Archive for February, 2014

Gran, Granda, Dad (David Meek), Aunty Elisabeth – Trafalgar Square 1947 – Submitted by David Meek

February 24, 2014 Leave a comment
Gran Granda Dad (David Meek), Aunty ElisabethTrafalgar Square 1947 - Submitted by David Meek

Gran, Granda, Dad (David Meek), Aunty ElisabethTrafalgar Square 1947 – Submitted by David Meek

Gran, Granda, Dad (David Meek), Aunty ElisabethTrafalgar Square 1947 –  by David Meek

Kenneth Clegg with Dog Shandy – Submitted by David Meek

February 24, 2014 2 comments
Kenneth Clegg with dog Shandy

Kenneth Clegg with dog Shandy

Keneth Clegg with my dads dog Shandy – David Meek

Categories: Memories, photos Tags: ,

David Meek with Alfie Rothwell 1956 – Submitted by David Meek

February 24, 2014 1 comment
David Meek with Alfie Rothwell 1956

David Meek 19 yrs old with Alfie Rothwell 1956

Photo courtesy of David Meek – Sorry for quality of PHOTO, tried to re-touch as best I can. (Paul 🙂


Categories: Memories, photos Tags: ,

David Meek with Kenneth Clegg Oakridge Road – Submitted by David Meek

February 24, 2014 Leave a comment
David Meek with Kenneth Clegg Oakridge Road

David Meek with Kenneth Clegg Oakridge Road

Photo courtesy of David Meek. Date Unknown

John Wigham, New Brancepeth Hotel And Scouts House Farm

February 21, 2014 2 comments

In February 1875 a John Wigham was accidentally crushed to death by a steam thresher which he was assisting to move at Cockhouse Farm, Ushaw Moor. The name Wigham is fairly well established in the area: Ron Nightingale referred to a John Wigham on this site on 09/01/2013 and Olga Bradley recalled that particular Wigham as being a big lad. Ron’s view was that Wigham was not such a big lad, although he conceded that he was bigger than him! I wonder whether the two John Wigham’s in this piece are related – 50/50 I guess.

I recall the New Brancepeth Hotel of the 40s and 50s. In the 50s, if my memory serves me right, Ada Bainbridge [a relation of mine] was running it.  She did run it for a period. Much later she became a civil servant employed in London and it was during that period she became an innocent and injured victim of the Brixton Riots.

Back in the 1890s and 1900s the hotel was run by the Bewley family. Down the years their family tradition dictated that several of them were called Samuel. The landlord in 1891 was Samuel Bewley and his wife was called Mary. He died in early August 1900, at the age of 55. His son Robert Bewley took it over.

The hotel was positioned at the top of Unthank Terrace and the houses running down the hill from it were called Bewley Terrace. It’s still there.

 In early July 1916 Miss Cairns, of Scouts House Farm Sleetburn, advertised for a country girl for the end of July. The girl had to be able to milk. So who might the girl have been?



Categories: Memories

Ushaw Moor Historical Website – Ushaw Moor Viaduct – Help with DATE

February 21, 2014 8 comments

Ushaw Moor Viaduct

PHOTO of Ushaw Moor Viaduct, was wondering if anyone could help with the date, maybe early 60’s. Local Council housing can be seen, lots of “spotters” . maybe one of the last passenger trains ?

Thanks to Roy for information on this photo:-

Stephenson Locomotive Society (North West Area) / Manchester Locomotive Society West Durham Rail Tour

Comments from Facebook FAN PAGE

Alan Mason i remember walking across
· 14 February at 19:19

David Clarkson It had to be early 60’s, I can remember playing there in 64 and the line had been closed for a couple of years. The station was also in ruins then.
· 14 February at 20:01

Bill Williamson, The Greyhound,The Plank And Beulah’s Pub

February 20, 2014 1 comment

The Morpeth Herald carried a report  on 22/02/1879 along the following lines.

William Williamson, as well as being a cinder drawer at Bearpark colliery,also trained greyhounds. He trained one for a Mr Sharp of Brancepeth and one day he took the dog to run in a trial at Brancepeth. Returning to Bearpark via Sleetburn he first called at Beulah’s public- house and then continued on his journey. Anyone heard of that pub? I have not.

In order to get to Ushaw Moor and then Bearpark he had to cross the Deerness stream and the only crossing available consisted of a dangerous plank. There had been various meetings in the community to discuss how inadequate the plank was as a mode of crossing the stream. Mr Pearson, the manager at Sleetburn colliery, repeatedly brought the subject up at the local board but the problem was the cost of replacing the plank with a bridge.

Anyway, Mr Williamson was on the journey to Bearpark on what was a very dark and stormy night.The following morning the dog was found whining and Mr Williamson’s dead body was then discovered not far away. It was supposed that he had missed his footing when negotiating the plank and fell into the beck which was a little flooded at the time. To make matters worse there there had been a strong current running. 

Brian Mcloughlin referred to a plank as far back as 2002 although I am not sure that it was the one described.

So, Mr Bill Williamson,that pub and that plank. Any thoughts?


Categories: Memories

Whatever Happened….

February 16, 2014 Leave a comment

I have the gist of what happened to the Ushaw Moor Modern pupils of form 4A 1959/60 vintage, thanks to a reunion in 2002; quite a few achieved associate professional or skilled status and many of them led fulfilling lives that are continuing!  In contrast the so called ‘lower’ forms are a virtual mystery to me. I believe there were three other ‘lower’ forms at the time i.e. B, C and D. Forms S were just setting out on a longer road to GCE so they are not part of my consideration.

In terms of career did any of the B, C and D pupils achieve distinction and or satisfaction in their lives? Of course it’s a minefield to define distinction and satisfaction is a personal matter, but I am positive that some of them could, and hopefully did, do well. Although they were largely written off at the time it seems clear to me that under the present educational system several current pupils, on a par with our form 4B, would progress to a university!   



Categories: Memories

Tragic Events Unfolded

February 16, 2014 3 comments

For a period of time Brodie Cochrane employed two gamekeepers named Bramley and Drury. I want to concentrate on Mr Bramley because I spotted in the Middlesbrough Daily Gazette, of November 1894, that a Mr George Bramley, a gamekeeper of Eshwood Terrace Sleetburn, had experienced a very sad and traumatic tragedy. His son and two daughters had been playing in the kitchen at Eshwood Terrace when the horrific event unfolded. The lad picked up a gun and began to show his sisters how his father carried the weapon. As he raised the gun it went off killing his thirteen year old sister Dora.

We can only imagine how that family felt, perhaps by reference to the love we have for our own children. I certainly worry about them. I have, for example, always been very careful to make sure that hot drinks were not left around that could burn or disfigure young loved ones. Of course what happened in Eshwood Terrace is of another order all together. Actually it affected me to read about it even though the actual event happened a very long time ago. At the time it caused a sensation in the valley.

No blame was attached to Mr Bramley. The gun had not been loaded but the young boy knew were the bullets were kept….

Different standards and regulations apply these days but certainly there is no point in judging the man harshly. He and his family were likely to have been emotionally broken.

But it would seem that the story did not end there. A Scottish newspaper reported, in July 1917, that a George Bramley of Sleetburn, formerly gamekeeper, shot his married daughter through the head with a sporting gun, killing her instantly. He then produced a revolver and took his own life. It seems likely to have been the same George Bramley but I cannot be entirely sure.



Categories: Memories

From Sleetburn And With A Nervous Disposition? Look Away Now

February 14, 2014 1 comment

At 4 am In early August 1871 a married pit man called James Robinson was found cut in two on the railway line about a quarter of a mile from Durham railway station. He was a lodger at Sleetburn at the time.

In 1877 a small boy called Hutchinson was admitted to Durham County Hospital having been run over on the railway line at Sleetburn Colliery. I am not sure of his fate.

In May 1885 the body of a newly born child was found at Sleetburn by some children. 

Something less serious – In 1887 the Durham County rugby authorities expelled Sleetburn Old Boys Club from the Union because some players and spectators had attacked the referee during the semi-final of the Durham Junior Cup at Sleetburn. Rugby at Sleetburn?

Mind you Ushaw Moor had its problems as well – Tommy Doyle, last seen [perfectly sober] at 10.30 pm in early May 1883, was found dead the following morning at the bottom of Ushaw Moor Colliery pit shaft.


Categories: Memories