Examining Shafts – Gateshead

It was the strangest thing walking the same route through the same backstreets three times in one day, each time with a different group of folk as happy as me to stop and stare at a wall.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The brickwork in question – to be fair – contained vestiges of pre-war railings, boot-scrapes, coal holes or dry middens, from a time when the night-soil man might visit more regularly than the coalman. There were also signs a plenty of the big drive towards sanitation and Water Closets: Examining Shafts, Flushing Shafts – replete with dates – even Manholes, each with their purpose proudly printed upon them.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou would think by the third walk I’d seen and said it all, but participants brought knowledge and their own stories and interests to our walks, so each time some new detail would be brought to light.

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