Archive for July, 2010

Time To Say Goodbye…..But

July 31, 2010 2 comments

Well it’s the end of July and this is my final piece. It has been a pleasure. I hope my articles during the period April 2006 to date have been of interest. It is sad for me knowing that it’s ending, but it has to be; if you wish to gauge the level of my sadness Google into – Time to say goodbye: Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman do a good job for me.

So what is the ‘But’ in the article heading? Well I can tell you there is a major hope of a big boost to the site’s collection of photographs; in a bedroom in Brandon there are potentially  hundreds of photographs of Ushaw Moor, from the 50s, taken by my uncle Norman. If that is the case, and it may well be so, I will make an effort to get anything appropriate onto the site – even if it takes years rather than months to achieve it. 


Categories: Memories

Phantom Leaks – Missing Graves – And Do Not Talk About The War

July 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Here are the last of my holiday reflections, in no particular order:

I was amazed upon receiving my ticket for the Durham v Derbyshire 20/20 cricket match to find that Durham were playing what they called the ‘Derbyshire Falcons’. Everyone knows that the away side were the Derbyshire Phantoms [much more threatening and mysterious]. No – everyone got it right but me: seemingly I was the only one not to be aware that Derbyshire had changed their name yet again. Falcons? Where did they get that name from? This episode is so embarrassing; I even told a women on a big red bus that ‘Durham have got it wrong you know’. I even said to the man that inspected my ticket ”Derbyshire will not like this”. He asked for an explanation, which I gave, and  he looked puzzled. It got worse – they even put up Durham v Derbyshire Falcons on the big screen at the ground – do they never learn?  No it was me, bigoted know all me, behind the times yet again.

I was in Ushaw Moor Cemetery, with a family friend, looking for John Thomas Hope [number 2 in the all-time Magnificant 7 list of great Ushaw Moorites] and duly found him. But we could not find my grandparents; this failure has happened twice now – where on earth are they buried? Talk about weird happenings down at the cemetery.Upturned coffin, graves that move, eight empty plastic milk bottles strewn around the area just inside the cemetery entrance etc. Most disheartening. Then a strange thing happened, but it is nothing to get frightened about, just a case of wild co-incidence. We got talking to two women that were also doing some family history work and in passing I discovered that a relative of one of them lives about one hundred yards from me in Surrey! And they are linked to me by way of the Hodgsons – if you remember Arthur Hodgson married my aunty Ethel! Blow me away I thought.

I enjoyed a ‘proper’ cup of coffee at the little cafe, on the left hand side of the cathedral green, but I was too early for one of their delicious scones; they were still at the dough stage. Anyway, I then went to the loo nearby for a wee and found a water leak [not mine]. It was leaking at the rate of one drop per three seconds. You might say that is nothing to worry about but I say that cathedral has been there for a very long time; if that leak continues for the next thousand years, at one drop per three seconds, that is a lot of water. Have a look for yourself when  you next visit. If necessary report it, if you have any remaining time after spending so much of it estimating the total water loss after a thousand years. 

On the way back home I was on the escalator going up to Kings Cross railway station when a man, he was strongly built and must have been 6 feet 2 inches in height, passed me on my left on a parallel escalator that was going in the same direction. He was noisy and seemingly troubled – speaking a very loud [to no one in particular]  mixture of nonsensical English and what seemed like aggressive German. A women in front of me was looking over at him with an amused look on her face and at the time I did not think that was appropriate;  afterall I could see that they were going to meet at the top  and then what? It is an incident that has stuck in my memory.


Categories: Memories

Bearpark Welfare Unlucky In This 1950 Game

July 25, 2010 1 comment

Bearpark were unlucky not to win their FA Amateur Cup fixture at Hartlepool RA. The efforts of Hartlepool RA to play class football baulked against a quick tackling Bearpark defence. Wilson, the Bearpark centre half, and Robson were especially good. In one incident Wilson kicked the ball off the goal line with Minnis out of his goal. Bearpark began to press and were rewarded with a goal from Carr after 25 minutes. Carr missed a penalty for Bearpark in the second half and Harlepool RA’s inside left equalised with only ten minutes to go. Final Score 1-1.

The replay took take place on 30/09/50 and Bearpark’s team for that match was:

 Minnis, Blakeburn, Nelson, Graham, Wilson, Robson, Patterson, Carr, Hurst, Ainsley, Brown. Reserve Cummings.


Junior Football 1950 – Hamsteels 7 New Brancepeth 7

July 25, 2010 Leave a comment

That must have been some game! After the game the league positions were as follows: Top Waterhouses  [five wins one draw], Quarrington Hill [three wins one draw one defeat], New Brancepeth YC [three wins one draw one defeat] Sherburn Village [three wins two defeats], Hamsteels BC one win one draw three defeats], Ushaw Moor one win three defeats], Bowburn BC [one win four defeats] and bottom were Broompark – but with games in hand – [three straight defeats].

I guess that YC is short for Youth Club, BC is short for Boys’ Club, and SSC is short for Sports and Social Club.


Ushaw Moor Football Team – September 1950

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

There were some mixed fortunes in this month. The Moor put in a good performance against Crook in a midweek fixture that attracted a gate of 1,700. In the first half, despite a stiff breeze and the sun, they had the better of the exchanges and at half-time they found themselves leading 2-1. It was McAdam of Ushaw Moor that had scored the first goal of the game and although Wake equalised for Crook,  Nicholson replied for the Moor only a couple of minutes later with a goal from a penalty. Wood scored another for the Moor after 60 minutes to make in 3-1. Crook, who afterall were a Northern League team,  turned up the heat in an exciting period of the game but could only add one further goal [from Weston]. Final score Ushaw Moor 3 Crook 2. Tommy Sharpe was described as outstanding at full back for Ushaw Moor and keeper Smith made some outstanding saves in the Moor goal. Waterson and Hailes played well in the Moor middle line but the Moor forward Finlay was their only forward of note on the day.

Ushaw Moor were described as inept in their league game against Trimdon Grange and deservedly suffered their first home defeat to a better organised team. The non appearance of the referee delayed the match by 20 minutes and in the end Tom Freeman [ex Middlesborough and Durham City full back] took over the whistle. Half-time Ushaw Moor 0 Trimdon Grange 1. Full-time   Ushaw Moor 2 Trimdon Grange 3. It was Wood and Wilson that netted for Ushaw Moor. Coulston made his debut in goal for the Moor and pulled of some fine saves. Hailes did ok at right half. This defeat was only the Moor’s second in ten games – not so bad!

Ushaw Moor’s team selection for the next game – against North Eastern League team Blackhall was as follows:

Smith, Lockey, Sharp, Hailes, Waterson, Richardson, Gleghorn, Wood, Finley [or Nicholson if Finlay fails a fitness test], James, McAdam. New Brancepeth Colliery Band would be playing during the interval.

Broompark’s team to play Belmont on the same day was selected as follows:

J Ronson, J Hanson, J Gilbert, R Richardson, J Easter, N Kelly, D Kemp, G Pearson, F Shevels, S Kelly, J Tolley, Reserves – R Lee and A Ross.


The Holiday – part 3 of 3

July 23, 2010 3 comments

Here is a bit more derived from the microfiche:

The weather for the Durham Miner’s Gala of 1950 was a bit dodgy. There was some fairly heavy rain before mid-day and it made some people a bit anxious for the event. Some of them went home and gave it up. Later the rain held off only for it to return at about 8.30 pm. Lots of pretty dresses and new suits got soaked but many people refused to be down hearted about the conditions and enjoyed themselves anyway!

Ushaw Moor Cricket Club got its first league win of the 1950 season by beating Craghead. At the time the Moor were second off bottom and Craghead were below them so it was not much to bugle about… In fact Ushaw Moor’s league record as a result of that win was Won 1 Drawn 5 Lost 12.

1950 was the year of Lancelot Hill’s funeral. He had reached 54 years of age. In his time he had played cricket for both New Brancepeth and Esh Winning, as well as briefly holding the job of secretary of Ushaw Moor Working Men’s Club.

That is that for microfiche and now I want to move on to my matchday experience of Ushaw Moor v Langley Park held, not in 1950, but on 17/7/2010! The weather was not bad. It was sunny although darkish clouds threatened to move  from a position above what would have been New Brancepeth Pit and plonk themselves directly over Ushaw Moor’s cricket pitch. In the event the weather was all talk and never moved at all.

Speaking of movement I saw no evidence of Langley Park’s opening bowlers achieving movement. They were straight up and down. David Jones, the young lad bowling from the Station Road end, was in my view medium fast; that would have been ok but unfortunately he failed to get any swing and too often failed to force the openers  to play the ball early on. There were one too many full tosses from him. I had sympathy for this young bowler and told him so said  when, at the end of an over, he drank water from the boundary near the the seat I occupied. My sympathy was felt because of the uneven and slightly downhill pitch he had to negotiate as he ran in to bowl. His opening bowling partner was probably deserving of the accolade fast bowler and sometimes got some lift out of the pitch; in my younger days I would have found one or two of his deliveries  a bit awkward to negotiate. To me the Ushaw Moor professional batsman looked good, whilst he was at the wicket, but this had not been his season for meaningful runs – so far -however  there is still just about enough time for him to make an impression on the committee!

At one point I retired to the bar for a pint and an opportunity to view the team photographs of yesteryear. It was a bit strange to see a picture of my lovely grandad looking so young. I could see that it was Mr Richard Wallace Hope but he was destined to put a few pounds on like all of us!   

Then it happened. I asked Adrian the barman to tell me who the man was sitting on a scooter at the bottom end of the pitch, well behind the boundary line. When he told me that it was Alfie Gillespie [thanks to Adrian for correcting  my errors relating to Alfie including my ‘Harry Gillespie’ typo] I could not believe my luck. I had heard so much about him from my uncle Norman Hope. Alfie was a lovely batsman – technically correct and reluctant to hit the ball in the air [although Bradman was in a different league he had the same philosophy as Alfie]. I went over to talk to him and he very kindly agreed to a chat. He is now in his 89th year and a bit deaf but his brain is still sharp. Alfie suffered a bad injury whilst fielding on the boundary [bottom end of the boundary – graveyard end]. It very nearly was graveyard for Alfie because as soon as the pints of blood were pumped into him he needed more! It was an unexpected pleasure to meet the great man and I will never forget it. As our chat was coming to an end he pointed to two gentlemen standing about forty five yards away near the boundary slightly to our right  and he named them: Raymond Ayre and Frank Procter! I enjoyed a chat with them and they showed me great consideration. Brilliant stuff. If my memory serves me right Mr Proctor informed me that it was his boundary shot that had accidentally hit Alfie all those years ago! So Alfie must have been behind the boundary and watching his colleagues bat.

I had several afternoon meals at Cafe Neenas’ in Chester-Le-Street. It has a lovely atmosphere, the meals are generously portioned and the prices are reasonable. The customers  I came across were interesting worthies; no doubt they all have a story to tell and given more time I may well have heard those stories in more detail!

I popped in and saw John and Elsie Vasey on the last day of my holiday and enjoyed their company, even though it was not for as long as I would have liked. They have a history of hard work and consideration for other people and those are values not to be dismissed lightly.  

Well that was 3 of 3 but there is one more article to complete [as soon as I can] and it is a bit about Ushaw Moor Football Club of 1950 vintage.


The Holiday – Part 2 of 3

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Back to the microfiche – back to 1950.

Ushaw Moor Youth Club did very well that year and deservedly won the Durham Table Tennis League Cup. The team consisted of William Jackson, George March, Frank Proctor, Joseph Young, Arthur Snaith and Albert Snaith.

Vicar Welby conducted the funeral of Mrs H Sokell of Durham Road. Chief mourners included:her sisters Mrs A. T. Thompson and Miss Brynn [or perhaps Brym or similiar – my record at this point is not good – apologies] Mr and Mrs T. E. Sokell [brother and sister in law] Mr T. F. Fothergill, Mr and Mrs G. E. Bryan, Mr and Mrs Bradnick and Mrs Beasley.

A Miss Street and Mr F. Bell married at the Durham Road Methodist Church. The wedding picture shows twelve people including two young bridesmaids.

There is a big advert with the message ‘Nobody had much fun when I was around – I was always full of Neuritis’. It was an advert for a brand of laxative salt.

I liked the ‘pass me the Paddy and I’ll show you the way to wash up’ advert. It was a speciality of the CWS soap works.

Controversy!   New Brancepeth CC tied its game with Sedgefield CC – but was it the tie that never was? Was it a paper typo or a dozing scorer? Details:

New Brancepth scorecard:

W Ross 7 E Homes 9 N Gleghorn 3 W Brass 0 J Milburn 0 R Ayre 3 W Cruddace 9 J Nelson 33 L McConnell 23 R Milburn 7 J Towns not out 0 extras 11 total 106

Sedgefield were reported to be all out for 106 [W Brass 4-34 and J Towns 3-50]. I checked the report three times – there is a problem and I will leave it with you!

Continuing with 1950 Esh Winning has been named by the Ministry of Health as having the most ideal housing scheme in the North of England – the architect being Mr Fred Hedley,  a local man from Brandon. He  felt that people, especially miners, need a degree of sunshine.

As a result of success in an essay, organised by the National Union of Miners, councillor R. J. Meldrum and Mr J. Charlton are to attend the Summer School in Edinburgh.

Ushaw Moor colliery houses demolished – running north and west.

More later.


Selected Memories Of Last Week’s Trip To Durham [1 of 3]

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I have only one hour to spare so tonight’s piece is not in ‘creative writing’ mode and has no real or imagined resemblance to the writing of Thomas Hardy [as if].

I was sitting opposite an adolescent boy for the best part of the journey up from Kings Cross to Durham and witnessed his almost perpetual eating routine. To get to his food store he had to put his hands beneath the table and extract his food from a bag; in doing so he frequently brushed against my shins. I can tell you now that there was nothing remotely erotic about it and his movements were no doubt accidental. Thank goodness.

Eventually the  majestic sight of Durham Cathedral came into view and soon afterwards my cousin scooped me away to Chester-Le -Street for what turned out to be a very interesting break. She announced that something very unusual was due to happen in Chester-Le – Street that very night; in passing it’s a lovely name for a town but bad news for a non touch typist short of time. Anyway  I was to see a cultural event performed by a German company and entitled ‘Firebirds’.  I attended the event with members of my family, together with some of their friends. The friends included an elegant lady called  Lorraine and a heartwarming friend called Maureen. I must not forget Maureen’s brother – an Arsenal supporter of long standing. We were in position by 8.40pm on the pavement about a hundred yards opposite the Methodist Church and  therefore well in time for the event – which was due to start  at 9 pm. The Methodist church clock showed twenty to five and was still showing that time when I left the town during mid- morning several days later. 

It began to rain but we did not care: our spirits were high and we were full of anticipation. It is true that  the event began an hour late, during rain, and and  my lovely companions declined to go in the pub immediately behind us on the grounds that they had a temperance spirit. Well I am not a frequent drinker but must admit to a  heartfelt tinge of disappoinment [if such a thing is technically possible] at the news that drinking alcohol was bad form. The tinge quickly dispersed and we were all as one again like children waiting for a German Santa and his accompanying elves. 

The production duly arrived and boy was it colourful and exciting. The only downside is that although I would be willing to bet that  our group were above average mentally [even though I no doubt dragged the average down a bit] none of them fully understood the exciting and colourful spectacle occuring before our very eyes. Only later did I understand that it is based on the idea of a competition amongst six daredevil pilots and their flying machines. There were several dramatic fire effects and explosions and I would not have missed this colourful and dramatic event for all the world.   

The following evening I went to the headquarters of Durham’s Cricket to see the home team take on Derbyshire Falcons in a limited over game under 20/20 rules. In the event the game was abandoned after thirteen overs, owing to heavy rain, but not before I saw the Derbyshire team for the very first time. I have followed its scorecards since 1954. Les Jackson and Cliff Gladwin are of course long gone  but elements of the child are still within me and therefore it was exciting just to watch Derbyshire practice! The Derby wicket keeper seemed a bit special to me and took one or two very awkward deliveries very well indeed. Mustard batted  well for Durham. The Durham County bar was not a very exciting place to be that night; little groups of men – on average four per group – stood around talking about goodness knows what. I was almost the only person sitting down so I had no  interesting conversation with anybody; it seemed very dull and very ‘County’ to me. Probably an overreaction.

The next day I paid a  short visit to Durham library to take advantage of its microfiche newspaper record. It is a treasure of information about Ushaw Moor and the surrounding area and the Durham County Advertiser is expecially good. Which year to select? I went for 1950. Do I hear groans of disappointment? Let me give you a couple of scorecards:

By the middle of July 1950 Ushaw Moor CC was still waiting for a victory in the North Western Durham League. It had Whickham on 48 for 9 so a win seemed a formality….

But big hitting from tailenders gave the opposition a slightly more respectable final score of 81. But surely…..

Ushaw Moor’s reply:

D Dunn 0

G Smith 6

T Liddle 16

R Telfor 10

N Gill 6

H Gillespie 0

J Wyatt 19

G Marsh 4

B Hull 6

R W Hope 0

W Anderson not out 1

Extras 4

Total – I will let you add that up!

Meanwhile New Brancepeth were in good nick against Tudhoe.

New Brancepeth scores:

W Ross 28

E Holmes 20

A Patterson 5

W Brass 66

N Gleghorn 19

J Milburn 0

R Ayre 1

W Cruddace 0

J Nelson 2

L McConnell 3

J Young not out 1

Extras 9

Total 154

In reply Tudhoe were all out for 113 – Brass taking 5 wickets for 11 runs and J Milburn 3 wickets for twenty three runs.

New Brancepeth won by 41 runs.

Part two coming up when I grab the time.


Norman ‘Soccer’ Gleghorn – The Interview

July 20, 2010 1 comment

Norman greeted me cheerfully on my arrival at his neat and tidy flat. The twinkle in his blue eyes and his love of life remain undiminished despite his considerable years; it showed in his readiness to chat away about himself and life in general. He is not a self absorbed man rather he takes a keen interest in news and sport [by way of his radio and television] but not necessarily in that order!

Norman was born to George and Francis Gleghorn in Eshwood Street, New Brancepeth in 1926. He was one of ten children, but as he pointed out, such a large family was not so unusual at that time.

Norman attended New Brancepeth School and although he recalls that gardening was a prominent part of the school’s curriculum he was not interested in Mr Turnbull’s gardening lessons, or for that matter George Hill’s woodwork; his love was sport and more sport. He represented the school at football and cricket and enjoyed the experience so much.

Having left school at 14 he then spent the next 10 years working at New Brancepeth Coke Ovens as a mechanical fitter. It operated a three shift system; 6am to 2 pm – 2pm to 10pm and 10pm to 6am. During his time there the cokeworks never closed, not even on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, and Norman finds that fact remarkable to this day.

During our meeting Norman’s daughter Ingrid, and his grand-daughter Sarah, popped in and out. It was obvious that they  love and care for Norman in a very positive way.

Norman went on to say that the poor working conditions at the cokeworks persuaded him to find a healthier occupation and it arrived in the form of window cleaning. Norman is good with people and that, together with his need to keep fit for sport, made window cleaning such an attractive proposition. He spent many a year cleaning windows  and he became a familiar sight on his rounds.

I felt it was time to challenge Norman: did he clean upstairs windows? I asked because a well respected contributor to the site had suggested that Norman had no head for heights. Norman looked at me and declared that he did ups as well as downs! I duly accepted his solemn declaration with a chuckle from me and a smile from him.

We moved on to football. Norman informed me that he had been given a trial by Derby County in 1947, as had Ronnie Peart from Bearpark. Derby booked them into the local Railway hotel on a bed and breakfast basis. The trial itself was played behind closed doors to prevent the possibility of spies from rival clubs having a look at promising players and possibly nicking them. Before the game the trialists were introduced to Horatio ‘Raich’ Carter and Peter Doherty, both of whom were two of the finest inside forwards to play in English football. I listened to this, having being a Derby follower since 1954, and felt envious to say the least! At one point during the day of the trial some Derby fans asked Soccer for his autograph and he still enjoys that memory!

As for the trial itself sadly it did not go well enough.  The full back was good and Norman was young and nervous: those factors caused Derby to reject him. How dare they!

At 10.39am, some fifteen minutes into our discussion, Norman offered me a whisky. I declined with  thanks but now regret the lost opportunity. He then pointed to a picture of himself taken with the England Test cricketer Paul Collingwood. He was rightly proud, as well he should be, because Collingwood is a test cricketer that fights hard for the English cause. He then showed me a photograph of himself taken with Cheryl Crowe. Have I got the name right? I get the Crowe’s and Coles mixed up. Soccer described her as being a  beautiful lady. He gets around….

On with his football career. He played for several teams and Ushaw Moor, Spennymoor United, Consett and York City Reserves spring to my mind.

‘The ball was hard in those days and the lace could hurt. The modern ball is like a swerving balloon’. It is hard to disagree with Norman. He reminisced about some local players: it was Billy Findlay [Finlay?} at inside right that had opened the scoring with a header in the 3-1 defeat suffered at the hands of the great Bishop Auckland team. Soccer felt that Ushaw Moor had played well but towards the end Bishop Auckland were playing effective keep ball.   Tommy Sharp was a very good full back and worked as a draughtsman at Mackays factory – at one point he ran a  pub in Durham. Soccer said that  Tommy could head a ball further than he could kick it. Tot Smith was an ex Blackpool player and played well in  local football [at one time he had a pub in Crook]. Alan Lockey was not a world beater but always put on a good show. George Jameson, at centre forward, lacked height but was pacey and effective. Norman recalled fellow winger Harry Richmond and I asked him an ‘innocent’ question: ‘was he as good as you Soccer?’ You can imagine the answer. Actually he laughed and was surprisingly polite, given the question!

Norman married Peggy Harper and then Nancy Whitfield. Although a  widower, with fond memories, he has been able to carry on in a positive vein – an example to us all.

Norman is number seven in the all time magnificent seven of Ushaw Moor [earlier article see archive] and deservedly so. I felt privileged to interview him and will never forget the experience.


Categories: Memories

Paul Has Made A Timely Comment

July 8, 2010 2 comments

It is true that my previous post is off subject – not about memories of the village – and I must admit that I winced at and wondered about its likely reception when editing it. My mind was full of mild turmoil; do we let the memories side of it lapse into occasional but relevant articles or do we throw current affairs in amongst memories of the village with a view to creating more regular articles and hopefully maintain interest?  Do we rely on Facebook as the mainstay?

Paul has the absolute right to govern and edit his facility and as a matter of fact I can fully understand his point of view.  I intimated recently that my writing was coming to an end in July so that fixes the problem in any case.It had to come to an end because  I have virtually exhausted my contributions to the village history at a time when several other things of a permanent nature are pressing. 

It has been a privilege to write on this site and I thank Paul for giving me the opportunity. I do hope that our tour around the village, the upturned coffin incident, the debate about the ‘magnificent seven’, vicar’s Welby’s family history etc etc has been of interest.

There is one last point to make: if one or two of you can make 17/7 [1pm] at Ushaw Moor cricket club for a pint so well and good. If that is inconvenient never mind!


Categories: Memories