A Few Facts About the North East

Did you know the following about the North East of England?

  1. Durham is the greenest city in the country

In April 2020 Solar technology specialists, The Solar Centre, researched Government data to rank cities based on ten green criteria including waste management, air quality, carbon emissions and green spaces.
Durham came out on top in the study which compared 59 cities including Swansea, which came second, and Newcastle, which ranked third.
Climate change has been at the top of Durham County Council’s agenda and The Solar Centre findings were welcomed in recognising the authority’s 47 per cent carbon emissions reduction between 2009 and 2019.
Another significant factor was the score for air quality, with Durham holding the best score compared to other cities.
Availability of green spaces and parks also boosted Durham’s overall ranking.
Durham County Councillor Cllr John Clare said, “We are pleased to receive this recognition for our work to combat climate change.”


  1. County Durham is Home to one of the world’s first World Heritage Sites

Originally built back in the 11th century, Durham Castle is one of the best-preserved examples of Norman motte and bailey castles. For over 900 years, the castle has been in constant use and was once a key strategic landmark for the ruling Normans. It’s also interesting to note that the castle is the only one built in the UK that has never suffered a breach. With such a rich and lengthy history, it is almost unsurprising that it is a part of one of the world’s first World Heritage Sites. The Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site was given its title around the same time as the palace of Versailles and the Taj Mahal.

  1. Barnard Castle in County Durham has featured in The Guardian's '10 of the UK's best small towns'

This historic 'must-see' European market town is located in the Durham Dales.  Barnard Castle takes its name from the castle around which it grew. The castle, an English Heritage property, was named after its 12th Century founder, Bernard de Balliol, and was later developed by Richard III whose boar emblem is carved above a window in the inner ward.

The castle looks down to the tumultuous River Tees below, popular with canoeists, anglers and for riverside walks along the Teesdale Way, Deepdale and Flatts Wood.

A haven for discerning shoppers and treasure seekers, the town’s many antique shops provide a charming shopping experience. Many of the town’s shops are thriving independent retailers

Barnard Castle is linked with famous names such as JMW Turner, one of England’s finest artists, , who painted a riverside perspective of Barnard Castle in 1825, author Charles Dickens who visited the town and the Teesdale area in 1838, to research Nicholas Nickleby and most recently Dominic Cummings who’s visit during the covid-19 lock down 2020 has been very controversial.



  1. Britain’s tallest man was born in Durham

Neil Fingleton was crowned Britain’s tallest man back in 2007. At 7 ft. 7 inches he beat out the reigning Guinness World Record holder at the age of 26. Since that time he played a number of rather exciting roles in Hollywood movies including 47 Ronin, Jupiter Ascending and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Most recently he played Mag the Great in the award-winning TV series, Game of Thrones. Sadly, Neil died in February 2017.

  1. The youngest soldier during World War 2 to have been awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, was from Easington.
    A 19 year old Fusillier called Dennis Donnini was wounded twice and still led an assault on the enemy before being killed in action. He gallant efforts allowed his comrades to overcome double their own number of the enemy.
  2. The village, Easington Colliery in County Durham, doubled as the fictional village of Everington in the 2000 film Billy Elliot
    Several of the street scenes and house scenes were shot here. Around 400 were used in the film as extras. The houses used for Billy’s house, 5 Andrew Street, have now been demolished and replaced with a green, the wall on Ashton Street is still recognisable from the film.

Following the worldwide success of ‘Billy Elliot’, the Easington Colliery Band where invited to help perform the soundtrack for the last ever ‘Billy Elliot – The Musical’ in the Victoria Palace Theatre, London. The band is still based in Easington, in the former Colliery Pay Office, the last remaining building of the colliery.

  1. It’s home to the first World Cup winning team
    The World Cup as we know it today was founded in 1930. However, back in 1910, Sir Thomas Lipton organised an earlier edition of an international football tournament in Italy. He asked the English Football League to allow him to recruit an English side to compete and they denied him. After a strange turn of affairs, he ended up selecting a team from West Auckland, which was made up of miners. They went on to win that tournament 2-0, beating out Juventus 2-0. Two years later, they returned and once again beat Juventus in the final. As of writing, the whereabouts of the tournament trophy is unknown as it has been missing since the late 1900’s. 
  2. The beach at Blackhall was featured in the 1971 Michael Caine film, ‘Get Carter’.
    The film depicts the beach how it was back then – black, with coal spoilings dumped by the mines conveyor systems.  Since the closure of the mine, £10million has been spent removing the concrete tower and conveyor along with cleaning away tonnes of coal from the now pristine beach.

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