Dunston Staiths

Dunston Staiths, on the River Tyne, is believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe. It is a Scheduled Monument, Grade II listed and is owned by registered charity Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust (TWBPT).

Opened in 1893 by the North East Railway Company, it was built to allow large quantities of coal arriving by rail from the Durham Coalfields to be loaded directly onto waiting colliers (coal ships) ready for the onward journey to customers in London and abroad. At the coal industry’s peak around 5.5 million tons of coal was moved this way each year –

This short film, Coal Staiths of the Tyne, shows the site in operation in the early 1970s,  The set of wonderful stills were taken by Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen.


  1. Sue · October 1, 2017

    What a wonderful old structure!

  2. northumbrianlight · October 1, 2017

    It is Sue – sadly it has suffered from two large fires in recent years such that there is a burnt out gap at one end. Hopefully money will be found for restoration one day.

  3. J.D. Riso · October 1, 2017

    You are a superb documentarian of obscure UK structures, Robin. I bet you could publish a book on them. 😀

    • northumbrianlight · October 2, 2017

      Now there’s an idea 🙂 I am surprised at the total lack of any film archive – the closest I could get was this, Get Carter, filmed on a similar structure at Blyth, up the coast (now dismantled).

      Thoroughly enjoying Blue – a world I knew nothing about. My slow reading pace is not a reflection of the content, just my reluctance to read on a tablet.

  4. Pit · October 17, 2017

    Keeping my fingers crossed that money can be found/raised to restore this structure.

    • northumbrianlight · October 18, 2017

      Me too, particularly it is multipurpose – they hold markets on there occasionally.

      • Pit · October 18, 2017


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