Home > Memories > Them Days In The Wild West

Them Days In The Wild West

It all started so innocently in August 1869. Farmer Tommy Dawson applied to the Durham Sessions for permission to keep a ‘house’ situated at the ‘four lane ends’, near Ushaw College, to be called the Flass Inn. At about the same time George Scrafton applied in the same manner with regards to the New Brancepeth Hotel.

Let’s move on to late October 1872. Tommy got his permission to be the inn- keeper at the Flass and we find him in that role complying with recently made legislation that required an earlier closing time.

 We can imagine the atmosphere in the pub that evening. Uninhibited miners would have been downing pints under candlelight. Tommy’s wife Ann would have been helping her husband in a weary clock watching manner, with the hope that their several children had achieved sleep despite the ever increasing noise level in the pub.

At the appointed hour Tommy called time and the response was not good. Not good at all. A man called Wilson began to use violent language at being refused a drink and it escalated into threats. Understandably Tommy Dawson, having become alarmed at the prospect of a riot, took action.  Looking at it in 2014 his actions seems to have been a bit drastic. He fired a gun above the heads of full blown rioters but their response was to laugh and begin demolishing the pub. In the end two of the rioters were shot and others were hit as well. Many people simply ran away.

As for the Flass Inn it became a temporary wreck.

WB

Categories: Memories
  1. January 27, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    As you were then….I do hear though that things have improved under the current management,

  2. frank clarke
    January 28, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Wilf This reminds me of one Friday night in the Loves; It was the domino handicap final and someone false knocked

  3. wilfb
    January 28, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    For the record, I think the current management are excellent. Electricity as well!

  4. wilfb
    January 28, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Is excellent not are excellent. Self correcting writer that I am! When I spot it mind.

  5. January 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Class! – Sounds like a good night. – Reminds me of a chap many years ago (who shall remain nameless) who told me he had been banned from the old “Bush” club for 6 weeks for hitting some one in the bar in a dispute over a domino game. I remarked that 6 weeks was quite harsh, to his reply, NAH, was fair as I did have a chair in me hand at the time!

  6. January 29, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I can remember The Flass I often wondered what it was exactly?. The New Brancepeth Hotel was always known as the Top House. Mt father Alf Skellett would call there for a pint on his way home from a shift at the coke ovens at Sleetburn colliery much to the displeasure of his staunch Methodist family.
    A recent entry mentioned Vicar Welby he married my sister Mary Skellett in 1957 where I was bridesmaid. I wonder if he is a relative of our present Archbishop of Canterbury also called Welby?

  7. wilfb
    January 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Anne, there is much information about Vicar Welby on this site for you to winkle out if you wish.

    His family history is there in some detail. It is fair to say that we reached the view that he is not related to the current Canterbury. I wonder whether you might have a photo of the wedding to share with us.

    • January 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks for message will try to find photo and post it to you.

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