Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Along Scotswood Road with a Camera

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Along Scotswood Road with a Camera

Article excerpt

IF it hadn't been for a one-eyed man with a cheap camera, it's likely that a famous part of Newcastle would now be largely forgotten.

Scotswood Road is still there, of course, but the close-packed terraces and 50-or-so pubs are long gone. So is the hustle and bustle.

Only in the photos taken on a basic box camera by Jimmy Forsyth do we get a sense of what Scotswood was like before the demolition men arrived in the late 1950s.

Jimmy would have been 100 in August and to mark the occasion a new book is coming out.

An Innocent Eye: Jimmy Forsyth, Tyneside Photographer contains many of Jimmy's finest photos and an account of his life by Anthony Flowers.

It also contains Jimmy's own life story, which he wrote for a friend but is published now for the first time.

Anthony says there's a good reason for the new book, which follows earlier ones published in 2002 and 2009, the latter just before Jimmy died.

"We didn't want to let what would have been Jimmy's birthday go unnoticed," he explained.

"There was a discussion about whether to do a reprint because the books are just not available any more. But I think there was concern about how he would be remembered.

"When I wrote the introduction to the last book Jimmy was still alive, although in poor health. As well as the chance to make his photographs available again, there was a chance to tell the whole story of his life."

The new book means another generation of readers can marvel at Jimmy's story and the photographs showing a vanished Tyneside community.

Jimmy was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1913 although his family hailed from Scotland.

After leaving school at 14, he became an apprentice fitter and then joined the Merchant Navy. Signing off in 1937, he went back to Wales and then to Scotland.

He came to Newcastle in 1943, aged 30, and got a job as a fitter at ICI in Prudhoe, Northumberland.

Four days after starting work, he was working on a boiler when a splinter from a broken chisel flew into his right eye. …

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