Introduction Barnard Castle, a market town in County Durham, has suddenly found itself in the limelight, thanks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings, driving there from his parents’ home, in breach of his own COVID19 lockdown rules. I thought I’d record a bonus episode to tell those who may not be familiar…

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Introduction In this episode, we look at St Cuthbert and the legends of the founding of the Cathedral. The Norman architecture and why it’s impressive; the stained glass windows, what happened to Cuthbert’s remains, and the Land of the Prince Bishops. What You’ll Hear 0:58: St Cuthbert 1:45: The legends of the Cathedral’s founding 2:47:…

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*DISCLAIMER: I intended to visit the Stephenson Railway Museum to take my own photographs & learn more. I will be updating this post after the Covid19 lockdown has ended* The Killingworth Colliery George Stephenson went to work for Killingworth Colliery, owned by Lord Ravensworth, in 1812. The area had several pits, with Ravensworth’s the best…

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*DISCLAIMER: I intended to visit the South Shields Museum to take my own photographs & learn more. I will be updating this post after the Covid19 lockdown has ended* The South Shields Museum has a piece of the gibbet used to execute murderer William Jobling in its collection, and a grisly recreation of what that…

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*DISCLAIMER: I intended to visit the South Shields Museum to take my own photographs & learn more. I will be updating this post after the Covid19 lockdown has ended* Introduction The South Shields Museum is a huge, beautiful, stone-fronted building with white plaster features on the windows. It sits right in the centre of the…

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Dominicus van Tol The painting ‘A Dutch Fruit Seller’, showing a bonneted old lady handing out fruit to a golden-haired little boy, was painted by Dominicus van Tol sometime in the 17th century, although there is no exact date given. Van Tol was born in around 1635 in Bodegraven, a town (formerly a municipality) in…

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The Shipley Art Gallery is a large, imposing sandstone-coloured building, which sits by itself on a main street – Prince Consort Road, named in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. Over the road from the gallery is the town library, and beyond that the leisure centre. The gallery has a large entranceway and two…

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The Merz Barn Wall Artist Kurt Schwitters began the Merz Barn Wall in Ambleside in 1947, working in a building on the Cylinders Estate belonging to architect Harry Pierce. He met Pierce earlier in the year when he was commissioned to paint his portrait. Pierce gave Schwitters the use of the barn for £1 per…

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The Hatton Gallery is a two-minute walk from the Great North Museum, and there’s a handy signpost to show you the way. If you didn’t know the gallery was within the Newcastle University campus, you could easily miss it altogether. However, it’s opposite the Northern Stage, which is quite noticeable. The History of the University…

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A brown, two-handled amphora decorated with scenes from nature

The Great North Museum has so many fascinating artefacts that it’s hard to choose one. I was tempted to pick something from their extensive Roman collection, which includes a replica Hadrian’s Wall and tombstones amongst other things, but I resisted. Instead, I’ve chosen this vase from their collection of Etruscan pottery. I like it because…

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