Archive for August, 2012

South View A Source Of Shopping?

August 27, 2012 2 comments

Afterall the following families were living in South View back in Edwardian times:

at 6 lived deputy overman Alex Surtees Watson, together with his wife Sarah and daughter Florence

at 12 we find Joseph Cook Surtees, his wife Mary and their family

at 13 we have James Maughan and wife Elizabeth, as well as children Henry and Nicholas

next door at 14 it’s William and Jane Metcalf and finally,

three doors down, at 17, we find Peter and Mary Maughan together with Thomas and Mary.


Categories: Memories

Ushaw Moor Infant School

August 22, 2012 17 comments

Now that the Infant School has sadly gone and is about to be built on, i thought i’d share some memories of going to said school!

I would have gone around…’87-’90 ish time.

I have mostly fond memories, my teachers were (in order i think) Mrs Leader, Mrs Hulloch (sp?) for a time, Miss Jackson and Mrs Welding and Mrs Farrell (  i think she was a support teacher?). Did anyone else go around the same time or remember the teachers? Mrs Kernohan was also there but she took the other class to mine, so i rarely got her.

We always had to sing ‘we’re going home, sshhh shh (fingers on lips)” at the end of each day in Mrs Leaders class, it was embarrassing then, never mind now!

I remember Miss Jackson used to play the guitar, she used to get us to sing Puff the Magic Dragon near hometimes.

‘Numberland’ books, they were the thing to have! You got a higher number book the futher you progressed, i remember it was quite competitive, or at least to me it was, i never had the highest number in the class sadly.

Playing in the yard, the yard at the front overlooking the valley was much bigger, used to play hopscotch, hide and seek etc, not much more to entertain us then but it seemed to be enough! I remember there was a wooden/brick building to the side of the school in the side yard area, we were never allowed to go into it, it was always locked. Does anyone remember what it was? It must have previously been used for something but i don’t know what.

One day myself and Gary Collinson and 2 others (i can’t remember who) went outside of the school gates as bizarrely there were shells on the path down the road and we wanted to get them, i remember we were briskly sent down to Mrs Jarvis room, we all thought we were going to get ‘the cane’ although i think it had been stopped long before then! We just got a good telling off but it was scary at the time!!

I remember Mrs Jarvis room being really neat, dark wood, coal fire, nice and cosy, quite different to elsehwere in the school.

Another thing i remember…is the school had discos, and i’m sure older kids used to go…i.e i don’t remember them from the school but they were there at the discos. The big thing at the time was the strobe light and the new song that i remember playing was “i’ve got the power” (1990).


Mr Clough was the caretaker and he and his wife lived close by in Cooks Cottages, possibly even the adjoining house.

The school closed a few years later. I think by the time my sister went to school in 94, the ‘lego’ Junior School had become infants and juniors.

Who else went to the Infant School (or what i’d call the infant school, i know it wasn’t always just infants!)

As an aside, i noticed Gleeson homes had the site advertised as White House Court to start with…mustn’t have done their research! It would have been confused with Whitehouse Court where i now reside! Temperance Court is more like it, although why didn’t they just call is School Court?

Categories: Memories

Station Road

August 22, 2012 13 comments

This morning i took the tot down Station Road, i wanted to see if i could work out which houses used to be businesses.

Working from the bottom up, you could clearly see which ones have been re-built where the shop frontage has been taken down. I might have missed some, but this is what i found:

What was Broughs shop, now appears to be two houses, quite big compared to the other ones in the street. The second house up is interestingly still called Brough House.

Then working upwards, 73 and 69 (broughs side), then 49, 45 (next to salvation hall),  43, 24 (almost fully rebricked, must have required extensive work), 23, 22, 16, the extension at the back of the Chop Suey house looks like it used to have a window and a door, i’m sure someone mentioned it was a business at some point, 10 is now the Hot Wok, 9 is Jalsa, 8 is Kevs Plaice (which by the way is closing soon, moving to Langley Moor, does this leave Ushaw Moor without a Fish and Chip shop?) 7 looks double fronted and looks like it was a business previously, slightly behind this, a property had been built onto the end of Highfield Terrace, but is closed now, has been for some time, was this connected with Lawsons the Butcher? (then what would have been the end of the terrace previously, looks like it would have been the fish shop that i’ve read about.

After that, most of the buildings leading up and round the corner are still businesses.

On the subject of businesses, what is now Fleurella used to be Bodinners, i remember going into this shop with my nana, must have been at least 20 years ago now, i think it was a grocers, i can just about remember the lady working there, always seemed jolly. Does anyone else remember Bodinners?

I also remember when McCormicks was open on the corner (now Tillys which is closed), i understand McCormicks took over the co-op at some stage and had McCormicks at the end (or Nisa as it became after that?) and also McCormicks (Freeze) on the corner, i even remember the blue and white signs, although to be fair they were probably still up until fairly recently.

Does can anyone put any businesses to the numbers on Station Road? I know they’ve all been mentioned before but it’d be great to get a picture of which house was which, i find it really interesting…maybe i’m wierd!

Categories: Memories

The lightning struck tree…

August 17, 2012 1 comment

My nana lived in Flass Terrace until she died in 2001, does anyone remember her? Celia Balderstone was her name, her husband was Sandy but I think he may have died before moving here.

My nana always used to tell me the story of when the huge tree near the bottom of Whitehouse Lane got struck by lightning, caught fire and fell across the road, blocking it. I’m guessing this would have been sometime in the 60′s/70’s?

My mam now lives in the house the contains the quite blackened and rotting stump that the tree used to be! Just interested to see if anyone can remember this happening.

Thanks, Matt

The Edwardian Brady Family

August 16, 2012 5 comments

Back in 1911 they lived at 13 Ushaw Terrace, Ushaw Moor. Head of the family was Henry and even though  he was in his mid sixties he was still working at the pit as a cinder drawer. Wife Ann was slightly older.

23 yrs old son Henry lived with them and was employed as a joiner at the pit. Daughter Ellen was living there with her husband Joseph Trenton.

Michael Tully and Joseph Kiernan were boarders and Maggie Gathins was a servant.

Any memories of this family leading up to WW2 or beyond?


Categories: Memories

Probably A Very Interesting Take On Sleetburn

August 16, 2012 2 comments

I note that in 1971 a higher education student called Mary Tobin wrote a dissertation entitled ‘New Brancepeth: the development of a mining village in the Deerness Valley.’

It is available to read at the Durham County Record Office – reference D/X618/3. Note that they like you to book an appointment before visiting and if you are going to telephone them it’s best to do so on a Thursday or Friday.

I guess that it will be a 10,000 word document [or more] and well worth reading for those steeped in the Valley.



Categories: Memories

George March Gave The USA A Big Thumping

August 5, 2012 1 comment

J G March  was born in Ushaw Moor and worked in the joiners’ shop at the pit. He was a friend of my uncle Norman Hope. On August the fourth 1968 he found himself walking to the wicket, on behalf of Durham County Cricket Club, to face  the United States Of America. He batted for one hour and fifty seven minutes and during that time hit seven fours and two sixes. In the end he was caught and bowled for seventy four runs. The match itself was drawn.

source: cricket archive


Categories: Memories

Working Out The Then And Now With Noodles

August 5, 2012 1 comment

No one said it was easy to plot the winds of change and the effort can bring heartfelt anguish. I suppose that economics, politics and social factors drove the change, but to quote Eric Morecambe: ‘ not necessarily in that order’.

Certainly many close knit communities were broken up by all three factors and to some extent Margaret Thatcher and her Tory Grandees had an influence in that: they weakened the Trade Union movement, failed to support  much well paid manufacturing industry and left us with a lot  of low paid, poor quality retail and factory work. Having achieved that both Tory, and until recently New Labour, have tried to convince us that ‘we are all middle class now ‘.

It is not easy to define the class structure these days but one thing seems clear: we are not all middle class. Perhaps vested interests would like us to think that we are, if only to take out the sting that might come from class conscious anger. We do know that the mainstream parties are aware of the need to court and convince those of the middle class that are waverers; they know that there is no point in trying to take on board those diehards that have no intention of ever voting for them.

The working men’s clubs in Ushaw Moor could not really survive without the hard drinking thirsty miners of days gone by but surely we are better off without pits: they were dangerous, dirty and unhealthy. The trouble is very little was done  to provide viable alternatives.

It is unfair to expect government to sort all of it out but what is clear is that we require from it a new approach that acknowledges the working class, promotes  social cohesion and brings back trust. We need a new code for living. We know many of the culprits that got us to this stage and the list is growing.

I am asking a lot but the action required is probably urgent.


Categories: Memories

Times Change

August 4, 2012 2 comments

I would like to add a few words to make people who read this entry to add their own thoughts, I hope to challenge them to do so Last Monday night my wife Helen and I went for a ride out back through my childhood areas, New Brancepeth, Ushaw Moor and later in my young life Waterhouses and Esh WInning . The drive through the mainstay of my childhoood, the village of Ushaw Moor was most distressing. Coming down Whitehouse Lane and over the crossroads in the direction of New Brancepeth really opened my eyes to how much life must have changed since I left the village in 1957. The open areas that we passed where the Empire Cinema and the Big Club once stood made me realise the great changes that have taken place in the village of Ushaw Moor. These open areas once contained buildings where much of the social life of the village took place. I must also include the Club Hall cinema which was included the open space where the Big Club stood. I must also include in the open spaces in the village the areas where the Memorial Hall stood on the Esh Winning Road and also the site of the Council School where I understand housing is to be built. I, incidentally would love a house on that site if I could afford one and if I could get a townie like Helen to move. The village of Ushaw Moor when I was young was a compact unit. All the neccesities of life was available in the village. I must state here that life must move wit6h the times so that the village socially that I knew has disappeared and will never re-appear again.

To emphasise the closeness of the village in those days I would like to quote an example of the closeness of the people. On a Thursday afternoon my late brother Kevein (God Rest his Soul) would go to Hoppers Fish Shop In High View to get fisha nd chips for the tea. Without fail as we passed the double gates at the back of the Fl;ass Inn, (better known as the Flass) the Landlord< Jack Mc Dermott would be waiting for Kevin and I and passed his order for fish and chips and the moner on to us. Incidentally the fish and chips from this establishment were mouthwatering even tonight as I think back over the years. Jack Mc Dermott would always at the back gates waiting for his order and he always gave us a shilling between us. A few years later in April 1957 our mother passed away and her Requiem Mass was held on a Saturday morning. Kevin and I stood in Crook Store doorway opposite the Flass whillst all the males who had attended the funeral were in the Flass having a drink. I foolishly left Kevin who was under age at 16 on his own and went into theFlass to join the company. On standing at the bar I was faced with Jack Mc Dermott. He did not ask for my order but asked what I was thinking about leaving my youngest brother on his own in on such a day like this when he needed my company most. "Get to the front door andf shout to him to come in for a drink. I said he was under age and Jack just withered me with a look that was scornful and yet understanding of our circumstances.

Categories: Memories