Can you save Planet Earth by yourself?

Governments could do more to help protect The Only Planet… but governments need profitable economies.
For example Governments could outright ban plastic packaging… but this would negatively affect the economy, and may be unpopular.
Where major legislation has been implemented it has been successful.
for example
Clean Air
Cigarette Smoking
Landfill Tax

We could believe that legislation changes which drive individuals to change their behaviour are much more effective than the efforts of individuals alone to change their own behaviour.
To be honest I totally agree with this suggestion.

Thinking of the problems I wrote about ocean pollution…
there are some laws relating to protection of the UK coastal waters
but with no funding for the policing of these laws, they are weak.
In Europe and the developed world we may think that the environmental problems are not really there, but where there are affluent post industrial societies reaping the economic benefit of their industrial past, we will have exported the environmental problem to Asia, Africa and some parts of America, and Africa, where mining and heavy industry are prevalent.

Photo Courtesy of Newcastle Libraries Flickr


Arthur’s Hill and Spital Tongues

A few photos from being out and about in the local area recently…

Housing in Arthur’s Hill is mainly brick terraces, some dating to the mid Victorian period, many are Tyneside_flats
There is a large variation in socioeconomic status and condition of properties in Arthur’s Hill, with some in very poor condition, and some looking very genteel, we do see that absentee landlords are allowing properties to fall into disrepair, whereas some other properties are very smart. Currently one of the best maintained streets is Sidney Grove, where I spotted this lovely laburnum and rhododendron.



An architectural wonder, which is easily missed unless slowly meandering, the Coptic Orthodox Church on Brighton Grove

Beautiful daisies carpet the ground in
Nun’s Moor Park


Also beautiful laburnum and rhododendrons in Nun’s Moor Park


Lastly, over the other side of Barrack Road, in Spital Tongues, the most beautiful profusion of bushes, ferns and flowers on the side of a house…


Old cigarette vending machine

This has been on my list of street furniture to record for a while now.
I don’t think I want to say where it is, it would spoil the mystery. Its difficult to imagine that once, maybe when these old Arthur’s Hill terraces were first constructed, and smoking was everywhere, even in public buildings, cigarette machines were installed in the very walls of streets.

Do you see, how the command


has prompted obedient passers-by to stub out their cigarettes and leave the “dog-ends” as instructed?


How much more obedient, to the command of advertising and peer pressure, did the young people of the twentieth century follow the prompt to smoke cigarettes?
We are dealing with the legacy of that wave of addiction, as those people addicted to smoking still haven’t been able to stop, and have influenced their younger family members to become addicted even in a time when no one would seriously think it was a good idea.

At the time when this antique artefact dispensed packs of cigarettes to reward those who had fed a few coins into the slots, there were no health warnings and not many were aware of any danger.


Yesterday on Market Street East, Newcastle City Centre


Some images from around Market Street East. Carliol House is there, also the old Police Station, For Sale.

A search came up with some information on the current owners of Carliol House, on the website of

The New Bridge Project

There is a trend to get social enterprises to “occupy” empty commercial buildings, charging a nominal rent, it is much better to do this than allow premises to become derelict or targets for anti social behaviour.


Prevent Street Crime

Just recently I was visiting my Mum, and she gave me a box of memorabilia which she had found, dating back to the 1980s, 1990s and earlier. A large part of my youth experience was taking part in various political protests.
In the town where I grew up there was always a cause to join, a demo to go on, and I loved to spend time in radical bookshops, there was Alley Cat in Durham, another one in York on Walmgate, there were many such shops in many towns in those days, but with buses being cheap in those days youth could range far and wide in search of such things.
These bookshops were genuinely independent (often staffed by unpaid workers), and I had a fascination with them even though a lot of the contents of the books was beyond me.

There was always a notice board in these shops, advertising Causes, and a postcard and Radical Mags stands. Postcards were a form of direct action. We bought the postcards, and sent them via Royal Mail, thus radicalising the Royal Mail workforce, who could all read our message on the back of the card, and also “Get the Message” which the postcard artist was trying to convey. Of course postcards were a fun way of communicating with our friends, before the internet and mobile phones came along!
Back in the day Royal Mail was the only way to send mail, and there was a unionised workforce, decent working conditions, Royal Mail Night train, where the mail got sorted through the nights, arriving ready-sorted at the delivery offices, and TWO deliveries each day!

This card is a photo montage by Cath Tate, published by the independent press Leeds Postcards.

I thought it was worth a few words.

In those days The Conservative Party was the party of big business, homeowners and the rich, and held total power over the UK. The Labour Party was the party of the workers, tenants, and the anti- nuclear movement. The image in the photo shows Maggie sneakily stealing the welfare, symbolised by taking her purse, off an ordinary Mum.

Little did we realised that Thatcher, by the introduction of Right to Buy, which turned working class council tenants into aspirational Home Owners, and the total obliteration of large industries, creating a whole new class of “unemployable” families, whole towns where the main source of employment had ceased to exist, had ensured that the political landscape of the UK would never be the same again.

As we come close to the UK General Election, the choice is not like the choice we had before 1997, when we elected New labour, what choice do we have?
Its no longer about Left and Right.
Think carefully when choosing, we aren’t voting for Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn. We have a representational democracy, we vote for a Member of Parliament to represent us in Parliament, we don’t vote for the Prime Minister.
We all need to vote for the Member of Parliament who we feel will represent us best, and the party whose policies we support. Read the manifestoes and make your choice.

Old New Mills

Old Cottage on New Mills Newcastle

An old photo from
Newcastle Libraries Flickr archive showing the site of now New Mills, off Barrack Road, in its industrial past… I would say early 20th century or late 19th century.

Apparently the large building behind the “cottage” is the Todd’s Nook school, which was demolished in the 1990’s after a period as an Adult Education centre.

There used to be a pub on New Mills,  called The Darnell, or maybe The New Darnell? The Darnell was also  demolished in the 1990s and a block of low rise 5 bedroomed flats was built.

And this one shows an actual Mill, one of the original at New Mills.

Also from  Newcastle Libraries Flickr archive

In the industrial period mills like these  were used to grind grain into flour and powered by either running water from rivers, or from wind , when powered by wind they would have sails, which turned in the wind and drove the wheels of the mill. Mills were also used to make many things, workers in mills made all manner of products, cloth, rope, foodstuffs, various metals, anything mass produced before electricity was widely adopted by industry.The air looks very dirty in these photos, not just because  the photos are old, but because of the massive scale of the  industry in the local area