The city needed to put the 'ills (coal slag heaps) in the 'oles (marl clay pits) to enable reclamation for communities and businesses.
Pat worked as a producer and broadcaster for the BBC. She worked in television during the 1950s and 60s on public science programmes and then spent the next 25 years as freelance radio journalist. Pat was a regular contributor to Radio 4 (Woman's Hour, You & Yours), World Service and also co-hosted the groundbreaking weekly 'Country Wise' programme on Radio Stoke. Country Wise was one of the earliest programmes to pitch environment and farming items together to a wide general audience (rather than niche interest).
Pat Callaghan is re-visiting, capturing and sharing the incredible story of reclamation and urban greening that in Stoke-on-Trent during the 50 years she has lived in the city. This journey includes Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival, the fight for Berryhill, and the impact of housing 'renewal'.
As a broadcaster, community activist and committed environmentalist Pat's own narrative is intertwined with much of the city's monumental land reclamation and urban greening story.
(1966 – 76)
My family and I came to village of Madeley, west of SoT, in 1966, almost half a century ago! I was a freelance broadcaster with the BBC – Radio 4, World Service, and Radio Stoke. It was just after the Clean Air Acts (date? ).
Hundreds of bottle ovens from the Pottery industry had been polluting the area with black soot. Pottery, steel and coal mining industries declined, in 1968: SoT had more derelict land (2000 acres) than any other town in Britain. A huge reclamation project began to restore and green the landscape.
FILM: (Ray Johnson). Reclamation sites, Joe Monks-Neil? Put the ‘Ills into the ‘Oles
FILM: The last bottle oven firing in Stoke –on-Trent.
(1976 – 86)
(1976 – 86) Peppered Moth – Research at Oxford and some at Keele Uni. Moth speckled, a few black mutants, mutants increased because they couldn’t be seen by predators on the black sooty trunks of trees. After the Clean Air Acts the soot disappeared and the original ‘peppered’ moth began to increase again.
BOOK: Natural History of Keele University, by David W. Emley, pub Keele University.
WIKIPEDIA: Peppered moth evolution. Review of research. www/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth_evolution
SCIENTIFIC PAPER: Peppered moth revisited: analysis of recent decreases in melanic frequency and predictions for the future, g.s. Mani and M.E.N. Majerus.
(1986 – 96)
Freelance reporter for Radio Stoke, but as Chair of Staffs Wildlife Trust, was allowed to publicly oppose British Coal proposal for opencast coalmining in the middle of the city (proposal defeated). Reported on 1986 National Garden Festival opened by the Queen. Importance of urban greening. Snow in June! A legacy from the Festival was Greenstreet, a project to improve green spaces in Stoke-on-Trent.
FILM: (Ray Johnson? Or other?) Nat Gdn Festival.
1986 also saw the opening of the New Vic Theatre, situated in an old Victorian garden, only theatre with a wildlife officer funded by Arts Council! (until the funding ran out). Environmental education for hundreds of people of all ages. Theatre specialised in unique local documentaries, one of them about that battle against opencasting, and the benefits and delights of our bit of countryside down at the end of our road.
TAPE: Our bit of countryside. (Pat, check with New Vic).
TAPE: Vic compilation? 170-odd species of flowering plant?
Our local group of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust ran a three year project called ‘Action for Wildlife’, funded by English Nature, taking people on Urban Safaris and showing them the wildlife on their doorstep. We hosted some visitors to see what we were doing, including one group from Durban, South Africa!
1991-98 I was one of three reporters for ‘Countrywise’, half hour weekly programme which covered urban as well as countryside green spaces, and won the Regional category for the British Environment and Media Awards – twice! (92 and 94). We interviewed farmers, landowners, councillors, and any wildlife or environmental celebrities who happened to be visiting the area.
PHOTO: Countrywide team at the County Show
TAPE: David Bellamy
TAPE: Jonathon Porritt
Most people were happy to be interviewed, but not this farmer, when I went on a walk with the Ramblers to show how public footpaths were being blocked. He seized hold of my microphone and we had a bit of a fight – but he hadn’t realised the tape was still running, until he pulled the microphone out of its socket!
But our best coup was inviting David Attenborough as President of the Wildlife Trusts, to be a guest presenter for a programme about bats.
CASSETTE: David Attenborough (also a larger tape of the programme).