Archive for August, 2009

Bearpark On Line

August 29, 2009 1 comment

I recommend you have a look at it if you have not yet done so. It shows just what participation and interaction can do to keep it fresh and interesting. Apart from anything else you are likely to come across familiar people; I see, for example, there are photographs of Mr Gibbon – he became our headmaster at Ushaw Moor – and there is even one of John Minnis who became our Ushaw Moor School goalkeeper.

It is not as if Paul Clough has failed to provide a suitable site. His efforts and site design are top class. Are Bearpark people very different from those of Ushaw Moor? No they are not.  A short while back I wrote an article along the lines of: If Witton Park can do it so can Ushaw Moor. Well here is another: If Bearpark can do it so can Ushaw Moor. 


Categories: Memories

Clothes Pegs Saw Off The Luftwaffe

August 28, 2009 1 comment

The effects of WW2 were still evident back in the early to middle 50s. The area at the bottom of Unthank Terrace in New Brancepeth looked like a bomb site, but of course it was no such thing. Quite a few people were upset that a German goalkeeper was playing for Manchester City, however he won most of them over; Bert Trautmann was a fine player and literally broke his neck for City’s cause in a memorable FA Cup Final.

Rationing was still in place and I believe that sweets did not come off the ration until 1953.

Meanwhile my clothes pegs were sending many a German machine into the sea or ten feet beneath a field. Hopefully the pilots would flutter down into pitchforks. The pegs were fine representatives of our Royal Air Force – one vertical and one horizontal peg enjoined – ready for battle on a floor at 20 Unthank Terrace!


Categories: Memories

Lots Of People Have Not Died

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

There is an item in the Independent newspaper today regarding an increase in our population. Professor Dorling of Sheffield University informs us that  ”……lots of people have not died”. Well I can tell you I am working on it. I almost joined the local gym yesterday and almost went for a walk along the canal. I have promised my wife that I will stop drinking coffee and I felt proud of that whilst drinking a second cup of tea.

The 50s were a healthier time for youngsters, provided they did not get ill! Long walks, potato picking, bluebell picking and knocky nine doors saw to that. Football can be added to that list. The Bracken Court ‘pitch’ saw some awesome football for hour after hour. Tidy Alan Burn distributing the ball like a young Johnny Haynes and Wilf Bell diving the wrong way because the sun was in his eyes; God bless you Dennis Pinkney.

Computer games and being driven to school are not the way forward; such trends may well require a statistical  revision by Professor Dorling in a few decades time. Sadly I will not be around to read his revision; perhaps the coffee producers and distributors need to be warned about that.


Categories: Memories

Dashing Stats Great Policemen

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Recently I  took a look at the daily stats for this great site [see dashboard]; they show the number of visitors to it and I felt a bit down. I thought ‘thank goodness these  stats  do not represent my investment in shares’. When I then looked at the monthly stats, as opposed to the daily ones, I felt somewhat better. There really is a lot of interest if you disregard the blips. 

I note that the 19th of April 2009 was an exceptionally good day. Now why was that? Well it was during a weekend and the article that day was entitled ‘Memories of the Police’   I should not imagine that MI5 was crawling all over it, but that thought did,very briefly, occur to me!


Categories: Memories

Margaret Thingyson

August 27, 2009 4 comments

I am trying to find information on my family. My mum is Margaret thingyson and she lived in Bearpark (about 1940 to 1950) in one of the railway houses and went to school at St. Joseph’s in Ushaw Moor. Her younger brother was Michael thingyson and he also attended St. Joseph’s. Their parents were Frank and Alice thingyson and they worked for LNER at the Bearpark signal box. Alice would do one shift and Frank would do the other shift. Initially I was attempting to find some pictures of Bearpark station but I have found none but I did find the Ushaw website which has some great bits on it. One is a picture of my mum’s school class but half the class are missing from the picture (she is one of the missing). I would love to hear from anyone who can remember the thingyson’s.

Posted on BEHALF of guest, if you are the AUTHOR please reply with email addy and will send invite to join.


Paul Clough

The Results Are Out – Anyone For A Laugh?

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Congratulations to those pupils who find themselves with 5 or more GCSEs at grade C or above. Afterall they have worked hard and  achieved what the authorities consider to be the approved standard. In the past I have defended the GCSE but the exam brings doubts and misgivings for some. There is an accusation that such exams are not fit for purpose and that they do not assist young people to move into employment and higher education with any sense of ease.

There is also a statistical problem for old buffs like me, as well as researchers, and it seems as difficult as trying to square the circle. How come that back in the 50s only about 12% of pupils got 5 GCE O levels or more, yet today more than 60% of pupils pass what is deemed to be today’s equivalent ?

Unless today’s pupils are brighter [unlikely] can it be argued that 5 GCSEs at grade C are equivalent to five Grade 4 Passes at Certificate of Secondary Education [CSE] level? Afterall grade 4 in that old exam was deemed to be the average performance right across the board.

It is likely that the Conservative politician Michael Gove will change things fairly soon.  I have met him, heard one of his speeches, and am sure that schools are in for more and more change, much of it very unsettling, whatever its merits.

So someone is having a laugh with that square and circle, but I am not sure who is paying the bill.


Categories: Memories

One Christmas Bell And A Funeral

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Back in c1957 one of my fellow pupils as Ushaw Moor County School was selected to sing a Christmas carol solo in Durham Cathedral. Although his surname was Bell  he was not related to me. Has anyone got any memory of this? Does anyone know what happened to him thereafter?

Moving on, an elderly and lovely member of our family died recently. Although he had  an interesting and eventful life his loss  is still painful for all who knew him well. We can easily laugh and feel good when remembering him, but then the knowledge that we are not going to see him again kicks in.

When I was about 14 I recall a warm and cloudless day of adventure. There were two of us out for the day and eventually we came across a graveyard. Most of the graves looked old and not in their best state, but one of them stood out. It had a shiny look about it and was full of green ‘chippings’. I imagine that the person had died recently and I recall to this day that he was 66 when he met his demise. I suppose that was my first feeling of serious vunerability. It certainly made a big impression upon me because 66 became my unlucky number. Superstition kicked in and perhaps I was going to die at 66! That is the thing about superstition; it is mindless rubbish. Even if I go at 66 it will be pure coincidence. I do not buy fatalism. Although I am sure that none of us entirely have the free will that some religions go on about – we still have a good measure of it. Life is short. Life can be fun on a sixpence. Life can be great and often much longer for those that see a half full glass, rather than a half empty one.

My goodness that funeral has has an effect! Still there is Christmas to look forward to. There will be mince pies, holly and goodwill. Also I must not forget the Christmas Bell.


Categories: Memories