Archive for January 12, 2009

Hitler, Soccer Gleghorn and More

January 12, 2009 7 comments

Yesterday I heard someone describe Adolf Hitler as having been mentally ill owing to his intense self identification with Germany. That is an interesting statement but where does it leave Ushaw Moor’s local historians? They to tend to self identify with the locality in which they grew up, sometimes to an intense degree. I prefer to think that they, unlike Hitler, love their geographical and human roots in a sane way and appreciate that some future villagers will want to peer into the dusty highways that were trodden by Vicar Welby and thereby seek an understanding of the local people he met and conversed with.


Do we now need a local historian, or historians, to help future generations to understand miners and their families? Possibly not, bearing in mind that there is already much published literature that sets out the economic and social history of the many mining communities. However we must understand that history is under constant revision; generally at a macro level. Was Lord Londonderry fundamentally unpleasant or did he have more sides to him? Was Soccer Gleghorn really that good on the right wing?


There is the rub – there may, in the future, be several macro revisions concerning coal magnates and coal counties but at the micro level, such as Ushaw Moor, social and economic details can disappear into the fog of history and never get the airing that delights both local historians and family historians. We may secure a better understanding of big pictures but will we ever know just how good Soccer Gleghorn was?


You might wonder why I dwell on Soccer Gleghorn. I will tell you. He was the salt of the earth – he was the man that cleaned the windows – he was the man who presided over the right wing during that short period when the Ushaw Moor Football team punched well above its weight [to mix metaphors].In short Mr Gleghorn is a colourful character. Please let the future historians know just how good Soccer was on the football pitch by posting your verbal evidence onto this site.


Micro questions


There are lots of micro questions that historians will pose e.g. why did the Ushaw Moor Women’s Institute close down? I know that some of its records are at County Hall, so one day an enquiring mind may well be satisfied!


There is no doubt that several of the following people would have been aware of Vicar Welby in the 1920s – but what was their destiny? Did they all marry? Did they have their fair share of happiness? Tell us all about it if you can. Here are their names:

Bertha Chilton, Jane Stobart, George Chapman, John Dolphin, Jane Carling, Edward Payne, Susan Metcalfe, James Jennings, Margaret Stephenson, Joseph Tomlinson and Robert Elliot.


Back in the mid 1930s a very senior church official from Durham City gave a talk in the Ushaw Moor Memorial Hall. During his talk he expressed how impressed he was with Adolf Hitler. To be fair there were quite a few people in England who found Hitler impressive at this time; was it his drive to improve the German economy that impressed them? More to the point what did the Memorial Hall audience think of the speaker’s view of Hitler? I know that Mr Fawcett, then headmaster of Ushaw Moor County School, attended and his view would have been interesting. I remember him from the 50s, largely because I was asked to take one of my ‘compositions’ to him. I was a bit of a scribbler even then.


Wilf Bell

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