North Shields has changed beyond belief over the past 50 years. Coalmining and fishing industries died leaving a once thriving town twiddling its thumbs, wondering what to do with itself.


Folk left town or stopped visiting and pubs, churches and shops lie empty. Shields (as it is affectionately called by locals) ain’t the town it used to be but I’m not writing it off.

Last year I was pleased to support Karen Mitchell’s creative endeavours, The Ballarat Studios, housed in a former pub in North Shields. Yesterday I visited the town’s newest creative venture, Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC and chatted to Gail Curry who set the organisation up in a former evangelical church, The Town Mission.

The building is on Lower Rudyerd Street and has amazing views of the river from Happy Planet’s windows. Happy Planet has just hosted a couple of very successful open days and is offering regular social creative sessions open to all.

Moonkwayk Studios’ Anne Proctor is running regular intaglio printing sessions on Saturdays and there will be regular workshops and taster classes relating to felting, jewellery making, hooky & proggy plus creative writing.

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The view from Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC is awesome

morning from th studio