Archive for March, 2011

John Sutch Of New Brancepeth

March 26, 2011 1 comment
For those interested in coal mining heritage please consider using the Durham  Mining  Museum facility. I know that some of you are already aware that the museum is on the internet and have found it interesting. 

Below is an example of local interest. Very sad and very tragic.

Sutch, John, 07 May 1931, aged 48, Stoneman. Having walked from his home at New Brancepeth to Brandon Pit House Colliery he found that the mine was idle. He had just begun the return journey accompanied by his son-in-law and a workmate when he was overtaken by a locomotive on the colliery railway, run over, and killed. The other two men had jumped to safety, but Sutch had failed to hear the locomotive approaching. It had been the custom for some time for all the men living at New Brancepeth to use the line as a short cut, Buried: Ushaw Moor Cemetary.


It’s Getting Harder To Breath

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Writing articles for this site may be a labour of love but it’s  beginning to feel like  climbing a mountain in the Alps;  for a long time it seemed like gentle exercise, with the easy trotting out of  personal memories of Sleetburn and Ushaw Moor, followed by a hold on Vicar Welby’s family chart; at 8,000 feet the sun came out and enabled me to bring Yale University to Moorites and burners of the sleet at no financial cost to them.

But now  the air is scarce and I find myself surfing [always dangerous on a mountain] the net for suitable topics and feeding google with the likes of: Christmas in Ushaw Moor; violence in Ushaw Moor; Sleetburn WI; death in Ushaw Moor etc; It can work of course, and did so with the unidentified flying objects article, but often it comes to little. Thank goodness for the Harwood collection – that came from a surf.

My needs now are  threefold: oxygen, hope and goodwill. I cannot climb this mountain without sherpas and consequently your valley – or rather mountain – needs you. Goodness knows whether there will be anyone striving for the  glittering prize, but one can only hope so. It’s not like recruiting for the navy in earlier centuries – I cannot hit you over the head with a truncheon and demand an article; that would be violence in Ushaw Moor or even death in Ushaw Moor and that is not what I want at all. What I want is an oxygen mask and some fellow keyboarders to push well chosen words out of the valley and up the mountain.

I must not become another statistic, another death, owing to oxygen starvation.


Categories: Memories

Nigella Lawson And Wilf Together On This One

March 20, 2011 Leave a comment

For years I have been the subject of my children’s ridicule and occasionally it has made me feel a touch silly and insignificant; but some people have their day, when sweet vindication arrives and the sentence

‘I told you so’

can be uttered with full justification.

The problem often started on the 25th of December, when  the stomach was replete and the Tio Pepe had been savoured. Out trotted my sunny nostalgia regarding porridge, chestnuts, spotted dick and …….boiley. Much youthful hooting and braying would follow and their mum  then wore a look of resignation in the knowledge that she has married the northern boiley man.

Boiley was what we had as a pick up during cold plodgy Deerness winters; white bread was broken up into little pieces and added to a bowl of hot milk; a generous amount of white sugar was then applied to it and the dish was then ready for consumption by the child of early 1950s parents.

Yesterday I discovered that Nigella Lawson had included boiley in her Nigella Feasts and furthermore she had  declared that her mother had served it to her as a nice comforting treat at the end of the day. It is true that she had not called it boiley and it is also true that she had used vanilla sugar but even so boiley is boiley!


Categories: Memories

Noises Past And Present

March 16, 2011 1 comment

Some of us can remember the noisy rhythm of the old Deerness Valley; pit hooters, clashing milk bottles and singers with their poss tubs in an aerobic melody; not forgetting pit boots on pavement  before and after a  manly shift and perhaps later  the beery, cheery, farewell following a  seven pint stint.

A noisy youth’s blethering back in 1968 has etched itself on the memory of this semi-reformed  journeyman. Just after pub closing  I was chatting to our opening bowler under a street light:

” Wishart’s blooming fast Dave. Do you agree?’

‘Yep’ said Dave.

Occasionally the beery conversation would bring a rise in decibels and then came a voice from a nearby house.

”There is a dead man in our house  so please go away”.

I replied with ‘for goodness sake we are just chatting mister”

The point is we should have honoured the memory of the deceased and quietly drifted away. During that conversation I displayed the emotional maturity of a confused  insect and using beer as an excuse will not cut it.

Which brings me on to supermarkets. Noisy over stimulated children are familiar to all of us but a new trend has emerged: the super stimulated high decibel kid that values his or her decibel rating and displays  vocal power on the basis of ‘ use it or lose it’ . It’s not the child’s  fault. It’s not the parents fault. Its not even the supermarkets fault. Blame it on progress and enjoy the six varieties of banana and seven brands of coffee.


Categories: Memories

Let’s Hear It For Pigeons

March 9, 2011 8 comments

Let me say at the outset that what I know about racing pigeons would cover an area about the size of four average postal stamps. Not a lot then, but I am interested to read more.

Be aware that Ushaw Moor has had its pigeon triumphs e.g. back in 1965 Pearson and Partners won the prestigious Queens Cup; there must be a story to tell about and perhaps we might hear it in the not too distant future.

I understand that New Brancepeth still has some pigeon fanciers although quite a few are getting on in life and that might raise a question or two about how it will go in the future. I understand from at least one web site that some well known names in the New Brancepeth pigeon fraternity may include: Barton, Alder, Fullard  Curry and Ramm [that name has cropped up a few times in the past in the context of  local football and cricket].

Anyone that can remember steam trains will be able to recall pigeon baskets on railway stations so there may well be a bit of nostalgia to tap into. I await it! Just as we  chew the cud about famous footballers of the past [Carter, Crooks, Shackleton, Ford, Montgomery, Simpson etc] we also had some famous pigeons, such as  GI Joe and Mocker; to hear about their war exploits can be enthralling so let us be having it. Please!



Categories: Memories

The history and antiquities of the … – Google Books

Ushaw is a village three-quarters of a mile east from Esh. A hamlet called Hilltop, recently erected, is principally occupied by tailors and other tradesmen employed by the students of Ushaw College. An act was passed, 2 George III., 1760, ” for dividing and enclosing a certain moor or common, called Middlewood Moor, or Ushaw Moor, within the manor of Lanchester, in the county of Durham.” This moor is described as containing upwards of 600 acres, and as being partly in the chapelry of Esh, and partly in the parish of St. Oswald, and intersected from north to south by the Scotch Dyke and Holywell Syke, the parochial boundaries. The allotments were to be subject to a clear yearly rent of 6d. per acre to the bishop

via The history and antiquities of the … – Google Books.

Categories: books, From the WEB, history

Dangerous Times

March 6, 2011 Leave a comment

During my first day at Sleetburn infant school I mistook  the mid morning  break time  for home time and wandered home all by myself. Being distracted by the fact that I got free school milk I might not have looked left and right along Rock Terrace. Actually it’s right -left – right. Is it not?

Well that was a gentle start to dangerous times  but the danger did intensify a few years later; I almost lost my grip when positioned quite high up the face of the quarry in Ushaw Moor. Remind me of the locale; was it facing the colliery and some few hundred yards from it?  Don’t take a week over that question he said with a twinkle in his eye.

The River Wear episode makes me shiver a bit even after all the intervening years. In about 1956 I walked on it  when it was ice covered  without any  evidence that it was safe to do so. Gordon Bennett.

Then there was the time I needed smelling salts from the trainer during a Durham Technical College v Sacriston Juniors football game. It was one of those old fashioned balls that got heavier and heavier as the muddy match made its way to the final whistle. It was my best ever football performance and involved several headers out of the penalty area. Is the danger over? Will I develop brain damage as a result of excessive ball heading? Have I got brain damage? I will let you be the judge of that last question.

Then there was opening the innings during a time when helmets were not worn. I ducked under quite a few bouncers in my time which was always followed by a calm exterior and an expectancy that each bouncer would be followed by  a fast yorker.

Having enjoyed ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ at the cinema I failed to look right then left then right again before crossing the road. Very sad and very lucky. Children do not follow my example of careless stupidity.

I lost control of our Subaru on an icy winter’s day skid and although I regained it I found myself losing it again – before yet again regaining control. One tree missed by very little.


Categories: Memories

The Deerness Valley – Cambridge Books

March 4, 2011 1 comment

If you google the above [ this article’s title] you will have access to some potentially interesting material concerning the  effects of Methodism in the valley. Once in the site just experiment with finding your away around it.



Categories: Memories

Ronald Addyman

March 4, 2011 1 comment

If you google   –   Ronald Addyman grandma at rest – there are some interesting observations about his grandmother Ann Atkinson and Durham people in general.



Categories: Memories