Tyne and Wear
Projecting into the North Sea, one straight, the other gently curving, the Tyne piers have protected ships and welcomed visitors in to the River Tyne for over a hundred years. Before the construction of the piers, the mouth of the Tyne was exposed to the full force of the sea and many ships were wrecked on their passage to and from the river.
The piers were built by the Tyne Improvement Commission and their construction was one of the most difficult building and engineering projects of its kind carried out in this country. For over 40 years, it was an endless battle against the sea to build the structures. The foundation stones were laid in 1854 with final completion not coming until 1895.
Even then, the North Sea fought back, and in 1897 the north pier was breached. Reconstruction in the form of a straight, rather than curved, structure was completed in 1909.
The north pier is 899 metres long and the south is 1,570 metres long. The distance between the two at their end is 360 metres.
In times past, steamers would stop at the piers to pick up passengers. Two small light houses are sited on the end of each pier. On the south side there is also the quirky Herd Groyne lighthouse, just north of the pier, which is a bright red corrugated iron structure on metal stilts.