is another industrial or technical 'revolution' around the corner. Service industries cannot themselves support current populations.

29th August 2007, 10:53
Many changes like these can be disheartening. But change
happens. The world has different needs as time progresses.
I wonder what Kufu would have thought about his treasures
having been looted and his pyramid stripped; and tramped all
over by tourists later ... I am finding the same issues here in
Penzance, as I trek through documents and photographs, and
then compare it with today's Penzance. The age of grace and
industry has gone. Our fishing vessels are being stripped and
broken up - Elizabeth Ann being the latest. It has been replaced
by ornaments, trinkets and so-called artists. Our landscape has
been completely swathed in housing ... But it is still a beautiful
Bay and the Town is being "restored", we have a new responsibilty
towards the visitor. Housing draws in rents, rates and the land
brings forth a short term income and investment often follows.
My great great grandfather was from a family of ship-builders on
the Isles of Scilly; IOS was one of the biggest ship-builders in
Britain, a great natural harbour .. 200 or more ships at a time
found anchor there ... now all there is the tourist industry. They
survive. Life is change and adaptation to environment. Yes it is
sad to see such pictures, but my albums of old photographs are
full of such change ... we will survive, our allotted time.

29th August 2007, 11:30
Whether we like it or not, it is fact, once housing is built on river frontage, that frontage is lost to maritime industry for at least 100 years, its a crying shame for those of us who worked and loved these ports but things change. I suppose hundreds of years ago, there were those who objected to, what was undeveloped river banks being dug up to make way for the very dockyards and quaysides we grew to love. Its just the way of the World.

29th August 2007, 13:26
I wonder what will happen when tourist tastes change - surely there has to be some concrete product behind any prosperity. Recently I was delighted to find a tin opener made in Sheffield and bought it. After opening two tins it was blunt - the next one I bought was manufactured in China. Is there anything for a tourist to do in Sheffield? Not from what I recall of the place.

John T.

29th August 2007, 13:58
I am regularly dragged (kicking and screaming) to Sheffield, so that my dear wife can go "shopping", at the Meadow Hall shopping centre - built on the site of the old steel works, which presumably would once have supplied our (then) shipyards. There is a whole range of household goods, clothes, toys, gadgets - all made in the far east, particularly China.

Such is the world of economics, that only when the far eastern workers' wages and standard of living have risen to match those of ours in the west (or, more pertinantly, WHEN OUR WAGES AND STANDARD OF LIVING HAVE FALLEN TO MATCH THOSE OF WORKERS IN THE FAR EAST), will we be able to compete again on the world market - for such diverse products as toys, vehicles, and hopefully (again) the production of steel and manufcture of merchant ships.

29th August 2007, 14:45
At the rate they are building houses and flats on every space with river frontage, the building of ships again wont be in our lifetime.

29th August 2007, 15:30
I can't get too excited by the demise of my home town as a port or adjacent to what was the largest coal powered power station in England when it was built. The power station spewed out ash all over the place, and frankly the dockside was ... well the dockside.

Change happens, as Treeve says.

It is a massive change for the three ports you portray, Tyne, Clyde and Belfast, ( Not forgetting the Mersey as well) but certainly for the good folks up here in Geordieland, a lot of the change is for the better.

30th August 2007, 17:24
Apparently even the Tuxedo Princess won't be around much longer although I'm not so sure that's such a bad thing.

30th August 2007, 17:39
Will it fit under the Millennium Bridge?

31st August 2007, 08:42
Will it fit under the Millennium Bridge?

Surely the civil servants at Gateshead Council thought of that before building the bridge downriver ? If you should detect a note of cynical sarcasm - it was intended (A)
Suppose they could pick a spring tide and take a run at it and MAKE it fit


31st August 2007, 11:20
Steady as she goes ....

31st August 2007, 11:23
I think there is a slight scale error there treeve

5th October 2007, 19:46
As a child on holiday in Cheshire I used to watch boats and ships at work on the Weaver Navigation, now it's just pleasure craft.


5th October 2007, 20:02
Well, we can all decry our maritime heritage - and we do! I just wish we could take a leaf from the Dutch who have always maintained their interest and passion for the sea.

Here we don't give a monkeys - and considering our history and the fact that Britain was made Great by its sailors - I find that quite beyond belief.


5th October 2007, 21:42
Down to cultural perceptions I think. Holland, and the Scandanavian countries have always held a seagoing career, and those who aspired to it, in whatever capacity, as an honest, nay honourable occupation. I don't think that's ever been the case in the UK, even in the days of our "commercial and maritime greatness". It always had, I think, a slight stigma attached.

[At this point he stands back and waits for the flak! But weigh it up honestly chaps and think outside our goldfish bowl; has that not long been the case - certainly through the lives and careers of those who contribute here?]

As for shipbuilding in the Far East? the search for cheapness continues! Japan has ceded her place to Korea and the Koreans now look with some trepidation towards China, India, Indonesia etc.

Quality? As ever, you gets what you pays for, or more accurately you get a better job by exercising some supervision over the builder, no matter how good their self-proclaimed credentials, than merely accepting that which he may want to give you.

Final thought for the evening; a recent "constructive total loss", which ended up on our shores, was repaired by that famous shipbuilding nation, Vietnam, after being piled up on the putty at 22 knots. Price or quality??

6th October 2007, 08:51
Remember in the 'good old days', a few decades back, when the quickest way to spoil your chances with the fair sex was to admit that you went to sea ? All sorts of ways around the truth were thought up eg "I travel in steel" etc etc
Of course the fairer sex doesn't have much of a problem nowadays - there's only a handful left in the M.N and most of them have families !


6th October 2007, 11:13
Its a rather an a**e about face argument isn't it? The ship building had already gone before the river fronts became gentrified, rather than the gentrification spoiling the industry.
What would people rather have? Miles of derelict unused shipyards, or new housing overlooking the river?
The shipbuilding isn't coming back, so get used to it, and accept the change.
I'm looking forward to the Tees having a makeover like the Tyne ..... I won't hold my breath though.

6th October 2007, 11:47
Sadly you are spot on Chouan,

The shipbuilding is all but gone on the Clyde too and any development is better than miles of wasteland.


6th October 2007, 11:54
Thing is on the Tyne a shipyard would close and housing built on the site, then as soon as the new occupants moved in they would start complaining about the noise from shipyard still working next door, this is an ongoing problem at Hebburn, where the old Palmers yard is getting harassment and work restrictions placed upon it by the relatively new housing estate built on industrial land right next door.

6th October 2007, 13:53
Whose fault is it? The foolish people who've bought the houses, who know no better, or the authorities who then support their complaint? I know who I'd blame!
The other question is, who voted the authority into power, and who keeps them in power? In a democracy you get the government you deserve!
Aportion blame where it is due, and do something about it, rather than complain about those who've been promised a smart new life style. Arguably, they've got a legitimate grievance!

6th October 2007, 14:58
Well if you buy a house next to a shipyard, you can expect noise, so I have no sympathy for the residents, but I think planners have a lot to answer for too. The Tyne is/was an industrial river, if you buy a house on the banks expect noise, we have had cases in the past of people complaining that they were woken in the night by ships and tugs whistles!
I was at the riverside for the QE2 arrival a few weeks ago and I heard someone say, "Its a pity they built them piers it spoils the view" unbelievable.

6th October 2007, 21:07
"promised a smart new lifestyle"?

A bit of common dog ***k would tell some people to look around and do their homework before parting with xxxK for a "waterside lifestyle". Smacks of vast inadequacies somewhere along the education line!

10th October 2007, 09:48
wish i could get a waterfront property like that. watching what was left of the shipping and happy boaters enjoying them selfs on the water.
dont think i would be complaining about the scrap yard noises either...after all it was there before me eh!.
Hope to have a place on the coast one of these years where i can watch the reefers coming and going.

13th October 2007, 19:35
Just looked at Geoff E's statement above that a "slight stigma" may have been attached to being in the MN. I was in it between 1959 & late 1992, but honestly never found this to be the case. I found that my old schoolteachers seemed to develop some strange respect for me that they certainly never had when I was at school, one of them declaring, "I would have never thought you could have coped with a life like that!" A number of schoolfriends joined the MN & we always seemed to be regarded in a certain awe in the fact that when we re-appeared after long absences, we tended to behave like millionaires before disappearing again. One neighbour referred to me as "that sailor next door," in some sort of derogatory manner to a friend who "blabbed" to me. I just laughed it off & said "Oh, that factory worker next door, I don't pay much attention to him since he objected to my Red Duster on my flag pole!" In any case, I don't really care, I enjoyed my time at sea, apart from my first voyage. It was my choice - never regretted. An old quartermaster in the WINDSOR CASTLE once said to me "Whatever I failed to be in life, or might have been, I am a sailor & that puts me above most in this world!"

15th October 2007, 13:49
"As for shipbuilding in the Far East? the search for cheapness continues! Japan has ceded her place to Korea and the Koreans now look with some trepidation towards China, India, Indonesia etc.

Quality? As ever, you gets what you pays for, or more accurately you get a better job by exercising some supervision over the builder, no matter how good their self-proclaimed credentials, than merely accepting that which he may want to give you."

As far as quality of shipbuilding is concerned, look at some of the rubbish that we produced in Britain!

Richard C
8th November 2007, 17:36
No wonder we can`t compete in the shipbuilding business
H.S.E. would have a field day.

9th October 2008, 21:43
Reminds me of a visit to my childhood home on Clydeside last year. I remember sitting on Ferry Green as a boy and a never-ending cavalcade of every size and shape of shipping passing literally non-stop up and down river every hour of day and night.
Last year I sat on Ferry Green and saw, after a 2 hour wait, one small coaster leaving Glasgow. I could not help but shed a tear.