Maude Warwick – WEA Tutor Organiser North Yorkshire

I’d like to record a tribute on these pages to Maude WarwickWEA (Workers Educational Association) Tutor Organiser for North Yorkshire whose help and support between 1986 and 1991 in helping me develop and run so many WEA Creative Writing courses in the Cleveland UK area was invaluable and deeply underpinned the work and achievement of Outlet Magazine and all that came from it for local writers in the area. Although I’ve only just found out via this notice in WEA News (as found on line), Maude’s passing was around the end of 2008. In addition the contents of WEA obituary Maude was a friend of E.P. Thompson – author of The Making of the Working Class. I worked with Maude in the Middlesbrough branch of the WEA from 1986 to 1991 and her support and encouragement enabled me to  build an infrastructure for local writers in the area out of the classes which included Outlet Magazine, many informal writers groups that emerged from my Creative Writing classes and and enabled us to launch the annual Write Around festival. With Maude’s support I was able to teach Creative Writing classes in Middlesbrough, Guisborough, Stokesley,   

Redcar, Saltburn and Yarm – some with special needs. Outlet was launched out of my first class in Middlesbrough 1986 and many of the students contributed to Outlet and some of the courses successfully recruited from contributors to Outlet and so many writers groups formed as follow ons to formal classes – including Redcar Writers, Phoenix Poetry Group, Bramblethorns Writers, PLOY (Yarm Writers), Saltburn Writers Group, Guisborough Writers Group, Stokesley Writers Group. Andy Croft taught literature classes for the branch in the early period as well as creative writing courses in Hemlington and Stokesley. Andy Croft later built on the WEA creative writing course development in 1990 when he organised an even wider package of free Creative Writing courses for Leeds University Adult Education in Middlesbrough.

Maude’s valuable contribution to Cleveland’s writing scene is not acknowledge widely it seems so hopefully this will go some way to redressing that. Below is the obituary from the WEA News December 2008.

ASPects of Culture – Special Editorial in Outlet 10 (1989)

By Outlet 10 (Summer 1989) The magazine and the Cleveland Writing Scene had developed considerably….

ASPects of Culture
Editorial Comment

Outlet No10
Outlet 10

 first issue in 1986. Apart from things that Outlet and later Write Around stimulated, developments were being planned for the arts locally as part of a wider economic plan to attract businesses and executives from the south to relocate here. The Evening Gazette ran a series of articles on it at the time. Some of the things mention in our editorial are now well established. The Teasdale area of Stockton for instance. Here is the special editorial from Outlet 10 which was part of aseries of Devil’s Advocate columns in Outlet. This issue of Outlet was used in the making of the BBC 2 Open Space programme about Outlet and Write Around in 1990.

ASPects of Culture (by Trev Teasdel)

As I write, the sun is spinning down on Cleveland, weaving a web of delight in winter-worn hearts and but for faint smells of chemicals nuzzling their way ‘long  Saltburn beach and countless condoms and traces of turd that align our coast, Cleveland is arrayed in all its splendour.It really is a beautiful county.


Saltburn Beach

And Cleveland is blooming in so many ways. The council are saying it with flowers that spring up surprisingly on unsuspecting roadsides and traffic islands, stealing our breath and our hearts and minds. And the landscapers, let loose, have added a brush of fresh air to the canvass of Cleveland. Concrete and rude industry and rust ridden rails can increasingly be found in a caress of green shoots. And in the crumbling heart of an industrial wasteland, landscaped estates peep through midst the tired tedious terraces.


And the New industrialists, visionaries, planners and developers present posies of proposals from control towers of power and capital investment to improve on the cash-scape and work-scape of the now crumbling ‘Infant Hercules’  as Gladstone called Middlesbrough in 1860. Spinning Tees-wise into twenty-first-century-ness, and speak in scenarios of Marinas, London-ish bridges, weirs and lakes and leisure parks and tropical pools in scintillating shopping centres (this was proposed for Captain Cook’s Square in Middlesbrough but never materialised).


Tees Barrage – Stockton on Tees

And Culture ”izza comin’ with a capital city. Visions of arts centres, Colleges of culture, centres of excellence, TV and
Outlet 11

 recording  studios springing up surprisingly along the roadsides of our minds (you mean you never saw the Gazette?). The promise of real culture imported from the lower regions- you know -that stuff from the South..poetry…dance, drama and ‘scope’. (Ok what’s Scope?). A new twenty-first-century art form just coined in need of an activity! Let us know if you come up with anything! Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Teesside in the vanguard of progress! (Issue 11 of Outlet pictured here show the Teasdale area of Stockton as it was then -a derelict industrial area – the photos show it as it is today)

However, I can’t help thinking that it’s a shame we have to wait for a threatened invasion of ASPS (Affluent Southern Persons) before we stand of chance of getting what other places have in abundance.We all know that any successful economic strategy needs to attract a certain amount of 

labour,expertise and investment from other areas and that it would produce a

Stockton – looking across to the Teasdale area
 beneficial cross-fertisilation of ideas and influences but I must admit I winced a bit at the emphasis put on providing these facilities to attract ASPS. Ain’t the people of Cleveland worth it? It all seems part of the sindrome which looks down upon and devalues the indigenous population.
Outlet Says… 
Given that this cultural honeycomb is being dangled to attract swarms of ASPS – does it mean, as is being whispered in the hedgerows of Cleveland, that the honeypot of jobs will be creamed off by them? Outlet asks to what extent will Clevelanders get a look in?

Outlet Says….
Don’t forget the people of Cleveland when recruiting. The postmark proclaims “Teesside – Initiative – Talent – and Enterprise” Do they really believe it or is the post-mark just a piece of empty rhetoric?

Outlet Says…
Any development of the Arts in Cleveland should first and foremost be for the people of Cleveland with the added advantage of making this area more attractive to ASPS, not the other way around!

Outlet Says…
That talk of High Art and Centres of Excellence in Cleveland is very good and not before time so long as the bias is not all towards consumption of art. The participatory arts are as important. Involvement and encouragement are a vital key towards self-development and aids understanding and this has a vital part to play in the development of the area and the quality of life there-in.

Outlet Says…
The training of young people at a college of Creative Arts for careers in the arts is a great idea but remember that the encouragement of creative endeavour is just as important for those whose only aims are self-development and self-expression. Planners, visionaries and developers should plan also for the provision of workshops, courses and facilities for the development of creative expression as a leisure activity. A creative mind is the most important resource in the world!
Outlet Wants to See…
These things done done in the interest of and with the respect for the people of Cleveland, not solely in the name of rude profit and outside investors who most likely couldn’t give a damn!

Re-editing my way along Saltburn beach, the sea glides in and out sea-tossing stranded turds and condoms,calling out with watery lips to be freed from the burden of pollution, making a mockery as Saltburn’s efforts to resurrect itself. How many ASPS will want to live beside the shit-side? And looking back along the coast, the sun holds its nose as it sinks in the evening sky, crimson above Redcar Steel works, as rich, rust-red gunge gushes out long the ground over the town to mingle with yellow sulphurous scent from ICI blown down the coast,’cross the sea, or back to the Boro.Sadly the sun gasps and falls from the sky and is seen no more. How many ASPS will stand the STINC!!

The original Page in Outlet No 10

Outlet Editorials 1986 – 91

A look at the Outlet Magazine editorials and associated pieces give a good insight into some of the things that were happening during that period of development.
Outlet Editorial 1 November / December 1986

Dawn of Outlet (written by Mel McEvoy after discussion with the editorial group)
We write.What we write means something. OUTLET is a magazine where the different forms of writing: short stories,

Outlet No 1
Outlet 1

poetry, dialogue etc. can be seen and shared by other writers. It will enable us to know the forms and content of the work produced in Cleveland. We can learn and improve from seeing each others’ writing ability, styles and the individual angle from which we all approach the subject.

The magazine attempts to be a focus and information exchange for the many writers groups in the area. To give a true representation it needs to know when and where the different groups meet so as to develop a stronger expression for Cleveland.Information about writing courses, workshops, the occasions when writers meet to read will be available. The magazine plans to develop an interest in the different levels, stages and processes from personal experiences on the art of writing.

Outlet Editorial Team issue one – Trev Teasdel, Mel McEvoy, Viv Harland, Pauline Plummer,Terry Lawson,Vera Davies, Cath McKenna.
Outlet Editorial 2  Jan / Feb 1987

Oh Yes! (written by Viv Harland after discussion with the editorial team)

Oh No

Yes, here we are again with issue 2 of Outlet, packed full of YOUR writing. And what an encouraging response to issue 1! It’s true – as we believed – Cleveland has a wealth of untapped writing talent out there from Hartlepool to Brotton. Our message is – Keep writing, and keep your contributions coming in.

Outlet 2

Some of you, however,thought we were only here for people from writing groups. Don’t be fooled.We are here for everyone. So all you lone scribblers and closet novelists take note – we want your words!
And talking of words,we want to hear the not-so-kind words as well as the many good wishes you’ve been nice enough to send. To that end, Outlet is launching a letters column in issue 3 for all your honest opinions on what you’ve seen of us so far. What do you like about Outlet? What do you hate? We really want to know, because this is Your Outlet.So write those letters now.

On the subject of letters..what do you think of the idea of a Teesside Literary Festival? We think it’s long overdue, and we intend, with your help,to get one started.Write to us and let us know what you think.

Also could you find Outlet? or did you have to borrow a copy?We left them in every Cleveland library, some bookshops, some information centres and other places besides. But if you can think of somewhere better, let us know.

Many thanks go to Northern Arts for winging a cash grant our way,and also to Community Arts Middlesbrough for generous loan of their facilities and for their support.

Outlet Editorial team for this issue were –Trev Teasdel, Viv Harland, Terry Lawson, Pauline Plummer Vera Davies, Richard Mullen.


Outlet Editorial  3 March / April 1987

HERE WE ARELET (Written by Viv Harland – in consultation with the Editors)

One-two-three-go! That’s us..raring to go with your third Outlet.Some said it
 would never last this long. And true, it hasn’t been as simple as one-two-three. But we are still here, in large thanks to Northern Arts keen and generous support. And you, we’re delighted to say, are still writing,in fact more than ever. Long may the partnership continue!
Outlet 3

Our February /March postbag was crammed with lively writing, including several poems from elderly, housebound people. We’ve picked out some for printing. Mrs Hodgson’s “Praise the Lord” -we’ve shortened slightly, (hope Mrs H wil forgive the editors)…to highlight her experience with Hartlepool’s Torch Prayer meetings.

Writers now finding an outlet with us now span the generations – from ages 12 to 85. And that’s very heartening, because Outlet always said it aimed to reflect the true range of Cleveland’s writing talent – young, old,male and female,black, white, yellow or green! So keep your writing coming.

We’ve had several signs of outside interest in our plans for a new additional Outlet just for young people’s writing. If you have any thoughts on the subject, please contact us.

And to all our contributors from Hartlepool to Cowbar we say ‘thanks for keeping Outlet growing and going strong. Hope to see you – and other talented scribes – in Edition four!”

Outlet Editorial team for issue four were – Trev Teasdel, Viv Harland, Terry Lawson, Pauline Plummer, Vera Davies, Mel McEvoy, Cath McKenna.


Outlet No 4 Editorial- August / September 1987

Dear Readers ( Written by Mel McEvoy in consultation with the editorial team).
Outlet No 4

You may have been wondering why this issue has taken longer to reach the printers. Cleveland County and Northern

 Arts had to negotiate about the grant and there has also been a lot of good material to sort through. 

We have become more aware of the responsibility of giving people in Cleveland a voice that gives expression to what is happening. We want to hear people articulate in writing the truth of what goes on inside and outside themselves. In telling it as it is, the written word finds a justification and so do we who produce the magazine.

We want contributions to come from people in all walks of life and different cultural backgrounds.

The material from the ethnic communities such as Hindu, Urdu, Bengali, Polish, Cantonese and Creole could be published with an English translation by its side.
Issue 4 of outlet was edited by Trev Teasdel, Viv Harland, TerryLawson, Pauline Plummer, Mel McEvoy, Cath McKenna and Steve Gillgallon (who also did the word processing and desktop publishing for this issue)

Aims of Outlet – published in issue 4

Outlet is a non-profit making community magazine.It welcomes contributions from anyone in Cleveland. It asks the readers to share their opinions about our approach and the work sent in. It aims to reflect not only the best work but more importantly to encourage and enable people who are just beginning. In this sense,it aims at being a writers workshop, illustrating the different approaches and themes, offering constructive criticism and being the focus of information for related activities. Outlet is supported financially by Northern Arts and Cleveland County Libraries and Leisure.

Outlet No 5 Editorial October / November 1987

Beyond Face Value (Written by Mel McEvoy and Viv Harland – in consultation with the editors)
Outlet 5

by Samantha Forbes for Outlet 5
A Russian poet wrote ‘there’s a face behind every face’…A person hiding on the inside who defies all categorisation or labelling. In self-expression the shapes of our individual faces are revealed to one another. Within the art of writing and describing our individual experiences we reveal the beauty and dignity of every person. We are trying in Outlet to offer an opportunity for both the beauty and tragedy of living in Cleveland to be shared with each other. We welcome contributions from everyone who wants to send in their work. A standard is essential. But if some feeling or emotion is described, even in an untutored way, as a true expression of an individual’s life we will give it great and genuine consideration,and correspond with the contributor.

More and more people are wanting Outlet and some are finding it hard to obtain a copy because they are snapped up quickly in libraries and arts centres. One way to secure a copy is to send us a stamped addressed envelope.
Meanwhile the Outlet team wants to say a warm hello to its latest edition…Mel and Helen’s new baby Laura Marie McEvoy, who arrived on Tuesday morning, looking for a copy of Outlet!. 

Outlet editorial team for issue 5 were Viv Harland, Pauline Plummer, Terry Lawson, Trev Teasdel, Mel McEvoy,Vera Davies. Graphics by Samantha Forbes and Brian G. Word Processing and desktop publishing Steve Gillgallon. Cover photo by kind permission of The Hartlepool Mail.

Outlet Editorial No 6 December 1987 / January 1988

Freedom from the Cliché (by Mel McEvoy in consultation with the Editors)
Outlet No 6

The magazine is one year old and developing in many varied ways towards its purpose: to encourage,enable and reflect the talent for writing present in Cleveland. From work sent in over the last year it has become evident that this talent exists and needs nurturing.There have been many new approaches to the craft and with every new edition the magazine itself has changed and developed.

Personal expression is a fundamental need of every individual. It enables the person to make a statement about what is going on in their lives and the world around them. With every attempt we move from confusion into clarity and this movement is what is essentially needed in this age of mass and indifferent generalisations.Personal expression is intrinsically related to freedom. The magazine is wedded to the idea of free speech. Ideas coming together in the form of the word are vital in bringing both change and development.

The magazine knows that by encouraging individuals to communicate their ideas,feelings and experiences it contributes to the development of the society in a positive and creative way.

We wish to thank everyone who has helped in keeping the magazine going. Many new things are happening as a result of OUTLET,which will be shared with its readers in the forthcoming editions. Happy New Year.

Outlet Editorial Team for issue 6 were Trev Teasdel, Viv Harland, Pauline Plummer, Mel McEvoy, Terry Lawson. Graphics Samantha Forbes and Brian G. Word Processing / Desktop publishing Steve Gillgallon.

Outlet No 7
Editorial for Outlet issue 7 – February / March 1988

The editorial for this essay consisted of the aims already published above in this post.

The editorial team for issue 7 saw changes to the core editorial team with the exit of Viv Harland (a journalist also with Hartlepool Mail). Viv’s contributions to the development of Outlet as secretary, press officer, co-editor and her great enthusiasm for the project was truly valued.

Trev Teasdel, Terry Lawson, Mel McEvoy, Pauline Plummer, Peter Stockill.

Wordprocessing Steve Gillgallon, Angela Morgan Graphics Samantha Forbes.
Editorial Outlet Issue 8 – April – May 1988
Outlet 8

The editorial for No 8 consisted of a re-statement of the aims but with a few paraphrases. It acknowledge the help of Community Arts Middlesbrough and The Workers Educational Association under the Tutor/Organiser -ship of Maude Warwick and Cleveland County Library Service.

Editorial team for issue 8 consisted of Trev Teasdel, Terry Lawson,Pauline Plummer, Jerry Slater, Mark Beevers. Graphics – John McGowan, Brian G, Samantha Forbes.

This issue saw another core member of the editorial team leave – Mel McEvoy. Mel was Irish / Liverpudlian, a fine young poet , a former monk who decided his mission lay outside of the monastery, a male nurse in Stockton. Mel expressed our aims in a philosophical way in his editorials and gave feedback to most of the contributors that was constructive but encouraging and again his contribution was sadly missed when he left.

There was nearly a year until the next Outlet owing to the loss of the Northern Arts part of the funding but meanwhile the team were busy with other aspects of the development -Trevor with his WEA classes and setting up writers groups, Terry and Trev with negotiating the first Write Around and more reflected in the next editorial.

Outlet Editorial issue No 9 March / April 1989 (by Trev Teasdel in consultation with the editors)

Note – Outlet hadn’t been out for nearly a year owing to the cessation of Northern Arts Funding and from this point would come out as and when money could be raised – another 3 issues came out between 1989 and 1991but the work had continued in other ways as the editorial points out.)

Outlet 9

Just when you thought Outlet had bitten the dust, out comes another issue to startle letter boxes and library counters, packed full of people’s poems n prose. Outlet was always more than a magazine and despite its none appearance of late, we’ve been out and about with our watering cans bringing a little fertility to Cleveland’s ‘cultural desert’, and, we’re pleased to say, new shoots are arising everywhere. Hang on for the low-down but first an explanation. Wintertide was grant renewal time for Outlet and our two year-old relationship with Northern Arts ended with a ‘Dear John‘ letter (Well Dear Outlet) anyway! Our thanks to them for their assistance in getting Outlet established and enabling us to achieve its initial objectives….With any luck we can count on continued Cleveland County support, if we can achieve a second funding source. Irons are  in the fire grant-wise! Meanwhile we are saying to the readership Help! we need some money! The developmental mission of Outlet necessitates that we keep it free and widely available to encourage new and developing writers and spread the seeds of creativity through this wide and wonderful county. So we are asking those who can afford it and want to help keep Outlet going to send us £2 subscription which will guarantee you 6 issues (or a years supply) of Outlet direct by post. Any additional donations would not be frowned upon…

Writers Groups
Outlet have been instrumental in initiating or helping new groups to get off the ground. Groups in Redcar, Guisborough, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough have sprung up and groups are threatening to arise in Eston, Loftus and Yarm. A Federation of Cleveland Writers groups fostering interaction, would be a logical development of this. Songwriting workshops and course and drama writing workshops are on the cards too. Anyone wishing to form a group in their area can approach us for help and advice.

Outlet now has a number of baby brothers and sister magazines emerged and emerging – Exile in Billingham and Top Copy in Hartlepool. There’s another one in the pipeline from Derek Gregory in Middlesbrough (Tees Valley Writer). We hope you send them lots of contributions as you have to Outlet. You’ve absolutely no excuse – Write Now! A new tape magazine is a possibility too. Also don’t forget the hundreds of small presses around the country providing outlets.

‘Brothers and sisters are doing it for themselves’! these days. Producing their own booklets of poetry and prose. How-to-do-it packs will soon be available and layout workshops to develop skills are also on the cards. Community Arts Middlesbrough are developing a new print resource centre for community use. This will make so much more possible (How about one in East Cleveland?). Congratulations to Clive and Diane Rawson (CAM worker) on the birth of young Christopher, while writing this editorial.

A Celebration Of Cleveland Writing
Nice to see Teesside Polytech putting on an arts festival with writers workshops. Hope they were well supported. Outlet has it’s own festival brewing shortly in May called WRITE AROUNDA Celebration of Cleveland Writing. The aim is to celebrate and stimulate creativity in the area. The festival includes workshops, performances, lectures, displays of children’s writing and much more amounting to 20 events all around Cleveland. We hope you will give it your full support. The festival is for you! Don’t forget the Write Around competition,get your entry form from the library.

Outlet Editorial team for this issue were – Trev Teasdel, Pauline Plummer, Terry Lawson, Andy Croft, Mark Beevers.
Typing Eileen Oliver and Pauline Plummer. Layouts John McGowan / Trev Teasdel, Columnists – Bob (David) Beagrie and Mark Beevers. Graphics John McGowan, Sylvester Leigh and Samantha Forbes.

Outlet Editorial issue No 10  Summer 1989 (written by Trev Teasdel)
This is the issue that appeared on the BBC 2 Open Space ProgrammeBreaking the Ice about Outlet and Write Around.
About the Fist! (The Fist of Cleveland Culture)
Outlet 10

Outlet is growing! We’re now 12 pages long and 2000 copies wide. 56 poems by 36 local authors etched upon these pages. You’ll find the winning Write Around poems on the Write Around page and a profile of a local published writer on the workshop page. We’ve given over the centre pages to a local writers group. As as we ‘ a man of mettle’ the nettle of time, money and organisation, more will appear in the form of articles, reviews and assorterie, We are also installing a metaphoric clocking-in machine to ensure the punctuality of this would-be bi-monthly Fist-of-Cleveland-Culture magazine. The Fist welcomes Bill Sinclair – New Arts officer for Langbaugh and thanks to Jackie Franks and Cleveland County Leisure and libraries for financial and moral support. Fisticuffs begin in the autumn with the possible formation of a federation of local writers groups. Some groups are already interacting.A letter will go out to groups soon. Write Around was overall a great success and promises to be even greater next year. Volunteers are needed, especially with publicity, fund-raising and admin. If you can help then don’t hesitate in contacting Alyson Perry ate Berwick Hills Library, Middlesbrough. Do it NOW – Write Around Needs You! Cleveland county Libraries have ensured that Cleveland will have a sizeable section in the NORTHERN ECHO’S bi-monthly literary pull-out called THE PAGE. Show them their’s some life in Cleveland by sending plenty of poems and short stories to The Page, c/o Frank Jenkins, Redcar Central Library. There will be an issue out early September and December this year. (In actual fact there wasn’t another until April 1990 and another (final one in March 1991) owing to funding difficulties.).

Editorial team for issue 10 were Trev Teasdel, Pauline Plummer,Terry Lawson, Andy Croft, Margaret Weir, Richard Briddon, Mark Beevers.

Outlet 11 Editorial April 1990 (Written by Trev Teasdel)
Outlet 11

Welcome to OUTLET 11. Apologies for the delay. (In addition to funding problems) the grand order of PRATT  has been bestowed on yours truly for grievous bodily loss of the Outlet layouts –  lock, stock and wheel-barrow! The newly-neatly lazer printed layouts were left one wind-bashed evening at a bus-stop in Guisborough shortly after Christmas. They obviously fell into unpoetic hands as we never got them back. Art-work,scripts, computer disc went. Despondency jumped up and down on us while we re-gathered materials, scripts and the spirit to go on! The setting up of a less flashy home-computer system (Amstrad) followed to help make things simpler. So we’re back in business. Some of these articles have matured a little therefore. Sadly Mary Williams (Poetry 20+) passed away shortly after Margaret Weir interviewed her for Outlet. The article now forms a tribute.Outlet and Write Around have also been involved in producing a short film about our work for BBC 2’s OPEN SPACE programme. More on that inside (on on this site)!.

Outlet editorial team for issue 11 were – Trev Teasdel, Pauline Plummer, Terry Lawson, Margaret Weir, Richard Briddon, Andy Croft.

Outlet Editorial issue 12 March 1991 (Final issue) 
(Written by Trev Teasdel in consultation with the editorial team)
Outlet 12

It is good to see so many young people writing in Cleveland today.Some of their poems appear in this issue in among the general work and in addition we’ve printed a special double page of work by children from Bydale’s School in Marske. Outlet is however open to writers new and old and even if you wrote your first poem at the age of 96 we want to hear from you. Continue to send us your poems and stories and we’ll endeavour to provide an outlet for your work. Outlet is Cleveland’s original community-based creative writing magazine and is available free from libraries throughout Cleveland and from the Outlet address.

Outlet Editorial team for issue 12 were – Trev Teasdel, Pauline Plummer, Terry Lawson, Margaret Weir, Andy Croft, Richard Briddon.

Dreams into Words – Rukhsana M. Ahmad – Writer in Residence

In 1988- 89 a the first Asian Writer in Residence in ClevelandRukhsana M. Ahmad overseen locally by Cleveland

Although I don’t have the full details of Rukhsana’s residency I recall it occurred while we were developing what would be the first Write Around with Cleveland Arts. My knowledge of this residency came from Multicultural Arts Officer Neelam Dhamrait who gave us excellent support and encouragement with the establishing the first Write Around fest at that time. Gordon Hodgeon, who was an English Advisor for Cleveland County Education and poet was also involved with this through the Northern Arts Literature Panel etc. 
I think I’m right in saying that Rukhsana was based largely at Abingdon Rd School in Middlesbrough working with the kids and adults. The earliest Asian Mushaira (Urdu poetry symposiums) started with the kids at Abingdon Rd School. This was an element that would develop later through Write Around with adults to which English poets were invited to as well. 

The residency culminated in the production of an 80 page anthology Dreams into Words which we promoted through the flyers in Outlet.

Taken from the flyer for Dreams into Words – 
“Dreams into Words – The Cleveland Writers Project – In this unique publication, Asian men and women living in the
Dreams into words
 Cleveland area of the North East area of England, reflect on their lives and experiences.Published in Urdu and in English , the selection is a product of freelance writers Rukhsana M. Ahmad’s residency during 1988 / 89 which was established by the Artists agency (think they mean Cleveland Arts here but not sure). It is the first in a Common Trust series of Multi-cultural publications celebrating the variety of life in the North East. 80 pages perfect bound with colour glossy cover £3.50″

About Rukhsana M. Ahmad

Rukhsana Ahmad was born in Karachi and spent her formative years shuttling between major cities in Pakistan. She studied English Literature, then Linguistics at Karachi University, where she also taught briefly. After settling in Britain she resumed her study of English Literature at Reading University. She has freelanced as a writer since 1985 working across several genres but campaigning consistently for Asian writers specially women in her role as Artistic Director of Kali Theatre Company (1994 to 2002).

She is a founding member of the Asian Women Writers’ Collective, and a founding trustee and current chair of SALIDAA (South Asian Diaspora Literature and Arts Archive). She was writer-in-residence in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and the London Borough of Harrow. She was a Reader for the Theatre Committe of the Arts Council of England, an Adviser to its Translation Panel and a member of its Committee for the Review of Literary Journals. She was also a member of the Theatre Committee of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.

From her webpage on the Royal Literary Fund –
The above link gives details of her publications and wider achievements.

Mark Beevers – poet, editor, lyricist, writer

Mark Beevers has many of his poems archived on Typepad – here and a current  / active one on Blogspot

Inspired by Kenny Foxton getting press coverage for his book in the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, Saltburn poet Mark Beevers also sent his books to the Gazette and some of the press cuttings are on here.

Mark’s is an interesting story to relate in this history. Before 1987 Mark hadn’t had a lot of success with his poetry but after publishing the first Outlet in autumn 1986 Outlet began to get regular packages of Mark’s poems (even though we stipulated a maximum number of poems to send at anyone time) – I even got packages of his poems sent to venues where I was teaching Creative Writing!

Marks short, unusual and witty poems were easily accommodated under larger poems where none other would fit but we soon discovered his witty poems were gaining attention with our readers. Mark won the first Outlet poetry competition and a noticed was placed in Cleveland Scene in 1987 (Cleveland Scene was the free whatz on guide that went out free through the libraries like Outlet). As time went on the Outlet editors thought we should co-opt Mark on to the editorial board of Outlet and in 1988 we did so, giving mark his own column. 

Before that however I moved from Middlesbrough to Saltburn in 1988 and got to know Mark personally. At the time Mark Mark put out regular booklets of his poetry which he hand made and sold for ’50p or half a pint of beer in the pub!”. Obviously they were very limited editions.  Mark had some redundancy money, having worked at British Steel and down Boulby mines and I persuaded him to get his books printed. This he did, giving him a much wider distribution. Mark used to place some in very odd places in the hope that some unsuspecting person might pick up and read and hopefully enjoy his work. Mark, being a character, might have included sliding them surreptitiously on to literature shelves in local book stores, dentist waiting room tables, and all sorts of other colourful places!!

Mark went on to produce over 30 books over the next 5 years -see the covers here – published variously by Outlet,Exile or his own Busy Beevers Press.

We also introduced him to national and international small poetry press network and Mark began to get reviews of his books and poems published in many of these magazines as can be seen from the reviews on the back of his.

Mark wasn’t particularly a performer but we involved him in reading at the Parallel Universe – a poetry and music performance in Saltburn for the first Write Around in 1989. I recorded Mark reading some of his poems in Saltburn on a four track portastudio and added some music and sound effects (the tracks will be on here at some stage).

In 1988 there was a job going for a trainee community printer as part of the Community programme in Loftus and I suggested Mark try for it. He was successful and began to learn about printing and publishing. When it 

finished Mark had a greater insight into publishing from the printing side and while he was already writing a column for Outlet, reviewing small presses, he was befriended by the newest local poetry magazine Exile, whose editors, Ann Elliot and John Herbert Marr now also lived in Saltburn. Ann and John were fans of Marks poems and also included some of them in their magazine and when Mark’s job finished in Loftus, he went to work with Ann on another Community programme in  Middlesbrough, using his new learned skills to produce the magazine ET (Extra Tenner) which was a stripped down version of the former Community Programme. Mark was commended by Prince Charles for this work and there’s press cutting to go with that.

Between 1988 and 1991 therefore Mark’s isolation as a local poet had been transformed in so many ways, now with his own publishing imprint, co-editor of two magazines, having worked on two related Community programme schemes and having learnt valuable skills and well published by the small presses, and taken a couple of steps towards performance poetry with music.In 1990 Mark appeared in the audience on a BBC2 Open Space Programme we made about the work of Outlet and Write Around. Unfortunately, despite hours of filming, the programme had to be edited down to a 10 min slot on a half hour programme about Community

 Arts Projects in the North East of England so we weren’t able to include all the local poets we would have liked to, including Mark but does at lest appear in it and was invited to join in a follow up  – which unfortunately never saw light of day.

From 1989, Mark had work published in the annual Write Around anthologies which had come out of the work of Outlet and Andy Croft, then a Literature tutor 

Mark Beevers 024
with Leeds University Centre at Harrow Rd. Middlesbrough, became editor of an Outlet inspired poetry page in the Middlesbrough

Mark Beevers 027

 Evening Gazette and between 1990 and 2000,Mark had many of his popular poems published in the Gazette. In 1992, Mark joined another employment scheme working on a Dormanstown Community Newspaper and created one for Saltburn called Saltburn Scene. Satlburn scene consisted of adverts, local information, a double page of local history or new age or rock music snippets and a Pen Pages mostly of his own poems but also some from contributors. Saltburn Scene went door to door in Saltburn on a monthly basis until around 2000.

In between time Mark had written lyrics for local bands and (while on yet another employment scheme – this time acting) began writing short humorous sketches – some of which were performed as part of the Stockton International Riverside Festival and later The Writers Cafe at ARC also in Stockton. He began attending a WEA drama writing course and developing his writing skills in various ways.

Around the mid to late 90’s Mark showed me a flyer from, I think Peace and Freedom magazine advertising for ‘poems that could be made into song lyrics for a band that are going to be bigger than the Stones” or to that effect. Although we thought that all new bands like to think they are going to be ‘bigger than the Stones’ Mark began sending loads of poems off like he had done with Outlet and talking about poet / lyricists like Jim Morrison etc. In early 2000’s Mark claims to have recognised many of his lines and verses in the work of the Libertines and some Babyshambles songs, although with no credit. This includes the song Albion, which Mark claimed was based on his poem Albion with additional lines from other of his poems and lines that weren’t his. Mark was narked but could consider at least that his work had made a contribution to something much bigger.

Towards the end of the 90’s, Mark was becoming restless in his home town and was looking to expand his horizons. I’d suggested to Mark (who, despite little or no qualifications was well read in literature, rock, ancient and local history and new age) that he consider doing a degree. At the time he wasn’t ready but in the late 90’s he came to me as said he was beginning to consider that option. Mark joined my Creative Writing class in Saltburn and Stiletto Pigeonetto, a performance poet who I’d helped to get on a Technical Writing degree course, and who was also in the writing group, helped to guide Mark towards the right course.I gave Mark a reference based on his involvement with Outlet, the course and the Cleveland writing movement and Mark began a three year degree course in Literature at Teesside University, writing a dissertation on the work of William Blake.

After completing his degree Mark moved to York and again I helped him get on the FE Teaching Course and Mark began teaching Creative Writing himself in York for WEA, and was a writer in residence WH Smith’s for National Poetry day and began a number of broadsheet publications in York, mostly containing his poetry and snippets of local hist of other pieces. Slatburn Scene came to an end and was replaced by the broadsheets like The Good Ship Albion.The Ship’s Log (Saltburn), York Shambles, Yarn Ship, Fulford Flyer, Fishergate Frigate, Scarcroft Flyer, Hesleton Harbinger, Knavesmire Navigator,Wilton Wayfarer, Micklegate Magic Ship, Hobgate Bohemian, Bootham Broadside, Holgate Flagship, (in Yorks) Port-Pattaya Transporter (Thailand).

Mid-noughties Mark emigrated to Thailand to teach English as a foreign language and has continued to write prolifically and publish his flyers and has recently enjoyed monthly publication of a page of his poems in a Pattaya Trade Newspaper with a circulation of 50,000.

Bob Beagrie – Poet, tutor, Literature Development Worker

Bob Beagrie is another example of a poet / writer who came through the work of Outlet in various ways and went on to make an outstanding contribution to the local writing scene himself.

Bob Beagrie needs no introduction to those on the present Creative Writing scene in the Tees Valley or even the North East or even nationally / internationally to an extent. However, it’s not so well known how Bob started out and it maybe a surprise to some to realise that once Bob was relatively isolated as a local writer like so many others.

Bob was a friend of Middlesbrough poet P.A. Morbid, probably one of the most innovative poets that contributed work to Outlet and although Morbid’s work a bit out of the box for some of the editors, I felt Morbid’s work, while a bit disturbing in places, was amazingly inventive and exciting. There was something of a Jim Morrison about him, something punk and rock n roll with something all of its own.

I was tutoring  a WEA Creative Writing class at Berwick Hills Library and Morbid had ‘threatened’ to turn up. I’d never met Morbid at that stage and didn’t know what to expect – I was thinking of leather jackets, chains and punk hairstyle. Quite different to the average WEA Writing student. Later when I met Morbid, his visual image was quite different to that imagined but still a fine poet although his style of writing has changed again.

Morbid never turned up to my class but on the bus there I noticed a young man with a long 50’s style coat and John Lennon glasses. That will be Morbid, I thought! I was looking out for anyone who looked different going in the same direction. Sure enough he got off at the same stop and made for the library. I stopped off to talk to the librarian about various practical things and went into the room. It was probably one of the few of my classes that didn’t recruit the required number. The term before we had had a full class but there were only a few and this young man was one of them.

“You’re probably thinking I’m Morbid” he said (or something like that!). He was a good mate of Morbid and had heard of the class through his contact with Outlet. He introduced himself as David Beagrie – later to be known as Bob Beagrie and as the class didn’t have the minimum number of students to run I directed him to one I was tutoring in Guisborough which he attended.

As they had bothered to turn up I did a session with the group and did a one to one with Bob. Bob was different to the other students in not only looks but in attitude. He took notes, asked a lot of questions and seemed to have a thirst for knowledge. He came from a working class estate and little of no qualifications at 21 but I was highly impressed with what he’d achieved already as a writer and he clearly wanted to build on it and that’s why he was there. Well, as Elvis would say  – he’d come to the right place! Bob had written sci-fi / horror novel which was being read by a publisher and had got on the Enterprise scheme as a writer and so was clearly determined to be a professional writer. I had to consider how I could help him, given he was way ahead of the many other students who came to classes.

Bob said ” Where can I go from the class?” Given his enthusiasm and initiative so far, I thought the degree course in Art and Creative Writing at the University of Crewe Alsager would be the right progression route for Bob. I wouldn’t have suggested to many of the other students at such an early stage but Bob seemed up for a challenge and it seemed to me he had what it would take. Crewe Alsager was one of the few Universities (along with East Anglia Uni) that did Creative Writing either as a BA or MA. (and given that Bob was instrumental in achieving and teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at Teesside University today – you can see the significance here). Bob agreed that was the way forward for him after we looked at the prospectus. It was another year before he’d get in so I suggested Bob come to the Guisborough class and get involved with Outlet and Write Around committees meanwhile and from that I’d be able to give him a reference to help him get in at Crewe Alsager.

Parallel Universe – drawing by John McGowan

Over the year (1989) Bob followed the plan and became an editor of Outlet, contributing poetry, writing a column and became publicity secretary for the Write Around committee. His first press release for Write Around hit the papers and Bob made other valuable contributions to Write Around in it’s first year. I involved Bob in a performance poetry night I was organising for Write Around in Saltburn – The Parallel Universe. I wanted to have spoken word jingles or rap pieces  mixed with music and effects through the PA in between the poets who read. It would be on the theme of The Parallel Universe so I thought Bob would be the right man with his interest in sci-fi writing etc. Bob came over to Saltburn with a number of pieces and we recorded them on a portastudio with me adding some synth effects etc.This was Bob’s first involvement in a mixed media performance as far as I know. I knew from a group of poets we had on at the Dovecot in the early 80’s who were on the Creative Writing courses at Crewe that performance was part of the work, so this seemed good experience. Bob’s writing for the Parallel universe was spot on.

After that Bob disappeared for three years to do his degree, returning with a 2.1. By the time Bob in the early 90’s returned Write Around was fully fledged, Andy Croft’s Leeds University Creative Writing programme had built on what I had achieved with WEA and with much wider resources /funding so that there were now more tutors and classes and they were free to attend. Cleveland now had an official Literature Development worker – were as I’d been it’s unofficial one for 10 years as Andy Croft once put it.

I pointed Bob to Leeds Uni with a view to him doing some creative writing courses for Leeds – he took over one I’d done for three terms at Thornaby while I tried one in a new area. Bob also did an MA in Literature at Teesside Poly. From there Bob didn’t look back as a writer, tutor or Literature Development official. He worked with a range of organisations in the area like Community Arts Middlesbrough and in 1997 did some workshops for a new festival I organised – Merlin’s Cauldron. In 1998 he became the literature worker for Buzzwords – created by Andy Croft and Mark Robinson (the former Cleveland Arts Literature development worker) and oversaw a development programme involving schools, community and much more. Some material from those days will be on here although my archives for that period are not extensive as it wasn’t one I was directly involved with – beyond doing a few workshops for them.

“ORIGINS OF IRON” By Willoughby and Beagrie
Buzzwords was a great success and when funding finished, Bob continued as Cleveland Arts Literature Development worker and did work for Creative Partnerships before landing a job at Teesside University where he created Kenaz magazine and ran performance nights and workshops and Ek u ban, an imprint he runs with Andy Willoughby. More recently, apart from building a refutation as a write and performer nationally and in Finland, Bob was instrumental in creating the MA in Creative Writing at Teesside University with Andy Willoughby and others.

Bob with Andy Willoughby have effectively built on the early work that was started by Outlet and Write Around and

Bob Beagrie and Shaune Lennox Poems and music

some of the earlier projects like Ann Wainwright’s Poetic Licence Collective and the Castalians. Some things have been lost along the way and new things have developed but the momentum has been carried forward and new Teesside Writers are not in the same situation as they were before the 1980’s when there were only a handful of writers groups and little more.

Middlesbrough Music Collective

The Middlesbrough Music Collective was supported and developed into a Community Cooperative with the support of Paul Hyde and Pete Roberts of Community Arts Middlesbrough and culminated in the creation of Studio 64 – a community recording studio in Middlesbrough. As mentioned in other posts on here, some of the writers’ groups, like Teesside Writers Workshop emanated from the same community arts base. There were often,therefore, collaborations between the writing and the music community. Stockton songwriter / performer Billy Oblivion (Gareth Lorraine) often took part in the Castalians / New Poetry Scene gigs at the Dovecot Arts Centre in the early to mid 80’s and also those of Teesside Writers Workshop – accompanying us up to Horden in Country Durham and Newcastle for gigs.

In another link up at St Mary’s Centre in Middlesbrough, the music collective held gigs with local bands and local

M’bro music collective compilation cover1984
 poets / writers such as the gig with Attila the Stockbroker and local poets from the Teesside Writers Workshop – including Mel McEvoy, Johnny Nicol, Stiletto Pigeonetto and Trev Teasdel and Duncan Rowe.

Another link up was via the Studio 64 recording studio – in the early 90’s a Creative Writing course tutored by Trev Teasdel and organised by Leeds University for Redcar Mind, recorded a spoken word album ‘Of Sound Mind’ with music and sound effects. (Details will be in a separate post with the audio).

M’bro Music Collective Compilation 1984
In 1984 the Middlesbrough Music Collective recorded their first Compilation album on cassette which included three local performance poets – Joe Flamingo (John Quinn) – a Lakeside poet who was studying at Teesside Poly and performed for both the Multi Media Society and the New Poetry Scene at the Dovecot in Stockton. Stiletto Pigeoneto – a popular Guisborough performer who who often performed with a band at the music collective as well as at many CND gigs and the New Poetry Scene. Nicky Edwards – who was more associated with the music collective.

In the noughties, the Middlesbrough and Stockton music collectives and

M’bro Music Collective Compilation 1984 2

 Studio 64 moved to the Green Dragon Yard in Stockton and were re-branded Tees Music Alliance. The Tees Music Alliance hosted The Writers Cafe at the Georgian Theatre, which had been previously held at the Arc in Stockton. At the Arc the Writers Cafe was run by Paul Williams, Trev Teasdel and Carmen Thompson 2004 – 2006 and by Trev Teasdel, Ann Wainwright and Ruby Diamond at the Georgian 2006 – 2008.

In the late 80’s Trev Teasdel (for WEA Middlesbrough Branch) got together with Dave John’s of the band Icy Eye to develop a course in songwriting to be held at Studio 64. For various practical reasons the course never came to fruition.

M’bro music collective compilation 1984 3

M’bro music collective compilation 1984 4

M’bro music collective Newsletter 1984

M’bro Music Collective newsletter 1984 (B)

New Poetry Scene and Teesside Writers Workshop are mentioned on the Music Collective Newsletter in 1984

Yarm Writers Group (P.L.O.Y.)

Yarm Writers Group (P.L.O.Y.)

Two Writers groups formed in Yarm from Trev Teasdel‘s WEA Creative Writing Course in 1989. An

evening one led by celebrated playwright and Horror writer Graham Farrow and a daytime group known as PLOY.

The group was initially split between being available in the evening and others in the day. There were also differences of approach. In the end the evening one folded as Graham got busy on his playwriting (which has now paid off as his plays are seen around the States and Europe). However Graham remained involved for a while with the day group and with the anthologies.

The day group met at Yarm Library where the class was held. The original group consisted of  former students of Creative Writing but after Write Around, include a wider intake of writers that had been involved in other groups or contributed to Outlet.

The group produced an annual anthology called Analects with a competition to generate new material, participated in the annual Write Around Festival.

Kenny Foxton – From an MP to a Cucumber Sandwich

Kenny Foxton was a Cleveland poet who, although he suffered from a mental illness, managed to make people laugh through his poetry and his bizarre performances. Despite all of the traumas he and his wife went through, he was always there with a bit of wisdom and a twinkle in his eye.

Kenny picked up a copy of Outlet in his local library in Middlesbrough and came around to see me, early 1987. Kenny brought a bunch of his poems for Outlet and was upfront about his illness. I could see Kenny was in need of kindred (poetic) spirits and encouragement and I invited him to join a forthcoming WEA Creative Writing class I was tutoring in Middlesbrough. 

In the class (at the Settlement -Middlesbrough) Kenny was amazing. Never a problem with Kenny in any way whatsoever. We knew, from what he told us that he suffered a great deal with his illness and so did his wife, but Kenny was always the gentleman, always funny, friendly, encouraging and inspired. While writers, who didn’t suffer in the same way as Kenny, poured out their grief about the stresses of life, Kenny made every one laugh with his hilarious odes.

He always claimed his poem Mouldy Old Haddock ( found at the foot of this post) wasn’t a metaphor for the way people sometimes treat those with mental illness, it could have been but was funny for itself.

Download Kenny’s book of poems “From an MP to a Cucumber Sandwich” in pdf form here

Kenny Foxton Eve Gazette Sat April 22 1989
Kenny lived in Easterside in Middlesbrough and was the poet laureate of St Lukes – the nearby mental hospital, regaling the ‘young ladies’ – nurses and in-patients with his odes (some of them weren’t that young but Kenny was ever the gentleman).

Kenny made no secret that he was working class Tory at the height of Thatcher’s regime and while we otherwise railed against the Poll Tax, everyone agreed full credit should go to Richard Holt – Tory MP for Langbaugh (Kenny’s constituency) for supporting Kenny in a way that gave him something to be proud of and helped to sustain him at a time when Kenny was struggling with not only his own demons but those of his wife – a fellow sufferer. That Kenny was able to give so much laughter and love to others while his own life was quite tragic was quite amazing.

In 1987 Kenny proudly appeared in the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette after publishing his book, dedicated Richard Holt MP, called From an MP to a Cucumber Sandwich.

The headline read –

Kenny Gazette article cont…
“Poems by a Hospital Patient Go to the Top.”
“A book of poems written by a Middlesbrough mental patient is to be presented to Health Secretary Kenneth Clarke”

Kenny, a former bookbinder, had funded his book himself and dedicated it to Richard Holt,  who had helped him and his wife (who had been enabled to live independently in the community) various ways. All proceeds went to Cleveland charities – including the Mental Support Group.

Richard Holt handed the book to Kenneth Clarke as an example of what mental patients can achieve. Kenny was popular and had already raised £40 (sale price £1.25) by the time the article was published. 

“I enjoy poetry that much, I didn’t want to make any profit from the book.” Said 46 year old Kenny, “who decided to publish after inheriting a small amount of money.”

“He said he dedicated the book to Richard Holt as he was one of the rare people who had treated him with respect”

“I have been a mental patient for 25 years” said Kenny “and people see you as a second class citizen, but Richard Holt treated me like a human being.” “The MP said he was deeply touched and admired the way Kenny was helping others despite his own problems.” Kenny told us that Margaret Thatcher herself had his poems.
A Fairy in the Wood – Kenny Foxton on BBC Radio Cleveland 1989
Kenny Foxton in Outlet 1987

After the WEA class Kenny went on to join Margaret Weir’s Phoenix Poetry Group, taking part in some of the spoken word performances but his big moment came during the second Write Around festival, by which time he’d developed an hilarious stage act called The Shy Viking Poet. There was nothing shy about Kenny who wore a viking helmet and had a risqué act to accompany his poetry. (see photo). Kenny also appeared on Radio Cleveland with the Phoenix Poets with a poem called Rastus the Gnome! Kenny was also published in Outlet and the Evening Gazette’s Noticeboard page and the Write Around Anthologies. Sadly Kenny passed away in the 1990’s, owing, we believe to his illness but his poems always had a wisdom or solace about them and still raise a smile. Here are a few and the book will be on here as a Pdf fi

A Mouldy Old Haddock by Ken Foxton

Here are a few of his poems –
A Mouldy Old Haddock graphic
Kenny Foxton in Outlet 10 1990