The North East is a wild part of Britain and sparsely populated, with all of the main towns hugging the North Sea and as such its industries had the sea at its heart; fishing, trading and shipbuilding. With Sunderland once being the biggest shipbuilding town in the world. This is where the Mackem nickname for the people of Sunderland comes from. When it comes to ships, Sunderland Mackem (make them) and Newcastle Tackem (take them). This was supposed to be a derogatory term, but Mackems are rightly proud of their shipbuilding heritage and revel in the name. Unfortunately the industry has now declined. Famously the Jarrow March highlighted the problem of mass unemployment way back in 1936, when 200 men walked to London in protest at the Palmers Shipyard closing. The North East though didn’t just rely on the sea. Darlington is the birthplace of the modern railway. Whilst their bridges are spread across the world from the Amazon to the Nile. Middlesbrough is a major force in chemical production. Sir Joseph Swan who lived at Underhill, Gateshead invented the electric lightbulb and his house was the first domestic house with electric lighting. No doubt utilising the craft skills that made Newcastle the largest glass producing area in the world; where there were once no fewer than 40 glassworks within half a mile of the city centre.
The North East was also one of the most important seats of learning with the Father of British history Bede coming from the region. And Lindesfarne Priory was the Anglo-Saxon epicentre of religion. Nowadays the sign you have reached the North West is the Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North. A vision of a resurgent region that has 33 million visitors every year. All we can say is Howay the Lads and Lasses.
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- Askews Candles
JT Leighton Candle