Archive for July, 2009

Sir Bobby Robson

July 31, 2009 Leave a comment

By now you are probably aware that Sir Bobby has passed away. I did not know him personally but his demeanour, whether engaging the media, playing good football, or during his various spells of top class management, was of the highest order. His heart was never very far from the North East, even when it was  geographically in exotic football places, such as Barcelona!

It is true that he played for Waterhouses School football team as a youngster. Waterhouses – they were the dreaded enemy! On a serious note he will be missed, not least because of his fine character and his grand example to others of how to conduct oneself on life’s journey.  


Categories: Announcements

The New Site

July 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Paul –  I think the new site is very good. It is tasteful and easy on the eye. In terms of design, and ease of use, I would give the first site seven out of ten, the second eight out of ten and now this one – ten out of ten. Many congratulations.


Categories: Announcements

Loose Cannon With Another Blank Sheet Of Paper

July 21, 2009 2 comments

I have just had a good breakfast of porridge [sprinkled with brown sugar] and a banana. That should keep me going and help to prevent over eating today.  Why might I overeat? My family has just lost a member of the extended family in tragic circumstances. Elderly and lovable Peter. He was a very young junior Army officer towards the end of WW2 and very much a ‘giver’ rather than a ‘taker’ in life. He had been terminally ill. Very few people inspire me – Harry Barlow is one, and the Army officer that gave that famous speech to his troops in Iraq is another. Peter is yet another; if I was half the man I would be delighted. He was a wit. He was an educated man despite not having the benefit of formal higher education. I would have given him an honours degree in human decency, and life radiance, if given the power to do so.

I have just read bits of the Times. We are told that the electorate will welcome a Tory cut is public spending. One comment by a member of the public said he could trust the Tories far more on cuts. In one sense he is surely right; they are the master cutters – but personally I would not trust George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, to deal wisely with the contents of the purse that I found in Durham Road, Ushaw Moor in the 1950s.

I celebrate the ‘Memories Section’, and long may it continue, but I cannot help thinking that from time to time each one of us – the metaphorical grey people – real or imagined – should also highlight our ongoing achievements. I do not mean take the opportunity to boast, rather to announce the achievement of little things. Take Alf, he could record that he had learnt to cook a particular dish or remember the words of a certain song if he aint no cook!  Any thoughts?

I sometimes worry that perhaps 15% of my postings are not in fact Ushaw Moor memories at all – and that although some readers might think that type of contribution interesting, others might find it tedious. Have you a view? I can take it on the chin. 


Categories: Memories

Deerness Nursing Cup.

July 18, 2009 2 comments

I am sitting here on this Summer Saturday afternoon with the rain and the wind battering the windows. It is more like December. The other day whilst clearing out a drawer I came across a school football medal. It was rather dirty so I cleaned it up and found that the medal was hallmarked silver. Inscibed on the rear are the letters N C W 1953. (Deerness Nursing Cup Winners 1953.) I can still remember vividly the Saturday morning we won and retained the Cup by beating Waterhouses Secondary Modern School. We had beaten the same team the previous season to win the Cup. Large crowds used to turn out to watch these Cup Finals between the schools and the crowd that morning must have numbered 200/300. The match was played at Ushaw Moor. Gordon Gillon and I used to look after the school footballs. They were leather and after inserting the bladder into the ball it then had to be blown up and the neck of the bladder tightly fastened with string and then pushed inside the leather case and then the ball had to be laced up. Quite a feat. The ball was then dubbined to make it waterproof. They were very heavy when dry and if you headed a fast moving ball when it was wet you could see stars.
I first played for St. Josephs when I was about 10/11 years old. The first game was at Cornsay Colliery on a Saturday morning. We caught a bus to Esh Winning and then a bus to Cornsay from outside the Co-op. The school at Cornsay was situated half way up the bank on the left hand side of the road going towards Lanchester. We changed in the school and then walked back down the bank and over the beck and turned right at the bottom of the bank on the Tow Law road. We won that day and I played at outside right and scored a goal. If the ball went out of play on one side of the pitch it rolled down an embankent and into the beck. I was given a shiling (5P) for my efforts by my eldest brother Jim. I was flush that day.
I can also remember a few years later travelling to Cornsay to watch Cornsay play Sunderland Reserves. The ball ended up in the beck a few times during that match.

Brian Mc.
>> Hebburn.
Categories: Memories

Sunday afternoon Walks

July 17, 2009 9 comments

This is the first blog that I have attempted and this is with Paul’s help via email.   Sunday afternoon was a special time as most of my friends and I worked a 5 1/2 day week so every hour of the weekend was precious.   After dinner on a Sunday we used to go for a walk.  In those days very few people had a car and TV was in its infancy so no Soap Opera Omnibuses or Football to keep us in the house.  These  walks followed various routes.

The most popular walk was along the College Road.  Up the bank towards Bearpark and then turn left towards Ushaw College.  This was the routine both summer and winter.  A bit cold weather did not make us housebound.  The traffic was very light and we walked on the road most of the time.  Sometimes we used the path through Ernie Lang’s farm and down the path towards the Gill which was a piece of woodland leading down towards Bearpark colliery.  There was a pitch and toss session there most Sunday afternoons and there was always the lookouts posted to give the warning to scatter if the Police raided the pitch and toss school.  A few times we saw men scattering in all directions to avoid the Police as these pitch and toss sessions were against the Law.

We would follow the path to the left along the edge of a wood which bordered the College Golf Links.  Usually we would search the edge of the wood for lost golf balls and we usually got a tanner off the golfers for each ball handed over.   Spring time we also used to bird nest.  At the far end of the wood we turned left through a small metal wicket gate and over the Golf Links back on to the College Road.  There we would turn right in the direction of Old Esh.  A “must” most Sunday afternoon was a visit to ” see the pigs” at the College farm.  The pig stys housing the pigs were situated along side the road.  Usually there were sows with litters and we would spend ten minutes or so watching the pigs.  Then down the College bank to the cross roads with the Esh Winning road.  Turning left at the crossroads we set off back towards Ushaw Moor.  Along past Deerness View and Joyce Terrace and past Ushaw Moor Colliery and so back to Ushaw Moor and home for a good Sunday tea of my mothers baking of meat pies, fruit pies and jelly and Carnation milk.   Happy Days.  Reading this in the year 2009 must seem boring to younger visitors to the site.  We made our own amusement in those days.  No telly.  The patter amongst the lads was always good and flowed like a good wine.  We were happy with the free and simple things in life.  We knew the countryside and appreciated it as we never destroyed anything that grew and always respected the laws of the countryside.

The Golf Links was a nine hole golf course belonging to Ushaw College.  The College in those days  housed hundreds of young men studying to become Catholic priests.  There were acres of playing fields and the Golf Links were played on on a regular basis.

This was a short walk as other walks were many miles long.  There was always a good tea to look forward to at the end of the walk.

My favourite walk now is along the banks of the Tyne with the noise of industry on the North bank of the river and the noise of the Metro cars on the railway on the South bank.  It has been landscaped and wildlife is reurning, weasels, woodpeckers, squirrels, rabbits, foxes and owls can be seen on the river banks.

Brian Mc.
>> Hebburn.
Categories: Memories Tags: ,

Breaking News Regarding Football Festival

July 17, 2009 Leave a comment

The Durham Amateur Football Trust has announced that this weekend’s Youth Football Festival has been postponed due to the surface water on the Crook Town football pitch and the continuing rainfall. The Trust hopes to rearrange the event in early August.

Trust  members have worked very hard to pull this event together and are very disappointed to have to postpone at short notice – but hope that members will understand.


Categories: Announcements

Viva La Vida

July 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Who said the lead singer of Coldpay can’t sing? Oh yes he can.

Back in the 50s we had a supervised game of football in the playground. Mr Spence was the teacher on duty.I captained one side [the reds] against the blues. It is a remarkable  that I played at centre forward and missed about twenty chances. I was not a natural striker and every time the keeper came out, to narrow the angle, I shot wildly; I imagine the windows of St Luke’s Church must have been in danger, especially when I had been forced out to the left, at the Esh end, prior to shooting. Never again did I allow such panic to occur; it was just a wild tune up. Anyway the glass was half full, was it not ? At least I had engineered twenty chances.

Also back in the 50s I found it very painful indeed to have a different surname to my half sister. Sometimes fellow pupils would ask me why I had a different surname. It really was distressing; it was as if I was the victim of the cold and unimaginative morality of the time, ie one in which divorce, or being born out of wedlock, was more than frowned upon. Good grief  -such a situation is common now. 

When I was about seven I set fire to my half sister’s toy house. Was it an accident? Was it deliberate? What was going on in that tiny brain of mine? Actually I have no idea and had forgotten the incident, until reminded of it many years later!

Sometimes I must seem to be like a rebel without a cause. Several times on this site I have stated that it is best not to be overawed by ‘betters’ or the ‘authorities’. Yes do keep within the law  – but at the same time if you feel something is wrong I think it is usually best to say so. Life is very short but youngsters are often slow to realise it, and by the time they do it might be too late. It is amazing what confidence can do for you. I say to youngsters get a bit of an education – it does not need to be a degree – get experience and fix some goals. Goals can be changed, or in my case missed. If they are missed do make sure that your local church windows are insured.

Now for a bit of further editing: I was not born out of wedlock! That is the case, but I am making myself laugh in the process of typing it!


Categories: Memories

Ruth Hill Plus Eric Burn

July 16, 2009 1 comment

If you Google the following [on UK]:    Ruth Hill Ushaw Moor     up come some interesting articles from Ruth and Eric – on the Francis Frith site [first up number 1 option – at the top. A formal web link ie www etc does not seem to work.

I wonder whether it is the Eric Burn – brother of Alan.


Categories: Memories

More On Local Lads In WW1 Theatres Of War

July 16, 2009 Leave a comment

While the Ushaw Moor miners were striving manfully [and with courage] to fuel the war there were lads from the area showing conspicious bravery. An example is Fred Hopper; he had an unusual view of the war, being an aerial gunner in the Royal Flying Corps. On 10th of October 1918 he got a mention in a London Gazette  supplement which confirmed his award of the Military Medal [MM]. That award was created in 1916 and was the equivalent of the DFC and MC. You have probably seen the film that portrays lads of the RFC. I believe that Michael York starred in it. If you go to you will find further information and art regarding the likes of Mr Hopper’s working conditions.

James Kirkup was also awarded the MM for bravery, at Ypres in 1917. I seem to recall that a local newspaper reported that his medal had been stolen a few years after the war; it ended well when his mother, a resident of Ushaw Moor, received a duplicate.

I wonder whether William and Margaret Kirkup were in some way related to James Kirkup. Back in 1901 they lived in the vicinity together with their children George, John and Ernest. 


Author releases railway walks booklet (From The Northern Echo)

BISHOP Auckland-based author John Swain has released Railway Walks Two: Branch Lines Around Durham City.

The booklet covers Ushaw Moor, Waterhouses, Witton Gilbert, Lanchester, and the former route to Hetton and Murton junction from Durham Elvet.

Copies, priced at £9.50, are available from shops in Durham and Bishop Auckland.

To order from Mr Swain, write to: 38 Rochester Close, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14 0RJ, and include £1.50 for postage.

via Author releases railway walks booklet (From The Northern Echo).

Categories: Announcements Tags: ,