*STAITHS OPEN SEASON 2020 IS POSTPONED DURING THE CORONA VIRUS UNTIL SAFER TIMES.
Following an arson attack in February 2019 that caused major damage, Staiths Friends launched a campaign to support repairs. STAITHS FIRE CAMPAIGN 2019 - Thanks to generous donations over £5,000 has been raised. This funded a fence around the burnt zone to enable Staiths to open for the 2019 season. Fundraising continued to enable repairs to damaged areas. Donations included those for replacement deck planks with donors plaques, and the plan was to install these during a wider repair programme that covered required costs for contractors, engineers, scaffolding, etc. over winter, but unfortunately applications for Lottery and Historic England funding were not successful. The campaign funding remains ring fenced for this purpose, and a smaller affordable project to fit these donor deck planks is being devised currently in the hope they can be installed later this year.
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.
As the coal industry declined during the latter part of last century, so too did Dunston Staiths, eventually falling into serious disrepair. Some reprieve came from the National Garden Festival held in Gateshead in 1990, which saw extensive restoration work carried out, with the Staiths taking a leading role as a key installation with performance space and an art gallery.
Sadly, the landmark structure's luck didn't hold. A serious fire in 2003 inflicted extensive damage putting the Staiths on Historic Englands 'At Risk Register'. Fortunately, TWBPT succeeded in raising the funds required to kick start the ongoing restoration which has seen it transformed into an exciting and sustainable visitor attraction.
Our work is supported by a strong Volunteers Group, Staiths Friends. You can find out more about the Staiths and opportunities to get involved yourself by clicking the 'support us' button below.DOWNLOAD LEAFLET