Time and tides change as Sandhaven cleans up its act

A packed South Foreshore at Shields in the 1970s.
A packed South Foreshore at Shields in the 1970s.

IT’S good news that Sandhaven Beach at Shields has been awarded another Blue Flag for cleanliness.

Such things matter now, and rightly so.

They didn’t so much when this picture of it was taken in the 1970s, but it didn’t stop bumper crowds taking to the sands – or the sea.

I thought it a nice one, seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday.

But it wouldn’t have got anywhere near such an award at the turn of last century.

I mentioned the other day, with regard to that picture of the stone circles near the south side of the pier, that the sand level had seemed to be low.

Well, presaging what happened in the 1970s – I remember writing a lot of stories about it at the time, albeit it was about the north beach on that occasion – there had been a long period in the late 19th century when the Tyne Improvement Commissioners allowed quite a lot of sand to be removed for sale.

This resulted in a deep gully being excavated alongside the railway line that ran from Trow Quarry, making access to the beach difficult.

To create a bridge over it, they filled part of it near the South Marine Park, with guess what? Manure.

I’m not joking. The idea was to put planks over it and eventually create an access road.

“The deposit itself soon became deodorised by the strong seas air and is now unobjectionable,” it was subsequently reported.

Well, that was all right then!