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Firefighter tells of North heroes’ blaze of glory – Sunday Sun

November 6, 2011 3 comments

THESE pictures show how the hard work and bravery of firefighters often goes unnoticed.

But retired fireman Arthur Lockyear, who battled blazes across the North for 30 years, has penned a book celebrating his heroic colleagues.

The 59-year-old from Ushaw Moor, Durham, said he felt it was something which needed to be done for the “good of the service”.

And so he has written Warriors in Fireboots to tell the incredible stories of the firefighter’s calling.

“The book is my tribute to the many extraordinarily courageous people whom I have had the great fortune to have met,” said Arthur, who worked in Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside during his three-decade career with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Arthur, who has been awarded an MBE for his work organising the Sunderland Remembrance Day Parade, has spent two years gathering together stories for the book.

The tales span the length and breadth of the country, and go back in time to take in the very first men who risked their lives in the fire brigade, as well as the heroic firefighters of the Blitz in the Second World War.

“There were so many stories to chose from,” said Arthur. “They start back in 1861 in London and come right up to date in 2005, with two firefighters from Stevenage who lost their lives.”

via Firefighter tells of North heroes’ blaze of glory – Sunday Sun.

Bearpark Welfare Unlucky In This 1950 Game

July 25, 2010 1 comment

Bearpark were unlucky not to win their FA Amateur Cup fixture at Hartlepool RA. The efforts of Hartlepool RA to play class football baulked against a quick tackling Bearpark defence. Wilson, the Bearpark centre half, and Robson were especially good. In one incident Wilson kicked the ball off the goal line with Minnis out of his goal. Bearpark began to press and were rewarded with a goal from Carr after 25 minutes. Carr missed a penalty for Bearpark in the second half and Harlepool RA’s inside left equalised with only ten minutes to go. Final Score 1-1.

The replay took take place on 30/09/50 and Bearpark’s team for that match was:

 Minnis, Blakeburn, Nelson, Graham, Wilson, Robson, Patterson, Carr, Hurst, Ainsley, Brown. Reserve Cummings.

WB

Junior Football 1950 – Hamsteels 7 New Brancepeth 7

July 25, 2010 Leave a comment

That must have been some game! After the game the league positions were as follows: Top Waterhouses  [five wins one draw], Quarrington Hill [three wins one draw one defeat], New Brancepeth YC [three wins one draw one defeat] Sherburn Village [three wins two defeats], Hamsteels BC one win one draw three defeats], Ushaw Moor one win three defeats], Bowburn BC [one win four defeats] and bottom were Broompark – but with games in hand – [three straight defeats].

I guess that YC is short for Youth Club, BC is short for Boys’ Club, and SSC is short for Sports and Social Club.

WB

Ushaw Moor Football Team – September 1950

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

There were some mixed fortunes in this month. The Moor put in a good performance against Crook in a midweek fixture that attracted a gate of 1,700. In the first half, despite a stiff breeze and the sun, they had the better of the exchanges and at half-time they found themselves leading 2-1. It was McAdam of Ushaw Moor that had scored the first goal of the game and although Wake equalised for Crook,  Nicholson replied for the Moor only a couple of minutes later with a goal from a penalty. Wood scored another for the Moor after 60 minutes to make in 3-1. Crook, who afterall were a Northern League team,  turned up the heat in an exciting period of the game but could only add one further goal [from Weston]. Final score Ushaw Moor 3 Crook 2. Tommy Sharpe was described as outstanding at full back for Ushaw Moor and keeper Smith made some outstanding saves in the Moor goal. Waterson and Hailes played well in the Moor middle line but the Moor forward Finlay was their only forward of note on the day.

Ushaw Moor were described as inept in their league game against Trimdon Grange and deservedly suffered their first home defeat to a better organised team. The non appearance of the referee delayed the match by 20 minutes and in the end Tom Freeman [ex Middlesborough and Durham City full back] took over the whistle. Half-time Ushaw Moor 0 Trimdon Grange 1. Full-time   Ushaw Moor 2 Trimdon Grange 3. It was Wood and Wilson that netted for Ushaw Moor. Coulston made his debut in goal for the Moor and pulled of some fine saves. Hailes did ok at right half. This defeat was only the Moor’s second in ten games – not so bad!

Ushaw Moor’s team selection for the next game – against North Eastern League team Blackhall was as follows:

Smith, Lockey, Sharp, Hailes, Waterson, Richardson, Gleghorn, Wood, Finley [or Nicholson if Finlay fails a fitness test], James, McAdam. New Brancepeth Colliery Band would be playing during the interval.

Broompark’s team to play Belmont on the same day was selected as follows:

J Ronson, J Hanson, J Gilbert, R Richardson, J Easter, N Kelly, D Kemp, G Pearson, F Shevels, S Kelly, J Tolley, Reserves – R Lee and A Ross.

WB

The Holiday – part 3 of 3

July 23, 2010 3 comments

Here is a bit more derived from the microfiche:

The weather for the Durham Miner’s Gala of 1950 was a bit dodgy. There was some fairly heavy rain before mid-day and it made some people a bit anxious for the event. Some of them went home and gave it up. Later the rain held off only for it to return at about 8.30 pm. Lots of pretty dresses and new suits got soaked but many people refused to be down hearted about the conditions and enjoyed themselves anyway!

Ushaw Moor Cricket Club got its first league win of the 1950 season by beating Craghead. At the time the Moor were second off bottom and Craghead were below them so it was not much to bugle about… In fact Ushaw Moor’s league record as a result of that win was Won 1 Drawn 5 Lost 12.

1950 was the year of Lancelot Hill’s funeral. He had reached 54 years of age. In his time he had played cricket for both New Brancepeth and Esh Winning, as well as briefly holding the job of secretary of Ushaw Moor Working Men’s Club.

That is that for microfiche and now I want to move on to my matchday experience of Ushaw Moor v Langley Park held, not in 1950, but on 17/7/2010! The weather was not bad. It was sunny although darkish clouds threatened to move  from a position above what would have been New Brancepeth Pit and plonk themselves directly over Ushaw Moor’s cricket pitch. In the event the weather was all talk and never moved at all.

Speaking of movement I saw no evidence of Langley Park’s opening bowlers achieving movement. They were straight up and down. David Jones, the young lad bowling from the Station Road end, was in my view medium fast; that would have been ok but unfortunately he failed to get any swing and too often failed to force the openers  to play the ball early on. There were one too many full tosses from him. I had sympathy for this young bowler and told him so said  when, at the end of an over, he drank water from the boundary near the the seat I occupied. My sympathy was felt because of the uneven and slightly downhill pitch he had to negotiate as he ran in to bowl. His opening bowling partner was probably deserving of the accolade fast bowler and sometimes got some lift out of the pitch; in my younger days I would have found one or two of his deliveries  a bit awkward to negotiate. To me the Ushaw Moor professional batsman looked good, whilst he was at the wicket, but this had not been his season for meaningful runs – so far -however  there is still just about enough time for him to make an impression on the committee!

At one point I retired to the bar for a pint and an opportunity to view the team photographs of yesteryear. It was a bit strange to see a picture of my lovely grandad looking so young. I could see that it was Mr Richard Wallace Hope but he was destined to put a few pounds on like all of us!   

Then it happened. I asked Adrian the barman to tell me who the man was sitting on a scooter at the bottom end of the pitch, well behind the boundary line. When he told me that it was Alfie Gillespie [thanks to Adrian for correcting  my errors relating to Alfie including my ‘Harry Gillespie’ typo] I could not believe my luck. I had heard so much about him from my uncle Norman Hope. Alfie was a lovely batsman – technically correct and reluctant to hit the ball in the air [although Bradman was in a different league he had the same philosophy as Alfie]. I went over to talk to him and he very kindly agreed to a chat. He is now in his 89th year and a bit deaf but his brain is still sharp. Alfie suffered a bad injury whilst fielding on the boundary [bottom end of the boundary – graveyard end]. It very nearly was graveyard for Alfie because as soon as the pints of blood were pumped into him he needed more! It was an unexpected pleasure to meet the great man and I will never forget it. As our chat was coming to an end he pointed to two gentlemen standing about forty five yards away near the boundary slightly to our right  and he named them: Raymond Ayre and Frank Procter! I enjoyed a chat with them and they showed me great consideration. Brilliant stuff. If my memory serves me right Mr Proctor informed me that it was his boundary shot that had accidentally hit Alfie all those years ago! So Alfie must have been behind the boundary and watching his colleagues bat.

I had several afternoon meals at Cafe Neenas’ in Chester-Le-Street. It has a lovely atmosphere, the meals are generously portioned and the prices are reasonable. The customers  I came across were interesting worthies; no doubt they all have a story to tell and given more time I may well have heard those stories in more detail!

I popped in and saw John and Elsie Vasey on the last day of my holiday and enjoyed their company, even though it was not for as long as I would have liked. They have a history of hard work and consideration for other people and those are values not to be dismissed lightly.  

Well that was 3 of 3 but there is one more article to complete [as soon as I can] and it is a bit about Ushaw Moor Football Club of 1950 vintage.

WB

The Holiday – Part 2 of 3

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Back to the microfiche – back to 1950.

Ushaw Moor Youth Club did very well that year and deservedly won the Durham Table Tennis League Cup. The team consisted of William Jackson, George March, Frank Proctor, Joseph Young, Arthur Snaith and Albert Snaith.

Vicar Welby conducted the funeral of Mrs H Sokell of Durham Road. Chief mourners included:her sisters Mrs A. T. Thompson and Miss Brynn [or perhaps Brym or similiar – my record at this point is not good – apologies] Mr and Mrs T. E. Sokell [brother and sister in law] Mr T. F. Fothergill, Mr and Mrs G. E. Bryan, Mr and Mrs Bradnick and Mrs Beasley.

A Miss Street and Mr F. Bell married at the Durham Road Methodist Church. The wedding picture shows twelve people including two young bridesmaids.

There is a big advert with the message ‘Nobody had much fun when I was around – I was always full of Neuritis’. It was an advert for a brand of laxative salt.

I liked the ‘pass me the Paddy and I’ll show you the way to wash up’ advert. It was a speciality of the CWS soap works.

Controversy!   New Brancepeth CC tied its game with Sedgefield CC – but was it the tie that never was? Was it a paper typo or a dozing scorer? Details:

New Brancepth scorecard:

W Ross 7 E Homes 9 N Gleghorn 3 W Brass 0 J Milburn 0 R Ayre 3 W Cruddace 9 J Nelson 33 L McConnell 23 R Milburn 7 J Towns not out 0 extras 11 total 106

Sedgefield were reported to be all out for 106 [W Brass 4-34 and J Towns 3-50]. I checked the report three times – there is a problem and I will leave it with you!

Continuing with 1950 Esh Winning has been named by the Ministry of Health as having the most ideal housing scheme in the North of England – the architect being Mr Fred Hedley,  a local man from Brandon. He  felt that people, especially miners, need a degree of sunshine.

As a result of success in an essay, organised by the National Union of Miners, councillor R. J. Meldrum and Mr J. Charlton are to attend the Summer School in Edinburgh.

Ushaw Moor colliery houses demolished – running north and west.

More later.

WB

Selected Memories Of Last Week’s Trip To Durham [1 of 3]

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I have only one hour to spare so tonight’s piece is not in ‘creative writing’ mode and has no real or imagined resemblance to the writing of Thomas Hardy [as if].

I was sitting opposite an adolescent boy for the best part of the journey up from Kings Cross to Durham and witnessed his almost perpetual eating routine. To get to his food store he had to put his hands beneath the table and extract his food from a bag; in doing so he frequently brushed against my shins. I can tell you now that there was nothing remotely erotic about it and his movements were no doubt accidental. Thank goodness.

Eventually the  majestic sight of Durham Cathedral came into view and soon afterwards my cousin scooped me away to Chester-Le -Street for what turned out to be a very interesting break. She announced that something very unusual was due to happen in Chester-Le – Street that very night; in passing it’s a lovely name for a town but bad news for a non touch typist short of time. Anyway  I was to see a cultural event performed by a German company and entitled ‘Firebirds’.  I attended the event with members of my family, together with some of their friends. The friends included an elegant lady called  Lorraine and a heartwarming friend called Maureen. I must not forget Maureen’s brother – an Arsenal supporter of long standing. We were in position by 8.40pm on the pavement about a hundred yards opposite the Methodist Church and  therefore well in time for the event – which was due to start  at 9 pm. The Methodist church clock showed twenty to five and was still showing that time when I left the town during mid- morning several days later. 

It began to rain but we did not care: our spirits were high and we were full of anticipation. It is true that  the event began an hour late, during rain, and and  my lovely companions declined to go in the pub immediately behind us on the grounds that they had a temperance spirit. Well I am not a frequent drinker but must admit to a  heartfelt tinge of disappoinment [if such a thing is technically possible] at the news that drinking alcohol was bad form. The tinge quickly dispersed and we were all as one again like children waiting for a German Santa and his accompanying elves. 

The production duly arrived and boy was it colourful and exciting. The only downside is that although I would be willing to bet that  our group were above average mentally [even though I no doubt dragged the average down a bit] none of them fully understood the exciting and colourful spectacle occuring before our very eyes. Only later did I understand that it is based on the idea of a competition amongst six daredevil pilots and their flying machines. There were several dramatic fire effects and explosions and I would not have missed this colourful and dramatic event for all the world.   

The following evening I went to the headquarters of Durham’s Cricket to see the home team take on Derbyshire Falcons in a limited over game under 20/20 rules. In the event the game was abandoned after thirteen overs, owing to heavy rain, but not before I saw the Derbyshire team for the very first time. I have followed its scorecards since 1954. Les Jackson and Cliff Gladwin are of course long gone  but elements of the child are still within me and therefore it was exciting just to watch Derbyshire practice! The Derby wicket keeper seemed a bit special to me and took one or two very awkward deliveries very well indeed. Mustard batted  well for Durham. The Durham County bar was not a very exciting place to be that night; little groups of men – on average four per group – stood around talking about goodness knows what. I was almost the only person sitting down so I had no  interesting conversation with anybody; it seemed very dull and very ‘County’ to me. Probably an overreaction.

The next day I paid a  short visit to Durham library to take advantage of its microfiche newspaper record. It is a treasure of information about Ushaw Moor and the surrounding area and the Durham County Advertiser is expecially good. Which year to select? I went for 1950. Do I hear groans of disappointment? Let me give you a couple of scorecards:

By the middle of July 1950 Ushaw Moor CC was still waiting for a victory in the North Western Durham League. It had Whickham on 48 for 9 so a win seemed a formality….

But big hitting from tailenders gave the opposition a slightly more respectable final score of 81. But surely…..

Ushaw Moor’s reply:

D Dunn 0

G Smith 6

T Liddle 16

R Telfor 10

N Gill 6

H Gillespie 0

J Wyatt 19

G Marsh 4

B Hull 6

R W Hope 0

W Anderson not out 1

Extras 4

Total – I will let you add that up!

Meanwhile New Brancepeth were in good nick against Tudhoe.

New Brancepeth scores:

W Ross 28

E Holmes 20

A Patterson 5

W Brass 66

N Gleghorn 19

J Milburn 0

R Ayre 1

W Cruddace 0

J Nelson 2

L McConnell 3

J Young not out 1

Extras 9

Total 154

In reply Tudhoe were all out for 113 – Brass taking 5 wickets for 11 runs and J Milburn 3 wickets for twenty three runs.

New Brancepeth won by 41 runs.

Part two coming up when I grab the time.

WB

Meet Ethel – she’s Durham’s No1 citizen (From The Northern Echo)

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Meet Ethel – she’s Durham’s No1 citizen

A GRANDMOTHER who has done voluntary work in her village for more than 40 years is the second winner of Durham’s annual Community Citizen Award.

Ethel Cummings, 74, of Ushaw Moor, has been involved with the local jazz band, bingo club, youth club, and fun days in the village and community groups including the Bearpark Quadrilateral Division of St John Ambulance, The 12 Villages Network, the area’s Community Safety Compact, residents group umbrella organisation FORGE, SRB6 and Ushaw Moor Residents Group.

READ MORE

Archive – Thursday, 8 November 2007

via Meet Ethel – she’s Durham’s No1 citizen (From The Northern Echo).

Did Ushaw Moor’s Women Gossip Too Much in the 50s?

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Well some of them no doubt gossiped but those that did were far too busy to do much of it! I won’t go into the poss tub, kitchen skivvy, brasso account but many of us know how busy and admirable those ladies were: well most of them – those that were unclean and neglectful were scandalised and yes – gossiped about! 

Certainly several people could be seen in conversation outside their houses on a sunday in the South Street and Joyce Terrace area – as you come out of Ushaw Moor towards Esh Winning. Did I get that right – Joyce Terrace? Not many cars were passing during these conversations so it is probably a recollection from the early 50s – rather than the middle and late.  

I have some notes – not my work – that have been adapted from work done by ‘Roberts’ in 1973. I suppose ‘Roberts’ was a sociologist, or similiar, and this writer should be fully acknowledged; I will do that, if and when I am in a position to. Anyway here is a short piece adapted from his/her work:

From early morning to late at night little groups formed and faded, traded with goodwill, candour or cattishness the detailed gossip of a closed society. Over a period the health, honesty, conduct, history and connections of everyone in the neighbourhood would be examined. Each would be criticised, praised, censured openly or by hint and finally allocated by tacit consent a position on the social scale.

How do you feel about that? It rings true does it not?

Getting more up to date a Daily Mail article, dated 08/05/09, informs us that a survey revealed that, amongst other things:

–More than two thirds of women admit they pay full attention to conversations only when they are gossiping

–Only half of men said they listen intently to gossip

–Women are more likely to switch off when listening to their work colleagues, with the average women catching what the boss says only two thirds of the time.

— Women only hear 70% of the conversations they have with their partner

What do you think? 

WB

A Pervasive Stink

March 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Focusing on the 19th century we can see that it was men  causing the rotten and very obnoxious stink, not just the Thames; it was because of the way they enslaved women. Of course you cannot generalise; some relationships were no doubt loving and constructive, but the law and the Establishment disempowered women.

 During Victorian times women were  treated like a bit of bird dropping on men’s shoes; it is true that the middle and higher classes of women were meant to be sensitive loving creatures but the trouble was their lives were not their own – they were there to look good and serve their husband’s needs, to the exclusion of their own individuality.

 You might find this extract from the Derbyshire Times, published in 1861, quite interesting; certainly it says a lot about the culture then and the status of working class women and of course it relates to mining community life, a topic highly relevant to Ushaw Moor’s past:

The paper’s leader piece was entitled – A Word to colliers’ wives:

We address ourselves to a class, some of whom, at least, we are quite sure we will reach, although we may not succeed in making ourselves heard by all the neighbourhood. There be they who cannot read, these we hope to communicate with through their gossiping friends who can. What we have to tell them is something in which they are deeply concerned, something which their future happiness is concerned, the happiness of their husbands, the safety of their homes.

The judge at the Chesterfield County Court – an excellent, wise judge – say the colliers of this district are getting into a very bad habit. They start on credit at the small shops, and when they have money to pay with the money is appropriated to other purposes. In many cases, his Honour says, colliers’ wives run their husbands into debt whilst their husbands are hard at work.This we have reason to know, is too true, and the result is County Court summonses after sunnonses, distresses after distresses upon the household furniture, and often committals of the husband to to prison.

Now we would earnestly warn the women against this bad system. It is hard work for a man labouring from morning tonight, to find himself brought to misery and distress by the woman who should comfort, console, and cheer him in his toil. For their own sakes, too – we would put it in this selfish way – wives shoud be more careful, and rather store up for a rainy day than bring clouds of misery about the house by their own bad and unhly practices.

The leader prattles on further and concludes: The judge has not the power to do so yet – but laws are made very quickly in these days, and there is no knowing what may be done to punish the wicked ones if they persist in their evil doings.

What I object to in that piece is the presumption the women were totally to blame. I suspect the miners’ wage levels were not very good and furthermore I suspect that some of the money never even got to the wives – rather it went from the men’s pockets to  to the barman at the local ale house. It was not as if the women did not also work very hard; they fed men at all times of the day – especially if there were several family members working at the mine on different shifts.They also worked extremely hard to keep the house and the family clean. Washday – making bread – rearing many children and sadly burying and mourning dead children etc must have exhausted women.   

I also object to the tone of  the article’s language and the demeaning way women are sneered at and catergorized as gossips.

 Let’s have a chat about women as gossips. Were they always just gossiping? Or were they sometimes doing something else like exchanging information about shop prices and the best way to wash this and that and bake this and that. Women were not angels – being human they could not possibly be, or behave like, angels but the leader writer was expressing the prevailing view that women were just there for men – to look after them like slaves and to make financial ends meet. 

I have already hinted that it was rather different for the middle class and upper class women; they were meant to be decorative and amusing. They spend much of their time visiting relatives,  entertaining relatives, [not that they did the cooking  – the servants did that, and being ten a penny, they were paid badly for long hours of work] sewing, painting etc.

There were several women that chose to take on this obnoxious inequality and Caroline Norton was one of them. She was an intelligent and well connected woman in an unhappy marriage. She choose to fight for justice against her obnoxious husband George Norton; in doing she sought changes to the law regarding women’s marital rights; a cause that gained significant legal gains for wives and mothers. At the time – legally – a married couple amounted to one person – the man; he had ownership of his wife’s income, property and their children! He could not dispose of her real estate without permission but otherwise she appeared powerless. Caroline Norton won some rights for women and this was followed up by others after her day. Going back a little further back Mary Wollstoncraft did much to spell out the position of women and what they needed to do to bring more fairness to the relationship between men and women. For anyone interested do consider googling these brilliant ladies! 

 WB