‘Let’s shout about North East heritage’

The pencil museum in Keswick, Cumbria.
The pencil museum in Keswick, Cumbria.

A new Historic England campaign is calling on people in the North East to nominate local places that have made national or global history.

From the first railroad locomotive in the world to carry passengers on a public line to the invention of the hydraulic crane, places across the region have witnessed turning points that changed the country and the world.

As part of a new nationwide campaign – Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places, Historic England, supported by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, is calling on the public, history groups and experts to nominate other places where historic moments have happened, ensuring the region takes its proper place in telling England’s remarkable story.

Both organisations believe that historic sites in villages, towns and cities across the country have shaped England and are often still hotbeds of invention and creativity. These places bring our history to life; they hold a thread that runs between generations and they should be celebrated.

The year-long campaign will explore ten categories, from Science & Discovery and Homes & Gardens to Music & Literature and Industry, Trade & Commerce.

Each category will focus on 10 places which will be chosen from a longlist of public nominations by judges, including George Clarke, Mary Beard, Tristram Hunt and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “By telling a history of England in 100 places, we want to help people understand the many places in our country that have shaped the world, creating advances in science, the arts, trade and industry.”

Visit http://historiceng land.org.uk/get-involved/100-places/
North East poll findings: How much do we know about England’s history?

When asked to choose from a list, more people in the North East (45 per cent) than in any other region correctly identified Cumbria as the birthplace of the pencil. Following the discovery of graphite in the ground after a storm, Keswick became the pencil capital of the world, leading to the formation of England’s first pencil factory in 1832.

Respondents in the North East and West were also more likely than people in other regions to identify Newington Green Unitarian Church in London as the birth-place of Feminism (24 per cent in these regions compared with the national average of 20 per cent).

However, 96 per cent of people in the North East did not know where the atom was first split, with 34 per cent thinking it happened in Geneva, Switzerland and only four per cent correctly identifying Manchester as the place where the notable scientist, Ernest Rutherford, made the discovery.

The poll also showed 83 per cent of people in the North East did not know that the first pair of trainers were produced in Bolton (instead 41 per cent chose Trenton, New Jersey, USA). In 1895, Joe Foster invented the running spike above his father’s sweet shop and this is widely believed to have been the founding of the world’s favourite leisure footwear.