Tyne Pride and Fall: Chris Killip’s Photographs Of Britain’s Vanished Industrial Heartlands

"Even then I had a sense that all this was not going to last, though I had no idea how soon it would all be gone" - Chris Killip

Chris Killip

 

Chris Killip’s photographs of shipbuilding on Tyneside show us hulking ships and industrial cranes as backdrops to everyday life in Wallsend and South Shields. The ship Tyne Pride, which he photographed in 1975, was the biggest ship ever built on the river, but also one of the last. “Even then I had a sense that all this was not going to last,” he says, “though I had no idea how soon it would all be gone.” In an early photograph, Tyne Pride looms over children playing in the street. Only two years later, another photograph shows the same street demolished, dramatic evidence of the industry’s decline. Other photographs capture the energy of the mid-1970s, with ships under construction and shipyard workers streaming out of the gates at the end of shift. Chris Killip (born 11 July 1946) has given this set of exhibition prints to Newcastle Laing Museum in honour of the shipyard workers of Tyneside.

 

Wallsend Housing Looking East, 1975. Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 20172017© Chris Killip

Wallsend Housing Looking East, 1975. Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 20172017© Chris Killip

“The working class get it in the neck basically, they’re the bottom of the pile,” says Chris Killip. “I wanted to record people’s lives because I valued them. I wanted them to be remembered. If you take a photograph of someone they are immortalised, they’re there forever. For me that was important, that you’re acknowledging people’s lives, and also contextualising people’s lives.”
Chris Killip

 

End of Shift. Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 2017© Chris Killip

End of Shift. Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 2017© Chris Killip

[TWCMS_2017_79] Tyne Pride from a back lane, Wallsend, 1975. Givenby the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 2017© Chris Killip

[TWCMS_2017_79] Tyne Pride from a back lane, Wallsend, 1975. Givenby the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 2017© Chris Killip

Demolished housing, Wallsend, August 1977. Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 20172017© Chris Killip

Demolished housing, Wallsend, August 1977. Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 20172017© Chris Killip

Tyne Pride at the end of the street, Wallsend. Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 2017© Chris Killip

Tyne Pride at the end of the street, Wallsend. Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 2017© Chris Killip

Shipyard workers looking at the Everett F Wells, Wallsend, 1977.Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 2017

Shipyard workers looking at the Everett F Wells, Wallsend, 1977.Given by the artist in honour of all the shipyard workers of Tyneside, 2017


 
You can see more of Chris’ work in his book, In Flagrante.

 

Father and Son Watching a Parade, West End, Newcastle; UK, 1980 © Chris Killip

Father and Son Watching a Parade, West End, Newcastle; UK, 1980 © Chris Killip

A Car Dumped on the Beach Has to Be Outmanoeuvred by the Seacoalers, Lynemouth, Northumberland, UK, 1982 © Chris Killip

A Car Dumped on the Beach Has to Be Outmanoeuvred by the Seacoalers, Lynemouth, Northumberland, UK, 1982 © Chris Killip

Chris Killip, from the series ‘In Flagrante Two’- “True love wall, Gateshead, Tyneside” (1975), gelatin silver print (© Chris Killip, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York)

Chris Killip, from the series ‘In Flagrante Two’- “True love wall, Gateshead, Tyneside” (1975), gelatin silver print (© Chris Killip, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York)

Chris Killip, from the series ‘In Flagrante Two’- “May 5th 1981, North Shields, Tyneside” (1981), gelatin silver print (© Chris Killip, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York)

Chris Killip, from the series ‘In Flagrante Two’- “May 5th 1981, North Shields, Tyneside” (1981), gelatin silver print (© Chris Killip, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York)

Crabs and People, Skinningrove, North Yorkshire, 1981

Crabs and People, Skinningrove, North Yorkshire, 1981


 

Via: Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery, where Chris Killip: The Last Ships is on display until 4 May 2020.