Comments from Heaton History Group:

Hello Keith,
Many thanks for last night's interesting talk about the life of Jack Common. I especially enjoyed the poems.

Thanks again for a very enjoyable evening.
Ann Denton

Hello Keith

Thanks very much for your talk last week about Jack Common - it was a really good evening. 
Thanks and best wishes.


From Brian Hall:


On Wednesday night, after I had got rid of my 3 lovely daughters, so to speak, I landed at Chilingham Road School, Heaton, in Newcastle. Aye, I felt honoured. I had an opportunity to listen to Keith Armstrong talking about the life of one of the best writers, in my view, that ever was brought up in the world of this region.
Jack Common was his name. He was brought up in the streets of one small part of Tyneside, an area inhabited by poverty and passion, by the noise of railway engines helping to deliver all kinds of material South, and indeed, by normal but very tough lives of those who surrounded him as a bairn and teenager.
Ironically, Jack followed the destination route of some of those trains. To London. He had already learnt so much, about real community values, the socialism of the times in which he lived, and possessed an ability to be able to express that via his pen. At various stages of his life, Jack Common educated, advised, counselled - albeit, in a perhaps tense relationship, a bloke called Eric Blair, aka George Orwell. 
Of course, most people know about Orwell. Public school background. A man who tried to identify with the working class of his era - pottering into Spain, writing about being Down and Out in London and Paris, and not least the Road to Wigan Pier. George owed Jack a helluva lot on that last book alone, in terms of what it exactly meant to grow up in,  well.....the improverished but often determined communities of that England.
The honour of attending that event that commerrated the Life of Jack Common, who found his first educational experiences in the streets of old Heaton and at the Chllingham Road school itself, got better still.
You see, after hearing the excellent summary of Jack's life - this blog is far too limited in space to even outline - I had another honour. I met the Common family, the common folk, eh. The son, Peter, the daughter, Sally, and the grandson, Tom. 
Those 3 people, from their different angles and takes, are very proud that Jack Common is remembered by increasing numbers in, not just Heaton itself, but actually, across increasing pockets of North East England.
I will keep up those notes for another day, and simply, for now, put down how I felt about that special occasion. At the Chillingham school, Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle, which took place on Wednesday night.
I write this from the heart. I did take a lot of notes in order to place a constructive, meticulous blog together. And I thought ..oh buggar that
Brian Hall
the ps.............too many to add, so I will stick with one. The words from Keith Armstrong himself in his talk. So-called ordinary people all have a story to tell, and some can write up those stories. Jack was certainly one of those people - common, aye. A brilliant writer generally unrecognised by the London intellectual art elite for sure. But believe you me, he was an equal in comparisons to the writings of George Orwell.   Check his works out.    tarah

Final word from Tom Furnival-Adams (Jack Common Facebook Page):
Great evening of Jack Common-related oratory treats from Dr Keith Armstrong last night. Thanks to Heaton History Group for organising, Chillingham Road School for hosting, Kiddar's Luck for their musical contribution, and everyone who came for attending.

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur