NZ1763 : Site of Massey's Forge, Blaydon Burn

taken 12 years ago, near to Blaydon, Gateshead, England

Site of Massey's Forge, Blaydon Burn
Site of Massey's Forge, Blaydon Burn
A water-powered corn mill was built here in the C18th. The building was converted to a forge in the C19th. Water retained in the mill pond by the horseshoe dam directly below our stance provided power for an ‘overshot’ water wheel. The forge/foundry had been abandoned by 1896 and the final use of the buildings seems to have been as animal shelters. The site was subject to a major archaeological excavation by Peter Brown and Stafford Linsley in 1982, and two community digs in 2007 and 2009. Much of the dam was found to be intact but was backfilled after excavation to prevent vandalism, and has been recolonised by vegetation.
Tyne and Wear HER (3432): Blaydon Burn, Massey's Forge: LinkExternal link
Tyne and Wear HER (3431): Blaydon Burn, Massey's Forge, mill pond and dam: LinkExternal link
Blaydon Burn Nature Reserve :: NZ1762

From the C19th industrial development expanded rapidly along the Blaydon Burn to include a number of industries related to the processing of coal. The supply of cheap local fuel and good transport links led to the development of coke works, steelworks, iron foundries and brickworks making Blaydon Burn one of the most industrialised parts of the region.

Sir Joseph Cowen (1800-1873) and his son, also Joseph (1829-1900) made their money manufacturing bricks and clay products in the Blaydon Burn yards LinkExternal link

Joseph Cowen, the elder, was a leading advocate of parliamentary reform and was Liberal MP for Newcastle from 1865-1873. Joseph Cowen junior NZ2464 : Cross House, Westgate Road was MP for Newcastle 1873-1886, and because of a reputation for plain speaking was given the nickname ‘The Cowen Brick’ NZ1763 : Cowen firebrick and iron slag, Blaydon Burn

Large areas of former industrial activity were reclaimed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with some subsequent landscaping. A footpath and cycleway runs through the valley, approximately following the course of the former Blaydon Burn Waggonway. Today, the remnants of the area's industrial history can still be seen in the 108 different stone and brick-built features which are scattered throughout the area of the heavily wooded nature reserve. The remains and historical records make Blaydon Burn one of the most important sites for the study of industrial archaeology in the north east.

Impoverished grassland managed for wild flowers, wetlands and mature trees in small areas of ancient woodland make the valley an important area for wildlife. Butterfly species included the rarities: White Letter Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak and Dingy Skipper.

Gateshead Council began the three year long Blaydon Burn Project in 2007 to conserve, improve and promote Blaydon Burn for people and wildlife.

Whickham Area News: LinkExternal link
Blaydon Burn Trail leaflet: LinkExternal link
Blaydon Burn Industrial Landscape Assessment: LinkExternal link
Roly Veitch's Website: LinkExternal link
Joseph Cowen by Brickfrog: LinkExternal link
The Flipside of Regeneration: LinkExternal link Archive LinkExternal link

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Geographical Context: Lowlands Historic sites and artefacts Rivers, Streams, Drainage Derelict, Disused Industry Former: Industrial Site other tags: Dam Click a tag, to view other nearby images.
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
TIP: Click the map for more Large scale mapping
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NZ1763, 54 images   (more nearby 🔍)
Andrew Curtis   (more nearby)
Date Taken
Sunday, 19 February, 2012   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 22 February, 2012
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 1780 6342 [10m precision]
WGS84: 54:57.9056N 1:43.4111W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 1778 6343
View Direction
East-southeast (about 112 degrees)
Clickable map
W Go E
Image classification(about): Geograph
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