Swan Hunter shipyard photos on show at Discovery Museum
AS the dismantling began of the once-great Swan Hunter shipyard on the Tyne, a group of enthusiasts snapped into action.
Half a dozen amateur photographers had gathered independently, but all with the same aim – to capture pictures of the last chapter in the history of the yard.
As they got to know each other, the photographers formed an alliance and dubbed themselves the Swans Snappers.
One of the snappers, Barry Martin, a 73-year-old retired truck driver from Wallsend, said the group had taken around 30,000 pictures between them.
Now a selection of their images is on show in an exhibition on the Swan Hunter yard, which opened at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle yesterday.
The snappers have taken pictures from every vantage point around the yard and have also been given permission to enter the site to record its final four years.
Barry, who is a member of Wallsend History Society, said: “There didn’t seem to be much in the way of recording going on of what was a huge event – the stripping down of Swan Hunter.
“I have been going to the yard virtually every day for three years because I wanted to record the dismantling of fixtures like the sheds and cranes for history.
“Other photographers were turning up and we got to know each other, and formed our group.”
Barry was born next to the yard in Joan Street, which stood on the site now occupied by Segedunum Roman fort and museum.
He said: “The clearance of the Swans yard was difficult to understand. It was famous worldwide and it is amazing that it is no more.”