Archive for May, 2011

The Empire Had Fireflies, Smog, A Lolly On A Stick And Maybe A Bit Of The Other

May 29, 2011 1 comment

I recall that in the  50s much hard earned money went up in smoke; Woodbine, Player and Capstan product, ejected by human fireflies, drifted upwards with much of it caught in the film projector beam like curling vapour trails from caught out Luftwaffe planes.

By and large the cinema going public was not aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking, not that the industry that produced fags was ever going to tell that generation the full facts! My memory tells me that the film stars of the 50s were for ever lighting up and using fags as a prop; impressionable minds were persuaded that cigarettes were swish and cool.   We are aware of the dangers now and consequently consumption has gone down in the UK, but that is not a great problem for the tobacco industry; its global results no doubt delight  its shareholders and perhaps one or two hard bitten funeral directors. Um… on reflection is there such a thing as a hard bitten funeral director? Perhaps not. The one I met a couple of years ago, when my car broke down, was ever such a nice lady.

Getting a lolly in the Empire at the interval depended on two things: did I have the money to buy one and if so was the queue short enough to make the effort worthwhile?

Which leaves me with a bit of the other; I was pre-teen so a bit of the other was a mystery that failed to register on my radar but many couples saw the period of comparative darkness as an opportunity to indulge in some back row recreational fun, the extent of which, at the time, was beyond my wildest contemplations.


Categories: Memories

An Academic Marriage March 1959

May 29, 2011 8 comments

Sheila Marr and Alan Spence, both teachers at Ushaw Moor County school, tied the knot in March 1959. Our class presented them with some new knives and forks and they probably found that gesture quite touching!

Can anyone recall these teachers?


Categories: Memories

Glittering Prizes – The Details

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The writing competition prizes offered consist of two alcoholic drinks [reciprocation not required] to the value of about two pints of beer, plus any two books from the following list of five:

1] Who Runs Britain?….and who’s to blame for the economic mess we’re in – author Robert Peston

2] A Woman In Berlin  –  author anonymous – A war diary unlike any other… one of the most important personal accounts ever written, wrote Anthony Beevor

3] Durham As It Was by Ian Nelson – my personal copy – a photographic record of Durham City

4] The Coalminers Of Durham – Norman Emery – The Northern Echo wrote ‘a finely illustrated book by a mineworker’s son’.

5] Vietnam – Christian G Appy – the definitive oral history told from all sides.

The site has gone a bit quiet and time is running out; it makes me wonder whether glitter is in demand and worth ‘fighting’ for! We shall see what we shall see.


Categories: Announcements

Terry Moore Can Show Ushaw Moor How to Tie Its Shoe Laces

May 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Remember primary school? Your mum had already tied your shoelaces before you set out for school but what about when the laces unravelled? I suppose the teacher retied them for you. Now, the big question: did your mother or teacher tie them correctly?

If you go to TED via google Terry Moore will show you, in a very short video, how to tie them properly. I looked at it and have gone for his method! It took me five minutes to master the task but you will probably achieve it in one minute. Being left handed I found it a touch complex, hence the five minutes; that’s my take on it and I am sticking to it.


Categories: Memories

The Eagle, Charlie Buchan’s Football Magazine, The Dandy…..

May 22, 2011 Leave a comment

They were part of my childhood back in the 1950s. If you are so inclined you can read the September 1951 edition of Charlie Buchan’s magazine by googling  – Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly Archives. It’s at the top of the page of sites. Once in the site itself  look to the right hand side and click to another era of football. There is a picture of Newcastle United, a feature on Raich Carter and much more.


Categories: Memories

Does The Surname Marchant Mean Anything To You?

May 22, 2011 3 comments

J Marchant served in the Royal Navy Voluntary Reserve and was awarded the MM [Military Medal] in 1917 for bravery in battle; the records show that he came from Ushaw Moor. It is quite possible that his family lived at 25 South Terrace Waterhouses in 1901 – parents being Billy and Martha. No less than thirteen people lived in that house on the night of the census and our medal winner may have been James [ten years old in 1901], or John [six in 1901]  or Joseph [22 in 1901]. Perhaps Joseph is the least likely contender owing to his age but I could easily be wrong about that.

Are you associated with this family? If so have you any memories to share?


Categories: Memories

Ushaw Moor Voted the Worst Village In Britain?

May 22, 2011 1 comment

Too often we get tacky taste and downright drivel on the internet; let me direct you to some, just for a moment.  Google – NUFC Ushaw Moor – and you will find it. Amongst the slime you will find a very good account of Ushaw Moor and its history which helps towards  redressing the balance. When and where did the so called vote take place?

NUFC? It was Newcastle United FC that relied for a century on some of Ushaw Moor’s football fans for important revenue. No doubt the club itself has nothing to do with the site in question.

Ushaw Moor helped to fuel the Industrial Revolution and revitalize the economy. Too many of its people died in the process and that is not counting those that died in two World Wars. There are lots of places inferior to Ushaw Moor and one prime example is Blackpool. I love Blackpool Football Club almost as much as I love Derby County but let me tell you that I would rather live in Ushaw Moor than Blackpool. Yes I know Blackpool is a town and not a village.


Categories: Memories

We Must Use Our Memories To Evaluate The Present And Ponder The Future

May 18, 2011 Leave a comment

My goodness I did find it difficult to decide the subject header for this post. I think what you finally see up above is version three.

The Ken Robinson talk  concerns the state of education in the past and ponders and projects into the future; at the same time it brings much laughter to us on the way. I find it a contrast to things as they were in Wallace Hayton’s day and surely it should make us think while we chuckle and admire his brilliant speech. ‘So there’ as Sir Ken would put it!


Categories: Memories

Most Parents Will Surely Warm To This

May 17, 2011 1 comment

I recommend that you google a site called TED.  Ted  stands for technology, entertainment and design. Look for Ken Robinson and mouse into him; I found Sir Ken’s not too long speech, made in 2006, both inspiring and witty. His theme is that schools are killing pupils creativity and he goes about delivering it in a very entertaining way.

Please give me a bit of feedback on this one I really will appreciate it.


Categories: Memories

From The Archives

May 17, 2011 3 comments

Wallace Hayton remembers the old days

Original date of publication 24/01/2007

I had been teaching at New Brancepeth since 1951 when the big change came about.I transferred to Ushaw Moor with Mrs E Barlow, Mrs E Wilson and Mr G Hill [who became Deputy Headmaster] on 7th of April 1959,together with senior pupils from the school. Among those pupils were Edith Smith, Gillian Cruddace, Hazel Dickinson, Ann Mountain, Ann Dowson, Audrey Thompson, Pauline Newman, Jean Metcalfe, Malcolm Gibb and Thomas Patterson. Another I recall was Peter Barella who became a senior police officer in Northumberland. I quite frequently bump into Ann Mountain and Ann Dowson and always enjoy having a little chat with them.

At first I think that all pupils and staff of the new school were wary as to how we’d all settle but we need not have worried because everything seemed to go well with no great problems, despite the upheaval. I didn’t notice any signs of rivalry between pupils from the three contributory schools.

As far as I can remember [42 years on] we had no great discipline problems – maybe because we had certain simple rules. Do you remember?

1. Walk [don’t run] on the left in the corridors.
2. Line up in classes in the schoolyard with one hand on the shoulder of the pupil in front – drop      hands on the word of command, then walk quietly into the school.

Lunchtimes involved two ‘sittings’ in the dining room that was opposite Mr Gibbon’s office. Pupils went table by table to the hatch to be served. Do you remember that Grace was said at the beginning and end of each sitting? Times change – schools are so big these days that they don’t seem to have time for that!

The boys may remember the school gardens by the side of the wood. A number of staff took classes there – notably Mr Turnbull.

A number of staff also shared PE untill specialists took over years later. I believe that Mrs Barlow and Mrs Wilson did girls PE. Mr Barlow, myself and later a young teacher called Mr Grimshaw looked after the boys.I enjoyed these lessons because I had the change from the classroom and it also helped me keep fit.On wet days we had mixed PE – you may remember such relays as tunnel ball. We got a new trampoline with which everyone was newfangled. We also had a game called Padler tennis. Some pupils will remember Mr and Mrs Barlow, Mr Grimshaw and I playing the game in the schoolyard at lunchtimes.

As a member of staff I saw many changes in my twenty four and a half years at the school – from Sec. Mod. to Comprehensive, but I must say I enjoyed the earlier years most. In fact they were some of the best of my teaching career, which ended in early retirement in 1983.

May I finish by wishing all pupils from the past every happiness in the future.


Categories: Memories