100 Reasons Why It's Great Up North - 2005

The Northern Rock Foundation, Sunderland Airshow and The Sage, Gateshead were all highlights of 100 Reasons in 2005.

1) Three teams in the Premiership – now Sunderland are back where they belong.

2) Turbinia, the ship that changed the world, on show at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum, close to where it was made.

3) Big shows at the Sunderland Empire – which has attracted musicals such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Miss Saigon thanks to a £4m upgrade.

4) Feeding the ducks on the River Wansbeck at Morpeth on a Sunday afternoon – then leaping over the stepping stones.

5) The British Art Show, bringing the best contemporary artists to Baltic for three months from September.

6) Europe’s biggest free airshow – The Sunderland International Airshow on July 30-31.

7) Northern Rock – through its Northern Rock Foundation the most generous large corporate charity in Britain.

8) Buying high-quality local meats, fish and cheese at the many farmers’ markets sprouting up around the region.

9) Listening to people from London complain about the Underground system.

10) Maximo Park, The Futureheads and Eastern Lane – the best of a new wave of bands emerging from Newcastle, Sunderland and Berwick.

11) Hearing a pin drop at The Sage Gateshead, wallowing in some of the best acoustics in the world.

12) The eight lakes, 17km of paths and tracks and 333,000 trees and shrubs of Herrington Country Park – which also rocked to the sound of Radio One’s One Big Weekend last month.

13) Jill Halfpenny, the Gateshead girl turned star of stage and screen – back home this summer at Live Theatre.

14) Knowing which one is Ant, and which one is Dec.

15) Saltburn beach, where Malcolm Campbell broke the world land speed record in the 1920s.

16) The £1.5bn restoration of historic Sunniside in Sunderland to its Georgian glory.

17) The first football team to win a world cup – West Auckland, who beat Juventus 6-1 in Italy in 1909.

18) Whitelees Moor in Northumberland, the biggest Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve in England.

19) GNER, the rail service linking the North East to London and Scotland is the fastest and best in Britain, and has just had its contract renewed.

20) Stephenson, Parsons, Swan, Armstong - engineers who shaped the modern world.

21) Breaking the £100m barrier for lucrative conference business attracted to Newcastle-Gateshead every year.

22) The townscape of the future planned beside the Tees for Middlesbrough’s Middlehaven.

23) Ocean wind turbines off Blyth – the green technology of the future, in which the North-East leads the way.

24) The Animals

25) Rediscovering a taste for Newcastle Brown Ale when you discover it on sale at a bar in Manhattan or Milan… or Helsinki, or Houston or Singapore, or…

26) Watching more and more aeroplanes take off and land at Newcastle International Airport, the fastest growing in Britain.

27) The demolition of Westgate House in Newcastle, planned for this summer – a building condemned just for being an eyesore.

28) The Pitmen Painters of Ashington – an internationally recognised school of art to be displayed (from 2006) at the £15m Woodhorn Colliery Museum.

29) The Vindolanda Tablets, unique letters about everyday life from 2,000 years ago (including people’s underwear) on show near Hadrian’s Wall.

30) Tea in the Tree Tops Cafe at The Alnwick Garden.

31) Seven Stories, The National Centre for the Children’s Book, opening in Newcastle’s Ouseburn district later this year.

32) The plaque reading “Made in Middlesbrough” on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

33) Beamish Museum, the most interesting place to spend a summer’s day and named Best Large Visitor Attraction in England in 2005.

34) The 100 varieties of seafood on sale at Hartlepool fishmonger Hodgson’s…

35) …and the 100 grey and common seals that live happily on the mudflats nearby, visible from an English Nature hide.

36) The largest unbroken waterfall in England, the roaring white water of High Force in Teesdale.

37) The pantomime at South Shields’ Customs House – a legendary community event.

38) Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat. The Alice in Wonderland author is believed to have based the cat on a carving in Croft Church, near Darlington.

39) Cooling off in the summer with the homemade ice cream from Doddingtons farm near Wooler, Northumberland.

40) Arguing about whether the view is better from Baltic or The Sage.

41) Britain’s biggest yew tree maze – four feet high and rising at Doxford Hall, near Chathill, Northumberland.

42) Blood Axe Books, the nation’s leading poetry publisher, born and thriving in Northumberland.

43) Grey’s Monument, commemorating

the first steps towards modern democracy and at 135ft, up there with Nelson’s Column.

44) All the world’s Hugo Boss fragrances, made here in the North-East for Procter & Gamble.

45) The architectural glories of Jesmond – Carlton Terrace and Jesmond Dene House given new life in innovative restoration schemes.

46) Discovering nature on Durham’s ‘miracle coast’ – skylarks and orchids where once there were black beaches.

47) The best places to learn – The Sunday Times voted Newcastle University best UK university, and Northumbria University best new university.

48) The hustle and bustle of Park Lane Interchange, Sunderland – the busiest bus station in the country after London Victoria

49) The workplace of the future at Solar Office, Doxford International, featuring the largest integrated photovoltaic (solar) wall in Europe.

50) Saltwell Park, a Victorian glory restored to its true magnificence in an £8m scheme.

51) May Bank Holiday at the Northumberland County Show in Corbridge.

52) Sending aid workers around the world from Northumbria University’s Disaster and Development Centre.

53) Reading the entries in the Visitor Book after completing the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail Path.

54) Watching Tyneside come alive as evening draws on, from a city centre apartment.

55) Rivet Catcher Ale from the Jarrow Brewery, a golden ale and the latest star of the region’s flourishing micro-brewery industry.

56) Shopping at Eldon Square – about to undergo a £150m facelift to make it one of Britain’s top retail centres.

57) Our five centres of excellence for business and science, using the talent and technology from our universities to drive the region’s economy forward.

58) Gazing into the night sky above Kielder, thousands of stars and no artificial light to disturb the view…

59) …And drifting on the reservoir below on a sun-baked afternoon.

60) Looking down into Redesdale (and England) from the border lay-by, at Carter Bar on the A68.

61) Teeing off from the first hole at Bamburgh Castle Golf Club – hitting the ball out over the magnificent bay.

62) Race day at Hexham, with huge views out over the North Pennines.

63) Enjoying fresh lobster at The Ship in Newton by the Sea before a walk along beautiful Embleton Sands to Dunstanburgh Castle

64) Admiring the groundbreaking photography exhibitions at The Side Gallery in Newcastle

65) Tapping your feet to local live folk music at sessions in the Cumberland Arms in Newcastle or The Colpitts in Durham

66) The sounds, sights and smells of Mela festivals in Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle.

67) Singing carols at ancient, candle-lit, Hexham abbey.

68) Strolling up to the Wainstones on the Cleveland Way, before going for a gourmet meal at Chapters in Stokesley.

69) Barbour jackets made in Jarrow – worn by royalty.

70) Waves rolling in over the causeway at Lindisfarne.

71) Students gathering in their gowns on Palace Green in Durham for the university’s congregation.

72) The first glimpse of Blanchland village on a snowy winter’s day.

73) Watching the banners and bands gather under the balcony at the Royal County Hotel in Durham on Miners’ Gala day.

74) Applauding the open-air theatre in Saltburn Valley Gardens on Teesside.

75) Hearing the foghorn blast out over Newcastle before the Swing Bridge swings into action.

76) Street theatre during the Stockton Riverside Festival, in Britain’s widest high street.

77) Fantastic displays at the Oriental Museum in Durham – the UK’s biggest and best collection outside the British Museum

78) Storing sounds on an i-pod designed by Northumbria University graduate Jonathan Ive.

79) Live Theatre ‘graduates’ Trevor Fox and Tim Healy, taking the West End by storm in Billy Elliott.

80) Culture magazine, free with The Journal every month: the best of the region’s arts and leisure…

81) … and Culture Club, your opportunity to make the most of the great quality we enjoy.

82) Sipping Champagne on a picnic at Brinkburn priory, before listening to early music at its summer festival.

83) Smelling wild garlic on an early summer walk beside the River Wear.

84) The best school-based teacher training scheme in the country at Ashington High School, in Northumberland.

85) Espresso amid the art deco flourish of Minchella’s ice cream parlour in Ocean Road, South Shields.

And some sugg estions from listeners to Metro Radio and Magic FM…

86) Because we’re the right side of the ‘British Equator’ and life is more laid back (Martin Reed of Newcastle).

87) Because whatever sport you’re into it’s not far away, and whether it’s the arts or live entertainment from pop to jazz to comedy it’s available most days of the week. (Keith of South Shields).

88) Because we’ve got the Tyne Bridge and when you see it you know you’re home (Louise Murray, Shotley Bridge)

89) All the fantastic events taking place up here this year (Tom, Jarrow)

90) Our passion for sport, our passion for a good time, and our great sense of humour (Dave, Benton)

91) The weather is so varied and

that’s a good thing! You can have sun, rain and snow all in one week! (Jill, Riding Mill)

92) The cost of living is much cheaper, so you can appreciate life (Jill, Riding Mill)

93) Everyone is willing to help you. Break down anywhere on the A1 and a friendly Geordie is bound to stop (Mick, Stannington)

94) The North-East still prides itself on family values and with that comes respect and friendship nowhere else could match. (Mick, Stannington)

95) Wherever you are you are surrounded by art, whether it’s The Sage, the kissing seats, the Baltic or the Blue Carpet. (Vicki, Whitley Bay)

96) Because the North is steeped in history… all right on your doorstep! (Vicki, Whitley Bay)

97) Beautiful beaches, friendly people and great places to eat and drink (Helen, Amble)

98) Because Newcastle is an excellent city to live in with everything you need, and the coast is just 15 minutes’ drive away. (Steve, Spital Tongues)

99) Our excellent public transport services (Michael Griffiths, Sunderland)

100) Because we have the kindest, most friendly people on this planet – and we know how to have a wicked time. (Jacqueline Harrison, Durham)


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer