Section: Region

North East MPs sign Dawn Butler’s motion

North East Bylines

Dawn Butler, MP has tabled an Early Day Motion on the subject of the erosion of ministerial code. The text of the motion is below. “That this House believes that trust in the ministerial code has been eroded by the actions of the Prime Minister; further believes that the Prime Minister should no longer be […]

National Insurance increases: ‘levelling up’ for the North East?

Yvonne Wancke

This week the government voted to increase National Insurance contributions in order to fund social care. National Insurance contributions are set to rise by 1.25 percentage points. Whilst initially this may not seem a lot, it is worth noting that for anyone earning between £10,000 and £50,000 a year, it actually means an increase of […]

Hartlepool singer driving 700 miles to play biggest shows of his life

Daisy Windsor

BBC Introducing and Radio X featured artist Michael Gallagher, from Hartlepool, will be embarking upon a 700 mile round trip to play two UK festivals at opposite ends of the country less than 24 hours apart. This is the first festival season Michael is involved with and was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 4

The pickled parson of Sedgefield

Peter Lathan

The Reverend James Gamage, Rector of Sedgefield in County Durham from 1718 to 1747, certainly knew on which side his bread was buttered – and how to keep it that way! He was a prebend (a canon or member of the Chapter of a cathedral who was paid for administrative services) at Salisbury Cathedral at […]

The Transporter Bridge: past and future

Julia Mazza

The Transporter Bridge, that monument to Middlesbrough’s iron age,  is 110 years old in October and its age is beginning to show. The unique Grade II* listed structure received a Risk of Death notice in 2019 and has been closed ever since. At the time of its construction in 1911 the bridge provided a vital […]

Firefighters attacked on call out in Sunderland

North East Bylines

On Tuesday 7 September night at 20:31, a crew from Marley Park Community Fire Station responded to reports of a wheelie bin fire in the Carley Hill area of Sunderland. Whilst trying to locate the incident on foot, they were pelted with objects believed to be large stones and bits of rubble. Thankfully, they were […]


‘My mother said I never should’ and more at the People’s Theatre

North East Bylines

The People’s Theatre will be welcoming audiences back this month with Charlotte Keatley’s highly-acclaimed My mother said I never should, a warm and poignant exploration of womanhood set against the huge social changes of the twentieth century.  My mother said I never should Years pass in emotional rather than chronological order as four generations of […]

Following a thread: untangling the story of a homespun product

Judi Sutherland

I found this reel of cotton in my sewing basket, and I don’t remember how it got there. It’s obviously old, from the style of the label, and the fact the reel is wooden rather than plastic. Maybe my mother acquired it in the mid-1960s when our family spent a couple of years in Antrim. […]

‘Keep the lifeline’ of £20 UC increase urge Kenton councillors

Stephen Lambert

The UK government should retain the £20 increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, which has been a lifeline to thousands of households across the city for people struggling to afford the essentials. Charities, health care professionals, foodbanks and councillors across the city are backing the Keep the lifeline campaign and are calling on […]

The Wonderful Everyday in short supply: from Ikea to rubbish collections

Peter Benson

More national brands are announcing supply problems caused by the lack of HGV drivers, on top of Tesco and Iceland. Adding to the list in recent days are Ikea, Coca Cola, Costa, Gregg’s, Wetherspoon’s, McDonald’s, KFC and many more. The reality is that virtually every corner of the economy is being impacted. This is from supermarket […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 3

The Cauld Lad of Hylton

Peter Lathan
the cauld lad of hylton

I’ve known the story of the Cauld Lad of Hylton all my life. When he was cold, my dad wouldn’t simply say, “I’m freezing” or something like that, but he’d clasp his arms around himself and moan, in sepulchral tones, “Aa’m cauld! Aa’m cauld!”

…and the walls came tumbling down…

Scott Hunter

Have some sympathy for Jacob Young , MP for Redcar. As  the news comes out that permission has been sought to demolish the Dorman Long Tower, he has been made a complete fool of by Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen. Young it is who is so enamoured of the tower that he has a picture […]

North East HistoryPART 3

A breakthrough: lighting in North East mines 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Throughout the history of coal mining, various methods of lighting had been tried out, some of them safe, others highly dangerous, none of them really effective. During the 18th century, for instance, parts of Merton Colliery were ‘illuminated’ by the faint but secure light of fish skins, while in Hebburn Colliery, before the invention of […]


Hangover for Wetherspoon’s boss as beer runs out!

Peter Benson

It must be the biggest disaster ever for a pub to run out of beer and suffer staff shortages all at the same time. Tim Martin, boss of the pub chain, Wetherspoon’s, cannot be getting much sleep these days as his die-hard love of Brexit costs his business trade. Wetherspoon’s is yet another high-profile business […]


Is Houchen heading for Westminster?

Scott Hunter

The minds of many Twitter followers yesterday were exercised by an article in  Prospect Magazine profiling Ben Houchen, which they were alerted to by the Politico Morning Briefing. Another article, to which that Briefing also provided a link, seems to have attracted much less attention. This is unfortunate, as the two go well together. It […]

Kizomba dance fusion at Saltwell Park

Yvonne Wancke

Local dance teacher, Lauren Rafferty, and her group of dancers recently recorded a video at Saltwell Park. Their dance is a fusion of modern ‘Western’, with Kizomba. Kizomba is an African dance, originating from Angola and is normally danced with a partner. Lauren explains: “Unfortunately due to the pandemic, when we started rehearsals we were […]


Alphabetti Theatre is back!

Daisy Windsor

North East theatre fans have a real treat in store as the theatres are starting to open up. And Alphabetti is no exception. Shows start from today. All tickets are ‘pay what you feel’ but you must book, and tickets will go fast. Pod by Arabella Arnott Performances start with Pod by Arabella Arnott, directed […]

Hartlepool: nuclear waste and a council civil war 

Julia Mazza

August is the silly month, with the press scrabbling for copy to fill column inches left empty by the political recess. It is the perfect season for Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, sultan of spin, to create a “secret radioactive waste dump” conspiracy theory. In eleven August days, he accused Hartlepool Labour Group, smeared a local charity, ousted […]

North East HistoryPART 2

Accidents in the North East coalmines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Many accidents were caused by falls of stone or of coal, men falling down shafts, the use of gunpowder for blasting, and breakages of the winding ropes which were used both for raising coal to the surface and for raising and lowering the miners to and from the mine. Accidents were numerous, so numerous in […]


“Imagine good things so the bad things don’t win” at Northern Stage

Julie Ward

Review of ‘Free School Meals’ at Northern Stage Newcastle-based ‘Unfolding Theatre’ is one of the region’s most precious cultural assets, making eclectic big-hearted performance work rooted in community participation and co-production. Their latest offering ‘Free School Meals’ is set in a restaurant called ‘The Future’ where children are in charge and grown-ups are the apprentices. […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 2

John the Jibber

Peter Lathan

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet, Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street, Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie. Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by. Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark – Brandy for the Parson, ‘Baccy for […]

It’s tonight! A fun and fabulous neon playground at Independent

North East Bylines

Tonight, Independent, in Holmeside, will host Club Six Twenty, a one-off art club night aimed at people who enjoy festivals, going to gigs and cabaret nights, which have been hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions. Club Six Twenty is being produced and delivered by theatre company The Six Twenty as part of Sunderland Culture’s Unlocking the […]

Sharon Hodgson Visits ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ Bus

North East Bylines

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, recently visited the ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ programme at Rickleton Cricket Club. The ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ programme, which is funded by the Department for Education’s Holiday Activity and Food Programme, has been supporting children […]


Sunderland singer, Sam releases new single: Fade

Yvonne Wancke

Local Indie-Pop artist and producer, Sam French is releasing a second single Fade on 24 September. This is an exciting new step in his solo evolution and career. I asked Sam to tell us a bit about himself and his music. Sam is from Sunderland, although he admits to being a Newcastle United fan! He says that […]

North East HistoryPART 1

Dangerous jobs in the North East coal mines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Without coal, Britain’s Industrial Revolution would have been impossible, The steam engine could not have operated without it; the iron industry demanded it. Coal was in fact at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution. In this North East History series, Audrey Marshall takes a look at the issues of safety and eventual legislation for […]

McDonald’s: I’m no longer “lovin’ it”

Peter Benson

The food shortage crisis engulfing hospitality sector has now claimed a new high profile scalp, Mc Donald’s. The tabloids are reporting  that customers of Mc Donald’s are fuming and furious with the lack of milk shakes and bottled water. There are also multiple reports on social media that North East based Greggs is also suffering from […]


Your Voice at Live Theatre, Newcastle

Jane Neville

Live Theatre announces the line-up of plays for Your Voice Live Theatre has announced the seven short plays selected for Your Voice: North East. The writers and artists commissioned have not previously had work performed professionally at Live Theatre so it is a great opportunity for audiences to experience work by new voices and the […]


Sunderland 17 year old releases new single, ‘Mirrors’

Daisy Windsor

Lottie Willis is an immensely talented songwriter ready to explode out of the Sunderland music scene. At just 17 years old she has already gained an anticipative audience across the North East with radio support from BBC Introducing as well as performing shows for the likes of Summer Streets Festival (run by The Futureheads’ Ross […]