Mother of the Sea


There are a whole load of events, displays, projects and entertainments in Newcastle/Gateshead as part of the Great Exhibition of the North and I’ve tried to get to as many of them as I can. It’s been an exhilarating, entertaining and bold exploration of what the North means, what it has achieved and how it sees itself. And I’ve learned a hell of a lot, without feeling that I’ve been lectured to.

One particularly jaw-dropping piece of information reached my brain via a little green sign next to a brass microscope (on loan from the Science Museum Group) at the Great North Museum in Newcastle.

And yes, my photography is rubbish, but I’m putting the photo here anyway to prove it’s real. I’ve typed out the edited highlights below to save you from squinting too much …



” Kathleen Drew-Baker (1901-1957) Scientist, born Leigh, Lancashire. Studied Manchester University … known for her research on algae which led to a breakthrough in the commercial cultivation of edible seaweed. The Japanese call this Nori and use it to make sushi. Such was her impact, she is called Mother of the Sea in Japan and there is an annual festival in memory of her.’

How amazing is that? Mother of the Sea – I mean, kings and queens come and go, but Mother of the Sea …

A monument was also built to her at the Sumiyoshi Shrine in Uto, Kumamoto in Japan. If you’d like to read more, you’ll find it hereĀ