Durham & Sunderland

Durham & Sunderland – photos

I took some photos of Durham and Sunderland over two days.

Durham is easy – very photogenic – be it the ancient or modern parts of the town. I say ‘town’ – but of course technically Durham is a City – because of the Cathedral – albeit a very small city – with a population of only 65,000.
The University – which completely dominates the City – is building up to a student population of over 22,000 – so one third of the size of the local population. Together with staff – academic, administrative and support people the University adds much more than one third to the locally resident population.

I have taken some snaps of both the old parts of Durham and some of the modern science site.

In the case of Sunderland my photos do not do justice to my impression, which was one of very substantial poverty.
That is not to say that every part of the whole town (again City, I think – it is four times the size of Durham) is poor – but the evidence from life expectancy figures does show this poverty.

Compared to the well to do London Borough in which I live, the average life expectancy in Sunderland for males is 5.4 years lower. The worst areas of Sunderland compare even more unfavourably at a difference of 13.4 years for males compared to my London Borough.

Lower life expectancy is directly related to financial well being, but regardless of this, only a very unobservant person could fail to notice the poorness (if that is the right word) of the population in Sunderland City Centre.

It is not especially caused by unemployment as Sunderland only has slightly worse than average unemployment – though it has suffered long periods of unemployment in the past and this no doubt feeds through to today.

It’s one time major wealth – in shipping – is shown by my snap of one of the panels listing all the shipping built in Sunderland; a set of years which I chose carefully…

Brighton: North Laines area

Brighton: North Laines area – photos

Here are a few snaps of the North Laines area in Brighton. It is an area of interesting shops including various artistic and antique shops. Very busy, with lots of tourists.

I have taken photos mostly of individual shops – but some of the street scene, including some of the housing streets of the North Laines.

With there being, of course, much discussion about ’empty High Streets’ at the moment – and many of these being sadly too clear for all to view, it is interesting to see how well the North Laines in Brighton fare. It is true that there are many tourists – but tourists all too often spend on such small items as an ice cream or a small gift or other – and spend their time viewing without buying from the many interesting shops. There must be other factors at work that make it such a successful area – and the local Council tax charges and rents must be sufficiently low as to make a contribution of significance to the area? There is also significant encouragement from the local authority to designs and decorations of shops – which is some areas would require months of Planning Authority input.

Whilst many towns and cities have none of the tourist draw of a place like Brighton, area like the Laines in Brighton must have some lessons for the many High Streets that are currently facing difficulty.