Online gems from Tyneside’s ‘Workshop of the World’

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THERE are manufacturing names and there are manufacturing names.

The former will be friendly, cheerfully domestic, even. The latter will flex their muscles, their subliminal message: ‘Come on if you think you’re hard enough.’

For me, the latter has to include Vickers Armstrong, whose works at Elswick and Scotswood on the Tyne were once one of the great industrial centres of the north.

Locomotives, guns, ammunition, ships: what came off their production lines helped shape this country’s fortunes in peace and war.

So you might like to have a look-in at www.flickr.com, where a search for Workshop of the World will bring up a lovely collection of photographs of different aspects of Vickers Armstrong, which have been placed on-line by Tyne and Wear Archives.

There are some smashers, like the dreadnought HMS Victoria, which was built at Elswick in the 1880s (tragically sunk just three years after being commissioned, following a collision. More than 350 lives were lost).

There is also a fascinating glimpse inside the gun inspection department.

But other pictures illustrate the fact that Vickers could turn its hand to more mundane products, such as rather quaint Royal Mail vans that were made at the Scotswood yard.