Home > Memories > Demoltion of Cinemas, etc.

Demoltion of Cinemas, etc.

I recently put an entry on the Ushaw Moor Web Site about the demolition of Cinemas and Clubs etc. in Ushaw Moor. I have great memories of the Empire and the Club Hall cinemas. The Memorial Hall on the Esh Winning road and the Big Club on Station Road. Public buildings like these were at the heart of the village and as we did not travel far in those days outside the village people were up to date with everything that was going on around the village. What better place to catch up with the local gossip that waiting in the Cinema queue. You could see who was courting who and you rubbed shoulders with people you only saw once in a while.

I really enjoyed seeing a photograph of Ronnie Allinson and the Facey lads in their Boys Brigade uniforms. The members of the Boys Brigade were always very well turned out and their marching and music were top class.

How does the social life of a village like Ushaw Moor carry on when most of the meeting places where people rubbed shoulders and chatted with one another have disappeared. This includes the places of worship in the village where the congregations have declined over the years. There was Socials, whist drives, beetle drives, pantomones and amatuer shows taking place on a regular basis. These were mostly for adults and not for young people, but they brought people together. The Clubs, cinemas, the Flass and the churches and chapels provided outlets for a lot of people and helped to gel the community together. At a lecture I attended a lot of years ago the lecturer forecast the demise of communities. This was before 24 hour TV and radio but he stated that when large places of emplyment closed and TV was available 24 hours a day as it was then available in the United States the communities would suffer.

I would not like to state an opinion on the cause of the decline of strong comunities. I am not a TV fan but I know that a lot of people know more about what is happening on the “Soaps” that they know about their immediate neighbourhood.

I like a couple of pints down the Iona Club or in a local pub. The patter flows and that is what I like. I am old fashioned? Perhaps I am but I still like to know what is going on in the town and socialising is the way I find the local news out.

I don’t suppose this article is much about memories of Ushaw Moor but when I was through home a few weeks ago I was struck by the demolition of so many public buildings including Wilf Bells’ “Alma Mater”, the Council School on Temperance Terrace. It is a sad day when a local school closes.

Does a mobile phone and 24 hour TV make up for the lack of public buildings which young people of my age group used?

Please comment.

I forgot the Army Cadets where many lads attended at the bottom of Ushaw Villas.

Brian Mc.

Categories: Memories
  1. April 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you!
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts and memories, and how very true. How changes creep up on you! – The “Big Club” was a hive of activity and the hub of the village (which ever church you followed). – Sport definately was also a “Kingpin” in most social events, with Ushaw Moor Cricket club, and the Football clubs where half of the village were either playing, supporting or going to the Big club to talk about it.
    Is it suprising that “Rich man’s marbles” and “Old man’s marbles” never really took off! (Golf and bowls) with the working men of the village. (Although the 9 holes at Ushaw College were nearly within reach of the working man)
    Around the late 70’s I was in the company of a couple of “Foreigners” visiting the village. We started off in the Flass, with the “Tour” then including the Winnings, the Big Club, Cricket club and then down to the “Bush” (Group and disco night) then back up Station Road for fish and chips. (We had promised a trip to the Catholic Club but we ran out of time)
    The “Foreigners” (Who were more than half cut) commented that Ushaw Moor really was a vibrant “CITY” – Strong stuff Newcy Brown!

  2. April 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I forgot to mention the “Village Gala’s” that were supported initially by the Colliery Welfare social funds. Does anyone remember “Lord Joe Fletcher”?

  3. pat arckless re mcquillan
    April 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    i love big club trips i think it gave a lot to the commumity i can remember my dad johnny mcquillan running the football teami cannot remember the gentle man who wran it before but some one will know he did it f years i can remember robbert minnis he was goalie david boucher his parents were lovely and rocket think they came from nevils cross malcolme rowlands from esh any one remember any more that was the early seventies what about the tennis courts no one ever mentions them and the reck i loved going to ushaw colledge n that little farm next to it the bush was good but a bloody long walk from ladysmith freda n jack had it they were lovely folk as well that chippy on way up was good also other one as well the butchers mind u station road had quite a few shops in them days how many can we remember lets c who gets th most lol pat xxx

  4. noodles29
    April 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Good to hear from you Pat. The man that ran the Ushaw Moor Junior Football Team was Billy Dawson who lived in Ushaw Villas. Is that the man you were thinking of Pat?

    The place to gather in those days to see what was going on was Crook Store doorway. This was recessed and kept the worst of the weather out. The doorway was situated between the main entrance into Crook Store and Malones the Newsagents next door. Malones sold sweets, new bikes and electrical goods ie. radios etc. From the doorway you could see everything that went on, who was going to the Empire, who was going to the Big Club, who went into the Flass and quite often Billy Dawson was there talking football. Billy always had a Woodbine hanging from his lips (a cigarette) and he never seem to take it out of his mouth that I can remember. You could also see who was getting off the bus from Durham and getting on the bus bound for Esh Winning or stops between In those days the Police Station in Ushaw Moor was situated in Duirham Road (opposite the Chapel) and when the Police appeared at around 10pm and moved us on we moved. No backchat or mouthing off to the Police in those days. We moved because we would have got a clip around the ear if we didn,t and more because we respected the authority they had and we just didn,t question their authority. In those days Closing Time was 10pm.

    Brian Mc.

  5. pat arckless re mcquillan
    April 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    thats him i remember now an the door way closing time should go back to that i think threre was no back chat and we all repected our elders can u remember the bingo hut at neeshams with bottle tops my mam brenda and phil wilkinson was never away and mrs flatley and winkles mam they all lived along was it flass hall and mrs carr as well nelly mcquillan lived there me uncle jimmy still in same house the was alot went on along that street chat son lol pat x

  6. Mike Copple
    April 5, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I remember the local picturehouses at Ushaw Moor even though I was brought up in Bearpark but attended St. Josephs RC school in Durham Rd. This was between 1945 – 1955.
    Remember all the shops with affection. My uncle and aunt and family, Sep and Jenny Kerwin lived in Station Rd. Nice to see someone still remembers,

    Mike Copple

  7. noodles29
    April 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    In reply to Dave Clarkson I can remember Joe Fletcher. Joe worked at the Empire Cinema where I think he was the projectionist. His wife also worked at the Empire and they lived in Hall Avenue. I think his wife was the sister of Paddy Murray who was a bin man working for Brandon and Byshottles Urban District Council. This was in the days when the bins were made of metal to accommodate the hot ashes from the coal fires. The bin men could get hold of a full bin and swing it on their shoulder and carry it to the roadside for collection. I seem to have gone off at a tangent there.

    I would also like to add a comment and reply to Michael Copple. I can remember you at school Michael but it was my late younger brother Kevin who was in your class. Kevin passed away suddenly a couple of years ago. I think there is a class photo Michael on the photo section of this website. I hope life is treating you well Michael and I think it would be great if you could put your memories of Ushaw Moor on to the web site.

    Brian Mc

    • April 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Hi Brian, I recall Joe Fletcher also helped to run the old Youth Club at the Memorial Hall with Tommy Hutton. Ushaw Moor Youth Club became “Famous” as they were invited to send a party to Tyne Tees Television for the Friday program (I think it was the “Gang Show” or something similar. I remember it being on TV because one of the lads in the front row was caught on camera picking his nose! (He never lived it down) – Can you remember the “PG Tips” Roadshows, held at the old Empire. All the kids were shown a free film and recieved a “lucky bag” to promote tea bags!

      • Sheila Hall
        April 17, 2012 at 9:52 am

        Good memories indeed. I remember the PG Tips Roadshows, the kids were invited to sing on stage in a talent show, and there were prizes to be won. We all collected cards from the packets of tea (when loose tea was used in tea pots!) these were collected as we entered the Empire Cinema.
        Joe Fletcher and Mr Hutton ran the youth club drama group of which I was a member, we won the ‘Youth County Cup’ I think it must have been around 1968 and our photos were in the Durham Advertiser

        Great times and great memories.

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