There was a little bit of everything, ranging from economics, social history and naval history with just enough detail on some topics leaving you wanting to know yet more. The talk was well attended and all there will have left with their own highlights. These are just some of mine.
Shipping types of our region included: schooners from Alnmouth, Berwick Smacks (transporting passengers and live salmon), two-masted Collier Brigs and the smaller Lime Sloops (sailing out of Seahouses) and Bottle Traders. Later years, of course, saw the development of powered vessels: Sir James Knott's Prince Line and the Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping Company.. Our own ships accompanied by our own brands of marine engineering and shipbuilding.
Remaining as a constant over nearly all of this time, and still in use today, the small inshore fishing coble. The design and build, artfully adapted for launch and recovery from beaches on the exposed north-east coastline.
The north-east has some important maritime institutions: Trinity House, Keelman's Hospital, the Wellesley Nautical School (a naval training school first located on the Tyne, and later removed to Blyth), the Master Mariners Home in North Shields. There is a unique regional heritage in such things as the Shields Lifeboat, the Keelman's Hospital, Old High Light of Blyth (in use from 1788 to 1985) and the maritime history of Hartlepool.
On the topic of naval history, mention was made of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Chaloner Ogle, knighted for his defeat of the pirate fleet of Bartholomew Roberts in 1722.; maritime Delavals of Seaton; our local hero, Admiral Lord Collingwood , who took charge at Trafalgar, along with the 'geordie' ship, HMS Colossus with its lesser known heroes listed in the ship's muster book with the header 'discharged', 'discharged/dead', or 'runner'.
Then there was the WWII destroyer, HMS Kelly commanded by Lord Louis Mountbatten, 27 of its crew killed in heroic action with E-boats off the German minefields on the night of May 9th 1940 and buried at Hebburn Cemetery. Coastal defences at Berwick and Tynemouth were in operation up to WWII and extended along much of the coast. Those between Blyth and Seaton Sluice nationally important for the diversity and completeness of their buildings and other infrastructure.
HMS Seahorse was never heard from again after sailing from Blyth Submarine Base on 26 December 1939 for patrol off western Jutland. The crew's raffle prize from the previous night in the Astley Arms, a bottle of whisky, remained in the pub, untouched until landlady Lydia Jackson retired in 1971 and is now displayed in the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.
Certainly if you get the chance of a talk by Dr Barrow make every effort to get there. You wont be disappointed. No mention of the Beatles though!