Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Segedunum Roman fort at Wallsend

This is the futuristic viewing tower from which you can look out across the remains of the Roman fort of Segedunum at Wallsend and the replica bath house that has recently been constructed there. The fort marked the easternmost point of Hadrian's Wall.

The site was lost under terraced housing until the 1970s and has been excavated more recently than that. The Segedunum museum and its tower opened in 2000.

There is a remarkable photograph in the guidebook I bought there. A group of children are playing in the street (judging by their clothes it was taken around 1970), and at the end of that street the bow of an enormous ship towers over them.

It could have been taken right on top of the remains of the fort, because Wallsend is beside the Tyne and that terraced housing was built to house the workers in the neighbouring shipyards. The museum, without its tower, began life as the canteen for Swan Hunter.

While we were in the Roman baths my mother became locked in the lavatory and had to rescued by a passing archaeologist. Alan Bennett would spin an incident like that into comedy gold.

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