Newburn Culvert – The Real Report. March 2008.

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Sabtr

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A big report this one. An exploration report published some 10 years after it was done – legal issues have held this back.
This report is unique to Derelict Places.

Before you read on I need to stress: This report is mine. It's my story and uses my images. Everything is covered by copyright and on every platform. Unlawful use of any material contained here will be actively and successfully chased up – I NEVER LOSE. Be warned..
If you would like to use my material then it's far easier to simply contact me.
(To the people on the forum reading - apologies for mentioning payment. The media have been dirty during this tragedy. I don't work for free)

Hmm so I get to name this one eh? It shall be called 'Bad Behaviour'. There are reasons!

The Report

Many years back when I was relatively new to the forum side of exploration this culvert was on my radar. Culverts were quite new to me (always did cable ducts and mines) but I knew it'd still be doable.
My camera gear at the time was basic – a Konica Minolta DiMage Z2. A basic 4 mp bridge camera. Really really rubbish in dark enclosed environments!

The time came and I dragged a friend along for this exciting new idea – Bigloada. Now he had a DSLR and the intention was for him to take the better photos whilst I stayed out of his way with my lighting – it would be that staying away and recording the culvert details that would make this my most famous explore ever..

The culvert lies in a deeply wooded valley in Newburn – a village which lies to the west of Newcastle upon Tyne. Originally an iron works stood near the downstream end of that wooded valley – as the works grew they extended a culvert upstream as they went. The works would then dump ash and iron scale on top of the culvert, level it and build more factory buildings. The updating and extending of the culvert was quite visible during our explore.
Sadly though, the iron works closed and eventually a modern housing estate would be built on the old site land – Mill Vale which was completed 2006.
I'll be honest and admit to making several mistakes about the size of the culvert – my research wasn't good enough but we did cover the important bits. Basically the culvert is 2/3 downstream, and open section and then 1/3 upstream – it was the upstream section we covered.

Access was easy – literally like walking into a small railway tunnel. I honestly expected kids to playing in it due to the ease of entry. At first it was flat concrete floor with a little concrete upright and brick arching on top. The water was quite low but speeding through – something which would eventually help destroy the culvert and several houses..
Can you guess which estate this is yet? Yes – the one which collapsed after the heavy floods and rains hit the UK. Spencer Court was the main victim – houses demolished and others left with terrible foundations – the images of which are spread across the internet.
Long story short it was my images which helped residents claim compensation from the owner of the culvert – the Duke of Northumberland. He hates me – I cost him over £12 million..

There are more modern explores of this culvert which were taken following the rebuilding of it. The images shown here are the wanted ones – the images which show what really happened..

There are 26 images worth showing. I'll quickly explain what you're seeing in each one. As with anything like this just ask if you have questions. Media? Contact me I'm very approachable.



This was the valley where water entered the culvert. Notice the old stone kerbs and bricks? This valley has a huge catchment area and the tiny stream flash floods. The bricks and kerbs once lined the stream to prevent silt choking the culvert when it rained hard – when the iron works was operational they would have had regular maintenance on the culvert to protect the structures above.
That works has gone – who will maintain the culvert now? Yup – no-one!

1 by Craig David, on Flickr


Looking inside the portal. Looks OK? I can see repairs to brickwork too – yeah has to be safe so let's enter..

2 by Craig David, on Flickr


Staying out of his way. You can see the water flowing fast here – ripples forming as it speeds down.

24 by Craig David, on Flickr


A first sign of trouble. There was a hole punched through the brickwork of the culvert roof. Someone had diverted a smaller stream into the culvert. Badly. Very badly.
When the estate started to fail, this was where the second event happened. I won't tell here what I saw up above the culvert brickwork – information costs!

3 by Craig David, on Flickr


A weep hole. Gaps left in brickwork to allow water building up behind to escape and release pressure on the culvert structure. This one is OK.

5 by Craig David, on Flickr


Another weep hole. This one is good too.

6 by Craig David, on Flickr


Uh Oh. A broken weep hole. Seems OK though as water can escape? Nope – look at how it collapsed – down behind the culvert. The ground behind the culvert has collapsed. Why did it drop? Information costs!

7 by Craig David, on Flickr


A floor transition. This is where one age of culvert joins another. Looks OK? Nope – the swirling is because there's a hole in the floor – probably cavitation but a serious issue here. Yup – information costs!

8 by Craig David, on Flickr


The start of the rubble field. Those are basalt kerbs – washed down the culvert by the stream. Heavy and I couldn't lift one. It flash floods here remember.. Oh – information costs.

9 by Craig David, on Flickr


More rubble. More kerbs. Neatly placed too. I know why..

11 by Craig David, on Flickr


Bigloada doing his thing.

4 by Craig David, on Flickr


The first bend. The yellow writing is a chainage marker. The culvert had been surveyed . Lots to say about the survey but yeah – not free info!
Look at the rubble build-up. The water slows on the inside of bends and deposits debris.

10 by Craig David, on Flickr


A blocked weep hole. That's a hard calcitic deposit formed from the debris behind the walls. Iron smelters use limestone in the melting process and some is probably behind that weep hole. There's also water behind there. This is bad!

12 by Craig David, on Flickr


Another weep hole. This has metal behind it and is starting to block with calcitic deposits.

13 by Craig David, on Flickr


Looking back along that first bend. Look at the debris – brick and stone fragments with plants starting to grow on it – no light there so kinda strange.
Look how close I am to the roof – the debris is deep and has been there a while..

14 by Craig David, on Flickr


Oh dear. I think the culvert is quite constipated. Look at the size of those rocks – a little stream put them there..
Looks like it's all been there ages? Information costs!

15 by Craig David, on Flickr


The next bend in the culvert. Bigloada and a Honda grass cutter. Under them is a tree – sideways.
This was incredible. Debris and things to catch it. Water put them there (except Bigloada). Lots more info but not for free.

16 by Craig David, on Flickr


Grass cutter but looking the other way towards the first exit. Look at the arched roof – looks strange? I know why..
Oh – in the famous image with a house on concrete legs falling into the culvert. That house is above me.

17 by Craig David, on Flickr


Exit roof detail. Gaps in bricks and a flat arch – a bit iffy being stood there at that point!

18 by Craig David, on Flickr


Faces popped off the bricks at the exit. I actually thought this was frost damage.. I know why it's like this.

20 by Craig David, on Flickr


Heading back in from that exit now. There's a huge issue with the culvert here – won't say what on the forum though.

19 by Craig David, on Flickr


Blurred image of the debris in the culvert. A mix of everything hard and between that fine silt. A lethal mix..

21 by Craig David, on Flickr


Look at that wall sag! That's the whole culvert structure. It's details like this that I missed at the time through inexperience – things like this proved crucial for the residents above.

22 by Craig David, on Flickr


Chainage 80. I'd thought this image was too far gone (awful attempt to rescue it!) but this is the key to the whole collapse at Mill Vale. Information will cost.

23 by Craig David, on Flickr


Back up to that initial infall of water. Oh my look at that concrete floor! The split was 34 feet long.

25 by Craig David, on Flickr


Sausages arty shot. Bigloada behind the infall backlighting the image. This is in a massive frame above my fireplace – a great memory.

26 by Craig David, on Flickr


This is all I'll post here. A unique and memorable explore of something local. Before the collapse I'd considered the explore not even worth posting – poor image quality was the main reason for that. I'd simply filed the images away and forgotten about them. This is the first time they've been published to the internet.

Please remember: I own these. I can be contacted if you'd like to know more (media).

Thanks for reading – remember, explores can be incredibly useful to others. Stay safe.
 

King Al

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Strange report this one... I like it though, that culvert is certainly derelict looking at the state of it, shame for the people above and the grand ol' Duke that it was left to rot ay! I like the pics!
 

Sabtr

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Strange report this one... I like it though, that culvert is certainly derelict looking at the state of it, shame for the people above and the grand ol' Duke that it was left to rot ay! I like the pics!

Strange report from a strange person!

The images are rough. That old camera was all that was to hand but it did produce some nice colours for it. Thanks for those kind words.

I really can't go into detail on this one - it's quite shocking. One example is the massive pumps they installed to reduce levels upstream were plumbed wrong and for two weeks they were pumping water back up the hill! You really couldn't make that one up..
The whole culvert story isn't over. The millions on upgrades and repairs will not solve why it chokes so much there and it will get worse. Other massive reasons too. Those are relatively expensive houses above the culvert and more care should have been taken - I now know of so many corners that were cut in the name of profit and not just for the duke.
I really don't like adding the media bits but that lot have been a real pain in the rear. The BBC shocked me with their attitude. The timing is right for posting here though.

There are several more interesting culverts dotted around this way too. They're very very public places but now that darkness is here I'll get some ticked off the (huge) list of targets.
 

Wrench

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I don't do culverts and things but a nice and interesting report there saus'
And for the record... I don't think those pics are pretty good.
Nice job
 

Sabtr

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I don't do culverts and things but a nice and interesting report there saus'
And for the record... I don't think those pics are pretty good.
Nice job

Cheers for that :)

Getting quite annoyed here because I'm itching to do another (and more) but the weather is pants. I really don't fancy being flushed into the sea..
 

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