North East Life, July 2012: Maxim Brewery and Barbara Renton Wood

I’ve been busy this month, and had the pleasure of meeting people who are celebrating good things in the North East.

Brewing to the Max

Mark Anderson of Maxim Brewery

Mark Anderson of Maxim Brewery

It’s refreshing to hear of businesses and jobs regenerating, so it was lovely to meet Mark Anderson, of Maxim Brewery. Once, he worked at Vaux Brewery in Sunderland. But when it sadly closed, he and some colleagues decided to continue brewing some of Vaux’s most popular beers.

Now, he and a handful of colleagues have founded a new brewery in Houghton-le-Spring – and are so successful, that they are exporting their beer to China.

Read all about it in North East Life’s July issue,

The Art of Industry

Barbara Renton Wood at work

Barbara Renton Wood at work

I also enjoyed meeting Barbara Renton-Wood, who is enjoying a new career as an artist. She grew up on Teesside, and paints its dramatic skyline.

I always get a thrill when I approach Teesside and see that landscape of huge towers, bridges and flares. It’s a landscape of power and energy, manufacturing the raw materials for our modern comforts – and is a major export earner.

Barbara captures this energy and excitement in paintings full of strong lines and vibrant colours.

See more of Barbara’s work at

It’s a Masterpiece

Over in Northumberland, Margie Smart told of the joys of living in the former Hartburn Vicarage, that was once occupied by John Hodgson, who began the mammoth task of writing a six-volume history of the County.

She enjoys walking in the woods to an unusual grotto on the river bank – and these pleasures are available to others, as she now offers B&B to guests.

About Helen Johnson

Freelance Journalist specialising in features with a country flavour

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