Home > family, my street > Remembering your Street Parties – Community Celebrations

Remembering your Street Parties – Community Celebrations

Street parties are for life, not just for Jubilees.

Do you remember having any street parties in and around Ushaw Moor, maybe it was for the Royal Wedding, or another celebration,

What sort of things did u do ?

Did u decorate the entire street with bunting ?

Would you or are u having a street party for the Jubilee ?

Tell us all about it


Streets Alive promotes street parties for good neighbourly reasons and it is a great excuse to hold one for a Jubilee as a national occasion. This has a long tradition which started in 1919 and 1 million joined in for last year’s royal wedding. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will take place over an extended weekend from the 2nd to the 5th of June. You may want to hold your street party on the Sunday or Monday when most people would be around.


Street Parties for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012.

  1. June 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Paul, Wilf, Brian,
    I have really enjoyed all your posts, I am a student doing a PhD about health, illness and also smoking in New Brancepeth, through people’s life stories mainly. Here is some of the stuff people have told me, maybe you will have comments ?
    1. New Brancepeth pit closed in 1953, the coke ovens a little bit later, 1957 maybe. Do you remember the glow of the coke ovens at night?
    2. There was the Low Side, six streets of houses just below where the new houses are on Barley Rise; they are all gone today. There was also ‘Yon Side’ or ‘Store Bank’, which was another six streets of houses opposite Fairfalls Terrace, behind the Post Office and going down all the way to the driveway to Eshwood Hall, where the colliery owner Henry Cochrane lived until 1924. Did you live on the Low Side, or on the streets around Eshwood and Unthank Terraces?
    3. Life was hard during the 1926 Miners’ Lockout, with the ‘Means Test’ to see if you could have any relief, or whether you would have to sell all your furniture first. There was a soup kitchen in Bearpark, was there one in New Brancepeth or Ushaw Moor ? Did your parents tell you stories about the 1926 strike?
    4. After the strike, wages were cut, and some pits (like Esh Winning) closed down for years. At New Brancepeth there were more than a thousand men working in 1921, but only about 600 by 1930. New Brancepeth pit even closed completely during 1938 and 1939 I believe, and in the 1930s a man with a rattle used to go round Brandon with a rattle saying ‘C pit’s down tomorrow’ if the owners decided coal prices weren’t high enough to bother.
    5. In 1923 the Pringle Estate was built, and people started moving there from the Low Side. As people couldn’t afford the rent, Brandon & Byshottles Council rented some of the Pringle Place houses to two families – one family lived upstairs and one downstairs. The Police Boots Fund paid for children to have shoes, otherwise many children only had canvas sandshoes all year round. Did you have to share a house? Can you remember getting boots from the Police Fund at Doggarts?
    6. There were many injuries in the pit, and in 1935 the Miners Welfare Committee opened the Hermitage at Chester le Street for injured miners. Some of them stayed there several years. Were your relatives injured? Did they go to the Hermitage?
    7. There were not many local jobs for women, girls were sent away into service from the age of 14, working as housekeepers or maids in households in Leeds or even further. Some went to train as nurses. Did you mum or gran go away to work when she was young?
    8. Tuberculosis (TB) was common until the 1950s. TB patients were sent away for months or even years. They went to a sanatorium, at Wolsingham or Seaham Hall, for a ‘fresh air cure’, but many died or lost a lung. Do you remember TB and whooping cough patients being pushed up to Brandon Pit House in wheelchairs to breathe the ‘seven airs’ on the top?
    9. Brandon Pit House colliery, which was initially an air shaft, opened in 1930. At some point, in the 1950s maybe? an aerial flight was set up to carry coal from Pit House down to New Brancepeth Cokeworks. Netting was put up to protect houses and people underneath. Did you work at Brandon Pit House? Do you remember the aerial flight? What about Brandon Pit House drift, when was that open?
    10. Many miners volunteered for the Second World War, and some army conscripts from other places were sent to be miners, and called Bevin Boys. New Brancepeth pit had Bevin Boys, and as the war went on, they were joined in the pit by refugees from Poland and Estonia. Did your dad fight in the war or stay in the pit? Or was he a Bevin boy?
    11. During the war, many New Brancepeth women joined the 17,000 who worked at the Aycliffe Royal Ordnance Factory, the ‘Aycliffe Angels’. Others were sent away to munitions factories all over the country. The work was dangerous and accidents were common. Was your mum or gran an ‘Aycliffe Angel’?
    12. After the war, there was a national shortage of housing, and many pre-fabricated houses were put up, including the prefabs on the Braunespath Estate. They were demolished in 1976. Do you remember the Braunespath prefabs?
    13. Many pits in West Durham were exhausted, and the Council decided that some mining villages (including New Brancepeth) should be destroyed – they were known as ‘D-villages’. Local people fought this policy and it was eventually overturned in 1971. New Brancepeth had no new housing or investment for 20 years, so it was hard to catch up. Do you remember the D village policy? Do you think New Brancepeth has caught up with other villages now?
    14. In 1953, New Brancepeth Colliery closed, many miners transferred to other pits, such as Brandon Pit House, Bearpark or Kimblesworth. Did you or your dad or granddad transfer from New Brancepeth?
    15. In 1964? Dr O’Flaherty retired, and there was no longer a doctor in the village. Do you remember Dr O’Flaherty? Which doctor did you go to when he retired?
    16. Many retired miners in the village suffered from diseases related to coal dust and stone dust, such as silicosis, pneumoconiosis, emphysema and COPD, but many people received no compensation. Did one of your relatives have these diseases? Did he get any compensation?
    17. Brandon Pit House Colliery closed in 1968. The Inter-Colliery Transfer Scheme started in 1962, and many New Brancepeth families went to Nottingham, Stoke, Kippax, Alfreton, Nuneaton, even Somerset. Did you have friend or relatives who went to work down south?
    18. Other miners went to work at Pex nylons factory at Meadowfield, but it was only open five years. Many women worked at local factories too, such as Smart & Brown (Thorn Lighting) in Spennymoor, Robert Hirst in Langley Moor (later Coates Viyella), Morley’s Underwear in Langley Moor, Rothmans in Spennymoor. Can you think of others ? Where did you work in the 1960s and 1970s? 
    19. Some miners transferred to the coastal pits such as Wearmouth and Dawdon. However they had an hour-long coach journey to work, unless they moved house. Did your friends or family work at the coastal pits?
    20. In the 1970s, the new school, club and bungalows were built, along with some new shops behind the club, but these soon closed. The village Co-op closed in the 1970s. Do you remember the little Co-op in the tin hut on Braunespath? Where do you shop now? Why do you think the New Brancepeth shops went?
    21. In the 1980s, the Government introduced the ‘right to buy’ and some local people bought their houses from the Council. The NCB had also been selling off its colliery houses. Did you buy your house? Do you remember the NCB selling local houses off?
    22. In 1984-5 the Miners’ Strike led to hardship for the remaining miners in the village. Many of those who worked at Bearpark took redundancy, as Bearpark Colliery was exhausted and closed in April 1984. Were you on strike or was someone in your friend and family? How did you cope? Were there any fundraising events in the village?
    23. Sometimes there was fighting between young men from New Brancepeth, and those from Ushaw Moor or Brandon. Some people have told me New Brancepeth had a ‘rough’ reputation. Do you think this is true? If so, when did this happen?
    24. The last pits in County Durham closed in the 1990s. There are no longer many factories in this area. Some men went into building work, but that’s in recession now as well. There are cleaning and kitchen jobs at the university in Durham and at local schools, and dinner nanny jobs. Did you do some of these jobs?
    25. In the last few years, new social housing was built in Doric Road, as well as a private estate called Barley Rise. Do you think the village has changed much over the years? Is it still a friendly place?

  2. June 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Heh Frances, thanks for your comments, there has been a reply on the Facebook PAGE, entries are also posted on there when the BLOG is updated.

    Read it HERE http://is.gd/x104tF

  3. noodles29
    August 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Frances, I posted information regarding New Brancepeth, but I have just found this post. I will read it again and if I can help your resaearch in any way I will most willingingly.

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