An at-risk industrial monument on the Tyne was given a second major boost in a week yesterday.
Dunston Staithes in Gateshead, which is a scheduled monument, and played a crucial role in the transport of millions of tons of Tyneside coal, has been given a grant of £418,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Earlier this week The Journal reported how the staithes will be the focus of an ambitious artwork next year led by Newcastle University Professor of Contemporary Sculpture Wolfgang Weileder.
The HLF project will finance a project which will see the:
* Restoration of a significant section of the staithes;
* Reconnection of the staithes with the surrounding saltmarsh and wider natural environment allowing people to fully appreciate these special habitats;
*Interpretation of the site’s history, telling the story of the staithes fully for the first time;
*Creation of a two-year education project for local schools;
*A youth engagement programme, working with local youth groups and youth workers, encouraging young people to learn from and enjoy the site;
*Enhanced safety features to promote public access;
* A series of public events opening up the staithes to the public for the first time since the 1990 Gateshead National Garden Festival.
Ivor Crowther, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “We are delighted to be helping bring the nationally important Dunston staithes back to life.
“ It’s great to know that our funding will not only mean conserving the impressive wooden structure but will also help the surrounding natural environment to thrive and open the site up to more local people than ever before.”
Martin Hulse, manager of Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust which owns the staithes, said: “This is a huge step forward. The staithes are an iconic symbol of the region’s industrial heritage.
“Crucial to their survival is to create public access to the top deck of the structure. The trust has also placed a large emphasis on engagement with the local community and in particular local schools.”
English Heritage’s planning and conservation director for the North East, Graham Saunders, said: “It’s fantastic news that the HLF is to support the revitalisation of this fascinating structure, which is both a scheduled monument and a Grade II listed building. “
English Heritage has already given £193,842 of grant aid to the staithes project which has also been boosted by a £20,000 award from the Garfield Foundation.
The partnership behind the project includes Durham Wildlife Trust, Gateshead Council and English Heritage who have been working for 10 years to save the structure.