Ship building in a return to town

Ark Recovery at Segedunum Roman Fort Museum and Baths, Wallsend. Picture by Paul Richardson-Chute.
Ark Recovery at Segedunum Roman Fort Museum and Baths, Wallsend. Picture by Paul Richardson-Chute.

A piece of artwork made up of driftwood has gone on display at a museum.

Paul Richardson-Chute, an artist and volunteer with Changing Lives, has been leading an art group at Blyth’s Northumberland Recovery Partnership.

In 2016 the group decided to make a ship-based sculpture from driftwood collected from the beaches local to Blyth.

Paul said: “We were eager to make an artwork that was relevant to the experience of recovery from addiction to the Port of Blyth and it’s history of shipbuilding.

“We found that the world’s first purpose-built aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, was built in Blyth in 1915. In recognition of this we named the project and the sculpture, Ark Recovery.

“We decided to make a ship-based sculpture made entirely from driftwood recovered from Blyth, Cambois and Newbiggin beaches.”

After being completed in May 2017, the artwork was taken on a tour of recovery centres in Blyth, North Shields, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and York.

At each centre, people were asked to contribute a small piece of writing about their own recovery story, which are now in small ‘recovery cargo’ boxes within the Ark.

As part of Paul’s volunteer work with Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives, the sculpture went on display at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum as part of a shipbuilding exhibition.

Now it has gone on display at Segedunum Roman Fort museum in Wallsend.

The sculpture is located near the gift shop, where people can view it without having to pay the museum entrance fee.