TV presenter John takes walk down memory lane

WALK ON ... John Grundy strides out in Hebburn as part of the Waggonways and Waterways scheme.
WALK ON ... John Grundy strides out in Hebburn as part of the Waggonways and Waterways scheme.

TV presenter John Grundy went walking into the past as part of a new history project in South Tyneside.

Walkers joined former South Tyneside College lecturer Mr Grundy on a 6.5-mile stroll along the Tyne this week as part of the Waggonways and Waterways scheme, led by charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN).

The initiative, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is aimed at evoking aspects of local history.

Mr Grundy, known for BBC’s Grundy’s Wonders and Tyne Tees Television’s Grundy’s Northern Pride, accompanied walkers as they explored the former Hawthorn Leslie shipyard, in Ellison Street, Hebburn, during their historical riverside stroll.

Groundwork’s scheme has established a heritage walk route, highlighting points of historical significance, linked to mining and heavy industry along the Tyne.

The walk is based around old waggonways, which once acted as part of a transport network, moving coal from collieries to the staiths, with part of the route being the former Bowes line, designed by the famous George Stephenson in the 19th century.

Information boards have been installed about the line and the industry it supported, while an audio tape is available to download, telling people about the history of the area, following research by Jarrow and Hebburn Local History Society and South Shields Photographic Society.

Andrew Watts, executive director of Groundwork STAN, said: “John is very well known and liked for his distinctive, interesting and perceptive telling of history.

“He was the perfect person to help Groundwork launch this historically significant and important project, that will see the waggonways given a new lease of life.

“John’s walk and talk was very interesting, and I hope people will grasp this opportunity to get a real insight into the history of the area from a genuinely interesting and original voice.”

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