SEARCHING through The Journal archives, I can only dig out a handful of pictures of The Schooner pub, Gateshead; the oldest is from the 1970s, while the other few are all 1990s. Strange, for a pub that is probably one of the oldest in the town.
But then, this is a pub that’s always been a bit separate. Its geography is unusual: it’s not in a street or surrounded by industry, and even our picture from 1972 shows The Schooner on its own.
That’s changing though. If Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, make the mountain such a great destination with live music and great beer that he might change his mind.
Having wanted to own his own pub, Dave Campbell and wife Julie took over the Schooner about seven weeks ago and aim to give it a new lease of life. Dave says that, when they took over, there was only Foster’s and Woodpecker available. He now has six handpulls and a bottle selection.
Combined with live music, a beer garden and a great view across the Tyne, the Schooner’s already making a name for itself despite its geography. Gateshead is a scene Dave knows well, having managed the Central Bar as well as others in the Head of Steam group, and he’s getting The Schooner back on it by using the same successful formula.
Landlord Dave Campbell unusually markets The Schooner as the second best pub in Gateshead – an odd claim at first glance, but it does the trick of getting people talking.
“Everyone always argues about what the best is, so this is a talking point,” says Dave. It seems appropriate that, for a pub that sits largely by itself, it leaves others to get on with it.
But what was the background to The Schooner’s location? Dave says it used to be called the Ship Inn and wonders if it used to get a lot of trade from the ferry landings nearby. Perhaps it’s a sole survivor from large-scale bulldozing of the area, leading to its isolated aspect. Both I and Dave – who has a short film of the interior of the pub from a few decades ago – would love to know more if people remember the pub or have pictures.
“It’s a superb location,” says Dave. “I get there in the morning and the boats are anchored there, and I have a little chuckle. Unfortunately we’re out in the middle of nowhere.
“But when people come down they love it. There’s a lot of folk around and it’s nice.
People will make that effort if you give them a nice bar. I hate the word ‘destination’, but that’s what it is. I’m just doing what I consider to be the right thing.”
I think everyone would agree with that.
Do you have information or pictures about the history of The Schooner?
Do you remember drinking there, or know what used to be there and how the pub got its trade? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 201 6122.