For more than a century, the Shields Gazette and Shipping Telegraph kept the seafaring community at the mouth of the Tyne in touch – with each other, and with the river’s maritime trade.

Its regular columns such as On The Waterfront were avidly read; while over the years its reporters and photographers were witnesses to some of the most historic events in the river’s history.

Retired Shields Gazette journalist Janis Blower will look at how, in peace and war, the paper became a nationally – even internationally – respected source of authoritative shipping reporting.

Janis, who worked on the Shields Gazette for more than 40 years was described by her editor when she retired in 2015 as a “true ambassador” for the paper and a “voice of authority” on the history of its patch. (

She continues to speak at local groups and in 2022 received a top cultural award when she became an Honorary Fellow The Customs House Academy.

Her last talk at the Old Low Light, in January 2023, Our Friends on the North Side’, a light-hearted look at the relationship between the two harbour towns over the centuries, was a sell-out and extremely well received.

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