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Reverside renaissance.


HABITUAL hoarder Peter Dixon discovered a treasure trove of material as he prepared to move house which turned into the basis of an exhibition about the industrial Tyne. Peter, 56, said: "I've moved house six or seven times but don't like to throw things away. "During my last move I found an old manila envelope in which were lots of negatives of pictures I'd taken years ago with my first camera. When I took them, negatives were quite expensive to develop so I hadn't bothered. I put them on my light box for a look and I thought - these aren't bad."

1927: racing London's City The pictures were mainly of Jarrow Slake (a derivation of 'Jarrow's lake') taken just before it was reclaimed in the mid-1970s which was an area with a rich industrial past.

Peter, who was born in South Shields and moved to Jarrow at the age of three, vividly remembers visiting 'the Slake' on many occasions during his childhood.

From the 19th to the early 20th Century it was used as a timber pond, where imported wood was seasoned by tides and weather before being used to construct ships and boats. The distinctive posts in the photographs date from this time, being used to secure floating rafts of timber.

By the time Peter took the photographs in the 1970s the Slake had been disused for many years leaving only rotting posts and half submerged hulks of barges.

Greyhound began at White stadium.

He said. "They reveal a world which hasn't existed for over 35 years and which form the basis of this exhibition." The powerful images led him to produce a set of canvasses, in oils and acrylics, and photographs which are on show at Bede's World in Jarrow until August 19 under the title: The River and the Slake.

Bede's World stands alongside the River Don and looks over the Slake area, so the chance of showing a set of images of the historic riverside was eagerly accepted.

Jarrow Slake has historic significance. It is the setting for one of artist JMW Turner's most famous paintings - 'Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight' - which featured in a recent National Gallery exhibition.

It was also the place where pitman William Jobling was one of the last men to be gibbeted in England. After he was hanged his body was placed in a gibbet - a metal cage - and left on display. He had been convicted of the murder of a magistrate and colliery owner on Jarrow Slake, a crime actually committed by a friend. Many believed he was so punished because of his involvement in the 1831-32 miners' strike.


PICTURE PERFECT Jarrow Slake, and below, two of Peter's paintings TREASURES Peter Dixon
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2012
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