TV personality praises '˜most wonderful' book on Sunderland

A television personality has praised a tall ships stalwart for putting together 'the most wonderful book' on Sunderland and its maritime history.

Friday, 1st June 2018, 11:52 am
Updated Friday, 1st June 2018, 11:57 am
Naomi Austin at Keel Square in Sunderland Picture: DAVID WOOD

Architect George Clarke, who rose to prominence on TV shows such as Restoration Man and Amazing Spaces, has written a foreword to Naomi Austin’s 288-page publication.

It’s called The Call of the Sea and spotlights Naomi’s 25 years of tall ships adventures as well as the history of shipbuilding on the Wear.

Naomi with Captain Ireneusz Lewandowski, Captain of the Dar vessel at the Tall Ships Regatta in Blyth in 2016

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Naomi, a senior lecturer in fashion at the University of Sunderland, will also be displaying drawings from the book at an exhibition at Arts Centre Washington during August.

Naomi said: “I suppose I wanted to prove that digital drawings can be beautiful, elegant things. Whenever I’ve seen images of Tall Ships, they have always been very technical. I wanted to prove they could be created classically, but in a very modern way.”

In his foreword to the book, George said: “Some say the beating heart of Sunderland was football or coal mining. Of course, these were both incredibly important to the entire North East - indeed football still is.

“However, Wearside came into existence because of its beautiful river and the banks of this river grew into one of the most influential industrial towns in the world because of something bigger than football or coal mining - shipbuilding. This wonderful industry began in Wearmouth as far back as the 14th century, hundreds of years before the first football was kicked or the first lump of coal was mined. Shipbuilding

Naomi celebrating her birthday in the middle of the North Sea in July 1993.

was the beating heart of Sunderland.

“Whilst shipbuilding has now gone from my home town and its industrial heart has stopped beating, Naomi Austin has put together the most wonderful book to keep the memories of those thriving industrial days alive.”

Naomi will continue her love affair with the Tall Ships this summer when she takes part in the first leg of the 2018 race on board the German ship Alexander Von Humboldt II.

She said: “I’m beyond excited to get back on a Tall Ship and actually take part in the Race again. I’m a little bit nervous understandably, as I’m not sure if my sea legs are the same as they were 25 years ago but I’m determined to give everything I have and to try to assist all the young trainees on board. After all, I know exactly what they’re going through!”

underland honorary graduate and TV presenter George Clarke who has written the foreword for Naomis book.

To order The Call of the Sea, visit

Naomi’s The Call of the Sea Exhibition will be at Arts Centre Washington between August 3 and September 1.