Monday, 16 September 2013

Heritage Day

I have been complaining about the way heritage is been lost in the borough of Redcar and Cleveland for over ten years. On the14th September 2013 it was Heritage Day and I put on a display in Loftus Town Hall,  

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Two letters in the Evening Gazette

I have used these pages several times to attack some of our councillors for their lack of understanding about our industrial past, so I was pleased to read the Gazette article Hard act to follow (07-10-10) about iron men sculptures. Several times during the last few years the ironstone mining communities of Lingdale and Boosbeck have erected images that tell visitors about their ironstone mining past, at Boosbeck in July this year an Iron Man statue was unveiled and we were told that it was inspired by a young lad from the village, so I hope that young people like eight-year-old James Summers will be involved with the Iron Men, Woman and Children project, and the money isn’t given to artists from outside this region who have little understanding of our heritage. 12.10.2010

In 2004 I was a member of a group of volunteers called Iron Awe, together with film makers from Teesside University and 300 local children, we made a film about the Cleveland ironstone miners first Demonstration Day (gala) in 1872. This year we planned to make a similar film about the 1930s depression and its affect on the local mining communities. Our film will include Sir Michael Tippett’s first opera Robin Hood, which on the instructions of its composer, has never been performed for seventy five years.  Sir Michael Tippett died in 1998, but that didn’t stop the Iron Awe team from changing his wishes, assembling a choir, singing some of his music in a Boosbeck pub, and getting BBC Radio 3 to record the event. Unfortunately local funders didn’t think our project was worthwhile, so Iron Awe will try again next year. BBC Radio 3 is repeating Reviving Robin on Saturday 30th October at 12.15pm. 26.10.2010

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Another letter In the Evening Gazette

Our local paper is running a campaign into our regions identity crisis.

Museo del Acero, Monterrey, Mexico, where Grimshaw restored a derelict 1960s blast furnace .
Dear Editor
With 96% of the people who responded to the Gazette’s campaign into the regions identity crisis saying we should be proud of our industrial heritage, I believe this shared industrial heritage is the main reason why we should have a united name. Several of the world’s proud iron - making communities have saved their redundant blast furnaces and turned them into museums and leisure parks. It’s perhaps too early to talk about turning our last remaining blast furnace into a tourist attraction, but our council shouldn’t be spending millions of pounds on a tower until they have. We shouldn’t just be telling the world where we are, we should also be telling the world who we are.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

A Grand Day Out

Whitby, with "Biggles" and co.
music - K. Macleod

Monday, 19 April 2010

Another letter in the paper

Dear Editor,
I supported the boundary changes made in 1974 as the communities in this region have far more in common together than they have with Durham or York. With a brand new name and our 400 years of industrial heritage we should have put our region on the world map.Thirty-six years later it has taken a crisis for the world to learn a little about our history. There has been some confusion over whether we live in County Durham or Yorkshire, now we have all been told we live in the Tees Valley. There are hundreds of Internet bloggers in this region and I don't know how many tell the world they live in Yorkshire or County Durham, but 550 of us - many from Redcar, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, and Darlington - say we live in Cleveland, 200 live on Teesside and just 28 admit to living in the Tees Valley. We can all talk up our towns, but talking up our region and its industrial history is much more difficult. For 350 years people from my town have been supplying Britain with important minerals - I want to see Loftus in Cleveland on the world map. John Lawson

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Infant Hercules

There is little to be seen of our industrial past, so its important stories about our heritage are told. In 1850 ironstone was discovered in the Eston Hills above Middlebrough, and shortly afterwards Prime Minister William Gladstone came North and described the iron making town as an "infant Hercules." Here is Alistair Brownlee, a radio reporter commenting on a Boro match. It was the UEFA Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg, Middlesbrough had lost the first leg away 1-0, and their opponents Steaua Bucharest scored another 2 goals in the first 24 minutes of the 2nd leg; if they were to go to the final in Eindhoven, Boro had to score 4 goals in 66 minutes; in the 89th minute of the match Boro scored their fourth goal.

( A Parmo is a Middlesbrough delicacy.)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Lawbreakers or Steelmakers?

This part of the world has some fantastic scenery, but for over four hundred years we have been supplying Britain with many of its Chemicals, and for nearly two hundred years much of its iron and steel, so we also have some ugly structures. Most of the disused mining and quarrying sites have gone back to nature, but because of our present heavy industries the “Green Valley Brigade” are reluctant to promote stories about out industrial heritage. (Its better we are seen to be descended from law breaking smugglers than hard working steelworkers.) In 2003 English Heritage carried out an archaeological field survey and investigation of the old Loftus Alum Works and produced a book called Loftus Alum Works, Redcar and Cleveland, a few weeks ago I tried to borrow a copy from the local library, but despite the name been in the title I was told there were no copies of the book available within Redcar and Cleveland Libraries, there were, I was told, copies of the book in libraries outside the borough and I would have to pay £2 of the £8 it would cost to bring the book into the borough, and then presumably it would be sent back to the region that was interested in our heritage. I bought a book for £15 from English Heritage.