Category: Teesside

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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 […]

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 […]

Hundreds flock to wool fair in Weardale

Julie Ward

Hundreds of people flocked to a former limestone quarry in Frosterley, Weardale, on 13 August to learn more about traditional woollen arts and crafts. The ‘Summer Wool Event’ was organised by North Pennines Wool, a network of small-holders and craft workers established in 2009 to help promote the local woollen industry and the North Pennines […]

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: the Tees Valley responds to the Afghanistan Crisis

Scott Hunter

Middlesbrough mayor, Andy Preston, has been making the headlines, with an unambiguous statement of support for refugees from Afghanistan. Many here will welcome those humanitarian sentiments, published in the Gazette on 19 August. The Gazette article, however, moves swiftly on to discussion of the pantomime of incompetence in Westminster over the issue, and so does […]

Trade Unions: Thatcherism to New Labour

Stephen Lambert

With the election of a Conservative government in May 1979  a new style of PM – Margaret Thatcher was committed to restructuring the UK economy by creating more flexible and efficient labour markets. Thatcher was pledged to reform Britain’s trade unions and curb their power. Throughout the eighties conflict between organised labour and the Conservative […]

Teesside enjoys its Palmyra moment, as Redcar Blast Furnace is torn down

Scott Hunter

The destruction of Redcar Blast Furnace has begun in earnest, with the Teesside Heritage Taskforce on hand to record the action on film for posterity. Soon the people of Teesside will be able to survey the roofs of the never-ending warehouses of the freeport, monuments to low pay and tax evasion, as if that is […]

BREAKING

Hartlepool Deputy Mayor resigns in nuclear waste war fall-out

Julia Mazza

Mike Young, the Conservative Deputy Mayor and Deputy Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council has resigned his posts.  He remains a Conservative Party councillor. His resignation comes hot on the heels of a war of words with Ben Houchen, the mayor of Tees Valley. Houchen had first accused the council’s minority Labour Group of holding “secret” […]

Over 160,000 North East children to be hit by £20 Universal Credit cut

North East Bylines

Regional child poverty campaigners have renewed calls for the government to reverse an impending £20 a week cut to Universal Credit after figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions today(17 August 2021) confirm for the first time the number of children and young people across the North East who will be directly affected […]

North East business and the EU deal

Joyce Quin

The government continues to be in denial about the difficulties businesses across the UK have experienced in exporting to the EU since January of this year, when the terms of the Prime Minister’s deal with the EU came into effect. That these difficulties have particularly affected firms in the North East was shown in a […]

No ‘levelling up’ for the North East: another broken promise

Yvonne Wancke

The North East is set to lose millions of pounds this year because of Brexit. This is despite the Prime Minister’s repeated promises of ‘levelling up’. A number of traditional Labour voting areas in the North East switched their votes to support Boris Johnson in the 2019 election, in part because of a desire to […]

Will the real Ben Houchen please stand up?

Scott Hunter

Who advises Ben Houchen?  You might have supposed that it was the officers of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). Until last week, that is. When he announced that he would seek to ensure that a referendum would be required before Teesside Airport could be sold, he crossed a line, and cemented what many had […]

Opinion

Jolly boating weather and educational opportunities

Robina Jacobson

Ah, Henley again, and jolly boating weather. On Thames or on Tyne, we can at least ‘swing, swing together’ for the river waters find their own level and are widely accessible. If the same could be said of playing fields, grand school facilities and small class sizes we might all fare better. North East exam […]

Hartlepool’s storm in a nuclear teacup

Julia Mazza

A war of words has broken out in Hartlepool about early discussions on a possible offshore radioactive waste storage facility. Material in the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)  would be stored one kilometre below the surface in concrete containers. The opening salvo came from a press release by Conservative Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen: “I have […]

Durham Miners’ Gala: Little Big Meetings and the truth about Thatcher

Julie Ward
Durham miners banner

Boris Johnson’s crass comments praising Margaret Thatcher for closing the pits in the 1980s and wrongly attributing her with green credentials have been roundly condemned by leading figures connected to the Durham Miners’ Gala. It is the second year running that Gala organisers have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the iconic ‘Big Meeting’ due […]

Inflation: the real cost of rising prices

Peter Benson

I renewed my household insurance on 31 July and it was a shock. The renewal price had jumped from £253.40 to £294.24, an increase of 16%.  My  attempt at negotiation failed: ”Mr Benson this is the final price after all the discounts”. Rising prices I have had so many prices rises in recent months. The car insurance […]

It will not be long now…

Harry Gallagher

It will not be long now until dandelions have strangled the black ground beneath them and no traces remain save for the props and the poison filling up the cavernous belly of the carcass slain by a fortyfaced dragon bent on revenge. It will not be long now until nobody is left who remembers the […]

The world in a weekend: parade in Billingham

North East Bylines

Who is up for a ‘mini’ Parade of Nations through Billingham Town Centre on Saturday 14 August? This is part of The World in a Weekend event being staged in the town from 13-15 August. The event is being organised by the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance and supported Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. The parade […]

Telecommunications provider shows appreciation to Stockton MP, Matt Vickers

Scott Hunter

Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton South, has championed several causes in his time in office including tougher sentences for pet thieves and the protection of hedgehogs. Both undoubtedly worthy causes.  He appears to dislike international aid, asylum seekers and gypsies. So, there seems to be a ‘four legs good, two legs bad’ theme to his […]

Ben Houchen and the chamber of secrets

Scott Hunter

Tees Valley Mayor seeks to protect Teesside Airport from ‘rogue’ politicians like himself, as the airport operator departs Teesside Airport operator Esken Ltd, formerly Stobart Aviation, has jumped ship and pulled out of its contract with the airport company (TIAL). Now, in place of Esken Ltd, the airport is being operated directly by its own […]

Fishy tales: a whale of a time with ORCA on the DFDS ferry

Dr Jayne Hamilton

A previous article in North East Bylines showed us the fantastic work of ORCA [Organisation Cetacea] supported by DFDS on their ferry route from Newcastle to Ijmuiden. The wildlife programme run by Organization Cetacea [ORCA] on DFDS’ King Seaways ferry, certainly made many a business trip memorable for me. There is enough to do for […]

A sad day for Teesside: Redcar Blast Furnace demolished

Bobbie Bailey

Redcar Blast Furnace It is a sad day for Teesside that the Redcar Blast Furnace is being demolished today. The furnace as we envisaged would have been truly iconic. In our opinion, this is an act of cultural vandalism, a scorched earth policy designed to systematically destroy relics of industry.  For some, this structure represents […]

Covid, mass trauma and regional unity

Connor Lamb

I remember that in the process of writing my diary entries, I had to recall memories recessed in the back of my mind for over a year. We often don’t think of traumatic memories as ‘trauma’. I briefly addressed the concept of mass trauma at the very end of the diary, so now it’s time […]

Stobart pulls out of Teesside International Airport

Julia Mazza

Esken, the  company behind struģgling Stobart Aviation Ltd, has returned its quarter-share in Teesside International Airport for a “nominal” sum.  The aviation sector has been blindsided by Covid-19. However, Stobart Aviation Ltd posted losses of £53 million in the year to 29th February 2020 – before the first lockdown. Should the airport be sold before 25 […]

BREAKING

North East coalition urges Chancellor to reverse £20 UC cut

North East Bylines

A broad, cross-sector coalition of North East organisations has come together today (21 July 2021) to urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reverse the planned £20 a week cut to Universal Credit which will hit hundreds of thousands of low-income households across the region this autumn. Writing jointly to the Chancellor as organisations “committed […]

Education Committee Part 3: a widening learning gap?

Connor Lamb

The last time that we explored the education committee meeting led by Sir Kevan Collins, we explored the importance of parental involvement within education, the future of Ofsted and more about the education recovery package. This are a few of the highlights from the next twenty minutes. Further funding? Sir Kevan was asked if there […]

Ladyboys of Bangkok at Middlesbrough Theatre

Katie Maughan

The Ladyboys of Bangkok graced Middlesbrough Theatre on 12 July for an exciting night of music and glamour during their Flight of Fantasy 2021 tour. Due to social distancing, the show was split into multiple performances over a few nights. Audiences remained socially distanced and were required to wear masks. It was a different experience […]

Unfair two-child limit hits 14,000 North East families

North East Bylines

Regional child poverty campaigners have renewed calls for an end to the government’s ‘two-child limit’, after figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions today (15 July 2021) show that almost 14,000 families – including at least 42,000 children – across the North East are now affected by the policy. The two-child limit The two-child limit […]

Little England, where charity begins at Conservativehome

Scott Hunter

A vote in the House of Commons yesterday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reducing the UK’s overseas aid budget. This, it maintains is necessary on account of the unprecedented conditions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.  Figures published today by the BBC show that, while overseas aid amounted to £14.5bn in 2019, it is projected to […]