Archive for February, 2012

An Update On Colin Looker’s Book

February 24, 2012 2 comments

I managed to make contact with Mr Looker a few days ago and he confirmed that he still has copies of his book available. He said he intended to visit this site shortly to supply contact details. I know that there is some interest in acquiring the book. Just to help give people a bit of a fix he was born not that long after WW2 and as a child lived at 35 Hunter’s Avenue, Ushaw Moor. His sister is called Christine  and his mum and dad were named Doreen and Arthur.

I will offer to assist Mr Looker if he has a problem in locating this site.


Categories: Memories

Wedding Buttonholes

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

I was told a long time ago that one should not wear a wedding buttonhole  [usually a single carnation] without first removing the silver paper. Because of that advice the first thing I do on being invited to look at wedding pictures  is check on the silver paper! Has it been removed?

Are your wedding photos the walk of shame – littered with silver paper?  Does it really matter? Surely the paper prevents the sap from going onto your clothing.

Anyway, who was that person that said it was wrong to retain the paper? Well it was a women, other than my wife, and that is all I have to say about it.


Categories: Memories

Memories of Shrove Tuesday and Lent

February 21, 2012 3 comments

What do you remember about celebrating Shrove Tuesday and Lent, does it differ from how you celebrate today ?

What things did you do ?

Did you get involved in any festivities ?


Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is observed mainly in English speaking countries, especially Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and Canada but is also observed in Philippines and Germany. Shrove Tuesday is linked to Easter, so its date changes on an annual basis.

In most traditions the day is known for the eating of pancakes before the start of Lent. Pancakes are eaten as they are made out of the main foods available, sugar, fat, flour and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.

In England, as part of community celebration, many towns held traditional Shrove Tuesday football (‘Mob football’) games, dating as far back as the 12th century.

Shrove Tuesday was once known as a ‘half-holiday’ in England. It started at 11:00am with the signalling of a church bell.  On Pancake Day, pancake races are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. The tradition is said to have originated when a housewife from Olney was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake. The pancake race remains a relatively common festive tradition in the UK, and England in particular, even today. Participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air, catching them in the pan whilst running. In Olney today, a pancake race still takes place every year on Shrove Tuesday.

From Wikipedia




Throwing Coins At Weddings

February 19, 2012 8 comments

Although no coins were thrown at my daughter’s 21st century southern wedding such a custom is known in the south, albeit mostly in Victorian times.The poor must have appreciated that.

It was a popular custom in Scotland and designed to bring luck and prosperity to the married couple. As for North Eastern weddings I can recall the chucking of coins outside Saint Luke’s and the laughter and scramble that took place as a result.

Hopefully others will know more and share their knowledge.


Categories: Memories Tags:

Let’s Hear It For Colin Looker

February 18, 2012 1 comment

Book Review: The Last Miner in Sherburn. A true story of life underground. Colin Looker. Durham, England. Isbn 9780953767618. Book price one penny short of eight pounds.

Colin Looker gives an authoritative, entertaining and sometimes poignant account of coal mining. For the price of something like two and a half pints of beer it’s a real bargain.

He explains the typical career cycle and social life of a coal miner in a clear and entertaining way with a glossary of pit terms supplied for southern softies, uninitiated northerners and those in between.

His illustrations and photographs are generous and pleasing. His writing style and expressions are lucid and ease the reader into an understanding of the miners’ lot. Having said that he seems not to have had the benefit of a sub editor – but having such a ‘benefit’ might  have  diluted the impact of his book just a little!

There are several references to Ushaw Moor including  school life and family life and they may attract Ushaw Moorites.

I’m not sure that the main aim of the book – to counteract the ‘garbage’ written about coal mining in Durham is valid. What garbage? Which writers? Nevertheless it’s a gem of a book and well worth reading.

Wilf Bell.

Categories: Memories

Your Memories Make this BLOG

February 16, 2012 19 comments

Been a little quite on the Ushaw Moor Memories BLOG lately. The BLOG relies on YOU to submit your memories.

Take out a few minutes from your busy day to tell us about your memories of Ushaw Moor and Deerness Valley, am sure you have a story to share.

Which street did you grow up in ?

What do you remember about going to school ?

What was your first job ?

What were the special things that happened to you as you were growing up ?

What was family life like when you were growing up?

How did you celebrate holidays and special occasions?

What are some of the traditions still carried on by your family?

What changes have you noticed during your life in such areas as fashion, morality and technology?

Some snippets from the original archive

I have a vivid memory of time I spent in this village, as a child I remember hardly ever being in the house, I was either up the woods, near ushaw college, or down the beck, “catchin minners”. Life seemed so much better then. Well those were the days, by the way,, great site….:) posted by ushaw @ 6:15 PM

I don’t know if it’s the same enid greenwell as dated queensland Feb. 2003 but we used to be great friends till she moved to australia with her family when she was 11 she also had a younger sister .we used to go to a place called broadgate i have only just found this sight i was born in the village and have lived here all my life i went to ushaw moor infants & junior school then the secondary school i was born in 18 dale street .we used to go on the ushaw moor club trip some times on coaches or on the trains from ushaw moor station my mother rhoda hird sill lives in the village if any one can remember her but sadly my father died a albert hird .if you are the same enid greenwell did you live in ushaw terrace and if you visit this sight again i would like to hear from you i have found this sight very good as a lot of the people i knew when i was growing up in the village. posted by ushaw @ 6:15 PM

I read the “Autobiography of Frank Proctor” some time ago and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I would recommend this book to any of the older generation in Ushaw Moor.

Frank was a very strong character who went as a very young man with a number of friends to work on the farms in Canada. He suffered homesickness as one by one his friends returned to the Ushaw Moor area and he was left alone in a strange country thousands of miles away from his home.  posted by ushaw @ 6:12 PM

I enjoyed reading about Martin and Ruby Gallagher. My Gran and Grandad lived at 28 Arthur St. and as a child I was often sent to the little shop. It was a happy place, Ruby was always singing. My Gran never called her Ruby Gallaher it was Ruby Deaton. Also in Arthur St. were Mrs. Quinn, Mrs. Jolly , Mrs. Nanncarrow and the Wallige family. They were friendly with the Young family who lived in Whitehouse Lane. posted by ushaw @ 6:11 PM

Can you help regarding old residents of Ushaw Moor

February 10, 2012 1 comment

I am trying to find information regarding two aspects of my family tree which impact upon Ushaw Moor and would appreciate any guidance – either about names , locations or even where you think i may be able to find more ?
1,McCardle family from 1900 onwards
The 1901 census record this family in 1901 in South View Ushaw Moor – though by 1911 they are recorded in Hepple St in New Brancepeth Colliery .
By 1911 Patrick is married to Margaret and they have 4 children : Rosie A ; Alice James and Joseph

I believe Alice went on to marry James McCaffery see next paragraph and died in 1924.
I would be interested in any memories or contact with descendants who can help me flesh things out
As mentioned above I belive James (Francis) Mccaffery spent some time mining at Ushaw Moor Colliery amongst other things .Through marriage to Alice McArdle I believe they had two children Gerard and Lawrence Leo and he remarried Jane Craggs in 1926 . I believe they spent some /all the time until 1950’s and James death at/near Ushaw Moor (7 Hall Avenue )

Both James and Jane I believe are buried in St Joseph’s Church but as I don’t live locally its difficult on check
In both situations i would appreciate any memories or contacts I could follow up by email to help me flesh some things out

The Writings of Geoff Turner – Archive

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

On 27th April 2007 I believe we last heard from Geoff TURNER, a man approaching his 75th birthday and a former resident of Alum Waters.  Amongst some of his very interesting postings was a fascinating account of the life of Manny PECKER, a man who lived the later years of his life wandering the roads in and around the Deerness Valley.

In  what I believe to be his last posting Geoff stated his intention of posting further articles featuring 1. A watermill in the valley 2. ” The Germans are coming. ”  A comical narritive of a small boy’s dreams – a comical narrative.  3. An article about a family in the valley where three of the family played professional football.

I should like to say how much I enjoyed reading Geoff’s postings and hope that he is keeping well as his eightieth birthday approaches. I would love to see an update on  these stories.

Posted on behalf of Carol Clarke

Follow these  links for archive material of Geoff Turner from old BLOG :

Paul Clough

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