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Tyne and Wear HER(2412): Marsden, Velvet Beds or Camel Island, quay and hollow way - Details

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S Tyneside

Marsden, Velvet Beds or Camel Island, quay and hollow way




Landing Point


Post Medieval


There is an ancient man-made hollow way cut down into the cliffs to the well-constructed stone quay which is made of large rectangular blocks of stone. The quay projects out from the south-western side of Velvet Beds/Camel Island. It is recorded on Robert Stotes plan of 1768 as a causeway linking the mainland with the island. This part of the island was then called "Stotfold". The quay has been called Roman in local folklore - thought to have been built to transport rock from Marsden Quarry for the building of Arbeia Roman Fort (prehistoric flints have been found on the island but to date no Roman finds), but is more likely to be early post medieval in date, although it was already "ancient" by the time of Stote's map. The quay was a favourite picnic spot in the late Victorian and Edwardian days when parties came to Marsden by boat. The Jarrow Chemical Company may have used the quay in the 1830s for loading keels with limestone for Epsom Salts. There are some iron rings high up on the north-east side of the island, which may be mooring rings or may relate to World War Two activity. Quay is marked as "Old" on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey mapping, so was out of use by 1855. The name Velvet Beds came from the short fine grass which once covered this area, which was springy underfoot. The name Camel Island is more recent, referring to the island's two humps.




<< HER 2412 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 4; The Arbeia Society, 2004, The Coast from South Shields to Whitburn - Archaeology and History, pp 17-18; South Tyneside Libraries, 1991, Pictures of Old Marsden - the Village that Vanished, p 18

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