Home > Memories > Ushaw Moor Memories in the Forties and Fifties part 2

Ushaw Moor Memories in the Forties and Fifties part 2

Before I continue with my memories of  the village in the forties and fifties I have been looking at Kelly’s directory’s entries for Ushaw Moor up to 1938 when unfortunately they come to an  end and I thought you might be interested in some of the entries connected with the businesses I have already mentioned.

In 1902 Ushaw Colliery Post office was  run by Mr. Frank Proctor , whose family came to have a close connection with the village in my time.The Russell family had the post office in 1910 and still had in the early sixties.The Bell family ran Cockhouse farm from 1902 with Mr. John Bell running the farm as bailiff to Pease and Partners who owned the colliery.Henry Watson,presumably the forerunner of Stan Watson’s,had a stationery shop in Station Road from 1902.Lizzie Hope established the fishop in Temperance Terrace by 1934 after first opening a grocer’s shop there.Joe and Fred Lowery,Fred Parkinson and Mr. Alderson were all in business by 1925 and Surtees,the greengrocer’s ,was operating as early as 1921.With regard to Joe and Fred I wonder if they took over the business of  the well known local firm of Dimambro who had a shop in the village in 1914.I also noted that back in 1910 Richard Hope had “refreshment rooms” -any link to you Wilf?

I got as far as the Club Hall in my previous account.Behind the club was the “Rec” where we used to pay football and cricket as teenagers.It was a case of using jackets as goalposts and then getting on with a game.When younger the appeal was the swings or the roundabout or the seesaw.There was also a “horse” which as far as I can remember never worked. The best item,however, was something which was basically a plank of wood with provision for seats with steel supports linked to a frame and it was worked by by 2 people,one at either end who forced the plank backwards and forwards through the air and at times it seemed as if it was about to take off.I don’t know what it was called -it was not a “shuggy boat” -all I know it was exciting.Children came from all parts of the village to play there.There was also a community hall in the grounds of the “Rec”.I seem to remember it was a green, wooden hut and I always link the “Over 60’s” with its use.Mr. and Mrs. Jones who lived in Oakridge Road were two prominent members.I never dreamt I would reach an age when I could have joined, but I suppose it is better than the alternative.However,all these facilities have now gone and replaced by a housing estate.I remember there were protests when the housing estate was first mooted but to no avail.It seems that the protests failed on a technical point.In my opinion they were justified as the basketball court which is now there is to me a poor substitute.We did like to play football on the Catholic school field which had proper goalposts but were usually chased off by each and every priest throughout  the years I lived in the village,but we did live in hope we could get away with it!

The “Rec” was separated from the Recreation Ground proper by a fence so you had to go back out and enter via Highfield Terrace.The first thing to note as you went through the gate were two hard court tennis courts which were overlooked by the community hall.You walked down past these to where the groundsman had his office.I remember two groundsmen,firstly Jackie Towns  who I think lived opposite us in Hunter Avenue and  then his successor Billy Ayre,father of Raymond and Valerie. Here you paid for the use of the tennis courts or for a round of putt or a game of bowls.In the late 50’s the bowling green was converted into grass tennis courts as at Wimbledon.Tennis was most popular at the time of the Wimbledon championships.They seemed to encourage people to get out and play.I usually played with friends Robert Clarkson,John Burke and Alan Grainger, but there was an older set consisting of my brother George,George Cowper, who went on to be mayor of Durham, Kenny Snaith, Duggie Dunn, Albert Whitfield, Greta Turnbull,Barbara Shuker and Audrey Wood.The girls who went to the grammar school were always the best turned out,dressed in their whites-Val Cook, Valerie Wilson, Gwen Lewis and Marion Mountain all come to mind..After a game we usually had a small bottle of  Wood and Watson’s pop which was kept in the office.I can’t say we were brilliant players  even though  we imagined ourselves to be Lew Hoad or Ken Rosewall or Pancho Gonzales but we really enjoyed it.The summer of 1959 was one of the best  on record and the tennis went  on through September.The office was at the back of a large hut which also was the cricket pavilion with changing rooms.These were also used for football teams and were entered from the front.There was a ladder to the upper floor where the scorer sat and one of the minions,sometimes me,put the numbers out onto the scoreboard.John Hope,my next door neighbour in Hunter Avenue, was scorer for a while.Mention has already been made of the cricket team on this site but the players I remember best were Gordon Thompson, the professional, Alf Gillespie, George Graham,my cousin,big Frank Proctor and John Mcdermott , who I think modelled himself on Fiery Fred Trueman and really hurtled the ball down.The football team has also had extensive coverage on the site and suffice to say they had very good team for much of the time and drew big crowds in the post-war years.One fixture sticks in my mind when Sunderland “A” team came to play and I found my allegiance stretched.John McSeveny ,who played some games for the Suderland first team,played in the fixture.There is just one last thing to mention in this section and that is the grossly smelly gents’ toilet which was tucked away on the left as you looked down at the pitches.I am not surprised it has gone!

Coming back from the ground we come to Arthur Lough’s shop and workshop where we could buy shoes and have repairs done.The workshop was at the back and I see it is all bricked up now.The shop is now the Chop Suey.Arthur’s business did very well as people could not afford to buy many new shoes so it was a case of do and mend.Lough’s business was operating here as early as 1910.His daughter Rosemary was in my class.

Going down Staion Road we come to Mr. and Mrs.  Luke’s fishop.The daughter was called Violet and apparently her parents came up on the football pools in the late 50’s but i don’t know if this was true.

Below Luke’s my memory is rather hazy.Obvious places stand out like the Salvation Army Hall which was built in 1910.The Salvation Army had a strong following and I remember most Sunday mornings the band would be playing in some part of the village.George Cowper and his dad were prominent members as were Mr. and Mrs. Smith who lived opposite us in Oakridge Road.Mr. Stuckey was listed as treasurer to the Salvation Army in 1925.

Other businesses were the Albion House  which was in operation in 1910 and the Station Hotel which was open in 1902.Across the road was Brough’s which as operating in 1914 as “Brough and Sons” so it too was a long  established firm.My cousin Alf worked here in the fifties on deliveries and another cousin Vera Graham also worked there.Sid Brown’s bakery was just up from there.He had a son called Derek.Near there was also a sweetshop.

There was also a blacksmith near the railway station and had been as early as 1902.I remember that in the Forties he made me and other boys a “booler” and “hook”i.e a metal hoop which we controlled with the hook and ran everywhere with it.They have these at Beamish Museum but there the hooks are fixed to the hoop which to me makes them more difficult to manage or it could just be old age.Anyway I loved my “booler” and hook and when I describe them to people down south they shake their heads but I don’t know whether it is in wonder!!!!!!!!The blacksmith also had plenty of work supplying horseshoes as businesses still used horses to conduct their trade.We even had people coming around with horse and trap offering short rides to children.
I would have a better memory of businesses at the bottom of  Station Road if the passenger railway had not been closed in October 1951.My ambition was always to go the”tec” in South Street, Durham after my brother George passed the 11 plus to go there in 1945.The attractions were to wear” a satchel on my back”,to learn German and to go by train to school.The train used to come down from Waterhouses,pick up at Esh Winning and then at Ushaw Moor where pupils from New Brancepeth also joined.You can imagine my disappointment when after only  six or seven weeks the train was taken off and we were taken to school by Kingsway buses from Langley Park.This only lasted until 1954 when the new school was built at Crossgate Moor(about to be demolished) and we had to get the number 43 service bus as we lost our entitlement to a free service since the new school was closer to Ushaw Moor.The fares were low but still a sizeable chunk from the  equally low wages at that time but I don’t remember any protest which I think would happen now.

Coming up Station Road, past Ushaw Villas we arrive at “The Empire”.It was defintiely my favourite cinema.It had an adjoining sweet shop and you went down steps to the box office.There was a downstairs and an upstairs where I only went as I got older,The back row was reserved for courting couples but I never actually got there.The most poular showing was “second house” on a Saturday evening and you often had to form a queue which went along the front of the sweetshop and down the back opposite Lowery’s the drapers.Certain films come to mind like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind” and I have written already of my love of cowboy films, but I ought to mention Tarzan films as they were very popular ,especially with Johnny Weissmuller and not Lex Barker.If our parents were short of money we used to collect pop bottles which had a deposit on them and take them back to the shop to get the deposit back to pay our entrance money-once again environmentally friendly-no plastic bottles then!Like the Club,Lowery’s and the old school it is a shame to see them all go  as they were part of our heritage and no douibt the cleared sites are awaiting some housing development when the market picks up again.In the meantime they look a mess.

Lowery’s the drapers was a long established business and continued through to the eighties.My cousin Vera worked there many years. I can only think of one other  business at the time and that was Walter Wilson’s in Oakridge Road which was in a prefabricated building ,just behind Chestnut Grove.The store was opened by Len Shackleton, the so-called “Clown Prince of Soccer”, and a footballing genius.

Further along Esh Road road was and still is the Baptist Chapel where I was christened.I went to Sunday school there for years and the highlight of the year was Anniversary Day when relatives came along to hear a recitation of a “piece” which we had learnt off by heart,usually a piece of poetry or perhaps a religious text.We all had clothes which were dubbed the “Sunday best” which were reserved for Sundays.I stayed at the chapel until I joined the Church Lads’ Brigade and switched allegiance to the C. of E.I really enjoyed the brigade with all the activities on offer at the Church Hall which was next to St. Luke’s.We also had a very smart uniform which we wore with pride especially marching along Esh Road behind the bugles and drums.Sundays were usually very quiet in Ushaw Moor ,as anywhere else.About the most energetic thing was a walk up to the college.I liked going to the cinema but I never went on a Sunday until the late fifties as it was not the done thing and when I did I felt really guilty.

Then we come to the “Tute”(Institute) based in the Memorial Hall where we played snooker and to a lesser extent table tennis.Snooker had a very bad image then but I enjoyed playing.We had real bats and a net for the table tennis as opposed to playing at home where we piled up books in the middle of the drop-down table to use as a net and used books as bats.It sounds sacrilegious but it worked.It’s a game I have returned to in the last few years to keep fit-it is a good “cardiovascular exercise” in the modern parlance .Bob Bell was in charge and he was very strict but I suppose he needed to be.

Leaving the village was Bell’s farm and the “chapel on the hill” which has been written about elsewhere on the site.Myself and my friends enjoyed going out to Broadgate where we spent many a happy hour catching “tiddlers”.Mr. Osborne ran a farm there until very late in life.

There was,of course, Ushaw Colliery, which I know very little about.My cousin Alf would be able to tell some good tales about the housing and people there.All I know is  from my father that the rentman there was a German . When he knocked on the doors and shouted”rent” the people used to shout “caal back”.

Sorry Alf about the mags going down.

John Graham

Categories: Memories Tags: , ,
  1. wilfb
    May 26, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    What I particularly like about this article [and there is a lot to like] is the tremendous amount of detail. I will print off part 1 and part 2 for my family history file.

    Richard Hope is my great,great, grandfather. Lizzie Hope is also a relative. Actually if you Google – Richard Hope Ushaw Moor – you get a full history of the mortgage details on the fish shop at 2 Temperance Terrace!

    You are right to say that cricket and football are covered on site. Much detail of the old cricket team is there to see for those who look for it.

    As for Len Shackleton he was clearly a busy man in Ushaw Moor – having opened the refurbished hairdresser’s as well!

    Thank you for a remarkable article – but do not forget to put your name or initals next time – you are entitled to a little recognition. A lot of time and patience has gone into this article – thank you. Hopefully there will be a next time.

    • frank clarke
      January 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Hello wilf you are right about the clown prince being busy as he also opened the small metal Walter Wilsons at the top of Chestnut grove regards Frank Clarke

  2. Alf Rothwell
    May 26, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    John,Great Stuff!! I did not work at Broughs I started work on the monday after leaving school on the friday at New Brancepeth Co-op in 1954.You mentioned Dany Hume working at the Co-op in Durham Road, his name was Dany Humm and was my first (boss) manager in Unthank Tce, a great man. He collapsed twice in my arms, once when we were working late and once when we were walking up to catch the bus to Ushaw Moor, I was warned not to tell his wife they lived in Durham Road. He was a proud man and his son worked at Westool in West Auckland. Regarding Ushaw Moor Colliery I think there were about 5 streets, when we lived in East Tce the house next door was totally gutted by fire it belonged to the Stowells family. Another time I remember when Yorkie the carthorse fell in a massive hole in the road when delivering coal.People were being moved to Ushaw Moor new houses such as Whitehouse Court, Victoria Court and Bracken Court and I can recall the street lighting being very poor and some of the older lads in the colliery used to hide in the empty houses and frighten the young kids as they passed.Nearly everyone in the colliery new each other and the school kids had to walk to school at Ushaw Moor. When I wanted to go to the pictures our older relations would take me and when we were walking back home the used to frighten the living daylights out of you, especially after seeing “King Kong” at the Empire. I still have two books from 1946 & 1947 for reciting at the Anniversary in Esh Road Methodist Sunday School.John, why did you mention the mags going down? you have just spoiled my day. Cheers, Alf R

  3. frank clarke
    May 30, 2009 at 9:47 am

    fabulous article I remember the putters that mr ayre had my word ! and some of the golf balls were almost round and the notice on the wall Would the person who lost a ten shilling note on the field on saturday please form a queue outside the pavillion

  4. john graham
    June 1, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Thaks Alf for the comments-sorry I got those facts wrong about Brough’s and Danny Humm-I notice on the 1911 census he was born in 1905-still it is an unusual name but as you say he was a great bloke-always pleasant.Was his son called Stephen?

  5. Alf Rothwell
    June 9, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    John, I have tried to remember Danny’s sons name, but failed. I am sure Danny’s wife was called Ivy, but not 100% sure. Alf

  6. joan fullard
    June 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I was born and lived for 6yearsdown the bank at cassop.in 1937 we moved up the bank to luke avenue no.25. my name is joan robinson. my mother was salvation army.she died in 1939. after being scolded all over her body. my father was john. he worked at kellow collery as a loco driver he was also a methodist preachers. my sister were edith,margaret, mary and maud, does anyone remember the robinson guost in 1938. we moved from cassop school. my father remarred in 1941. he had 2 sons in 1942 and cecil in 1947. in 1949 they all moved to live in coxhoe people that would know us will be grans+grandads.

  7. Adrian Ross
    November 4, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    My connection with Ushaw Moor is I am a cousin of Valerie Snaith, my maternal grandfather was John Bell of Cockhouse farm, my paternal grandfather was steward of “Cub House” in Ushaw Moor. I lived in New Brancepeth until 1955 when along with Mum & Dad & brother Duncan emigrated to Australia. I have been back to England a couple of times and am again coming in June 2010. I certainly enjoy visiting Ushaw Moor cricket club where my fathers photo is still on the wall. would enjoy meeting you during my visit.
    Kind regards

  8. abr1939
    November 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I worked with Eddie Ross at New Brancepeth Co-op and his parents had the Club at the bottom of station road. He was a good footballer and cousin to Raymond Ayre is he related to you?

    • November 10, 2009 at 10:23 am

      Hi ABR,,, I have added you as an author,,, if you have the time and the inclination have a go at writing your own memories. My grandfather was Gilbert Ayre from, Sleetburn. My mother is Margaret Clough (Ayre).

      BTW Please include your name when posting so we know who we are talking to.


  9. abr1939
    November 10, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks Paul, I will try and sort myself out and have a go at writing something.I can remember your grandads name, I am sure he played cricket.There was a JP called Ayre, I am sure he lived in Pringle Place. Regarding the name Clough, I knew Derek and Alan Clough that went to Ushaw Moor County School. Alf Rothwell

  10. Sharon Shaw
    May 20, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Hello there, you mentioned (may 26, 2009) about the well known local firm Dimambro – I am doing my family history and my grandmother Benedetta Dimambro lived there and her father (my great grandfather)Vincenzo Dimambro had a shop at Station Road, Ushaw Moor. There may have also been other members of the Dimambro family living there? I wonder do you know anyhting about them – it is going back to C.1914. What I would like to know is what number station road their shop was as I would like to track down the property. Would there be anyway of finding a picture of Station Road? in which the shop may be visible. I do hope you may be able to help – Kellys – 1914 mentions their shop but no property number. Thanks for any help – Sharon.

    • May 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Hello Sharon and welcome aboard, I have no more information myself on Dimambro family, other than that is already on the site. Am sure however that other members will be able to help. Did u know what number Staion Road they lived, there is pictures of station road on the main site at http://www.UshawMoor.org.uk The pics on site are http://is.gd/qLOejy and http://is.gd/0GNQtb

      the photos are also on the Facebook PAGE at http://www.facebook.com/ushawmemories

      • Sharon Shaw
        May 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

        Hello, thank you for speedy response! It is the number of the property I am looking for. It is strange there is no number listed only street! I contacted Durham Rec office and they gave me the details of entry in 1914 directory – but I would like to find out if the property/shop still there today. Dimambros were in several villages as well as Durham City – but Ushaw Moor is one I know little about. Another family link there is the George family – who also lived on station road Ernesto George/Antonio George? I believe they ran a confectioners there in the past. I will look up the photos as you suggest – am new to these forums – getting to know slowly how to acces info from them. – Thank you again for your helpful reply – best wishes, Sharon.

  11. May 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I guess the property will still be there,, the club was demolished,, but all others still exist, why don’t you check out google maps. Use this link and you will be able to track up the road http://g.co/maps/cjvj7

    • Sharon Shaw
      May 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

      yes have checked google maps but without knowing number of street I am unable to pin it down. Thanks, Sharon. Obviously need to post a general comment to all community? Sharon

  12. Sharon Shaw
    May 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Hello – not sure if anyone out there will remember the Dimambro Confectioners shop on Station Road – years ago – 1914! Am trying to find either a photo of the street with the shop in it or someone who can tell me what number in Station Road it was in those days. Or from anyone who has any recollections at all? Directory searches reveal only the name of the Shop but not the number it was in the street? Would love to hear from anyone who knows?? – Thanks Sharon

    • May 25, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Just to let you know Sharon, there has been a reply to your re-post on Facebook PAGE….

      Mitzi Simpson I asked someone and they thought it might have been 23 station road.


      • sharon shaw
        May 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

        Hi Mitzi,
        Well thank you for the information I shall look further into that number then … hopefully it may help to identify the shop for sure. I would ideally like to track down a photo – so you never know if anyone else out there may have one? – your source of information must have lived in the area for a longtime – thank you for asking them. I think the shop may have become A. George confectioners in 1925. The George’s are also relatives and I am trying to find the number their shop was in Station rd. Would your source remember their shop – I wonder if it was the same property? – Thank you for replying. Sharon.

  13. sharon shaw
    January 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Hello Frank,
    have just read your very interesting article about the business that were in ushaw moor. you mention a shop that belonged to the very well known Dimambro family in 1914 on station road – this was my great grandfather shop – do you have any other info about their shop in station road ushaw moor – any idea if any picture of it may exist? Thank you – Sharon

  14. January 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    My great grandfather Matthew Dickinson worked for many years as a grocers assistant in Ushaw Moor. My uncle Tom Dickinson who still lives in the village says it was in Broughs supermarket at the bottom of Station Road. I remember it being there when I was a kid in the village, but don’t remember it closing down. Does anyone know was it always Broughs or was it originally run by someone else? He must have worked there a lot of years as he is listed as a grocers assistant in at least a couple of census.

  15. ron nightingale
    January 24, 2013 at 4:47 am

    Interesting to see some can still recall the 40s. I am coming up 62 in 3 weeks time and battling to remember the 50s and early 60 to 62.
    This post did bring a couple of memories home. The first is the mention of the rec (recreation grounds). We had similar play things at our rec at Broompark. No horse, but the plank suspended from the frame which used the same basics as a shuggy boat without ropes to pull – i am sure we called that the horse and we sat on it like a horse. You could also sit sideways but i preferred to straddle it as sometimes the big kids making it go got pretty rough. You could also get on that by yourself and if you really got it going high you could make the other end of the plank go over the top bar and get stuck there.
    Also got a reminder of that queue we had to stand in at the Empire. was a bugger when it was rainy weather.

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