Tyne and Wear HER(11859): South Shields, Mill Dam Conservation Area - Details
South Shields, Mill Dam Conservation Area
Designated in 1981. 2 hectares of remnant riverside heritage, containing some very impressive buildings evocative of the area's once pivotal commercial role. The area was dominated by the Subscription Brewery (HER 2341) and Swinburne Glassworks (HER 2340) in 1862. In 1863 the Customs House (HER 4529) was built on the site of the brewery. The River Tyne Police and Port Sanitary Authority buildings (HER 8373) were added in 1886. By 1921 the glassworks were replaced by a looped array of railway lines serving Harton Low Staithes (HER 2456). A short tunnel gave access under the road network. After the 1926 General Strike, there was a riot in Mill Dam sparked by lack of work and tensions over the presence of Yemeni sailors who had been encouraged to work and settle in South Shields for over 40 years. The riot of 1930 left people injured and 20 Yemenis deported. At this time Mill Dam had tidy cobbled streets, a police box and walled yards surrounding wholesale merchants, anchor stockman and engineering works. Demolition of old buildings began in 1930 to coincide with the continuation of Commercial Road. By 1939 there were many cleared spaces. Post war, Mill Dam was derelict and depressed. By 1966 the cobbles had been hidden under concrete, modern lamposts replaced the traditional gas lamps, brick commercial buildings were rendered. By 1973 the site behind the River Police Station had been cleared and the glassworks chimney (HER 4983) had been lowered to its present height. The Customs House was listed in 1978 and in 1981 was sold to the Arts & Live Music Association for restoration and conversion into an arts centre. Work commenced in 1986. The buildings behind the River Police Station were converted into the Dalton's Lane Workshops. After 1987 the land to the rear of the Unity Hall was developed with housing. A new road, Harton Quay was laid out through the grassed former railway sidings. Key buildings in the CA are Staith House (HER 5677), The Waterfront Public House, the chimney (HER 4983), Seafarers Mission (HER 11976) Flying Angel Public House, former Chandlers Buildings, Nos. 53-67 Mill Dam and Unity Hall.
North of England Civic Trust on behalf of South Tyneside Council, September 2006, Mill Dam Conservation Area; George B. Hodgson, 1996, Borough of South Shields (first published 1903); N. Pevsner, 1953, The Buildings of England: County Durham