“March came in that winter like the meekest and mildest of lambs, bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine.” ― L.M. Montgomery

Ushaw Moor Memories on Twitter & Facebook

January 14, 2010 5 comments

To Join this BLOG and be able to add your  OWN Postings simply click WordPress LOGO below, requesting to join; and I will send you an invitation email; or click HERE.

UM Memories newest POSTS on Twitter @ushawmemories

Facebook PAGE  http://tinyurl.com/ydhou2q

BLOG maintained by Paul Clough

Follow me on Twitter SIGN UP

Find out whats going on in YOUR area
Categories: Announcements Tags: ,

Time and space – memories.

September 5, 2016 2 comments

I watched the TV programme presented by Professor Brian Cox in relation to Space/Time.  He pointed out that the Earth in its orbit around the Sun travels at appromately 66,000 miles per hour.  At the same time the Earth is spinning on its axis  at 1,000 miles per hour slowing gradually towards the Poles.  Any sense of motion yet?

Our Solar System takes 225 million years to complete an orbit of our Galaxy.  So it takes the Earth being held by the Suns gravity the same period of time to complete the orbit.  Mathematicians have worked it out that the Sun is travelling through space at an astonishing speed of 483 thousand miles per hour.  So we have three speeds to get our head around.

1. Earth/Sun orbit 66,000 miles per hour.

2. Earths spinning on its axis approximately 1,000 miles per hour.

3. Our Solar System orbit of our Galaxy 225 million years at speed of 483,000 miles per hour.  Confused yet.

So if we think of an event which happened two hours ago across the road we think we are still in the same place where it happened.  We are in one sense but in another we are not.  Still with me?  Since the event happened two hours ago  the Earth in its orbit around the Galaxy has travelled 483,000 x 2 equalling  960,000 miles.  So the memory happened almost 1 million miles away in the past.  Got your head around that?  Yet in another sense you are still sitting fifty yards away from where it actually happened.  Rather confusing.  So when I was eight years old and was standing underneath the wooden bridges which carried the railway across the New Brancepeth road terrified by the screaming of the timbers carrying the weight of the train and the thought of the bridge collapsing on my head that place minus the bridges is still there.  However the earth plus the bridge (still with me?) was the number of hours in seventy years times 483,000 miles  back in its orbit around the Galaxy so that particular event happened billions of miles away in space.

So memories are just not about time but also as Brian Con puts it they are also about Space   The earth stays on its annual orbit around the Sun but the Sun due to gravity is dragging the Earth along with it through its Galactic orbit so where we are now in Space where no one has been before.

Life is complcated.


Categories: housing, Memories

Number 13

September 5, 2016 1 comment

I have been on Facebook and reading an entry about Fir Park. One post asked why there was no number 13. Shortly after the Second World War the Government announced a building programme to build millions of Council houses now referred to as Social Housing. Brandon and the whole of the Deerness Valley Was in the area of the Brandon and Byshottles Urban District Council as the local Council was then known. The Council employed an Architect at that time named Fred Hedley. Mr Hedley designed most of the Council houses built in the area since the 2nd World War. The first house to miss the number was 13 Victoria Court. Mr and Mrs Gillon with Gordon, Dennis, Owen and Malcolm moved into number 12 and next door was Mr and Mrs Smaith and the twins Arthur and Albert and Ken at number 14. This omission was a source of local gossip and I remember the explanation for the omission was that Fred Hedley as he was referred to disliked number 13 hence the omission. Victoria Court was the first phase completed followed by Whitehouse Court then Bracken Court. After completion part of the wood was ripped out and the Oakridge Road area was then developed. Oakridge Road was beautiful when first built, open and a lot of grass. Now in this modern world the beauty of the area is spoiled by numerous parked vehicles, but that applies to most places now. Incidentally Fred Hedley won a National Award for the design of and old persons complex on the left of Newhouse Road in Esh Winning before Newhouse St. Mary’s Church. My family were amongst the first sixteen families to move into the new estate in January 1947. The last four houses and the first eight houses in Whitehouse Court and the last four houses in Victoria Court were the first houses lived in. We moved into 38 Victoria Court. Brian Mc.

Categories: housing, Memories

Memory is a fantastic part of our make up

I was working in the garden on the Friday afternoon of the Sunderland Air Show. It was a warm, clear sunny afternoon and the sky was busy with the aircraft from the Show and the traffic in and out of Newcastle Airport. Then – a sound from the past. I knew before I searched for the aircraft in the sky what make and age it would be. There in its fantastic design was an aircraft special in my memory – a de Havilland vampire jet aircraft. I was fortunate over the weekend as the aircraft flew over Hebburn on a number of occasions and I was able to spot it a few times.

The connection with Ushaw Moor?

It was on another sunny afternoon when I was a lad at school that I first heard the sound of a jet aircraft. It was afternoon playtime and as usual I was in the school field of St. Joseph’s. The skies in those days were pretty busy with aircraft – mostly aircraft of the Royal Air Force. These aircraft were piston engined aircraft whose engines were familiar sounds to everyone. The sound that we heard was the roar of a jet engine for the first time , now a very familiar sound.

Everyone was talking and pointing at the aircraft as it engine with its unfamiliar sound hurtled across the sky faster than any aircraft we had ever seen. We had heard of jet aircraft which came into service with RAF in 1945. The other jet aircraft which soon became a familiar sight was the Gloster Meteor. These two aircraft were the backbone of the RAF for a number of years after the Second War. It was the design of the twin fuselages connecting the tail which made the Vampire special.

Brian Mc

Urgently Needed: Sack Bell And Get A Fresh Take

June 3, 2016 3 comments

It is true that in the past I have issued two false alarms about my departure from this site but this time it is absolutely on the money. It is time for me to go. Although it has been a lovely ten years in your company I have pressing needs in other corners of the galaxy well away from Ushaw Moor.

You see,  I have about twenty people to impress in a few months time. They expect fabulous food prepared by my wife and I that will amount to a miracle and a theatrical delight.The diners will need to switch off their mobiles just prior to the performance. I also have  essays to complete and they are very time consuming and rather different in nature to the material I have provided on this site! If that was not enough I have a family history project to crank up.

In my opinion the site does need one or more guest writers on the WordPress facility in order to keep the momentum going. I feel that in doing so such writers will help Paul in his sterling effort to keep the whole site fresh. As I see it would be useful if such a writer or writers could explore and prompt readers [rather more than I have done] regarding  the period from about 1960.

The preceding paragraph is just my opinion. When all it said and done it is Paul that owns and runs the site.




Categories: Memories

Laker And Lock

May 31, 2016 Leave a comment

I recall a lovely family holiday by the seaside in Redcar back in the 1950s. Then the minute we arrived back in Ushaw Moor on went the television so that I could witness the destruction of the Australian cricket team by all spinning all confusing Jim Laker. His spinning partner Tony Lock turned the page for him and even took the other wicket; 19 to Jim and one to Tony.

The point is, I am slowly going senile. I can recall top spinners of the time: Laker, Lock, Wardle and those brief fireflies Ramadhin and Valentine yet I cannot name one current England spinner, even though I am still very interested in the English cricket team.

For that matter I cannot name one current Australian cricket player, yet I admire them. Frightening! Except that it is not frightening because my defence mechanism tells me that life is utterly ridiculous and therefore I should stop worrying about key words missing from my vocabulary, such as bucket and spade, and get on and enjoy the seaside.

Back in the 1950s umpires at the Ushaw Moor ground would wear  very long white coats that were more suited to selling ice creams, especially so on hot days when the sun blazed down on to the pitch. Did the area of the pitch at the Station Road end slope down towards the wickets then? It certainly did a few seasons ago and it provided some problems for the young Langley Park opening bowler.

My grandmother [the one that would not have been impressed by Gene Kelly] was one of the tea ladies at the club for many years. Ham sandwiches, salmon sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, buttered scones with lashings of jam to spare and all provided for MEN. No women cricketers, and why? No doubt because of a total lack of imagination by a collection of people that included teachers, league officials and well….girls.

When my grandparents celebrated 50 years of marriage the local paper took the opportunity to give them a write up: about 250 words devoted to dear grandfather yet Mrs Hope…..made the teas at Ushaw Moor Cricket Club.




Categories: Memories

Dr D M O’Flaherty

May 31, 2016 3 comments

There must be many stories to relate about a doctor that was much respected in Sleetburn and Ushaw Moor. I am not your man for relating them because I was a child of the valley, not an adult, during what must have been his later years in the villages.

What can you tell us? What did your mother and  father tell you about him? I am starting you off with D and M; it might have been Dennis or perhaps David, surely not Denzil; and Michael is my best shot at his second forename with Martin on the sub’s bench.

I do know that he was my mother’s doctor and he helped her through the trauma of the menopause, a term used to describe the time in a female’s life when psychological and physical changes occur owing to reduced production of oestrogen hormones.

I also know that he lived in West View New Brancepeth, at least for sometime. He was an associate member of the Burns Federation [i.e. relating to the poet not the beloved American comedian] and the source for that is  the Burns Chronicle, 1965 edition. I believe he also had an administrative connection to the New Brancepeth Infant/ Primary school but I might be wrong about that.

So not much to start you off but at least it’s a start. Let’s have a ‘let us hear it month’ for the doctor. Was he a whisky drinking [off duty] doctor that gave you safe passage to the valley? What did he look like? Did he have any resemblance to the TV Doctor Cameron of circa the late 1950s?


Categories: Memories

Arthur Gill And Thomas Marne Have Moved Me

May 29, 2016 6 comments

TWO MEN KILLED IN DURHAM PIT EXPLOSION ran the front page headline in the Sunderland Echo published on Monday, November the 14th 1932.

There were several heroes involved but above all it was the actions of Mr Gill and  Mr Thomas Marne that have especially impressed and moved me.

Arthur Gill was 22 or 23 years old and had married just a month earlier. There were two explosions and although the first one almost knocked Mr Gill out cold he was able to shout to  John Thomas Nattress to telephone for help. He also told him that he was going to look for his mate William Timmins and try and get him away from danger.

William Timmins [of 5 East Terrace] was in his early thirties and married with three children. He had only just returned to the pit after a month of sickness. Tragically he was killed in the second explosion as was Arthur Gill.

Thomas Marne, a deputy overman, had been the first to arrive. He took his muffler from his neck, soaked it in water from a bottle and placed it over his mouth and nose. After tremendous efforts he brought Arthur Gill out and tried artificial respiration on him but Gill was dead. He then tried to reach Timmins but was driven back by gas on several occasions.

Other colliery personnel involved in the rescue attempt included:

Brooke Hurst, a hewer of Esh Winning;  Charles Seed, deputy overman of  Ushaw Terrace; Frederick Hutchinson, hewer of Ushaw Terrace; Christopher Parks, stoneman of Dale Terrace; and Richard Francis, putter, of South View, Ushaw Moor. The spellings of names on this list are taken on trust.

Additional notes:

Despite several sources indicating that the spelling Timmons is appropriate I tend to think that the spelling Timmins is probably correct because the 1911 census has a William Timmins, aged about 10, living at 34 Hepworth Street New Brancepeth in the houshold of father James [born Cornsay] and Margaret Timmins  [born Stanley Co. Durham]. It further states that there were nine children but very sadly four were lost before they got started; such deaths were far from uncommon at that time.

In the case of Mr Gill it looks like he was living with his family in Esh Winning at the time of the 1911 census. As an aside his father was born in Stanley and his mother in Cornsay thus a family origin  opposite to that of Mr Timmins parents.

Needless to say corrections are most welcome.








Categories: Memories

Harsh Voice Down The Decades

May 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Back in about 1960 my grandmother Hope made a comment that I can more or less still recall: the gist of it seems  unremarkable now. She was looking out of the living room window at 11 George Street, Esh Winning, at the time of her inexplicably memorable comment, and said:

‘Oh that girl call over there is showing some life now that she has a boyfriend. She was always dozy before he came along’.

How unkind was that? Perhaps the girl had suffered a bout of depression. Or maybe she was in mourning. No doubt you can offer further reasons for appearing dozy.

Anyway, it seems to me that my grandmother would not have been moved by Gene Kelly’s excitement as he sang in the rain during what was a glorious feeling of being in love.

I have two further points to make; although Esh Winning is not Ushaw Moor, and therefore might excite members of the Cluff police station, my grandmother did spend  most of her life in the Sleetburn and  Ushaw Moor villages and therefore ought to have been influenced to the good by that; secondly I wonder about the identity of the girl. Perhaps you can all walk up to 11 George Street and narrow down the likely dwelling that housed the girl in love and take it from there.



Categories: Memories

The Carse Lads And Their Beloved Sunderland

May 15, 2016 1 comment

Coal miner Tommy Carse was my wiry and hardworking uncle. He smiled a lot, loved his family and had twinkling eyes that did him no harm at all. My mother loved his humour and warmth. I saw him through the eyes of a child but I was old enough to form the opinion that he was a good man and I was right about that.

So it gives me great pleasure to know that his sons Ian and Malcolm are currently in a good mood about football. Sunderland AFC has survived. The team is still a Premier League outfit. That pleases me because it pleases them.

Which brings me on to Newcastle United. Vibes all wrong. Milburn betrayed by the semi permanent farce that is Newcastle United. It is a misery that has unfolded for decade after decade.Fans betrayed big time.I have seen Newcastle play Derby County twice, both times at Newcastle. 1-0 and 2-0 wins for Derby. Much personal joy but I was sad for Newcastle’s brilliant supporters. They were, and always will be, brilliant until the sun explodes; they deserve much more, as do Derby County fans.




Categories: Memories

Your Advice To School Leavers?

May 14, 2016 Leave a comment

We all need advice from time to time but youngsters surely have a special need to know what it is like out there. Teachers have the intellect to help with that task but not all of them necessarily have the time or experience to do so. I also doubt that they  have the professional authority to tell it how it really is.

We have some splendid amateur writers and commentators on this site and armed with our rich and varied memories we bleat with a warm and sentimental glow that can be very enjoyable. But surely all those memories and reflections need a positive conclusion and outlet that can be helpful to the youngsters.

When I was a child growing up in Ushaw Moor I had a healthy respect for authority but by its nature  it was not a thoughtful process. You did what you were told because otherwise you were a trouble maker. We know that our country is significantly corrupt and that comes at a time when our Prime Minister dares to comment on countries even more corrupt.

As a kid I thought that most of the adults I met were self confident in every way. But they seldom were in reality. The world really is a stage and there is a lot of acting going on. There is a lot of b… s….. going on as well and I will leave you to list the bull’s activity.

So, we loved sledging down the bank; we loved playing football  and knocky nine doors; we loved conkers; we loved fireworks and Denis the Menace etc etc.

Let us now carefully and lovingly work out what to tell our youngsters. Then tell it.Do not restrict it to ‘work hard play hard.’ Although that would be a handy start.






Categories: Memories