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Alison Wilson (nee Turner)

December 14, 2008 2 comments

Hi, my name is Alison Wilson (nee Turner). I was born in Ushaw Moor in 1964 at 68 Broom Crescent. My father has very recently died and I am eager to learn/know more about my Fathers life in the communitty.I know that my Father hailed from 9 Cochrane Terrace, Ushaw Moor. My mother I think was from New Brancepath(nee Deighton). Can anybody please help me? Thank-you, Alison.

Categories: Memories Tags: ,

The Cochrane Family

August 15, 2008 7 comments
It was Alexander Brodie Cochrane that obtained the right to mine for coal at Sleetburn although it was Lord Boyne of Brancepeth Castle who held the Royalties. Cochrane had his somewhat grand home, Eshwood Hall, built not far from what he hoped would be a very profitable colliery. He was part of an influential and financially successful family; they owned iron works at Ormesby and were socially ambitious. Actually it can be said that they were more or less ‘up and arrived’ rather than ‘up and coming’.

Sleetburn’s excellent coking coal supplied the Cochrane’s iron works at Ormesby. By the eve of the First World War the colliery had become a large complex, with brickworks and a plant to crush a valuable mineral called brytes.

The Cochrane approach to managing his workers and villagers had clearly been the product of some considerable thought. I imagine that he was mindful of the fact that a trawl through the Durham County newspapers of the time indicated a significant amount of lawlessness and violence in local mining communities – which to a large extent was fed by alcohol and despair. For some miners the alcohol temporarily brushed aside the big physical demands of coal mining. The despair may well have been caused, to some extent, by the sight of too many mangled or impaired bodies, the experience of periodical unemployment and the demand for deference. Perhaps such a social climate encouraged Cochrane to build Sleetburn as two separate villages, one for pitmen called the ‘lowside’ and another for colliery officials and craftsmen. Fields separated the two classes of workers and in effect social control and sanctions prevailed. If one of his officials or craftsmen stepped out of line they risked being moved to the lowside – or even worse – sacked and blackballed.

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Categories: Memories Tags: