Fish Quay artwork is being restored

Volunteers have begun restoring Nater's Bank Seascape artwork on North Shields Fish Quay.
Volunteers have begun restoring Nater's Bank Seascape artwork on North Shields Fish Quay.

A local artist has reeled in a group of volunteers to restore a fish-themed artwork.

Nater’s Bank Seascape, which overlooks North Shields Fish Quay, is a 30sqm artwork made of stone, ceramic tiles and concrete.

Work is underway on Nater's Bank Seascape overlooking North Shields Fish Quay.

Work is underway on Nater's Bank Seascape overlooking North Shields Fish Quay.

Set into the side of a steep bank between Tyne Road and Union Quay, it was created by the Freeform Arts Trust to celebrate the first Fish Quay Festival in 1987.

But the once-vibrant artwork has faded over the years and now North Tyneside Council has commissioned one of the original creators, sculptor Richard Broderick, to come back and lead a project to restore it.

Richard, whose public art commissions include The Sand Castles on Whitley Bay seafront and other works at North Shields, South Shields, and Blyth, said: “We built the piece in 1987 from a design by Maggie Howarth who was famous for mosaicking.

“She came over and showed us some techniques.

“We were given a cement mixer and some spades and off we went. We worked for about three months and there was a lot of community involvement.

“The symbol of the two fish was taken from the fisherman’s association logo.

“Now here we are back in 2019 with a chance to restore it to its former glory.”

Local resident Dave Armstrong floated the idea with North Tyneside Council and mobilised a group of around 20 volunteers to come along and help tidy up the site.

The first gathering took place on Saturday, March 16, with more planned and work underway.

Another of the original creators, mosaic artist Maureen Black, will also come back to work on the finer details of the project.

Coun Sarah Day, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: “The restoration of the Seascape piece is about the council working with local artists and the community to sustain and maintain our public art.

“It’s a great advertisement for how the community comes together to protect the things we value and it will give the area a lift.

“It’s wonderful to see the artwork coming back to life and I’d like thank everyone who is planning to come down to lend a hand.”

A Facebook page, North Shields Fishscape, has been set up for anyone wishing to volunteer or to see the latest work carried out.

The restoration work is expected to be complete by April.