Home > Memories > Let’s Hear It For Pigeons

Let’s Hear It For Pigeons

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
  1. Denise
    March 11, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Pearson Partners were a pigeon racing team set up by my late dad, Billy Pearson, and his cousin, Raymond Pearson. The pigeons were kept on the allotments and we were not allowed to go on race days. When dad left the area in 1962, Raymond kept the Pearson Partners name going. I remember, as a child, visiting my great aunt Meg Pearson, who lived at 1, Holly Park with hers sons Tom, Raymond, Albert and Leslie. All of the pigeon trophies were displayed on the huge sideboard and I was just the right height to read all of the names on the little shields around the base of the trophies. I only discovered recently that my mother wouldn’t have any of the trophies at our house because she didn’t want to polish them!
    Another family member who has a room full of pigeon racing trophies is my mother’s cousin, Alf Rothwell. Now retired from pigeon racing, he did extremely well. He’ll have loads of stories to tell!
    Looking back, to be successful, pigeon racing had to be a way of life and not just a hobby.

  2. Paul Fullard
    March 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Im the Fullard you mention in your article and come from a family with a strong history of racing pigeons and keeping livestock in general. My granda,granma and dad raced pigeons as Mr and Mrs Fullard and Son in Ushaw Moor HS back in the glory days of the sport when we had two sets of allotments in the village. This was when you had most of the village flying pigeons and some outstanding fliers such as Ray Pearson, Alf Rothwell, Curry and Young, Metcalfe and Kelly, Phil Dowson and Holmes and Hazel just to mention a few.

    My dad had his share of success being known as decent channel fliers especially from tours which was the brouges of its day being the longest race from France. They won the CIU cup which was and still is a highly contested prize.

    The partnership gave up the sport in the early 1990’s when my granda Tommy passed away.

    Ushaw Moor had a great pigeon club as well as the 6 bird club based out of the WMC club and the cricket club. Sadly due to declining membership the club folded and the left over members joined the other village clubs such as Bearpark and New Brancepeth.

    I started the sport in 2007 with young birds and have flown very well for a new starter winning club,fed and achieving highest vel in the amal in my first OB season. Also won young bird averages two years running in New Brancepeth being in top three of the club two years running.

    Sadly im one of the youngest members the club and fed has at 30 and I am packing in this year due to moving in with my girlfriend who lives at Kelloe.

    Due to the declining members in the sport I would say in the next five years we will be lucky to have any pigeon racing in the Deerness Valley Area at all and a part of our pit village culture will be gone forever.

  3. Alf Rothwell
    March 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Regarding Ushaw Moor Homing Society (Pigeon Club) I can remember as a young school boy getting involved with racing pigeons.We had an allotment at the top of Ushaw Moor where we kept hens and Bantams then the bug hit me hard, I was amazed at seeing racing pigeons coming home to the pigeon lofts near us from race points all over England and France.Along with my cousin Alan Rothwell, Ray Pearson and John Patterson we would talk for hours on end how these pigeons managed to find their way home.I obtained 2 pigeons from a loft in New Brancepeth, the lad who gave or sold me them was I think called Bonner but I beleive the owner of the loft was Mr Lumley (I think).I started to keep these two blue pigeons in a small orange box in our back garden in Whitehouse Court. I was amazed when i settled them to find out that when I let them out, they would not come back in when I wanted them to (Before School). This is where my Mam helped me, she put a trail of budgie seed all the way into their home and when they got in she shut the door. My dad tried to talk me out of keeping pigeons as he said it was a disease NOT a hobby.Then my mam said there was a letter arrived from the council informing us that we could not keep racing pigeons in a council garden.After I saw the letter I recognised my Dads handwriting and told him so.He then sat me down and explained about Racing Pigeons to me.I was shocked to hear him say he used to keep them way back in 1920 to 30’s. He told me about his Dad John Rothwell who flew racing pigeons in Sleetburn at the Top of the Clay Bank He could remember the races they won and he also remembered the ring numbers of most of their winners.We sat and talked for a long time and it was decided if i was still keen in a month he would buy me a shed to put on another allotment. Sure enough that was the start of Alf or Alfie Rothwell the Pigeon Fancier (this was 1952) After a few races in the novices club we joined Ushaw Moor HS as J Rothwell & Son in 1954 and I had to be the loft manager and my dad as the advisor.We won our first race with a pigeon bred by Barnie Flatley who also lived in Whitehouse Court, he did not race but liked his pigeons..
    Some of the Pigeon Fanciers that I can remember in Ushaw Moor from 1952 are: Jimmy Aberdeen,Albert & Arthur Hird,Chick Johnson & Sons,George Surtees, Jossie Stokoe (Robinson), Winn & Son, Pearson & Ptrs,W Harrison & Son,M Embleton & Son,John Graham & Prtns, George ( Stockings)Thompson. Eliott Bros, Metcalfe & Son, Curry & Son,McEleavey Bros,Burnham & Sons, Wilkinson Bros, Greenwell Pearson, Walker & Patterson.Tommy Bewick,M Pickard & Sons, Adamson & Son, Turnbull & Wilkinson, Fred Parkinson. I am sure there is more but my memory is not as good as it was. If I have not bored you I will try to follow this up as soon as I can. Cheers, Alf R

    • Paul Fullard
      April 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Was Fred Parkinson the butcher Alf? My granda Tommy bought my dads old loft from him. It was a massive thing and stood for years until the church kicked us all off the allotments and had to burn it.

      Just finished building my new lofts at Kelloe looking forward to racing in Durham Combine next season

  4. May 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Paul, Just got back from a month in Spain and saw your comment. Yes Fred Parkinson was the Butcher in Station Road, he bought our loft us on the Top Allotments.Your grandfathers allotment was just in front. Cheers, Alf R

  5. linda fullard smith
    January 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    hi Paul you don’t know me but reading your memories on the pigeons Tommy was my uncle his wife Lilly my aunt.im Linda Fullard now smith .we used to live in the same street we were at the top and thay were at the bottem but I cant remember the name of the street

  6. January 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Hi Linda,The name of the street was DALE Street.Alf R

  7. Enid Cavallaro
    January 24, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    I also have little to no knowledge of the sport of racing pigeons, but I do remember when I was little (around 1960 ish) that my dad Bill Greenwell had something to do with the pidgeon club in Ushaw Moor, and that my Uncle David Greenwell used to breed racing pidgeons

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s