Hidden messages dating back more than 44 years have been uncovered as  work to transform the Swans Centre for Innovation (CFI) gets underway. 

The hand-written notes, which were unearthed by workers stripping out the upper floors at the CFI at Swans, in Wallsend, reveal information on preparatory work for electricians and joiners.

They clearly show the names of the tradesmen involved – some of whom could have lived in the area and may still have family or friends nearby – and the years they were written, 1975 and 1983, when earlier refurbishments were carried out.

North Tyneside Council appointed Surgo Construction to undertake the £1.5 million transformation of the top three floors of the CFI.

Part of the top floor was the penthouse suite where the former owners of the Swan Hunter shipyard, the Kroese family, lived. It was also home to the director’s boardroom while the other floors were offices used by Swan Hunter.

Now on site, Surgo is carrying out a full strip out of interior walls and building services to the vacant upper three floors as the project progresses.

The project, which follows on from the success of the first phase of the CFI, which opened in 2016, will provide an additional 940 square metres of refurbished office accommodation and meeting rooms, creating flexible space for up to 10 businesses. The reception area will also be reconfigured and a new car park will be developed.

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “I am delighted to see the project to refurbish the upper floors of the CFI making real progress now.

“Once complete, these extra facilities will support Swans CFI’s position as a popular place for the offshore energy and subsea sector to do business.  It will also help strengthen North Tyneside’s reputation as a first-class location for oil, gas, renewable and marine industries from all over the world.”

Jeff Alexander, director, Surgo Construction, said: “It is great to have made a start on the next stage of transformation works at the CFI and interesting to find traces of earlier refurbishment works from the graffiti we’ve uncovered.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to work on behalf of North Tyneside Council as it presses ahead with its ambitious investment in the borough to attract new and important businesses to the area.”

The latest phase of work is due for completion in late 2019. The project has received £1.39million from the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.