Monthly Archives: March 2015

Prudhoe badger gets makeover

The Badger rockery artwork on the hill at Prudhoe has had a make over done over the half term holidays by young volunteers from the Princes Trust

A team of 12 teenagers have given a Northumberland town’s iconic mascot a much-needed makeover.

The youngsters spent their entire February half-term holiday sprucing up the Prudhoe Badger public artwork, which sits on a hillside overlooking the A695 bypass, adding the finishing touches last week for its official unveiling.

The giant stone and earth creation had suffered over the last two decades from vandalism, theft and the ravages of time and weather, leading the volunteers to offer their help as part of a Prince’s Trust project.

To restore the town’s emblem back to its former glory, the volunteers – aged 16 to 22 – rearranged stones to more clearly resemble the badger’s form, while they repainted the head, tail and stripes in bright white.

The Badger rockery artwork on the hill at Prudhoe has had a make over done over the half term holidays by young volunteers from the Princes Trust 

Money for the project was provided by Prudhoe Town Council, Barclays, Mid Tyne Lions Club and several local businesses, alongside The Prince’s Trust – a charity which aims to get young people into work by giving them new skills and confidence.

Councillor Tony Reid, who represents South Prudhoe for Northumberland County Council, first commissioned the £15,000 30m-long Prudhoe Badger in the early 1990s on behalf of Northumberland County Council, shortly after the A695 bypass was built.

He said:

“I had asked a number of artists to come up with ideas for the hillside and I went with the badger by Gary Power. It was controversial as public art always is, but created a conversation and I liked that. Since then it has been accepted by locals and the town has taken it to heart.

“But the problem is maintenance due to wear and tear, which I have taken responsibility for but over the last couple of years it had begun to look really shabby. It needed some investment.

“I was having no success getting money from the council but then was contacted by the Prince’s Trust, in conjunction with local young people, who had the idea of improving it.

“They have been fantastic and the response since their work is that the badger is looking better than ever. There was also support from local businesses so it has been a real community effort.”

Prince’s Trust team leader Adam Crolla added:

“As part of their 12 week programme, the young people have to complete a community project and they all decided to renovate the badger as something that could use a makeover.

“They all worked really hard and have done a great job.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 21 Mar 2015

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Roman villa discovered on site of new by-pass

VILLA: Archaeologists at work on the site.

Work  on a new bypass has revealed a Roman villa dating back to the third or fourth century AD which has lain hidden under farmers fields for hundreds of years.

Archaeologists say it is a significant find , and the first Roman villa to be discovered in North Yorkshire since the Second World War. It lies near Aiskew, Bedale, close to the A1 which is along the line of Dere Street, the original Roman road from Eboracum the capital of the north at York and the Roman fort of Cataractonium, now modern day Catterick.

Archaeologists discovered the site during initial excavations for the new £34m Bedale, Aiskew and Leeming Bar bypass and a dig has been carried out over the past four months.

“We expected to find some interesting archaeology but we never expected to find something quite so significant,” said Bedale Councillor John Weighell, leader of North Yorkshire County Council who are carrying out the work.

The villa is described as extensive with a series of rooms and one pavilion type room with under floor heating. There are small sections of mosaics, and evidence of plaster and concrete from floors and walls.

Development archaeologist Lucie Hawkins said:

”The rooms would have been painted in bright vibrant colours, it is a higher status building and would have had lots of colour.

 “It is quite a substantial size and was set within a landscaped environment and field systems. It is a very exciting find, you don’t discover Roman villas that often and because it was totally unknown before the excavations began it makes it more interesting.

“It helps us to look at the wider Roman world , the villa is quite close to the A1 which was a Roman road so we can build up a picture. We can’t say at the moment if it would have been connected to Cataractonium, there are other Roman settlements such as Aldborough.”

The dig is due to finish in the next couple of weeks and because it is a construction site people are not allowed on it. But a display held at a later date along with updates and a final report.

Cllr Weighell said the new road will cover part of the site but the council’s archaeological team has worked with English Heritage to gain as much knowledge as possible from the excavations.

 “It has certainly proved interesting, it is fascinating that nearly two thousand years ago there was a former civilisation here and this could help us find out more about it,”  he added.
Source – Northern Echo, 21 Mar 2015
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Satanic Image Appears On Darlington Pub Wall (Alledgedly…)

Devil's in the detail as pub landlord spots hellish figure on wall

A pub landlord says an image that has appeared on the pub walls is that of the Devil.

Regulars at The Three Crowns, in Sun Street, Darlington, have been hellbent on taking pictures of the strange image and telling their friends about it ever since it appeared earlier this year.

George Jenkinson said:

“This has been a pub since 1885 and I have been coming in here for 50 years and nobody has ever seen anything like it before.

“It is definitely the shape of the Devil, you can see the two horns and the chin.”

The image, which is thought to have been caused by damp, appeared on a wall near the toilets and overlooks the pub pool table and dart board.

Mr Jenkinson was a taxi driver for 40 years before retiring in 2012 and now helps wife Michelle run the old-style street corner boozer, which is more usually famed for its rabbit pie tucked into by drinkers on lunchtimes.

He said: “I’m not reading anything into it. It is just weird. Damp doesn’t usually come up that high.

“It’s drying out now but if it is damp it’s probably pointless painting it over.”

Source – Northern Echo, 12 Mar 2015

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