Fixing Skinningrove Jetty
Between the two highest cliffs on Britain's coastline, thrusting into the North Sea, lies a unique structure that not only protects the Heritage Coastline, but serves as a monument to an historic event that created our region as we know it today.
OR IT COULD READ LIKE THIS ...
In a depressed area, blighted by ailing industry, lies a broken concrete eyesore that poses a risk to locals and visitors alike.
As with so much in this world, Skinningrove Jetty is however you choose to look at it. Take a walk with local councillors Tommy Evans and Barry Hunt and there is only one way you possibly can look at it. They have begun a campaign to have the structure returned to working order.
"The point is, we know it can happen," says Barry, picking his way through the rocks and potholes. "And not only that. There's Saltburn pier and things like that, they've all had money. This is as much part of history as anything. This is where actual work went on, a living, actually bringing boats in and iron ore out and that, so it's not asking a lot to bring it back to its natural state."
Fixing the jetty could cost up to £3m, which is a hefty bill in these uncertain times, but in this case, demolition, is probably not an option. "During the Second World War, the marines tried to blow part of the jetty up, in case of German invasion," explains Tom. "And even they failed. It's of such a good construction they found it impossible to blow up."
Tom puts that strength down to the unique mix of materials used to construct the jetty. "When it was originally constructed, they found that ordinary cement was no good for the actual construction, so what they did was, it's a unique mixture. What it is was molten slag, run through cold water, and then crushed, and then mixed with the cement."
The proposal to fix the jetty is more than just an issue of local pride. Certainly a great tongue of broken concrete rasping into the North Sea hardly does this once beautiful bay any favours, but if you want the kind of money the councillors are asking for, you need to be selling more than beauty.
The view from Skinningrove Jetty
Fixing the jetty would, claim Tom and Barry, allow the schools of pleasure boats that take tourists out of Whitby every day to do more than a circular trip. They would be able to dock at Skinningrove and take their passengers to the Cleveland Ironstone Museum.
A minimal extension to the jetty could, potentially, help protect the coastline south of Skinningrove, a coastline that is eroding rapidly.
The Sylvania Anchor in Skinningrove
The plans for the jetty have also started getting attention from the green energy business. The jetty head is hollow and full of pump works and could potentially be used to test tidal and wave power generators, providing Skinningrove with free power. Talks are in the very early stages, but Tom and Barry are hopeful.
Skinningrove Jetty on Second Life
The Internet Bit
Before the plan ever landed on Redcar and Cleveland Council's desk, it had been the topic of conversation from London to Tuscany and that was down to the University of Teesside.
They have already built the jetty. Skinningrove, complete with refurbished jetty, already exists on the web-based alternative reality, 'Second Life'.
Steve Thompson from the University of Teesside's Institute of Digital Innovation drafted in children from Freebrough College to create the virtual jetty, which was officially opened online by a computer generated version of the local MP, Dr Ashok Kumar, who recorded his own voice-over to be used in the animation.
Creating a digital facsimile of a Member of Parliament performing synchronised dance-moves on top of a tourist attraction that does not exist might seem a pointless, if entertaining, way to spend an afternoon, but a film of the project was launched at the 2009 Animex Digital Animation Festival on Teesside and has been circulated around the globe.
The hope now is that it will help grab the attention of bodies who may be able to help fund the project.
last updated: 17/03/2009 at 13:28
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