NOT A FILM BUT A BOOK
A CENTURY IN STONE-The Making Of Teesside and The Movie will tell the story of the birth and rise of industrial Teesside in even greater depth and detail than the film. Packed with tons of rare, unpublished and original material, the book will be a hugely important historical document in its own right. An additional section will be about how and why the film was made and how it went from a tiny college project to selling out cinemas and touring Australia. I’m working on it virtually everyday and loving it. All being well (and barring anymore health scares!) it will be coming out in 2024 to mark the 20th anniversary of the film. Watch this space!
WANTED FOR THE BOOK:
Always on the look out for archive photos of ESTON HILLS & MINES, CALIFORNIA, LACKENBY, LAZENBY, PIT-TOP, UPSALL, MOUNT PLEASANT, ESTON JUNCTION / BRANCH END.
23 Nov 2022:
THE LAST BLAST
After dominating the Teesside skyline since 1979, the Redcar Blast Furnace, stands no more. Demolition was carried out at 9am on Wed 23rd November by Thompsons of Prudhoe who shot this powerful footage. It is a great pity that there was no political will to look into saving the core of this iconic structure. A centrepiece of a National Iron and Steel Museum imagine that. It has been done in other countries but not here.
MORE PAINTINGS FOUND
I was delighted to receive 2 more paintings by my late cousin Don Playford from his art teacher Mr. Greenwell at Langbaurgh School c1970. (MORE)
20 JULY 2022:
DAVID WALSH RIP
Saddened to hear that David Walsh passed away aged 73. He was a lifelong socialist, a major figure in local politics and a vastly knowledgable local historian. As Redcar & Cleveland Council leader in 2001, he was pivotal in helping me get A Century in Stone off the ground. I emailed him my grand plans and he met me the very next day. I remember a large framed archive picture of the Cleveland Miners Gala hanging on the wall of his office. He said he would try and help and he did. It took 18 months and despite opposition from the then CEO, he got me £5,000 – which I’m pretty certain was the biggest grant the Council had ever given to a single artist at that point. This paved the way for the massive funding that followed from Nesta, Arts Council, Northern Film Council etc. He also initiated the campaign that I was involved in which opposed the housing estate on the foothills at Flatts Lane in 2016. He will be missed by many not least the readers of his fascinating columns on local history in ‘Coastal View’ every month. See also, an obituary in THE GUARDIAN
9th APRIL 2022:
Remembering my Great Grandfather William Mates of South Bank who was killed 105 years ago on April 9th 1917 in The Battle of Arras. And not forgetting his two brothers Henry and James who also lost their lives in WW1 (MORE)
DON PLAYFORD GALLERY
I have updated the tribute gallery to my late cousin Don Playford with some more artistic gems that have come to light. Keep them coming so I can keep building this permanent online exhibition (MORE)
NEW 'MINE OF INFO' MICROSITE
Check out the all new A Century in Stone MINE OF INFO microsite.
VIN PAGES REVAMPED
Check out the revamped TEESSIDE TROUBADOUR microsite
JAN 2022: REHAB !
Happy New Year from the survivor of a HEART ATTACK out of the blue three days before Xmas! Being a healthy vegan and virtual teetotaller who walked 25+ miles a week with the pooch wasn’t enough to avoid the family curse of high cholesterol and heart disease. Waiting on the deck 50 minutes for the ambulance didn’t help – I will wholly put that down to years of Tory cuts running down the service of course. After that, my treatment at James Cook was A1+. Thanks to our fantastic Cardiac Unit, I was soon stented and saved.
I had had a ‘widowmaker heart attack’ – very severe and with a low survival rate. I was lucky and will put it down to the healthy lifestyle and telling myself over and over as I was laying there “I can’t die, I have a book to write!”
So I’m in cardiac rehab for the foreseeable which has given me a chance to update this site and plan my book: ‘A Century in Stone – The Making of Teesside…and The Movie’. This will be an important historical document in its own right, packed with lots of exclusive unpublished material. All being well and barring anymore health scares, it will be coming out in 2024 to mark the 20th anniversary of the film. How time flies eh!
‘LOVE THE NHS – HATE THE TORIES’ enamel badges (AVAILABLE HERE)
27 NOV 21:
THE DAY MY CAR MADE THE NEWS...
My roof ripped off, chimney stack demolished and car destroyed. Thank You Storm Arwen! The good news is I wasn’t in the car and no one got hurt! (GAZETTE ARTICLE)
REVAMPING SITE AT LAST!
I am revamping the site learning new software. DVDs are available online again and lots more content to come, please bear with!
MAM 1944 - 2020
My dear mother passed away at home in Swainby on November 24th 2020 aged 76. She was diagnosed with rapid onset motor neurone disease a year before which was a devastating shock considering she was so active, healthy and full of life. She fought it with her typical spirit and astounded the doctors (MORE)
12th DEC 2019:
LOVE YOUR COUNTRY???
The enemy isn’t the EU. Nor is it immigrants. It’s the Tory Party and the corporate/billionaires who fund their all out class war on YOU. On Dec 12th, VOTE LABOUR, for the most pro-working class manifesto EVER.
FILM INSPIRES MINERS TRIBUTE
A Century in Stone has helped inspire this stunning miners tribute in Skelton and sculptor Bill Harling gave me the honour of unveiling it (MORE)
ERA STEAL MINERS TRIBUTE
Eston Residents Association call it a “Tribute of Remembrance” but it is anything but respectful (MORE)
20th March 2018:
EDDIE STRAIGHT RIP
Sad to report that Saltburn war veteran Eddie Straight has passed away at the grand age of 97. It was an honour to get to know Eddie these past few years and an incredible priviledge to make the film about his wartime experiences (MORE)
HIGHLAND HIKE FOR WILDLIFE
Following last year’s Coast-To-Coast, I decided this year to do the 96 mile WEST HIGHLAND WAY in Scotland and again do it for charity: this time the excellent Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary (MORE)
LONG WALK HOME FOR CHARITY
To mark turning 50…I did the COAST TO COAST and raised for £6,571 raised for Zoe’s Place Kids Hospice. Thanks to all my sponsors and SNUGPAK for the super long tent! (STORY & PICS)
6th JUNE 2017:
VIN GARBUTT RIP
So very saddened by the sudden passing of a great man, good friend and Teesside legend. How privileged I was to go around the world making a film about him and how very precious that film now is. (MORE)
AMAZING ARCHIVE FILM APPEARS
In early 2014, The North East Film Archive (NEFA) got in touch to tell me they had received an old can of film that I would find of great interest. They weren’t wrong! (MORE)