A trip down memory lane. We were looking for somewhere different to visit. Had to be quiet. Had to be different. A couple of hours later we had arrived at the coast.

To the South Gare at Redcar on the north east English coast. The memories flooded back. I was born in Redcar, my childhood was spent here. I didn’t leave until I was 18. Not been back since, until now.

Redcar is surrounded. The North Sea on one side, chemical and steel works in the other direction. The South Gare is a couple of miles north of the town. It’s the southern breakwater of the River Tees. It’s one of those places where industry and nature have fused together. As a kid this was a magical place. I would walk here along the beach from the town most weekends. My old Dad would drive us here. So many memories.

Dad somehow getting me inside the lighthouse and convincing the keeper to let me sound the foghorn. Wow that was seriously loud.

Watching the anglers stand precariously on the edge of the sea walls as waves crashed in.

When Dad was too ill to walk too far, he would drive here and sit in the car watching the ships come and go.

Braving the storms to see the waves crash over the top of the lighthouse.

Coming here in the late 70s to see the blast furnace built. It was Europes second largest one. It looked like something from a Dr Who episode. Almost unreal.

Watching the steam escape from the rocks and surrounding ground when the blast furnace was in operation. Like a man made volcanic steam vent.

Taking Benji, our mad Beagel onto the beach at Redcar for a walk. Letting him off the lead and he bolted down the beach. Two miles later I finally caught up with him next to the lighthouse. Having a much needed constitutional….

Bunking off school to come here to watch massive new oil rigs getting transported out to the oil fields.

Seeing weather battered fishermen go into the little green huts always wondering what on earth was inside the wooden structures.

Searching for winkles on the rocks at low tied.

So many memories. I rapidly bored the pants off Hawklad retelling these and many more tales. Much was the same but some changes. Where did that wind farm come from.

But there is a sadness. The area is looking so run down. The Steel Works closed down with all its jobs. My father worked here. Many of my school friends got jobs here. All gone. So the Furnace is a ghost shell to a bygone era. It’s been a part of the local landscape for decades. It became part of how the town looked. It was the heartbeat of the town. And now it’s been decided that it is to be knocked down. Work has started. Those in charge say its disappearance will be a symbol of hope. Replaced with newer, better things. If only that was true. There won’t be any money. The people round here don’t matter to those in charge. I’m not the only one who feels that way. So it’s demolition is not universally welcome. Yes some see it as an eyesore. But others see the furnace as part of the towns heritage. A visible reminder of nearly 200 years of iron and steel production in this area. Steel which was used around the world including in the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So it’s destruction is seen by many here as cultural and economic vandalism. Akin to many uncomfortable truths. Get rid of the image then you can forget about the problem without addressing it. Just like how we move the homeless on from outside the Theatre or the exclusive Restaurant. Once moved you can conveniently forget about the poverty again, all for the price of a coffee and a pat on the back. The person is still homeless just this time out of sight.

So on this Sunday afternoon, one gnarly muppet took one too many photos. As many as I could featuring the blast furnace. Because when we come here again, it will be gone and the landscape here will have changed forever.

46 thoughts on “Lighthouse

  1. Such a beautiful place to grow up. Thank you for sharing. My friends, my husband and I would always head to the beach every chance we had. For less than $2 we could walk on and ride across the ferry, hop down to the beach and look for shells. Then ride back home. It was cheaper than the movies and always to me more fun. My husband and I have been together since I was 15 and he was 17. Actually today is our 36th anniversary together. ❤️

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      1. Thank you. He will hold my heart forever, since the 1st time he walked into 10th grade algebra. Though it took many months of silent adoration of each other. I had never dated anyone. I am beyond blessed 🙌
        I love the photos you post, they are so breathtakingly beautiful.

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  2. It must hurt to see the past go in this way. Thank God for photos at least and for the memories we carry in our minds and hearts. Whatever is taken away from us in the physical sense of the word, there are places no one can access except us. Whatever we keep here remains safe.

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  3. I have mixed thoughts on such things, because there’s two sides or more to each situation.

    On one hand I can hear the words of C. S. Lewis “But that would be putting the clock back,” gasped the Governor. “Have you no idea of progress, of development?” ~ “I have seen them both in an egg ,” said Caspian 🥚 “We call it ‘Going Bad’ in Narnia”

    On the other hand I see how I take a sip from a can of pop, put the can into the recycling ♻️ and it goes to make a part of my car, then the car is old and scrapped, so it boils down to make a can.

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    1. We can only use OUR time wisely, do what we can in each moment and make the most of things. Today I hear loud bangs a few doors down, as they are having an extension on the house. These really loud BANGS are making my spidey senses tingle, as I think of the poor buggers on the frontline (their homes) of this senseless, idiots war. I’ve never wanted to say “WHY?” more.

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  4. Daughter was streaming some show and I heard The Jam’s “Town Called Malice” start playing… I remember buying that record back in the early 80s.
    And here you are with your daytrip, making me think of that song again…

    Thank you for sharing the story and the pictures!! It may physically change, but it won’t be forgotten. Not by you, not by Hawklad, not by me and many of your readers.

    💌💌💌💌

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      1. When the cod fishery failed in Newfoundland & Labrador many small villages became nothing more than ghost towns (Ghost villages?). It is sad when the main source of income is taken away for whatever reason.

        That’s cool, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shell fish that small.

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  5. Wow, this must be a weird and confusing feeling. It is so long ago that you were here the last time. So many memories and pictures in your mind that relieve and at the same time meet a place that seems so different. But then again, it is a place with so much good history and the place is still there. It may have changed but the history is stored in every rock… and in your heart.

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  6. Isn’t it a weird sensation, how memories flood back when you return to your childhood home? May not be the best place, but it was all we knew.

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