Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Waggon at Eighton Banks

A generation or so ago, if you had mentioned The Waggon at Eighton Banks, near Gateshead, people would have thought you meant a railway truck. For this area was once one of the hubs of the thriving North-East coal industry, employing hundreds of men and working day and night.

Now, sadly, all is dereliction. Since Thatcher's feud with Arthur Scargill, all the pits have been closed and all the associated work in the area has come to an end. Some of the buildings still survive, like the incline hauling station shown opposite, but most are in the process of being ground up to make rubble for hardcore on the roads. It's a sad sight.

But the nearby Waggon Inn is thriving - and rightly so. Here you can get an excellent home-cooked meal for a very reasonable price, big portions too. There's none of your standard menu stuff as dished up in the chain pubs. The Waggon cooks on the premises and I can recommend the home-made steak and kidney pie and, most especially, mince and dumplings, if you can get there early enough before they run out!

They serve a good pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord, but my favourite has to be Mordue's Workie Ticket, a bitter beer which retains its head right down the glass.
Yes, I would say that if you are interested enough in our industrial heritage to go and visit Eighton Banks, you could do a lot worse than to stop off for a pint at The Waggon.

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