We watched a couple of movies this weekend that touch on the history of Northeast England. This part of England was highly involved in coal mining, and in the mid-1980’s the government under Margaret Thatcher helped shut down practically the whole industry. While it’s long enough ago that the cities have moved on, the movies definitely catch the local flavor. You’ll particularly pick up on a lot of local language (e.g., “ben” as a word for kid or son).

We rented the first, Brassed Off, because we saw that it was related to NE history. It’s set in Yorkshire, which is the county just south of Durham. The second, Billy Elliot, was just on tv. It is apparently a totally fictional story, but the setting is just about 20 minutes from Durham on the coast. It is set in Everington, a fictional name, which most likely is really Easington.

It now makes sense why the Labor and Liberal Democrat parties are so dominant in this part of the country. The Torries (or conservatives) carry a very small percentage of the races here.