River Journey 2012-2016 > Deep Cut, Bill Quay (RTJ11)
Deep Cut, Bill Quay (RTJ11)
0, Acrylic on canvas 995 unframed
120 x 95 cm

River current mixes with tidal current- stirred but not shaken. A Russian beauty in a battered British river.
The 4 masted barque Kruzenstern glides quietly down the ebbing tidal stream past Bill Quay and Walker towards Wallsend. Sultry mid-summer clouds hang over the parched city tired from 200 years of industrial change. The mines are all closed and Poland exports coal to Tyneside. Once I caught a collier ship from South Shields to Ipswich and Tilbury power stations- coals from Newcastle. Now you can get fit by cycling from Garrigill to Wallsend on the c2c trail along the north bank. WW2 Royal Navy battleship HMS Nelson glided into the Tyne from the Armstrong-Whitworth slips just behind the sailing ship. The big yellow crane lifted her 16 inch gun turrets into place. The river was narrower then due to the number of ships moored up along the banks. Filthy but very busy like some rivers in China today.

The river's a heck of a lot cleaner now according to the Journal's environment editor Tony Henderson who told me it's the best salmon river in the country. In the mid 20th century it was dead with no salmon catch reported for years. Maybe one day they will stop dredging and people will be able to walk across the shallows at low water once again.

Biscuit Factory June-July 2012.0
©2004 Tom McElderry