Tyne and Wear HER(2452): South Shields, The Bents, Ballast Hills - Details
South Shields, The Bents, Ballast Hills
Ballast hills on the Bents, and the area now occupied by the Marine Parks, South Shields. The ballast was brought to the hills from ships on the river via railway HER 2447 and from St Hilda's Colliery via ballast railway HER 2427. Many of the ships brought ballast dredged from the River Thames, and dumped it at South Shields when they took on a cargo of coal, chemicals and limestone. Ballast consists of gravel, sand and sometimes chalk. Ballast had been disposed of on land since at least 18th century. There were regulations against dumping it into the river as the Tyne was already shallow in places and there was a sand bar across the river mouth. When ballast dumping ceased, the ballast hills in South Shields were levelled to create the North and South Marine Parks (HER 1842).
<< HER 2452 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 4; The Arbeia Society, 2004, Archaeological Survey of the coast from South Shields to Whitburn; Dick Keys and Ken Smith, 2005, Tall Ships on the Tyne, p 6