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NELH Tuesday Meeting: Peter Smith, The effects of Deindustrialisation on a 1960’s Railway Town

June 4 @ 19:00 - 20:30

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Meeting ID: 828 2467 4327
Passcode: 172736

I was born in Ashington, where I lived within view of the colliery shunting yard and a lifelong obsession with railways was born. I did however spend most of my formative years living and working in and around Darlington.

In 2012 I redid my GCSE English for fun. I enjoyed it so much I followed it in 2013 with A Levels in English Law and History. In 2016 I gave up my 28 years in the print industry to Studied at Teesside University. I gained a BA in history, with a dissertation looking at Important Railway anniversaries and commemoration. I then went on to study a Masters, looking at railways and deindustrialisation in the North East.

I am now A PhD Candidate at Teesside and am expanding my earlier work on the railway closures in and around Darlington. My intention is to interview former railway workers and their families about how Beechings cuts impacted and changed their lives. I also think this is an important opportunity to record the work and life experiences of these people before they are lost to time.

My talk will look at how the Beeching report and the cuts that followed impacted Darlington and the surrounding North East in the 1960s. Additionally, how the voices of those that worked in the rail industry are an important strand of history that need to be saved and this adds an extra dimension to what historians have already learnt about this period. How oral history is an increasingly important concept for many historians. Furthermore, how Darlington has changed from an industrial town in the 1960s and 70s, to the post industrial one we have today, with its modern industries.

Finally, I would like to say a little about the cultural Impact the railways have had across the town with the 200th anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington looming into view next year. How railway culture, married with the industrial changes have affected this town and what this two-hundred-year-old industry still mean to current generations.

Peter Smith on his research into the impact of the Beeching cuts and the closure of the Darlington railway works in the 1960s 


June 4
19:00 - 20:30