Painting clears up river scene confusion

NEIGHBOUR ... this view is in the museum collection as Whitehill Point on the Tyne.
NEIGHBOUR ... this view is in the museum collection as Whitehill Point on the Tyne.

OH go on, sow confusion everywhere, I want to say to this picture.

Recognise it?

It’s the original painting from which that photograph was taken that I featured recently, by the South Shields artist James Cleet.

But was it the father or the son? Well, we’ll come to that another day.

Suffice to say for now that the painting, seen here in its original colour, turns out to be one of a number by Cleet which is in the collection of South Shields Museum.

I speculated that this mystery view might have been Willington, up the Tyne, but it’s actually described in the collection as Whitehill Point, so just across and upriver from us here at Shields (the old Whitehill Point ferry, before it went out of service, used to run to Penny Pie Stairs at West Holborn).

Having said that, it’s also been suggested by a reader that it’s actually Cullercoats, and that the buildings you see are still in existence!

Whitehill Point was a major shipping point for coal from the Northumberland coalfield from the 18th century onwards, and there are certainly old coal staithes to be seen here.

There was also a staithe house, which may be the building. Either way, I’m also now in receipt of some of Cleet’s other striking images of the Tyne and its surroundings in the 19th century, so keep looking in.