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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Introduction In this episode, we’re looking at Charles, Earl Grey, whose monument in Newcastle is a focal point for the town and popular meeting spot. Grey was a reformer, one of only two British Prime Ministers from the North East of England, and a keen tea drinker.   What You’ll Hear 0:52: Who was Earl…

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Introduction In this episode, we look at the first ever bridge across the River Tyne, the seven bridges that span it today, and the history of the Tyne Bridge. And which came first – the Tyne Bridge or the Sydney Harbour Bridge? What You’ll Hear 2:04: The first bridge across the River Tyne 2:37: The…

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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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