Letters, Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

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A republic dogged by difficulties

“GET rid of the Royals” states Michael Dodds (Letters, August 3) but if, as he implies, republics are better can he enlighten us as to why we have several million migrants so eager to get into this royal realm of England from the republics of Poland, Pakistan, India, Eire, Romania etc?

M. Dodds also asks how the U.S. have coped since 1776. Well, I would say relatively worse than they did before that hypocritical Declaration of Independence for, as Dr Johnson remarked at the time: “How is it that the loudest yelps of liberty come from the drivers of slaves?” Those political Uriah Heeps, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were not only slaveholders, they were also advocates of the genocide of the native Indian population, which is why they disguised themselves as native Indians at the Boston Tea Party.

The result of that was, in less than 100 years, they were engaged in a civil war and, since that civil war, they have had the problem of segregation and the civil rights marches whereas all the other colonies had slavery abolished without civil war and Jamaica, for example, had full political control by their people before President Obama was even born and Jamaica is perfectly free to become a republic if they so choose.

If George Washington had visited England with his slaves those slaves could have claimed their freedom in England. That was a fact that annoyed slave owners like George Washington and Co. That and the fact that people in London wanted to provide some protection to the Indian population.

The way the West was won was with the defeat of the French who would otherwise have confined the colonials to the Atlantic coast and that war against the French was won and paid for, like all the other wars which were fought against the Spanish and Dutch, as well as the French, at the cost of the English taxpayers. George III, being a very sympathetic man, wondered how poor English people could pay such a heavy tax burden while colonials paid nothing and enjoyed 200 years of benefit without any protest.

Perhaps Michael Dodds can explain the problem of Yugoslavia where they seem to enjoying killing each other a lot more as a republic than they did under an archduke.

He also criticises the Queen for saying she has German blood. Well in that, at least, she is just like all English people and most of the people in Western Europe too.

J. Young,

Alexander Terrace



Sad closure

HOW sad and tragic that the Bridge Women’s Education Project, with three Washington and one Chester-le-Street complex, have gone into administration, after all their years of public service.

But it’s not really a surprise. After all, my previous letter did say 750,000 public sector jobs would go, not 75,000, by 2017.

We have also to remember the savings/cutbacks the city council have made last year, this year and next year mentioned in May 2012. Charities and the voluntary sector are not immune, austerity not working, that’s why the TUC have something planned in London on October 20, and Stephen Hughes MEP will also be chairing the public debate in Gateshead Civic Centre, also on October 20, from 10am to 4pm. I just wonder how many of us will take up the offer.

While the success of our Olympic Games are on track, we also have to remember that some major past manufacturing industries are now not in our hands. A past trade unionist said in public: “We won the Second World War, but have lost the economic war”. Was he right?

Bill Craddock, Donvale Road, Washington

Residents ignored

IT comes as no surprise to hear that the plans to build a mosque in Millfield have been approved. I suspect it was a foregone conclusion despite massive legitimate protests by local residents who would be the people most affected by this unpopular development.

The council decided to simply ignore them and grant permission. It seems the views of local people count for nothing as far as Sunderland Council is concerned and they simply do as they please.

Over the past few decades there have been numerous decisions of this nature, all of which ignored the views of local people. The development of the new waste disposal facility at Hendon is a good example of this where once again the wishes of local residents were ignored.

Despite assurances, this mosque will cause real problems for local residents. I feel heartily sorry for them. I very much doubt if any action will be taken to resolve any difficulties. I would hope the people of Millfield will not let the matter rest, but with this council don’t hold your breath waiting for things to change.

Let us hope that when election time comes round again the people of Millfield will have long memories and a very unforgiving nature. This would probably be the only form of protest the council would understand.

Kevin Williamson, Ford Estate

A testing undertaking

YA knar Missus! A lot of criticism has been levelled at some women drivers. At one time the scene was dominated by men. My Dad, Big Billy, didn’t have to pass a driving test. I don’t know whether or not someone had to wave a red flag in front of him.

My mother, who was the drive behind our confectionery businesses, did have to take a test in Durham. My dad was always too busy doing something, and he couldn’t accompany my mother, who was a learner driver, to Durham.

Behind our little shop in Hudson Road was an undertaker called Mr Munro. He had been in the cavalry in the First World War. When he returned, he set up in business next to the Villiers All Electric Cinema as an undertaker. His hearse was horse drawn. When the horseless carriage was invented, Munro treated himself to a Rolls Royce hearse which he garaged in his old stables. When he cleaned and polished this vehicle, he had loads of fellas who regularly helped him and acted as pall-bearers. One such man was called Alex.

My mother was past herself in getting someone to take her to this driving test at Durham. Who better to ask than the driver of a Rolls Royce hearse, Alex? So Alex agreed to accompany my mother to Durham where she took the Driving Test and duly passed. On the return journey to Sunderland, Alex said: “Ee Belle you are an excellent driver. I wish I could drive”. My mother nearly had kittens because she didn’t know that Alex was a glorified “roadie” for Munro.

I’ve seen some first-class women drivers such as Sheila Van Dam and Pat Moss. Recently, I had the privilege of being driven by a woman ambulance driver and in my view, there are very few men her equal.

On the other hand, sadly there are some very aggressive young drivers, both male and female, who can’t handle very powerful and large vehicles not only in car parks but on the public highway.

P.S. I’m looking for a rich chauffeuse who can take me clubbing and dancing.

Little Billy Craggs

Loss of road name

ELDERLY local people will perhaps remember the road from the Wheatsheaf pub up to and over the little road bridge and on to the Wearmouth pit and colliery offices. The road began at the police station on the righthand corner, next to the Colliery School (now a builder’s yard) and proceeded down hill to the Black Road, where on the left corner was a small general store.

Now a cafe serving the Stadium of Light, it was owned by a friendly German gentleman with the name of Franky Weil. I believe he had been left behind after the “Great War”. The road carried on past the coal Landale yard and the pit pond and then a short row of dwellings housing some of the colliery officials: the foreman blacksmiths, the staithes master and the foreman electrician. At the end of the row was the colliery manager’s house and then the colliery offices.

The short road carried on down a track to the quayside and the coal staithes, where the boats of France Fenwick and other shipping companies loaded up with coal from Wearmouth Colliery, via the “Drops”. One of the old quays on the river was named after a Sunderland councillor of the 1880s, named Mr Wreath. Hence the name “Wreath Quay Road”.

Many happy years of my youth were spent living in that road at number 29, until the Second World War when I enlisted in the RAF for almost six years.

Now Wearmouth Colliery with all its memories is no longer there, but it saddens me that an important part of Sunderland’s industrial heritage and the name “Wreath Quay Road” has been abandoned and replaced by the new name of “Millennium Way.”

Surely the powers that be could have at least saved the old historical name of “Wreath Quay Road” and the memories of a France Fenwick boat, with its recognisable “hoot, hoot, hoot” coming up the river.

Jim Otterson, Staveley Road, Seaburn Dene

Late, great Lita

LITA Roza was born in 1926 in Liverpool, and became one of the all-time-great female singers after she signed to Decca Records.

Her hits included Allentown Jail, Lullaby of Broadway, High Noon, Blackpool Bounce, Crazy Man Crazy and Meet Me On The Corner.

She appeared on TV shows such as Music Shop, Off The Record, Jack Jackson Show, This Is Showbusiness, Jack Hylton Presents, Lita Roza Sings and Sunday Night At Blackpool.

Sadly on Thursday, August 14, 2008, she passed away at the age of 82, but I will never forget the beautiful female singer icon from the Fabulous Fifties and the Swinging Sixties, the lovely Lita Roza.

Terry Christie, Woodside Terrace, Sunderland