Hitachi has arrived

British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne joined other dignitaries and business leaders as they attended the extravagant opening of an £82m train factory in County Durham today.

The Hitachi plant in Newton Aycliffe will employ 750 workers assembling high-speed Intercity trains for the East Coast and Great Western main lines using parts produced in Japan.

It has been hailed as an economic boost, with many local companies involved in the plant’s construction. At the opening ceremony Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a “show of confidence” in the region.

“This is Hitachi’s first factory in Europe and their massive investment is a sign of their commitment to the United Kingdom and a real show of confidence in our economy and of confidence in the North East,” he said.

“I think this is a really big moment for the region. Train manufacturing has come back to the North East.”

 

Here’s a few from the day…

 

 

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See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 / Getty Images  

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Durham Regatta

Durham Regatta has its origins in the annual procession of boats, originally organised by the Sheriff of County Durham and the Rt. Hon. William Lloyd Wharton, in June 1815 to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Waterloo. The event included the firing of cannon and a meal with beer for those who had fought in the battle.

The annual procession of boats continued for many years, but Durham Regatta in its present form dates back to 1834, with racing taking place over two days on the River Wear between Prebends Bridge and Pelaw Wood over a 750m short course and a long course over one and a quarter miles.

The regatta is the second oldest in the country, preceded only by Chester Regatta and pre-dates the Henley Regatta by 5 years. It is expected to attract around two thousand competitors from across the United Kingdom and bring in around and ten thousand spectators through the weekend.

The 182nd Durham Regatta took place this weekend so I went along on Saturday and shot a few pictures…

 

 

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See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 / London News Pictures

No usage without arrangement

Grassroots – Horden

Horden is a coastal town on the North-east coast of England in County Durham. Politically it is part of the wider Easington constituency and is a key marginal seat that is sure to play an important part in the General Election this coming May. Split between the Horden North and Horden South wards of Durham County Council it has been represented since 2010 by Grahame Morris of the Labour Party.

Built-up around a strong coal mining heritage the mine here was one of the biggest and most productive in Europe. Operated mainly for the purpose of working undersea coal it had three shafts and at the height of operating in the 1930s it employed over 4000 men and produced over 1.5million tonnes of coal a year.

Unfortunately large volumes of water and other geological issues meant that Horden Colliery failed to make a profit from the later part of the 1970s onwards, and in 1986 it was finally closed.

Inevitably after the closure the town started to suffer from increased unemployment, a rise in anti-social behaviour, higher than average health issues and a decline in some of the housing standards – with many of the original miner’s housing – the numbered streets such as Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets – becoming particularly neglected.

With around 130 of the homes in and around these streets and which are currently owned by Accent Housing Association remaining empty many of them have fallen into a state of disrepair and now require substantial work to repair them. Accent state that when millions of pounds of regeneration money was withdrawn following the government’s implementation of the bedroom tax they could no longer afford to follow through with the investment plan that they had in place. Discussions are now taking place to determine what can be done with the properties to improve them.

Over recent years Horden has benefited from the removal of mining spoil heaps and the redevelopment of its Welfare Park which houses Horden’s rugby, cricket and football teams. The Durham Heritage Coast Partnership is committed to the conservation, protection and enhancement of the coastline and is now home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

 

To finish off the day of #Grassroots I also covered a public meeting for residents of Horden organised by the UK Independence Party as they look to increase their influence ahead of the General election this coming May. The UKIP MEP for the North East region Jonathan Arnott was joined by MEP and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Dudley North Bill Etheridge and together they spoke to members of the public who attended the meeting about their approach to key issues before they opened up the floor to a question and answer session.

 

Below are some of the pictures I shot as part of the series whilst on assignment for Getty Images and which form part of a pre-election feature that I wanted to do on the town and also as part of the #Grassroots coverage I’m working on as we head towards the election. It was a very long and busy day but I met some really friendly people through the day and it was good to see that despite some difficulties in recent years there still remains a sense of community and a pride in a town that like so many other former mining towns around the north of the country that have suffered so much there still remains some hope that things may change in the future.

 

Hopefully it will and my thanks go to those I met during my time in Horden for chatting to me and letting me shoot some pictures.

 

 

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#Grassroots

Click on the links below to see more in the #Grassroots series…

Grassroots – Hartlepool

Grassrots – Dormanstown

Grassroots – Eston

See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link…. HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

No usage without arrangement

Pitmen’s Pride

From early morning on the twelfth of August in 1871 groups of miners and their families made their way steadily towards the City of Durham. Like small conquering armies they headed towards the cathedral city along the small roads and tracks that snaked through the countryside marching behind heavy canvas banners held aloft by those at the head of the column. Many travelled by foot but some rattled their way towards the city on horse drawn wagons. The pitmen, whilst a little apprehensive about the welcome they might receive from the city folk marched proudly and with purpose.

The city people were not happy that these pitmen were making their way towards their city. They were, in the eyes of those who lived within the relative comfort of the city, a race apart. Living hand to mouth in small isolated villages they eked out a meagre existence. These pitmen who lived constantly within earshot of the clatter of the winding engines and who were always covered by the ever present black dust that permeated everything they owned. Living in their small homes engulfed with the sulphurous fumes that spewed from the ventilation furnaces they appeared, at least to the city dwellers like marauding clans. Coming into their city and taking pleasure in the ale-houses, gambling at pitch and toss or wagering on cockfights. On their way to town they poached the squire’s pheasants and game and stole turnips from his fields and if all of this wasn’t bad enough it was their smouldering discontent, which could erupt at any moment into riot, that was feared most.

 

These days the Durham Miners Gala is no less lively or busy. The people still come but these days they make their way into town in buses or cars rather than making the long walk. People are still partial to the odd pint…or several and in its recent past even the odd fight…or several have been known to break out. But generally speaking the Gala, or ‘Durham Big Meet’ as it is called locally is a little less troublesome. There is a little less of the smouldering discontent and more of a carnival atmosphere pervades. But some still remains. As the speakers, including long time Labour MP and former miner Dennis Skinner address the crowds at the racecourse once the march through the town has ended the political and trade union rhetoric is strong. Feelings remain high among the gathered crowds who listened to the speakers. It always will be in what remains a strong Labour and union area. But in as far as the pits are concerned the winding engines have slowed to a halt. The black dust has now settled. The sulphurous fumes no longer rise into the air and where once a hundred mines made up the mighty Durham coalfield today none remain.

 

Events this Saturday began with many hundreds of people coming together in the Market Place – the main assembly point for the start of the parade through Durham. The colliery brass bands play with vigour as they are followed by their respective banners. Carried by proud men from the outlying towns and villages. Behind these come those with allegiances to those former great colliery villages and together they begin the march from there to the racecourse. Many hundreds of people stand watching along on the route and applaud them as they pass. As they come to the County Hotel on Old Elvet they pause as each band plays a tune to the union leaders the invited guests and local dignitaries who greet the march as they look down from the hotel balcony before stepping off again on the last part of their journey through town.

With thousands of people watching or taking part in the procession it can take three to four hours to pass the County Hotel but an amazing atmosphere of street theatre is created making the occasion more a fiesta than a march.

On arrival at the Racecourse a platform awaits for the speakers to address the crowds. The racecourse quickly fills up with everyone sitting around on the grass. A thousand picnics. There is a lot of drink. Around the perimeter of the field there are food stalls, funfairs and rides offering excitement and thrills to those willing to have a go. Bells, whistles and loud music rise up from the showground amusements in an endless and confusing din as they compete for trade. The smell of food floats through the crowds. Burger stalls. Chips. Candy Floss. Ice cream. Children run playfully amongst the crowds. Younger people drink and have a laugh. Groups of lads show off to groups of girls. Groups of girls show off to groups of lads. Older people and families sit amongst them. The banners that were carried with pride through the city are now all secured to the perimeter fence. Colliery and town band instruments placed carefully at the foot of them. Marking their spot.

 

This year is the 30th anniversary of the miners strike and Durham Big Meet remains a colourful tapestry of traditions and working class history. Police said around 100,000 people attended this meet – the biggest attendance since the miners strike. It remains more about the people than the politics. This is how it should be but both are intertwined. It is about the people who take part or line the streets. Especially for the younger people or children who will come to know and understand an important part of their regional history. It remains a source of great pride and long may it be so and yet it is also tinged with some sadness. Sadness for an industry lost forever to the people of the Durham coalfield.

 

The following poem is by John McNally.

A miner of the Morrison Busty Colliery, Annfield Plain.

The Durham Big Meeting

I see them invade our fair city, their coloured banners high.

I hear the martial music, as each lodge goes marching by,

My heart is filled with northern pride that all we miners know,

And I, with teaming thousands more, reflect an inner glow.

Oh! Come you Durham miners, come across the River Wear,

With many a laugh, and many a song, and many a hidden tear.

With banners fluttering in the breeze, and many a head held high,

Each Lodge comes gaily into view, and then goes marching by.

As I pass the County, each band outplays the rest,

For there the miners’ leaders stand, with many an honoured guest.

I wonder what our leaders feel, like generals, as they view,

The best shock troops of Europe were never quite as true.

They must be proud, Sam Watson, Jimmy Kelly, and the rest,

To know that passing years have proved they really stood the test.

Above the River Wear so proud, erect, serene,

The beautiful Cathedral lends its grandeur to the scene,

As it has done through all the years the miners rallied here,

A monument to all their hopes, and to their God so near.

So yearly let it still unfold, this pageantry so dear,

And let the miners’ lodges march across the River Wear,

And, we’ll be there, we Durham men, to give a Durham greeting,

To welcome all the miners as they come to their BIG MEETING.

Below are a few of my shots from the day…..

Durham Miners GalaOne of the colliery bands and their banner stops outside the balcony of the County Hotel to play in front of large crowds

Durham Miners Gala

Nora Newby, 80, from Chilton is one of the first to arrive. Standing in the same spot from 6am for 59 years.Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala

Former miner Billy Huitson, 88, stands and salutes one of the colliery bands as it arrives at the County HotelDurham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners Gala Durham Miners GalaDurham Miners Gala

Durham Miners Gala Long time Labour party politician and former miner Dennis Skinner addresses the crowds on the racecourse

Durham Miners Gala

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CAMERA INFO – All my pictures from the day were shot with a Fuji X-Pro 1 fitted with an 18mm f2 lens (27mm equivalent) and a Leica M9 fitted with a 50mm f2 Summicron lens. The Summicron lens was also fitted with a 3 stop ND filter allowing me to shoot at wider apertures in the bright sunshine. All pictures were subsequently edited using Lightroom 5.5 and Photo Mechanic. Some minimal dodge and burn techniques were used on some of the pictures using Photoshop CS3. No excessive manipulation of any images was carried out and any editing was in line with what could be achieved in a traditional darkroom.

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link…… HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / London News Pictures 

No usage or reproduction without permission

Here comes the Bishop

The Right Reverend Paul Butler attends his inauguration service in Durham Cathedral, England. The Bishop has served as the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, and previously as the Bishop of Southampton. He becomes the 74th Bishop of Durham.

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

Out and about in Saltburn

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Pictures copyright Ian Forsyth/Getty Images 2014