Jo’s Monday walk : Seaham ‘Tommy’

Sculpture Eleven O One, known by the locals as Tommy

Sculpture Eleven O One, known by the locals as ‘Tommy’

It’s a far cry from the cliff tops of the Algarve to the Green above the cliffs in former mining town, Seaham, but that’s where our walk will take us this week.  The campaign to keep Tommy in place has attracted national attention, and I needed to see him for myself.

Built out of special corten steel by local sculptor, Ray Lonsdale, Eleven O One is so named for the armistice which came into effect at 11am on November 11, 1918.  His air of total bone weariness and despair makes you want to throw an arm around him. Originally intended to be in place for just 3 months, Tommy has touched so many hearts that donations have almost raised the £85,000 needed to keep him.

I’ve taken you to Seaham before, though not on my Monday walks.  It has a long seafront and a pretty little marina.  Come with me and I’ll show you a bit more.

I'm starting at the car park at the far end of the front

I’m starting at the car park at the far end of the front

And walking back along it

And walking back along it towards the lighthouse

Pausing to admire the many rock pools

Pausing to admire the many rock pools

There's a lot of cloud today

There’s a lot of cloud today

So the sea isn't at it's twinkly best

So the sea isn’t quite at it’s twinkly best

But it's still a place where the starfish like to play

But it’s still a place where the starfish like to play!

For the moment we will bypass the Green, where a crowd gathers to have a photo taken with Tommy.  I will come back when it’s quieter, to lay a hand on his knee and try to console him. Instead, we will drop down into the marina, not looking quite so pretty today with heavy skies.

Boats can always snare my attention

Boats can always snare my attention

With a waft of flowers to cheer them up

With a waft of flowers to cheer them up

And some noble weeds

And a few noble weeds

There are good views out to the lighthouse from the cafe that sits above the marina, and the RNLI have an excellent museum, showcasing the lifeboat, if you have time to browse.

Leaving the marina, I look out to the lighthouse

Leaving the marina, I look out to the lighthouse

And the view around the bay

And back across the bay, at Seaham , above the cliffs

There are miles of cliff tops so you can extend the walk as far as you want.  There are parking facilities at both ends of the seafront and also by the Green.  A lower promenade takes you closer to the beach, or you can check out the craft shops and sample local cuisine if that appeals more. But now it’s time to return to Tommy.

Could anything be more sad?

walking logo

Time I shared with you some brilliant walks from last week.  You can click on the logo above or my Jo’s Monday walks page for details of how to join in.  You’re always very welcome.

First up we have Elaine, fresh from the Three Peaks Challenge on Saturday.  I think she’s earned a rest this week!  :

Drake has been a loyal supporter since I started my walks.  Come with us to lovely Strasbourg  :

Jude always has an eye for a beautiful garden and this week is no exception  :

The Alcazar in Seville is a special place, especially when seen through Amy’s lens  :

You need a strong stomach for Sue’s post this week.  Deep fried Oreos?  After you!  :

Happy walking folks!  I hope to see you next week.


  1. So, was the area successful in raising the money to keep Seaham “Tommy?” He does look quite sad and I like your words: “His air of total bone weariness and despair makes you want to throw an arm around him.” I’m sure the survivors of World War I were bone weary after that horrific time. I hope they succeed in keeping poor Tommy.

  2. enjoyed your Seaham walk – and hope they raise the money to keep Tommy – and hope the mining town is able to rebuild (I read your other comment… )

    anyhow, hope you have a nice rest of July Jo – peace ❤ – 🙂

    1. I’m sure he will, L 🙂 So many evil things go on around us and I’m usually quite light-hearted on here, but this guy speaks volumes, doesn’t he? Thanks for your time, again.

  3. That’s a goodly sum already raised to help save Tommy I see from your earlier comment Jo . It looks a very poignant and memorable sculpture indeed .
    Love these promenade walks …very relaxed .. and so far no tumbles 😉

    1. Another trip for the memory banks, Ad 🙂 Good job you’ll be going back to visit or you’d be getting nostalgic! I’ll come and have a look at your lighthouse. I know it’s a nice one.
      Many thanks for finding time to join my walks 🙂

  4. It’s always heartening when individuals are so touched in the same manner that they band together for a good cause. That’s what makes a community a community, right? Your photos took me from despair to cheer…colorful boats bobbing in an oceanside marina always make me happy. 🙂

    1. We’re all on the same side when we look at Tommy, Elisa. If only it could last!
      You have to grab happiness where you can. Thanks for your lovely company. I appreciate all the time you’ve spent with me. 🙂

  5. What a stroll on the seaside – just lovely! What to say about Tommy that hasn’t already been said? With this being the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the ‘war to end all wars’ Tommy should be sad about how it’s gone since then…thanks for bringing him to us he really is a fitting memorial to his lost comrades.

    1. The best news for me this morning is that the Israelies are finally quitting the shelling. Why can they not just cease permanently? All of them!
      Thank you. Yes, Tommy’s a heart breaker.

  6. Tommy is one of the most moving sculptures I’ve ever seen, Jo. It makes me happy to read that donations are pouring in to keep him around.
    I loved your photos and I so hoped you would zoom in on the lighthouse and you did…you never fail to disappoint! xo

  7. That is an amazingly evocative sculpture! I am disillusioned too with the ability of these symbols to change people, but we can’t give up hope can we?
    Thanks for another wonderful walk Jo! 🙂

    1. And still we wouldn’t learn, Jude! 😦
      Are you back at base now? Thank you very much for the contribution. I’ll look forward to my stroll with a cuppa, shortly 🙂

  8. Another beautiful sea side walk. The last image of Tommy status is truly sad… It says so much of the sadness and hopeless of the war (any war). Great post, Jo!

  9. After hectic at work on Monday, it feel such a relieve to read your Monday Walk post..thanks so much for sharing this regular feels like I were in Seaham myself..Have a great week Jo and many thanks for wonderful Monday post 🙂

  10. Great Monday walk Jo, kind of begins the week with a beautiful quiet start. The statue is incredible, the artist certainly knew how to capture raw emotions.

    1. I love sharing the walks on Mondays, Mary, because quite a few people seem to feel the same way. I’m a lucky person who no longer has to work for a living but I remember those Monday morning blues. Thank you for joining me 🙂

  11. Jo your phrase about ‘wanting to throw an arm around Tommy’ really brought me beside you for this walk. Your warm heart shines through as it often does in your posts. I loved going to the seaside with you. From a land locked location such a treat.

      1. No, nothing dramatic! It’s just that he takes great delight in singing out ‘mind the hole’ whenever we venture anywhere near a dip in the ground 🙂

  12. What a wonderfully refreshing stroll by the sea, perfect after the humidity here but cooler today thank goodness. Love the lighthouse, always my favourite…the starfish too! Always love to come over here on a Monday and breathe in your walks and enjoy your beautiful photos. Tommy must stay, what a incredibly powerful work of art…and reminder. Thanks Jo for a perfect Monday walk 🙂

  13. I would want to keep that sculpture too. It suggests how weary soldiers become of war – and how ineffective it becomes.
    This is such a beautiful walk. You live in a beautiful part of the world Jo.

    1. I didn’t know anything about ‘Tommy’ till one of my walking group mentioned him, Colline and I just had to go and see for myself. I thought he could use a little publicity. 🙂

  14. A wonderful post, Jo … I love boats, too. And Tommy is absolutely terrific: if they take him away it will be a crime ! Why on earth would they even THINK of doing that ?! I will never understand city fathers …

      1. But that’s what so important, I think – that he is constantly reminding people of what was done in the name of “king and country” …

  15. Do hope Tommy gets to stay. I love the little white flower that someone has placed on his canteen. We had a big crowd funding here recently to raise money for a sculpture for Christchurch. It was successful.

  16. What a wonderful sculpture Jo, why do people have to start wars and cause so much suffering. On a happier note 🙂 another nice walk and love your description of those ‘noble weeds’ 🙂

  17. Talking walks in new places is one of my favorite things and through your blog (and the links to others that you provide) I get to take several more walks than I would be able to otherwise. Like right now for example, when I am so sore from my long morning run I can barely move 🙂

    1. ‘Run’ is not a word that enters my vocabulary 🙂 🙂 I’m hopeless at it! Always was, and it’s way too late now. I’ll just keep up with the strolling and enjoy the lovely company. 🙂

  18. Some scenes from the movie “Saving Private Ryan” were going to be filmed in Seaham, but coz of government intervention the production moved elsewhere – don’t know why.

    Wonderful walk you found here, enjoyed it… 🙂

    The Tommy sculpture is so fascinating and in my eyes so typically english – reminds me of these old stories heard about “The 2nd Boer War” too – where there was huge british lost too – these are remind through in their own way at soccer stadiums all over England most known I guess will be The Kop at Anfield in Liverpool – The Kop and kopites named after a hill near Ladysmith, South Africa, which was the scene of the “Battle of Spion Kop” in January 1900.

    All those Tommies from WW One deserves their own sculpture too… 🙂

    1. How ignorant I am to have to admit that I didn’t realise that the Kop at Anfield was named for that battle, Drake. Even my son (who also likes your football team) knew the connection.

      Thank you for your lovely comments, and again for being such a great supporter. 🙂

  19. I like Tommy too. Important to continue to remember, although sad we never learn. Never went to Seaham, that I remember, your comment to Sonel summed it up, I always thought it was a run down mining town, Seaham Colliery yes? So what to see any different to other run down sad mining towns? And there were plenty in the north east 😦 on a separate point have you visited the mining museum place? That was good, somewhere north of Ashington I think, we went to an engine fair thing there. Great day out.

    1. The zoom on my little digital isn’t great, Amanda, so I sometimes get that blurry, dreamy look 🙂 In this instance I think it works ok. Thanks a lot 🙂

  20. Looks like a great spot for a good long cliff walk Jo…..I love walking between the sea and the land like this. That statue has such powerful presence, it’s great they are saving him 🙂
    Also what a great selection of walks this week. I really must put one together…..sigh… many things to do and such little time 🙂

    1. Thanks, Seonaid 🙂 I get some terrific shares, don’t I? I’m so glad I started this feature because it’s fun to do and I am very privileged to have such great friends to share with.

      One day, hon 🙂 I know it’s well nigh impossible to be true to your own posts and take part in others when you’re working. I struggle and I’m not!

  21. I really like the way you construct your walks – you take us with you with your words. I’m beginning to emulate a bit. Tommy really creates sadness, and I don’t mind a less than sparkly day. I love the “noble weed” concept. Some of my favourite plants are classified as weeds, merely because they’ve been snatched from their natural habitat.

    Not quite sure how to join in the walks. Here are two to do what you will with – either/both/none!

    A hug on a sunny Monday – I’m off to Wilanòw.

    1. NOW you’ve got me excited, Meg! Wilanow!!! Any chance of a Monday walk there for next week? On that single day I spent in Warsaw it was a choice between Wilanow and Lazienki, and I had to concede that, even for me, Wilanow was pushing it 🙂

      Thank you again for your kind words. You really are too nice to me (but I love it!)
      I forgot to put the link to my Monday walks page into the little logo, but I remembered while I was out walking so I’ve done it now. Including a link(or two 🙂 ) in your comment, as you’ve done, is just fine. I will include them at the bottom of next week’s walk so everyone sees them, and save Wilanow (if you are so kind) for the following week. I have to do it that way because I’m usually out on a walk on Mondays so don’t get to answer my comments till late.

      1. Thanks for the info.

        You made the right choice between Łazienki and Wilanòw, I think. It’s wonderful to be here long-term, with more visits in the offing, so there’s always time to visit places, and top up visits. You must feel the same about Portugal.

  22. What a beautiful spot for a Monday walk, Jo! Tommy is quite magnificent – I hope he gets to stay put. It’s good to hear the community is coming together to keep him there.
    ~ Andrea ❤

  23. What a stunning sculpture and the view! Absolutely so beautiful there Jo! Your stunning shots had me in awe! Thanks for sharing and for taking me to yet another amazing virtual adventure. 😀 ♥ Hugs ♥

    1. I really loved the sculpture, Sonel, and Seaham is an old mining town that’s fighting back after years of being run down. I like it 🙂
      Hope you have a peaceful and beautiful week. Thanks for your lovely company. Hugs!

      1. Same here Jo and that’s good! I like it too. 😀

        Thanks sweetness and wishing you the same. ♥ Hugs ♥

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