Recreating Newcastle's Iconic Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping Sign

Ash Willerton's process for painting and gilding a replica heritage sign board on the River Tyne.

Detail of a varnished sign reflecting the image of a bridge opposite.
Reflection of the Tyne Bridge on Ash Willerton's Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping sign.

The Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping company operated out of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the first half of the twentieth century. Its passenger and cargo services to Europe and other parts of the United Kingdom were once advertised on a large vertical panel facing the arching Tyne Bridge. In around 2010, this was removed and taken to the Beamish Museum, with a pre-ghosted replacement installed in its place.

In early 2022, Newcastle City Council approached Ash Willerton (@ashwillerton) to discuss remaking the locally iconic sign. Ash says that their objective was "to recreate it as it would've looked when it was originally done", rather than the earlier pre-aged effort. This prompted him to visit the Beamish museum "to take some photos [of the original] and to try and get an idea of how it might have been made all those years ago".