Previous Talk

Reminding ourselves about our Engineering Heritage

The entry below is a synopsis of our speakers talk on 26th Sept 2018.

A factual and interesting presentation was given by Dr Kath Smith along with 2 volunteers from the project at the latest meeting of the Cullercoats Men’s Club entitled “Reminding ourselves about our Engineering Heritage”.

Kath runs a project called “Remembering the Past resourcing the future” and this presentation was about the history of the north east of England starting with the “the birth place of passenger railway” North East England, from the development of locomotives to bridge technology, and the steam turbine was successfully used in electricity supply and ship propulsion also the UK’s first electricity supply grid which was in the north east, thus the country was revolutionized by rail transport up, down and across the country. The building of the Swing Bridge in 1876 to allow larger ships to navigate up to the Armstrong factory at Elswick, then down to the Tyne piers which was built to protect larger ships arriving at the river. In 1860 plans were drawn up to build a north and a south pier in 1861 a violent storm breached the north pier and the design was changed from a curved to straight pier. The electrifying of the railways was started in 1904 to cover the north Tyne loop as far as Whitley Bay in an attempt to get back the users which had fallen from 9.8 million in1901 down to 5.8million in 1903, in 1938 the south Tyne was electrified, and the total system was replaced by the Metro system in 1980 at a cost of £265m.

The Tyne tunnel was built using a positive air pressure to keep the river from pouring in and flooding the work area, this meant that all working men had to be decompressed at the end of their shift. The Lighthouses around the Tyne was shown, the lantern system on the St Mary’s lighthouse along with photos of the access up the centre of the tower to the lamp gallery. The new bridges at Newcastle was shown also the new road tunnel from 1972. Next the Turbinia, power generation and ship building along with several photos of the Esso Northumbria which only lasted 18 years due to the many failures in its structure were shown. Finally Cragside house was shown this was the first house in the UK to have electric lighting throughout the house, it was supplied from its own Hydroelectric generating system.

Questions followed on several points to conclude this excellent presentation which made for a very good morning.

For further information Click on the link Remembering the Past resourcing the future
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