Walking the Works with his Grandad:

Mark Crowther’s story

I was born in November 1987, and grew up in Consett – Taylor Street, to be precise.

I lived with my Nana And Grandad from being 7 years old. I remember me and my Grandad (who worked as a fitter and turner at the works, up until they were closed) we would walk along the old railway line – which is where the bypass runs parallel to now – and he would tell me what used to be where.

We would go for a walk through the wasteland which is where Eggleston Drive is now on one side and Temple Forge Mews on the other. We would walk along past the Terra Novalis sculptures, all the way down to the Gill Caves, and we would explore the caves, then walk along the footpath (always with the dog as well), go under the Hownsgill Viaduct then up the embankment back up on to the old railway line, which is now the C2C. We always used to stop and have a sandwich and a drink from my Grandads trusty flask – we would take 2 cups and we would have a cup each.

We would also walk from ours down to Blackhill Park, to the big rock at the top of the park [Ed. note: the Wishing Stone], where my Grandad told me if I made a wish it would come true – which made me laugh – I am not sure if it that rock is still there as I moved to Ashington 8 years ago, although I still have family in Consett and I visit most weekends [Ed. note: it is still there! It was renovated in 2002, having been broken in two for many years]. We would walk back up the slag heaps to the promenade where my Grandad told me on a clear day you can see the border with Scotland, that is true. We would go to the drive or walk to Lydgetts Junction and we would play cricket (just me and my Grandad), again always with a sandwich and flask of tea. I am 33 and still take a flask of tea and a sandwich every where I go walking. All my holidays when I was a child, unless I was away to Spain with my Nana and Grandad (which we did most years) was spent in the local area; I know it is a bit out the area but I was quite fond of going to Stanhope and the Waskerley way.

Sadly my Grandad died in August 2001 when I was almost 14. He was 69. I wish I had asked him more questions, especially about the layout of the works. I have learnt a lot more since then by reading local books, the History of Derwentside and Consett Archive Photos, them sort of books.

Mark Crowther