Archive for June, 2014

Rifle Shooting? Really? My Goodness.

June 26, 2014 10 comments

Back in July 1914 the Albion [bottom of Station Road] entertained Houghton Le -Spring at rifle shooting. Houghton won by 389 to 387.

The Albion’s scorers were;

J Handrick 64

R  Reeves 68

C Reeves 63

J Benson 62

J Leggett 64

J Swinton 66.

W Lishman top scored for Houghton with 67.

Can anyone make anything of those Moor names?



Categories: Memories

Thank Goodness All The Fans From Ushaw Moor Returned Home Safely

June 26, 2014 3 comments

Back in February 1936 many of the lads and lasses from Ushaw Moor supported either Sunderland or Newcastle United.Such fans still do and spend a lot of money in the process.

A few days later the barber’s shop must have been full of opinions about Newcastle’s 3-3 draw with Arsenal in the 5th round of the FA Cup; some of them were no doubt well thought out and the remainder less so but with the compensation of being enriched, shall we say, with emotion.

But it was not the result that ought to have concerned them. Very serious crowd pressure built up and fans resorted to running on the pitch to better positions on the paddock side, with the police appearing rather helpless. Ambulance men were busy in most parts of the field. Spectators were even on the roof.

Twenty years later, at the age of eleven, I too to ran on the pitch after a Newcastle match and got within inches of big George Farm the Blackpool goalkeeper. I lived and breathed football and as I then attended Newcastle matches it is understandable that my grandmother thought I was a Newcastle fan, rather than a fan of magnificent Derby County. A few of you will recall that she gave me a Newcastle shirt for Christmas rather than a Derby one. Same colours but no stripes please!

It was different then. Now better stadiums are most reassuring and hopefully the likes of Hillsborough will never be repeated.

So, Newcastle 3 Arsenal 3.

Attendance 65,484 [no comment from me on that]

Arsenal won the replay 3-0 and went on to beat Sheffield United 1-0 in the final.


Categories: Memories

To What Extent Did Hitler Mess Up Their Education?

June 26, 2014 2 comments

Back in 1936 the following local brights passed for entry to the Durham Johnston: R Glew, M. D Gray, A D Smith and J Whitfield. Gray was from New Brancepeth school and the others came from Ushaw Moor.

At the same time Maureen Cunningham and Constance Robertson passed for Durham Girls School. They both did so from Ushaw Moor RC. Ushaw Moor Council school pupil Doreen Tindale was also successful, with the same destination, and so was Jean Young from New Brancepeth.

I have no idea whether the war mucked it up for them. I wonder how many achieved School Certificate or perhaps even Higher School Certificate. If still around they would be about 89 years old now.


Categories: Memories

Were You Taught By Mr George Hill and/or Mr Wobble Gobble Hewitson?

June 22, 2014 15 comments

If so how was it for you? I’m really interested even after all those years. For my view point they were somewhat disappointing.

I first observed George Hill at New Brancepeth School and later at Ushaw Moor. I always felt him to be a little haughty. Looking back now he seems to have been a bit like what I imagine a Victorian or Edwardian teacher to  be, that is stern and strict. I know he taught woodwork and technical drawing but I only knew him from technical drawing.

Before meeting him technical drawing was a mystery to be and it never got any better. I learnt absolutely nothing about technical drawing during the period he taught our class. Nothing. 0. I never troubled the scorers. I cannot recall him trying to help me and neither can I recall any homework set by him. I actually scored 0 in technical drawing in the easier of the two exam boards that we took; the very basic local leaving certificate, called the Central and Western Divisions School Certificate. No doubt I was partly to blame but I hasten to add that I did want to learn the subject and I did excel in most other subjects.

As for our English teacher, Mr Hewitson, he is a little more problematic! For one thing his surname might have been Hewison although, on balance, I doubt it. I received mixed messages from him; on the one hand he felt I was up to the job of office junior at the Northern Echo, with a view to eventually becoming a journalist, but on the other hand he did make a mild joke at my expense during a class.He likened me to Mrs Malaprop the fictional lady that frequently used the wrong word. Fortunately I doubt that many, if any, in our class had heard of that lady! Anyway William S and many other famous writers used to make words up! Not that I’m….

What disappointed me about our English teacher is that he failed to inspire me regarding the book Lord Of The Flies. For that matter he did not switch on my light bulb regarding The Thirty Nine Steps. 

I have experienced some top class teachers and lecturers e.g. Harry Barlow at school and several lecturers at Guildford College Of Technology, Surrey University and Reading University, so I feel I can recognise both poor and brilliant teachers.

So, how was it for you regarding the two teachers? I would not be that surprised to hear that your experience of them was good. Maybe I was taught by them when their performance dipped or maybe I was just not ready to fully appreciate them. 

Anyway, do tell.


Categories: Memories

Fire Ice And Water At Broompark

June 22, 2014 2 comments

Back in 1890 three young men from Ushaw Moor College were walking about near a frozen Broompark pond. They were daredevils, if you like, or perhaps just innocent lads.  One of them went on to the ice and to his horror it cracked open; he then fell into the pond. One of his friends asked him if his feet were on the bottom and he replied that they were not. Despite urgent efforts by his friends the young man began to realise that he was in a very serious situation. He began to cry in despair. Shortly afterwards he drowned.

Moving on, we find that a disastrous fire occurred at Broompark Colliery at 8pm on August the 8th 1904. It started on an old pit heap and within thirty or so minutes it became a big blaze. It took sometime for the Langley Moor fire brigade to arrive at the scene. They used a Broompark pond as a source of water.  During the incident a disused shaft and a screen were consumed by the fire. As a matter of fact the county was lit up for miles around!

Thank goodness there were few men in the pit and that they all got out safely.



Categories: Memories

Dick Hope [Captain]

June 15, 2014 3 comments

My grandfather captained Ushaw Moor cricket club’s first team for several years as well as working as an overman at the pit. As an inquisitive child I was known to browse about in my grandparents spick and span living room; one day I came across a copy of the rules of cricket issued by the games ruling body, the MCC. Dick explained some aspects of the rules which made a lasting impression on me. I am sure that he would have agreed with me that a fielder always knows if he [or she] catches a ball cleanly. They just do. I  played the game long enough to form that view with confidence.

I’d like to comment on that recent  limited over international game, where the bowler exercised his right to warn the batsman at the non striking end not to take liberties by galloping down the pitch prematurely. On being ignored the bowler was in order to subsequently run the England batsman out. Is it really correct that the English captain moaned about that? If he did, how pathetic is that?  And what, I wonder, would Dick have made of it?

Dick was the team’s wicket-keeper and on on one memorable occasion showed me his hands. One of his fingers was very bent and he put that down to the very fast deliveries from Ushaw Moor’s kingpin pace bowler that smacked in to his gloves with regularity. Spikings might well have been his name.

I know that I have recently mentioned Dick’s spat with a player called Trotter. Dick told him in no uncertain terms where to get off. I think it was a question concerning the light.Trotter was a school teacher at the time and I believe he taught locally. 


Categories: Memories

The Rather Grand And Smug Pair Of Theories

June 15, 2014 2 comments

By popular request [one person expressed an interest] I can now reveal the favoured theory. No, not the one about Evolution, rather the one about when that confounded polling station opened. Back in 1900. In Ushaw Moor.

Some options, with associated odds:

1] It opened at the correct time [8 a.m.] in the correct place.  5-1 on  i.e. if you bet a fiver you would win a pound and get your stake back, less any HMRC deductions.

2] It opened at the right time but in the wrong place. Hence the sudden flurry of furtive officials dashing along Station Road with what looked like a ballot box and lots of papers. At 11.40 in the morning. 5/1 against.

I go with number 2. The money will be useful.



Categories: Memories

A Short account of my memories of the Second World War

June 10, 2014 4 comments

I was seventeen months old when the war broke out. I lived at 29 Harvey Street at New Brancepeth with My Mam and Dad and three brothers and one sister. My Dad who had served in the First World War and had been badly wounded as a teenager in Northern Italy in 1917 was the Storeman at New Brancepeth Colliery. He served with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Everything was rationed. The impact of the rationing meant zero obesity. It is only as an adult and reading about those times the the realisation dawned on me of the huge worry it must have been for my Mam to feed a family of seven. I remember going to New Brancepeth Co-op on Unthank Terrace with my Mam and her handing over the ration books and the man behind the counter cutting out the coupons and handing the rations books back to her. My Dad must have been quite a lad. My recollections of him are very faint as he passed away when I was nine years old. He had had one leg amputated above the knee due to a wound turning to gangrene whilst in the Army. However, he had a garden down the Garden Path and despite his handicap he tended the garden and raised vegetables and kept rabbits in a cree to supplement our diet. I well remember going down the garden on a Saturday night and him picking a rabbit up by the ears and killing it with one blow of his hand across its neck. Then taking it up home and skinning it and cleaning it ready for the oven. I know that this sounds barbaric today but we were lucky that we had the garden with the vegetables and the rabbits. There was no television in those days and my parents would listen nightly to the news on the wireless on how the War was going. It must have been a terrible time for parents with young families not knowing if the Germans would eventually invade this country. I can also remember the German propaganda on the wireless and the well known catch phrase the presenter William Joyce used to introduce the programme “Germany calling, Germany calling” Most people listened to his broadcasts throughout the War. My Dad also cobbled our shoes and I can still see him with a shoe or a boot on his last sitting at the back kitchen table using his skills as he repaired the sole or replaced a heel.

All children were issued with gas masks and these had to be carried to school every day and stacked handy in the classroom. We also carried Identity Cards. I cannot see the big fuss in todays world about carrying ID Cards. I can well remember sitting in class in St. Josephs at Ushaw Moor and the Air Raid Warning siren sounding. We were quickly lined up in Class, handed our gas mask carriers and marched into the school yard then across the Church Drive and into the Air Raid shelter by the side of the drive. The Teachers carried hurricane lamps and when we were all in seated on the wooden seating around the walls the bomb proof steel door was shut with a loud clang and we were sealed in until the All Clear siren sounded. It was wet and damp in the Shelter and very cold even in summer. The Teachers told us stories and we would say a prayer for our safety and I can still remember the lovely fresh air when we left the shelter.

There was a total blackout. No light could escape from any window at home. The Air Raid Wardens would patrol the streets nightly and if the smallest chink of light showed there would be a knock at the door and the householder would be told to make sure the windows
showed no light. There were no street lights so people carried on normal life in darkness.

I have many more memories so I will sign off now and see if there is any response to this post.

Brian Mc

Categories: businesses

Call Yersels Garderners? Esh and Waterhouses Cut Down By The Moor

June 4, 2014 2 comments

Back in the late summer of 1900 the three villages competed for five gardening prizes.


1] Ushaw Moor

2] Ushaw Moor

3]Ushaw Moor

4]Ushaw Moor

5] Ushaw Moor

It was all to to with best tree, shrub or plant, as well as best kept gardens.


Categories: Memories

You Could Not Make It Up

June 4, 2014 1 comment

Back in the autumn of 1900 it was alleged that the polling station at Ushaw Moor had opened at mid-day instead of 8 am. After investigation the allegation was found to be without foundation.

How the rumour started is a mystery to this day.

But I have my theories.


Categories: Memories