Even the US President came to see Jarrow’s industrial powerhouse

Jarrow's shipyard cranes were brought crashing 120ft to the ground.
Jarrow's shipyard cranes were brought crashing 120ft to the ground.

WRITING the other day about US President General Ulysses S Grant’s trip down the river to Tynemouth, I wondered why he chose to stop off at Jarrow.

Then it dawned on me – he had been meeting leading figures in the Council of the Iron and Steel Institute, such as gunmaker Sir William Armstrong, but of which industrialist Charles Palmer was an original member.

Of course he would have been prevailed upon to see for himself how its shipyard and iron works were by that time establishing Jarrow as an industrial powerhouse.

So it was salutory to note the other day that it is 80 years ago this month that the yard, which had been so devastatingly closed by National Shipbuilders Securities Ltd, was acquired by the Sheffield concern of Thomas W Wood on dismantling terms.

Part would be reserved for ship-breaking (most famously of the liners Olympic and Berengaria).

It ultimately meant the demise of this iconic skyline, seen here in an impressive picture from Kevin Blair.

The huge cranes which had dominated Jarrow’s northerly horizon for so many years were eventually brought down in 1938.

It was reported that the whole shipyard shook as the huge metal structures – believed to weigh 650 tons – crashed 120ft to the ground.

Oddly, though, it was observed that... “Scarcely a tremor was felt outside the yard but the noise could be heard throughout the town.”