Gateshead folk singer performs ditty about “scabbed and crusty” state of the Tyne Bridge

Jamie Brown, the Gateshead folk singer, has joined a host of local politicians in demanding the refurbishment of the Tyne Bridge.

By penning 'The Bonny Tyne Bridge' - a take on the Joe Wilson folk tune 'The Bonny Gateshead Lass' - Jamie draws attention to the iconic structure's dilapidated state.

The ditty's lyrics lament the bridge's "scabbed and crusty" condition, with its cracked paintwork and rusted beams.

"I think we all know that she's not looking her best at the minute," he says when introducing the song. "And that was only highlighted by the Great North Run last weekend."

Camera crews descended on the North East for the event's 40th edition this month, showcasing the very best of Newcastle and Gateshead.

But they also gave nationwide viewers an up-close look at just how faded and rusted the famous arch bridge has become.

In the aftermath, a bid was lodged by Newcastle City Council - backed by other key names from across the region - to the Government's Levelling Up Fund in June for £18m that would pay for the Tyne Bridge's first major maintenance in 20 years, ahead of its centenary in 2028.

News of whether that has been successful is expected this autumn and local politicians agree that Sunday's race laid bare just how bad a state the grade II* listed structure is in.

A separate £40m bid to pay for a vast refurbishment of both the Tyne Bridge and the Central Motorway was submitted to the government in summer 2019 by Transport for the North and is also awaiting approval. 

But so desperate are local officials to get the bridge looking like its true self once more, the council decided to apply to the Levelling Up Fund too and offer to put in £2m of its own money.

'The Bonny Tyne Bridge' lyrics

Hew Geordy! Ha' ye seen the bridge?Its state I wanna mention?For the paintwork's all a-crackin’And a whole lot more besides,For it's gone to wreck and ruin,While you all just sat there stewin’, The bonniest lookin’ bridge that ever stood upon the Tyne.They said ‘Ye can keep your fogBut we'll take aal the money,’A bunch of cuts came inAnd funding went oot with the tide,If the thing was me new lover,Aa waddn't tek it to meet me mother!The bonniest lookin’ bridge that ever stood upon the Tyne.They used to say that it's iconic,But noo that sounds ironic,Though the shadow of former gloriesSeems befitting of the times,For the whole things scabbed and crusty,At least the angel's SUPPOSED to be rusty!The bonniest lookin’ bridge that ever stood upon the Tyne.Aal the folk here understand it,And if you only planned it,There'd be half a million Geordies With a paint brush in their hand,Noo I'm not here to knock it,But something's got to stop it…So I hope yeh won't think the worse ov iz for taking such a stand...'Cause the thing is yours and mine!The bonniest looking bridge that ever stood upon the Tyne.

It would take between two and three years for specialist contractors to complete the entire refurbishment of the bridge, with council bosses hoping that work could start from late summer 2022.

As well as a much-needed repaint, the works also include steelwork and concrete repairs, stonework and masonry fixes, waterproofing, and bridge joint replacement, and more.

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell said that it was "clear that our iconic Tyne Bridge - a globally recognised symbol of not only Newcastle but the entire North East - is in desperate need of repair".

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for a response.