In January 1988 the residents of the small village of North Blyth in Northumberland were informed that Wansbeck District Council, as part of the local plan, intended to demolish all their 86 houses to make way for the expansion of Blyth harbor on the north bank of the river. Within days of the proposals being made public (they formed part of a submission to the EEC for Euro-aid), the village’s residents had formed an action group to try and rescue their homes.
The reality of the situation in North Blyth was that the risk comprises the loss of the whole community while the gains to be made in jobs and other benefits to the community at large remained at that time an unknown quantity. In this day and age buildings can almost spring up overnight but it takes a little longer for a house to become a home and more than a lifetime to build a community.
“ Without such a place as this and the friendship of others we, as individuals will lose. We cannot live in isolation, we need the community. A sensible balance needs to be maintained between the needs of industry and the needs of community.”
The photographs were exhibited, as part of the campaign, throughout Wansbeck, to give a face to the people of North Blyth. The village was ultimately saved from demolition through the extensive lobbying and campaigning by the residents themselves.