Durham Revisited​​​​​

The Focus Group went back to Frosterly again in February. I followed up stories from last year and discovered many new ones.  

​​The Coal Coast

The rapid development of coal mines in the 19th century brought jobs and prosperity to the north east coast of County Durham.
Rows of terraced houses sprang up as rural villages became established as colliery towns.  The dangerous conditions and hard life created strong local communities. 

However everything changed in the second half of the 20th century, as one by one the mines closed. Between 1950 and 1970 over 100 North East coal mines closed with shattering consequences to the local communities. 



The Easington Colliery closed in 1993 with a loss of 1400 jobs. 

​​Alan Cummings, Chairman of the Durham Miner's Association, helps  miners who are still fighting for  compensation  and disability allowances. 



Once a major employer in the area, the Steel works at Redcar underwent a series of changes in ownership. In 2015 the company went into liquidation, and when the receiver decided that there was no realistic prospect of finding a buyer, the furnaces were extinguished. 


The Fishermen's Huts 

Just behind the old steelworks lies a small collection of fishermen's huts, the subject of many photographs. I chatted with some of the owners, and they were happy to let me photograph them. 

Coatham House 

The staff at Coatham House provide invaluable help to  homeless young people.

The charity raises funds through it's cafe and shops to run a hostel and to provide support for young people  who are finding it hard to manage in a difficult world. 

The Retired Greyhound Trust  
The Durham branch of the Retired Greyhound Trust is run by Alison, a remarkable woman who takes in greyhounds that become too old to race and finds homes where they can be loved and part of a new family. 

A county of dog lovers..... 
With such a beautiful coastline and plenty of walks, it is not surpring that nearly every household seems to include a dog!

and keen allotment owners .....


Staff at the museum take tours down the old coal mine so that visitors can get an idea of what must have been like 

A group of dedicated volunteers keep the Tanfield Railway open. Built in 1725 it is understood to be the world's oldest raiway.


Keen supporters watch the Durham Ladies match on a chilly sunday afternoon. 

South Shields 
​Close to Newcastle, South Shields offers the facilities for a popular holiday destination. 

More Photo Essays
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February 2017