Posts Tagged ‘Ushaw Moor Life’

Loving all the old Memories

March 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Loving all the old memories but must say I think we should try to make the link between yesteryear and today by filling in the gaps a little closer to this way. E.G memories of mine is watching Frank Bruno beat Oliver Mccall in 1994 (I think) to finally win the world heavyweight title at the 4th attempt. The club was packed and the place was rocking, fantastic.

Also the Winnings when it was owned by Mr Larry Thompson evokes many fond memories, snooker tournaments to keep the youth occupied and an improvised boxing gym in which myself and the Sacriston boxers, (Mcleans) used to train in prior to fighting. The people in the snooker hall used to complain as the balls would move when we were belting the bag downstairs !

via Facebook | Ushaw Moor Memories.

Geoff Bowery

The Demolition of Ushaw Moor

February 23, 2010 4 comments

Ushaw Moor when I was a lad was a thriving village. There was no television in those days and there was a strong sense of community in the village. There were a number of focal points in peoples lives which are sadly missing today, but time moves on. The churches and chapels in the village were very active, most children went to church or chapel and their principals of right and wrong were honed on a Sunday, the sense of right and wrong was instilled in most children at a very early age by their parents.

There were two pubs and two clubs, the Flass and the Station Hotel, now sadly demolished, a beautiful building internally and externally. Then there was the “Bush” at the bottom of Station Road and the Big Club now also sadly demolished. There were three Stores, Crook Store on the crossroads opposite the Flass, New Brancepeth Co-op Society in Durham Road which Tom Mc Cormick turned into a thriving business and Broughs right at the bottom of Station Road.

Then there were numerous shops where you could by most things for the home, butchers, bakers, fish shops, chemist, off licence, greengrocers and drapery shops. There was no need to shop anywhere but the village and this instilled a strong sense of belonging.

There were four fish shops in the village. Babsy Thompson whose shop was just above the Salvation Army Citadel, Lukes fish shop half way up Station Road, Mrs Hoppers in the end house in High View and Mrs Barkers shop in Temperance Terrace.

Mr Jack Russell was the postmaster at The Post Office which is still in situ in Temperance Terrace, he was assisted by his daughter and one of the Mc Pherson girls who lived in Whitehouse Lane. Mr Russell had a large garden directly across the road from the Post Office. Stan Watsons shop window in Durham Road was magnet for us kids. The window was very large and deep and it was full of things of interest to lads. There was always a large display of Dinky toys and Matchbox series toys. Stan had a number of cars for hire for weddings and funerals and there were two petrol pumps situated in the large recessed door to the garage, these pumps were worked manually. I sold football papers on a Saturday night for Stan and one night when checking the money it was 2 shillings and 4 pence up (about 12 pence) on the number of papers I had sold. Someone had given me a half crown coin and a one pence coin instead of two penny coins (tuppence). I thought I was a millionaire.

As kids we would peer through the window of the workshop of Mr Alderson the Undertaker whose workshop was situated in Whitehouse Lane just above the Flass. Mr Alderson made the coffins that his business required and he and his family lived in the end house of Durham Road opposite the Methodist Chapel.

The Police Station was situated in Durham Road, about No 5. The Sergeant and his officers turned out at 10pm and when we were told to leave the Crook Store doorway and make our way home we went without any back chat or grumbles. The Police were respected and you would get a clip if you back chatted them. I cannot remember any vandalism, theft or burglaries in Ushaw Moor although there may have been. People respected other peoples property and you were taught at a young age that it was wrong to steal.

When the Police Station closed Sid Brown the Baker moved into the premises from his shop at the bottom of Station Road. I was reading on Face Book earlier about Joe Lowerys ice cream shop. Joes main job was a milkman. He had a milk round in Ushaw Moor, his cart was drawn by his horse, Peter. Peter was kept in a field next to St. Josephs school and he was a great favourite of the children there including myself. There was no ice cream made at the shop during the war years due to the shortage of milk. When they started making the ice cream again it was very creamy and was the best I have tasted. The shop was all mirrors and highly polished dark wooden furniture and was always dim and cool.

I hope I haven’t rambled on to much and I hope someone gets some happy memories when they read my ramblings. I cannot understand why more people of my age do not contribute to this site.

It is a credit to Paul Clough and all the hard work he puts into it.

Thanks Paul.

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Ollerton by the sea

February 20, 2010 3 comments

My family moved to ollerton in september of 1957,from ushaw moor near durham.the move had been delayed by the birth 5 weeks earlier of my sister patricia,she arrived on my birthday,so the children of the family had had to stay with grandma and grandad till dad had the house done so we could “just move in”we all piled out of the car and the moving van began to empty.and suddenly there was a comotion in the house,in his haste to get the place ready my father and his pals had painted and papered most rooms but the lounge was upside down the flowers were supposd to go the other way said my mother,,,,the grandparents pointed out to her that it could be changed at another day,,,so we moved lock stock and six children into 86 petersmiths drive,one of the four bedroom houses on what the locals called the geordie reservation.the roads were that pale brown stuff they put down before its tarmacked. and the street lights had only just been given lightbulbs.
we all joined eldest sister was sent to walesby lane and the rest of us to forest view.but as mum pointed out since my sister herded us most places she couldnt do that if she was to be on time for her to attend walsby lane,so she was sent to Forest veiw with us and resumed herding duties.we were sent to reconoiter the streets around us and quickly dicovered allmost all the neighbours we had at ushaw moor and braancepeth were dissperesed in the surrounding i hadnt far to go to find the kids ide gone to school with “up north” the locals had no manners.. they would make fun of the way we spoke and said “ayup” instead of hello.they had the impression we kept coal in the bath..there was an influx of scotts after us and then polish familys .the estate was huge,the shops on whitewater road leading up to the church circle and the main the other end was one little shop,across from the football field ,,cricket pitch,and then allong walesby lane to forest view school and the dairy then the police station.i lived in ollerton for 27 years till i moved to worksop in dad called it ollerton by the sea because we could go down to the river maun with my dad on sundays to get us all out of mums way till dinner was ready.

From Francis Frith

Shared on 25 December 200 by Ruth Hill

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One of Ushaw Moor’s Fallen

November 17, 2008 Leave a comment

37 Years old Richard Hope [a winding engineman at Ushaw Moor colliery] and his wife 39 years old Rachael, welcomed their son Joseph into the world of 1893. They already had three children, George [14] John Thomas [8] and William [6]. Daughter Lavinia was destined to arrive four years later. Their home was 2 Temperance Terrace and today the Post Office adjoins it.

I possess two photographs of a very young Joseph and he looks both thoughtful and serious in both of them. In one he poses as a soldier and wears an authentic looking soldier’s cap and badge. He holds a toy rifle by his side.

Time moves on and in very early 1915 he joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry – Portsmouth Battalion.

British troops, including Joseph, began their invasion of the Turkish peninsular at Gallipoli on 25/04/1915. They settled in around Cape Helles and were deployed to assist the New Zealand and Australian soldiers that were already there.

The Gallipoli campaign was fought by Commonwealth soldiers and French forces with a goal of forcing Turkey out of the war. The plan was to break the deadlock of the Western Front in Belgium and France. It was hoped that success would open up a supply route to Russia.

On 02/05/1915 the Marines had been held in reserve for an attack by the Anzac forces; their plan was to capture high ground near Pope’s Hill on the following day. At about 2.30am, Joseph and his colleagues were ordered forward – but they did not realize that the Anzac attack had already failed – that troops were falling back. Joseph, the brave and lovely lad from Ushaw Moor, barely out of his teens, was part of a charge up Razor-Back Hill. It was there that they met the withering Turkish machine guns; Joseph was one of the many killed and in addition many were injured.

Charles Bean in his book – The Story of Anzac – indicated that many of those marines were raw, untrained and barely 18 years of age. Joseph was not much older than them. Some had but a few weeks of training; mostly only a few months.

The poet Rupert Brooke’s poem – The Soldier – seems so apt and the first few lines provide what I wish to say:

‘If I should die, think only this of me;

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is forever England’.

Wilf Bell

Working Mens Club and Empire

October 30, 2008 3 comments

I lived in Ushaw Moor for the first 30 years of my life and I have always missed it since moving away. I see they have demolished the club and the old Empire or Winnings, and have built new houses all over the place, did the Bush shut down as well if so the Flass must be the only pub left open; it seems as if all the old places in Ushaw Moor have to be knocked down and new houses built, did they build houses on the “rec” behind the club as well, I know things change and things don’t stop the same but to me they have spoiled Ushaw Moor, they will be building on the allotments next if the powers to be get there own way. Did they build on the old Institute, used to have some good times in there playing snooker in the 60s never mind I could go on but I still have my memories of the old working class pit village that it used to be.


Harry Oughton

Ray Jolly

October 30, 2008 2 comments

Hello, am wondering if you can help me please am after some information regarding Ushaw moor as my Grandad, Ray Jolly, working there when he was a boy. He is 76 now and would like some information about some people who worked there and some pictures. If you could help me I would be most grateful if you could reply to

Thank you very much this is the closest link to what i was looking for.

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Melvyn Gray Ushaw Moor in 1938

October 30, 2008 5 comments

I wonder if anyone can help at all? My father was born in Ushaw Moor in 1938 and lived there till he was a teenager in High View, I think it was called. His name’s Melvyn Gray and he was the only child of Bill and Peggy Gray. His best friend was George, but I don’t know his surname.

My sister and I are organising a bit of a birthday do for him as he reaches 70 this year and we’d love to have something from Ushaw Moor from the time he lived there, even if it’s only a memory from someone or a photo of the village at the time. He and my mum live near Durham, so they’re not a million miles away, but my dad’s memories of UM are all of his childhood and it would be great to do something related to that for this milestone birthday.

Any help posted on here would be much appreciated!

Thanks, Rachel Green.

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Sarah Ellen McGurk and Family

October 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Having previously given a brief mention to an Ushaw Moor girl, Sarah Ellen McGurk, in an earlier article I recently found myself sitting next to her daughter, Mrs Margaret Parks, at a University of the Third Age social history meeting about 265 miles south of Ushaw Moor! Margaret gave me the go ahead to write some brief notes about her family – as follows:

Sarah Ellen McGurk was born in Lanchester on 18th October 1900 and shortly afterwards lived at 10 South Street, Ushaw Moor, with her parents John and Margaret.

Her dad was born in Durham and worked as a local colliery coke drawer. Essentially he removed coke from the coke-oven by means of a tool that resembled a long handled shovel.

Sarah had a brother called Edward [seven years older than her] and a brother called Michael who was four years older. Michael, who was only about 5ft tall at the time and worked at the colliery as a pit pony boy. One day at the colliery his pony would not proceed any further – it then jumped and reared; as a result Michael’s leg was broken and he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Much later he went to live with his niece Margaret Parks [see first paragraph] in Tottenham, North London. Margaret remembers him because of the amount of snuff he used!

Sarah had a sister, Mary Ann, as well as the brothers mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Mary Ann is not mentioned in the 1901 census so it is likely that she was born a little later – although it is just possible that she was staying at an address other than 9 South Street at the time of the Census.

It is known that Sarah’s mother, who was born in Bishop Auckland, used to bake cakes and hold coffee mornings to raise money to go towards the building of the Ushaw Moor Catholic School.

When Sarah left school she spent sometime working at the Ushaw College laundry.

Sarah died on 19/02/1972.

Now for some further notes supplied by Margaret Parks that might mean something to residents or ex residents of Ushaw Moor:

“The Griffin family included cousins of my mother Sarah Ellen McGurk.

The Keenan family [nee McNab] looked after the McGurk youngsters when their mother died. The Keenans settled in Brandon at 19 Commercial Street.

There were also relations living at New Brancepeth’’.

I will finish with a bit of information about the McGurk’s immediate neighbours in South Street during 1901:

9 South Street – Mr George Young [blacksmith] and his wife Mary. Their daughter Amy worked as a barmaid.

11 South Street – Mr Michael Collingwood [aged 24] coal miner and preacher born in Byers Green. Also his wife Hannah [aged 25] born at the Boyne [I suppose Langley Moor!]

Wilf Bell

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An Ushaw Moor lad’s experience in the Cumberland Coalfield 1 of 2

October 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Less than a year after leaving secondary school I moved with my parents to live in Seaton, near Workington, Cumberland. I was destined to live there for seven years. The name Workington is not very inspirational – perhaps one notch above Grimethorpe – and for me it has a tone to match much of my experience there. Those seven years were meant to be character forming, memorable and fun mixed with a bit of teenage angst and uncertainty.  I experienced all of that but the positive aspects were in such pitifully small doses that they hardly compensated for the remaining big blocks of my time -which were filled with inertia and progressively mind dulling experiences.

I suppose I could have paraphrased the above by describing my time in Workington during the 60s as ‘mostly excreta’ [forgive my too rounded edges].  I did not have much going for me – what with a basically caring stepfather, whom by that time had a job that gave him little time to care, and an equally caring mother who had, with a degree of personal justification, despaired of life long before moving toWorkington.

I found myself living in an avenue about a hundred yards from a road that, by turning left, lead to Workington – which was about a mile away. We lived two doors from Keith Burkinshaw, who later became well known for his management of Tottenham Hotspur, and one door from Dave Carr the ex Darlington forward. They were both plying their trade for Workington Football Club.
Read more…

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