Archive for December, 2009

Pipe dream (From The Northern Echo)

December 11, 2009 1 comment

Vic Armorey died in the First World War. Thanks to a remarkable coincidence, his memory resonates ever closer to home.

RALPH Victor Armorey, still Uncle Vic to Agnes Hall though she could never have known him, was killed on the Somme in September 1916, aged only 22.

Four years later, in the Wesley Methodist chapel at Esh Road, Ushaw Moor, a fine pipe organ was dedicated to his memory and that of Charles Henry Walker, his best friend at school. A brass plaque acknowledged their sacrifice.

The chapel – “our little Bethel,”


via Pipe dream (From The Northern Echo).

Victoria Court

December 6, 2009 7 comments

My family moved from 29 Harvey Street, New Brancepeth to 38 Victoria Court in January, 1947, a couple of weeks before the massive snowstorms which started in late January, 1947, and I have it on good authority from Michael Malley who is an old friend of mine in Hebburn that the thaw started on March 17th, of that year.

We were in the first 16 familes to be moved on to the new estate. The first houses let were the last four numbered houses and the first eight numbered houses in Whitehouse Court and the last four numbered houses in Victoria Court ie 36 – 39 Victoria Court. I hope that makes sense.

The surrounding area was a building site for a long time and the foremans hut and the large store hut were situated on the ground on the opposite side of the road from Tom Dickinsons home at 12 Whitehouse Court. The site foreman was a man named Edgar Simpson who lived at New Brancepeth and the Clerk of the Works was Mr. Carse who with his family resided at 6 Victoria Court for a couple of years after the estate was opened. The estate was designed by Mr Fred Hedley who was the architect for Brandon and Byshottles Urban District Council. I think that Fred was responsible for the design of all council housing in the Brandon and Byshottles area. The watchmen on the site were a Mr Hutchinson, who I believe lost an arm in the First War and who lived at Pringle Place at New Brancepeth and also a man whose name I never knew who lived in the bottom house in Whitehouse Lane. When the the two gentlemen in question sent you on your way you moved as quickly as possible. There was no back chat or cheek or the local policeman was liable to visit your home with a telling off.

I cannot remember exactly in which order the houses were built but I think that Bracken Court was the last built before the road was pushed through the wood to begin building Oakridge Road. There was very little road traffic in those days so the road was our playing area, football, cricket, kick the tin on winter nights and there was even a little ungrassed area where we played allees or marbles as the game is better known. Chucks was also a popular game played on the pavement.

There were many different moves in the game of chucks. We walked a lot around the local area and many happy hours were spent down the beck, fishing and birdnesting in the spring. It is always sunny in those far off days when I look back but there must have been some bad weather around. Our sledging bank was the area in front of the first four numbered houses in Bracken Court and for a number of years we used the road in front of these four houses before it was opened for through traffic. It was never gritted so we spent many happy hours in that area in the snow of the winters past.

We never wanted anything as consumer goods at that time were unknown. We provided our own entertainment and we learned as young people to use our imagination. I might be wrong but in the world of today young people are deprived of using their own initiative and imagination in their mass produced entertainment.

One source of entertainment was our visits to the “pictures” at the Empire and the Club Hall. That meant that you had the choice of eight “big” and eight “little” films a week to watch if you were so inclined. There was always a cartoon and the newsreels every night also. It is quarter to six and I am due at the Iona Club at seven o clock, being on the Club committee takes up a lot of time. Our world was small and secure up to a point and the influences on our lives were Church or Chapel, school and your parents. No outside influences like young people are under today. Life I think was easier to understand when I was young.

Brian Mc Loughlin