Tag Archives: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Mysterious buttons appear on Newcastle doors

Police are reassuring West Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne,  residents after buttons mysteriously appeared on their doors.

Officers are investigating after receiving a number of reports about the sudden appearance of buttons on doors on Tuesday.

Newcastle Inspector Neil Brotherton said:

“We’ve had a number of reports from people who have found buttons temporarily stuck to their doors in the West Jesmond area this morning.

“It’s very unusual and we are carrying out inquiries into this to find out who has done this, and why.

“We have had no reported crimes linked to the locations of the buttons and at this stage we think that it could be some kind of prank or marketing activity. We are making inquiries in the local area to establish this so we can let people know why this is being done.”

Inspector Brotherton also addressed concerns that the buttons were linked to planned crime, particularly burglary.

He said:

“As a precaution, we have extra officers carrying out patrols in the areas where these buttons have turned up until we know why this has happened.

“We don’t believe there is any increased risk of burglaries or crimes in the affected areas however we’d like to remind people, especially students, about how important crime prevention is.

“Make sure doors and windows are locked and secure and that all valuables are kept somewhere safe and not left in plain view near windows or in the car.”

Anyone with information on the buttons is asked to contact police on 101.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 28 Apr 2015

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Whitby councillor claims aliens are influencing President Putin’s actions in the Ukraine conflict

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A Labour councillor has claimed Russia’s President Putin is being advised by an alien race.

Simon Parkes told an audience of around 30 people in Wallsend, North Tyneside, that recent hostilities in Eastern Europe are down to extraterrestrial intervention.

Coun Parkes, who has previously claimed he has had ‘hundreds’ of alien encounters in his own life, blamed a group of aliens he calls the Nordics for President Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine.

The North Yorkshire councillor said the Nordics were supporting Putin against percieved American influences in the area.

He said:

“Putin had been part of a group advised by reptiles. Nordics made a counter offer to Putin.

“The technology the Nordics are giving to Putin is on a par with America.

“The Nordics have told Putin he no longer has to toe the American line, hence his resistance.”

The Whitby councillor also told the audience at The…

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Opencast operation on land north of Newcastle reveals new prehistoric site

The Brenkley archaeological site
The Brenkley archaeological site

More evidence has emerged of what is described as a “dynamic” landscape of prehistoric settlements in the North East.

Excavations carried out by Headland Archaeology at the Brenkley Lane surface mining site to the north of Newcastle have revealed an Iron Age settlement across a five-hectare area which is centred on four roundhouses within a double rectangular enclosure.

The Iron Age dated from around 800BC to the Roman conquest.

The two month-long dig, on behalf of operators Banks Mining, has revealed a complex series of archaeological features spread across the site, with the remains being grouped into three main phases of activity.

Most of the remains uncovered relate to an extensive period of occupation during the Iron Age, with a series of large rectangular ditches enclosing several concentrations of ring gullies, which are the foundation trenches of the settlement’s buildings.

Pits and other features, such as boundary and enclosure ditches, have also been uncovered, suggesting that buildings had been rebuilt several times.

Objects uncovered include Iron Age quern stones for processing grain, a spindle whorl for weaving, ceramic vessels used in salt transportation and Bronze Age pottery, suggest that a mixture of domestic and food-processing activities were carried out in the area, with features nearby thought to relate to the management of livestock.

An early Bronze Age cemetery, dating from between 2,100BC and 750BC, is represented by three cremations, while a period of medieval activity between 500 and 1,500 years ago is shown by a grain-drying kiln and extensive rig-and-furrow agriculture.

In 2008, one of the most complete Iron Age settlements to be excavated in the North East, which comprised approximately 50 roundhouses in an enclosed two-hectare area, was unearthed at Banks’s now-restored Delhi surface mine on the Blagdon Estate near Seaton Burn.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, said:

“It’s fascinating to see how this area was worked and inhabited through the ages.

“We’ve worked closely with archaeologists across many of our sites for several years to ensure that detailed investigations are carried out and proper records kept.

“These discoveries simply wouldn’t be coming to light without the surface mining work .

“We’re very pleased that our coal mining operations at Brenkley Lane have led to these latest discoveries which further enhance the understanding of our region’s history.”

Ed Bailey, project manager at Headland Archaeology, said:

“The results of our work have added to the growing body of Iron Age sites around Newcastle that have been excavated in recent years which suggests a dynamic landscape of interrelated settlements across the area during this period.”

Previous discoveries as the Dellhi and Shotton surface mining sites have included a regular system of prehistoric landscape division.

Pit alignments ran perpendicular to the south bank of the River Blyth, which archaeologist Jon McKelvey suggests may have marked off areas such as pasture, woodland and access to water for communities.

Three large Iron Age settlements have also been revealed at Blagdon Park and East and West Brunton, with substantial banks and ditches designed to illustrate the wealth and power of the occupants.

It is now thought that in the late Iron Age the coastal plain, for at least 25km north of Newcastle, was covered with settlements at 1km intervals.

An Anglo-Saxon settlement was also found at Shotton consisting of six halls.

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  28 Nov 2014

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Off the map study by Newcastle University professor highlights secret places

In a city whose story goes back to the Roman occupation there will be many little-known nooks and crannies left behind by history.

From the vampire rabbit opposite St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle to the “plaguey burial ground” at Byker, there would seem to be no spot left undiscovered.

But Alastair Bonnett, professor of social geography at Newcastle University, has laid claim to one.

He came across the city’s “lost island” on his journey to work from his home in Heaton.

The discovery led him to clamber over the barriers on the Central Motorway East – at a quiet time, it has to be said – to investigate.

His destination was a wooded, triangular piece of land left marooned by the building of the motorway and its slip roads in 1975.

Since then, the island has remained unregarded and unnoticed by the thousands who drive past it each day.

“These places are easily ignored, but once you start noticing any particular one it can start to exert a queasy fascination,” says Prof Bonnett.

It’s as if you are seeing a landscape that is invisible to everyone else.

Could I claim this island, become a 30-minute Crusoe amid the din?

Having reached his island, Prof Bonnett found a mix of maple and alder trees and self-seeded shrubbery.

His excursion was part of his interest in an age when Google Earth would suggest that every discovery has been made and every adventure had.

Not so, says Prof Bonnett, who provides the evidence in his new book Off the Map, from Aurum Press at £16.99.

In the book he explores 47 places across the world – and the island on his doorstep – which qualify as being off the map.

It will all be included in his talk on maps and the imagination at the Edinburgh International Book Fair on August 19.

Part of Prof Bonnett’s argument is that places matter to people – where they come from and where they live.

We are, he says, a place-making, place-loving species.

What makes your place special – its diversity and character – is important.

But paradoxically, says Prof Bonnett, was as well as the attraction to place there is also the human need to explore, to discover the new.

That manifests itself from the great voyages of discovery over the centuries to the carrot of exotic destinations dangled by the travel industry.

Our fascination with the hidden, the lost, the secret and mystery is evidenced by the obligatory use of the words in the titles of a certain type of TV programme.

We can develop intense relationships with places,” says Prof Bonnett.

But I have been increasingly concerned about how our sense of exploration and relationship to place has withered away as more places become similar and every high street has the same shops.”

One of the main components of character and specialness is evidence of heritage and history.

When you get rid of the past, it’s like a form of ideological cleansing, where only one vision survives,” says Prof Bonnett.

He is originally from Essex and moved to Newcastle in 1993.

He says: “ I saw that in Newcastle a very distinctive identity and culture had survived, and it was one of the inspirations for the book. The North East has been through the same process as everywhere else, but nevertheless it has retained something special.

“It’s a good place to write a book about the importance of a sense of place.”

Prof Bonnett’s list of Off the Map places includes:

The island of New Moore, which emerged in the Bay of Bengal as a cyclone washed material down rivers into the sea.

It was claimed by both India and Bangladesh. India stationed troops on it in 1981 and erected a flag pole.

But before the arguments could start the island sank beneath the waves.

Zheleznogorsk, 2,200 miles east of Moscow, was established in 1950 to make nuclear weapons. It did not appear on maps and was referred to by a PO box number.

It was only in 1992 that its existence was officially confirmed and entry is still highly restricted.

Derinkuyu, Turkey. A chamber was revealed when a wall gave way.

It led to the discovery of underground rooms large enough to house 30,000 people, wine and oil presses, stables, food halls, a church and staircases, all built it is believed by early Christians living in what was a lawless area.

North cemetery in Manila and the City of the Dead in Cairo. Both are home to thousands who have moved in among the tombs.

North Sentinel Island, 800 miles to the east of India, which has no natural harbour and is surrounded by reefs and rough seas.

The five-mile wide island is home to a tribe of around 100 who fire arrows at anyone who attempts to come close.

Wittenoom in Western Australia, whose only industry was a blue asbestos mine.

The town of 20,000 officially ceased to exist in 2007 because of the levels of contamination.

Kjong-dong in North Korea – a fake place where lights go on and off in tower bocks with no glass in the windows.

There are no residents or visitors. The blocks were built to suggest North Korea’s progress and modernity and to lure defectors from South Korea.

Source – Newcastle Journal,  13 Aug 2014

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North East parks are our ‘Natural Health Service’

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It’s called the Natural Health Service – and sums up the therapeutic benefits flowing from green spaces and contact with wildlife.

Nature is good for us. This is something that we intuitively know, and for which there is mounting evidence,” says Northumberland Wildlife Trust chief executive Mike Pratt.

Stroll through a nature reserve, or just watch wildlife from your window – all contribute to our physical, mental and emotional well being.”

For many urban dwellers, it is parks which offer a link to the natural world.

Many people talk about “the other NHS” – the alternative and preventative health benefits that nature provided for free,” says Mike.

After all, we are animals and are intrinsically linked to the ecosystem and life support provided through the surrounding environment.

“So it’s no surprise that we feel better when we interact with wildlife, and enjoy…

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Oi, Milliband – Where’s My Free Owl ?

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Seems a Surrealist managed to hack into Labour’s  press team’s Twitter account yesterday, giving the impression that  Ed Miliband had come up with his most revolutionary policy so far.

Everybody should have his own owl,’ said the tweet that quickly took flight on social media.

One tweeter said: ‘We had  hoped our compulsory owl  guarantee would be a head  turning policy, but sadly it’s no longer going to take flight. #tweettwoo’.

Another, Lucy Vine, said: ‘You know… I think a free owl would actually genuinely make me vote Labour.’

More serious-minded observers pointed out that it would be a  policy unlikely to find support at the Treasury, as baby barn owls cost around £80 each.

To provide one for all 63million people in the country would  cost £5billion a year, or around 5 per cent of the entire budget for the NHS.

But if you think…

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W.D. Stephens Fountain, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne

A rather grandiose Edwardian public drinking fountain.

Situated at the junction of the Great North Road and Clayton Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Not working.

Erected in memory of William Davies Stephens 1827-1901, mayor and sheriff of Newcastle, methodist and temperance reformer. He started out in business with a chemical firm, Hugh Lee Pattinson & Co, and later developed the Tyne Steam Shipping Co. with William Laing. He was elected a Newcastle councillor in 1874, alderman in 1890 and mayor in 1879 and 1887.

The inscription reads –

Erected by public subscription in recognition of the open hearted charity, ceaseless activity and unfailing geniality of W.D. Stephens, Alderman and J.P. of the city of Newcastle on Tyne, Sherriff 1879-80
Mayor 1887-88

Distinguished as the president of great organizations for the promotion of maritime commerce he earned still higher appreciation in the cause of temperance and the betterment of the poor and needy.

A citizen of lofty ideals and strenuous endeavour.

More info & photos of this fountain at –

http://spiritofplace.weebly.com/newcastle-upon-tyne1.html

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