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Jesmond Dene waterfall

Newspapers often complain about television repeats at Christmas, and in some ways, this is a blog equivalent. The photos are new, but I’ve shared images of this waterfall many times, even as recently as last spring. Here’s an animated gif of the same place nine years ago.

William Armstrong, a noted manufacturer of armaments, used explosives to blast the rock and create the waterfall in the middle of the 19th century.

Armstrong is a fascinating character who is often cited as a supporter of renewable energy thanks to his interest in hydroelectricity and solar power.

But this can sometimes be overdone: both Wikipedia and The Telegraph have strongly implied that his eco-credentials were behind an 1863 prediction that coal mining in Britain would be over within two centuries. This is bollocks, as The Spectator’s contemporary report makes clear: he was merely predicting that ‘in a century or two, the United States, which possess coal-fields thirty-six times as extensive as ours, will supply the world with coal’.

I planned to use this post to moan that Rishi Sunak’s decision to approve a new coal mine during a climate emergency would mean that Armstrong’s prediction about coal production in the UK would be proven wrong. But that, too, would deviate from facts: Woodhouse Colliery is scheduled to cease production after twenty-five years, long before the 2063 ‘deadline’.

A landslip caused by extreme weather a decade ago badly damaged the Dene, and some paths are still closed off. It is hard to be optimistic about its chances of surviving the climate catastrophe we’ll be living through by 2063.

This post was filed under: Photos, Post-a-day 2023, , , .

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