Category: Co. Durham

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“Hostile environment brought to our doorsteps”: no to Hassockfield event today

Yvonne Wancke

Vulnerable women who are seeking sanctuary should be helped and supported, not locked up. In Consett today there is a demonstration against the opening of Derwentside (Hassockfield) Immigration Removal Centre (IRC). This demonstration is being organised by Durham People’s Assembly, No to Hassockfield and Abolish Detention. They also have support from many individuals and organisations […]

Community wealth-building: a North East revolution

Julia Mazza

Imagine a local council policy that aims to reverse the North East’s economic malaise, that directs money and jobs to the people most in need. It’s already here, the town hall revolution is happening in Labour councils across the North East, from Newcastle to Stockton.  Community wealth-building is a toolkit of measures to help councils make the […]


Interview with Ray Laidlaw from Lindisfarne

Graham Clark

Ray Laidlaw was the drummer in Lindisfarne up until 2003. With the BBC4 documentary on Alan Hull , interest in the north east band has been ignited again.  I spoke to Ray about the band, Alan Hull and of course those famous Top of the Pops appearances. Do you think Alan got the recognition he […]

Power cuts in Weardale: elected members inaccessible and unaccountable

Owain Gardner

On the night of Friday 26 November, only last Friday, everything seemed normal. That was until everyone in Weardale (from Witton-le-Wear to Killhope and Cowshill) lost their access to electricity due to Storm Arwen. Electricity lines up and down dale had trees falling onto them, with some, as was suggested on BBC Look North and […]

Lumiere in Durham: “In Our Hearts Blind Hope”

Aoifke Madeleine

Lumiere, the bi-annual event in Durham City Centre, returned this November. Europe’s largest light festival (in one of the UK’s smallest cities) attracts thousands of tourists, with tickets being free and local businesses taking part. Two years on from its last feature in 2019, there’s been an election, a pandemic that left the world in […]

Is levelling up a slogan or a policy?

Sally Young

In the last few months we have kept hearing about this government’s promise of levelling up. Is this a slogan or a policy? Let’s look at what is really happening. In all honesty, I’ve never been particularly impressed by the idea of HS2. £100 billion would have been better spent by giving the UK’s top […]

Poetry Corner

Northern Poorhouse

Harry Gallagher

Jackie Milburn picks up dog ends on the high level bridge, beneath the all seeing stare of Stephenson. Joseph Swan drinks Carlsberg Export, huddled on a pavement mattress outside the Holy Jesus Hospital. Bobby Charlton smokes his last in bed, red all over his face; no consolation goal, no-one to see. While darling Grace saves […]

Don’t forget the birds: a new film about leaving prison in Durham

Carol Westall

A new film, Don’t forget the birds will be released online as part of a collection of Open Clasp’s work to mark the UN’s 16 days of activism to eliminate violence. against women and girls. It will be available  25 November – 10 December. Don’t forget the birds tells the story of what happened after […]

“Brexit isn’t working” event in Newcastle today

North East Bylines

North East residents will be on the streets of Newcastle today to protest against the local impact of the recent HGV and supply chain crisis. Campaigners from North East for Europe will be speaking to members of the public at Grey’s Monument on Saturday 20 November about shortages of goods and the difficulties faced by […]

Meet your MP: Dehenna Davison (Conservative), Bishop Auckland

Scott Hunter

Much has been written over the past few days about MPs income, in particular issues around how certain MPs obtain income from sources other than their MP’s salary. Bishop Auckland MP, Dehenna Davison (Con), is one of those whose secondary sources of income are of interest, but examination of her declaration of interests also raises […]

Meet your MP: Richard Holden (Conservative), North West Durham

Yvonne Wancke

Some background on Richard Holden Richard Holden is the first Conservative member of parliament for North West Durham. He was elected in 2019 as one of the ‘red wall’ MPs. His work background includes both the public and private sectors. Before he was elected MP he worked in the Department for Education as a Special […]

Does your ‘honourable’ MP represent your values?

Yvonne Wancke

Only last week the government voted to change the rules on parliamentary standards. This was a direct attempt to save one of their own from a parliamentary suspension due to wrongdoing. Just how honourable are our ‘honourable’ members? In a typical U-turn, the government then back-tracked. This was followed swiftly by the resignation of Owen […]

North East MPs hopeful despite Leamside pushback

North East Bylines

Last week the final round of successful bids from the Restoring Your Railways programme were announced by the Government in the Spending Review. Sadly, one of the unsuccessful bids was the bid to re-open the Leamside rail line. This was sponsored by Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, and Paul Howell, MP for Sedgefield.  […]

Education Uncovered

Education Uncovered: BTECs and hidden funding cuts

Connor Lamb

With the end of a difficult and chaotic 2021 in sight, it is time to explore the things that happened in the education sector this year that did not get the needed attention due to the pandemic.  This is Education, Uncovered. Nationwide, less than 5% of white students from working class backgrounds are represented at […]

BOX SETNorth East History

The path to safety in North East coal mines, 1800 – 1850

Audrey Marshall
A photo of a mine shaft head wheel

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 […]

Supporting refugees in the North East: launch of ANEW

North East Bylines
a photo of a sign saying refugees welcome

A group of volunteers in the North East are working to support and resettle refugee families who find a home in our region. The ANEW team (that’s Amnesty North East Welcomes) must raise funds, find suitable accommodation and work for at least one year – if not two – on integrating the new arrivals into life here in the […]

£1 million donation supports North East students to succeed at Durham University

Robin Tudge

A major scholarships programme to help students from low-income backgrounds in North East England to study at Durham University has received a new donation of £1 million. The donation to the Durham Inspired North East Scholarships program, which supports exceptional young people from across the region to fulfil their potential at Durham, comes from Dr […]

Brexit crisis continues with bus driver shortages

Yvonne Wancke

Bus routes and services are experiencing disruption across the country, particularly in the North East. This is a knock on effect from the HGV crisis as bus drivers are being ‘poached’ by haulage bosses for hugely increased wages. The reasons for the bus driver shortages Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon, chairman of the North East […]

North East blue seats might turn red suggests new poll

Yvonne Wancke

A recent poll by YouGov suggests that if an election were to be held tomorrow, the Conservatives would almost certainly lose some of their recently gained so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats, including Redcar and North West Durham. A number of seats in the region were won by the Tories in 2019 but now, just as the […]

North East HistoryPART 7

The first safety legislation: North East coal mines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 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 […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 7

Haunted stately homes in the North East

Peter Lathan

The Stately Homes of England,Though rather in the lurch,Provide a lot of chancesFor Psychical Research –There’s the ghost of a crazy younger sonWho murdered, in thirteen fifty-one,An extremely rowdy NunWho resented it,And people who come to callMeet her in the hall.The baby in the guest wing,Who crouches by the grate,Was walled up in the west […]