29 November 2012

The Badger again

Picture of Northumberland Hairpowder Tax

A recent item in the newspaper about refurbishment of The Badger stated that the owner in the late 18th century had earned a vast fortune during the Napolionic wars by selling hair powder.

Someone has their wires crossed a little! The certificate above shows that Shafto Coulter paid Hair powder tax  in 1797.

Duty on Hair Powder Act 1795 (35 Geo. III, c. 49) was an Act of Parliament levying a tax on hair powder. It was repealed in 1869.

The Act stated that everyone wishing to use hair powder must, from 5 May 1795, visit a stamp office to enter their name and pay for an annual certificate costing one guinea. Certain exemptions were included: the Royal Family and their servants, clergymen with an income of under £100 a year, subalterns, non-commissioned officers, privates in the army, artillery, militia, mariners, engineers, fencibles, officers in the navy below commander, yeomanry, and volunteers. A father with more than two unmarried daughters might buy two certificates which would be valid for any number he stated at the stamp office. The master of a household might buy a certificate for a member of his servants which would also be valid for their successors within that year. The use of hair powder had been declining and the tax hastened its near death. In 1812 46,684 people still paid the tax, in 1855 only 997 did, and almost all of these were servants.

21 November 2012

Christmas and "Pressed"

A timely reminder that tickets for the event on 13th December are available from the treasurer, John Angel at a cover charge of £8 per person. 

13 November 2012

Meeting - Strategic Decisions at Flodden

The venue for the Meeting "Strategic Decisions at Flodden" on Thursday 15th November will be the Lounge at Ponteland Memorial Hall.  The venue has been changed as St. Mary's Church Hall is a Polling Station for the elections for Crime & Police Commissioner. The meeting will start at 7.45pm.

Talk to be given by  CHRIS BURGESS, Archeologist

01 November 2012

Wheelbarrow Race Circa 1973

Where you there?

Spot anyone in the photo?  Let us know

19 October 2012

A Tale of Two Cinemas



Talk by John Matthews, 18th October 2012

Report by Margaret Appleby
John told a fascinating but sad story about the rise and fall of the Paramount and Odeon Cinemas in Newcastle. John is Vice Chair of the Tyneside Committee of the Northumberland & Newcastle Society and has been very involved in trying to save the Odeon for 10 years. Being in the construction industry all his life, John actually worked for the company Stanley Miller, who built the Paramount in 1931.

‘Movies’ arrived in London in 1891 and 5 years later in Newcastle. They were very basic black and white flickering pictures (hence the name – the flicks!) and were shown in various buildings as part of a variety performance. 1917 -1930 was the golden age of cinema construction across the country and in 1931 the Paramount was built in Newcastle. The architects were Beverly and Verity. The site was originally a garage which was cleared to build the cinema at a cost of £250,000.

As John’s talk was delivered with excellent accompanying pictures, we were able to see the true grandeur of the original building. Externally it was imposing buff stone with balconies, box office and a massive (57 ft) flashing Paramount sign – originally lit with 2500 light bulbs but later replaced with neon lights. Internally it was spectacular with terracotta silk panels on the walls, frescoes, chandeliers, ornate balustrades, deep seats, lovely carpet, orchestra pit and Wurlitzer. The stalls and circle held 2604 people. The curtains shimmered, fresh flowers were provided daily and the first film was shown in September 1931. In 1932 other buildings including the Carliol House, Fire and Police Stations were all built which enhanced the importance of this area of Newcastle. In 1939 Paramount sold the building and it became the Odeon.

The cinema continued throughout the 2nd World War and in the 60’s well known groups and stars visited, although in 1951 it had been refurbished and sadly the silk and frescoes painted over. Audience numbers fell with the advent of television so 3 screens were created in 1975 and the famous Paramount/Odeon sign was removed. The introduction of multiplexes in Gateshead and Manors further affected the Odeon and in 2001 the Odeon moved to the Gate. The building had been listed in 2000 but in later years it was delisted on appeal much to many people’s amazement as a part of Newcastle history was then at risk. The new owners were, and are now able to develop the site despite the sterling efforts of John Matthews and many others.

Many in the audience had fond memories of the Odeon and were fascinated but sad to hear John’s tale of two cinemas, which does not appear likely to have a happy ending.

09 October 2012

The Building and Restoration of Durham Cathedral

A lecture by Rev Canon Dr Michael Jackson

Jointly hosted by Newcomen Society and Institution of Civil Engineers


October 10, 2012 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Durham Cathedral is the only cathedral in England to retain almost all of its Norman craftsmanship, and one of few to preserve the unity and integrity of its original design.  It is recognised both as an exemplar of the Romanesque architecture and as one of the world’s greatest cathedrals and together with Durham Castle it was inscribed as one of Britain's first World Heritage Sites.

Before taking up his present calling Canon Jackson was a practicing civil engineer in industry and, latterly, at the Dept of Civil Engineering in Newcastle. Thus, when a conference on how the cathedral was built was required to mark the ninth centenary of the Cathedral the Dean and Chapter asked him to organise it.

His talk draws on what was presented at that conference and the challenges that the builders faced.  Many of these will be familiar to today’s generation of engineers, such as the search for secure foundations, the logistics of supplying the necessary materials and the suspension of work when funds ran out.  Of particular interest is how the builders pioneered design innovations without the mathematical tools available to us today.

Discovery Museum
Education Room,
Blandford Square
Newcastle Upon Tyne

30 September 2012

ANLHS Newsletter

Registered Charity no. 251179

The Archives at Alnwick Castle and the Earls of Northumberland’ will be the subject of Chris Hunwick’s talk at our AGM.

Chris is the archivist for the Duke of Northumberland and we are delighted that he is to be our guest speaker as we have been trying to get him to one of our events for some time.

The AGM is to be held at 1.00 on Saturday 10th
November 2012 and is being hosted by Mitford LHS at their Community Centre, on Fontside, just off the main road through the village. All Individual Members and members of Affiliated Societies are welcome to attend.

In the 19th century, Hinds (married Ploughmen) in Northumberland and the Borders had to provide another worker as part of their agreement with a farmer. That worker was known as the Bondager and could be identified by their distinctive costume.

The story of the hinds and Bondagers, written by Dinah Iredale author of the book ‘Bondagers’, published by Glendale LHS, is now the subject of a 40 minute film produced by Shadowcat Films. Incorporating both drama and documentary, the film brings 1866 vividly to life. This was a time when there was considerable agitation in the countryside about the system and Hinds were fighting for its abolition.

The documentary details have been meticulously researched and the film is set in Kirknewton, Westnewton and Paxton House. Further details can be found in the latest edition of ‘Tyne and Tweed’ or on line at www.shadowcatfilms.com and from where the DVD and Dinah’s excellent book can be obtained.

A new and fully updated list of local history speakers has now been published by ANLHS and sent to all Affiliated Societies. Preparing this new edition has been no easy task, so well done to our Treasurer Michael Thompson.

1.00 Saturday 10th November
Mitford Community Centre
TYNE AND TWEED (Autumn 2012)
In celebration of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, we have gone for a Bumper issue this time. The eleven main articles cover a wide variety of topics from the truth behind the oft asserted claim that Berwick changed hands 13 times before finally becoming English, to an account of how the Swarland Settlement provided a new chance for the poor of Newcastle and Gateshead during the Great Depression. Howard Cleeve has provided another instalment of his record of how Richard Grainger rebuilt central Newcastle in 1836/7, while Colin Wakeling looks at the destruction caused by the First World War Zeppelins. Features on men of note who had an influence on Northumbrian life include Armorer Donkin, Samuel Tibbs, James Jarvie and Graham Laidler (Pont of Punch) while our new section on local history societies had resulted in a fascinating tour round Longhorsley churchyard, just the thing for  a brisk autumn walk. A scandal at Bamburgh and a stranding at Blyth complete the mix.

Good reading, good exploring and a credit to Jane Bowen our Editor. If you are tempted to see some of what is described for yourselves copies can be purchased via your Local History Society (cover price £4.50) or direct from  ANLHS, c/o 30 Beverley Terrace, Cullercoats, North Shields, NE30 4NU (£6.00 including postage).

Trafalgar Day 2012 will see the launch of the Collingwood Society.  A north-east based interest group, which is part of the legacy of the highly successful commemorative Collingwood 2010 Festival, the Society is dedicated to all things related to the Admiral.  

The inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Society will take place at 19.30 hrs. Thursday 1st November 2012 at the Newcastle upon Tyne Trinity House in Broad Chare, just off the Quayside.   All are welcome to attend and to contribute to planning the future of the Society.

For more information, please contact Capt. Stephen Healy (trustee) on 0191-2159356.  

Please note that due to the substantial increase in costs, and the fact it was little used, ANLHS has discontinued its PO Box. Societies can now contact us via the Secretary at 30 Beverley Terrace, Cullercoats, North Shields, NE30 4NU, or e-mail localhistory@virginmedia.com . Alternatively you can use the ANLHS website at  http://www.anlhs.org.uk/ .

Sunday 28th October (11 – 4) Northumberland History Fair, Woodhorn Museum, Ashington.
Thursday 1st November          Collingwood Society Inaugural AGM (see above).
Saturday 10th November         ANLHS AGM, Mitford Community Centre (see above).
Saturday 2nd March 2013        Members Group Meeting, St Nicholas Church Hall, S. Gosforth.
Saturday 11th May 2013          Flodden 500 Study Day hosted by Norham and Ladykirk LHS.
Saturday 7th Sept 2013           Round the County Day hosted by Mitford LHS.
Saturday 9th November 2013 ANLHS AGM, venue to be confirmed.

Published and Printed by the Association of Northumberland Local History Societies.

19 September 2012

Pont Island News 2012 just published

Pont Island News is published bi-annually by Ponteland local History Society and distributed free to members. Non members can purchase from the society at £3 per copy.

24 August 2012

Battle of Flodden


A beginners guide to the Battle of Flodden

Talk time at Wallington Hall presents Michael Thomson as he takes you through the events of the Battle of Flodden in 1513.  Find out what all the fuss is about so you can impress friends and relatives with your knowledge in the build up to the 500th anniversary of this great battle.

Monday 10th September, 10am- 2pm, £22 including coffee and lunch

Wallington, Cambo, nr Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 4AR

To avoid disappointment, please book events in advance on 01670 773600.

14 August 2012

The story of a village school

The Story of a Village School

The Story of a Village School

The story of a Village school is the history of Ponteland First School produced by local historian Muriel Sobo.
It is full of photographs, anecdotes and stories of its 93 year history from 1914 - 2007.
The Book costs £6 from the First School office or the Town Council Office or £7 by post from Muriel Sobo on 01661 871969

Proceeds from the book go the school PTA.

06 July 2012

Grace Darling


The story of the Victorian sea rescue heroine Grace Darling is to be brought to the stage.

Tyneside-based Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood, whose international and national stage hits include Dirty Dusting, Waiting For Gateaux, Maggie’s End and Son of Samurai, have penned Amazing Grace to celebrate the achievements of the first Victorian female heroine, who tragically died in 1842 aged only 26, four years after her heroic deed off the Northumberland Coast between Bamburgh and Seahouses.

Grace Darling and her lighthouse keeper father lived on Longstone island when, in a storm on September 7, 1838, the SS Forfarshire struck the notorious Harcar rocks, a part of the Farne Islands. Of the 63 people on board, nine managed to escape in the lifeboat while Grace and her father selflessly manned a coble to heroically rescue 9 people stranded on the rocks.

Queen Victoria sent £50 for Grace which was administrated by the Duke of Northumberland and three  Bravery medals were bestowed on her by three separate Humane Societies and the RNLI. After Victoria, Grace became the most well know woman in 19th century Britain.

The play will tell the story of Grace Darling through the eyes of a modern-day writer called Grace who wants to make a film about her famous namesake.

Trevor Wood explained: “It’s a funny, modern take on a wonderful story and will appeal to everyone aged from 13 to 113. We want to celebrate Grace’s achievement whilst illustrating how the Hollywood machine can play fast and loose with the facts.

“Grace was the first working-class female celebrity – the Cheryl Cole of her time – and the play is a tribute to her achievement.”

Amazing Grace will include film of some famous Northumberland landmarks and is being co-produced by Alnwick Playhouse with the support of Sunderland University.

Jo Potts, manager of Alnwick Playhouse, said: “Alnwick Playhouse is excited to premiere this new play based on and around Grace Darling. Her unique story is rooted firmly in the Northumberland landscape and deserves to be told.”

Judith Hills, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Sunderland University, said: “We are very excited to be involved in Amazing Grace. It’s a novel approach to fantastic story which I’m sure will make a terrific piece of theatre.”

The three-week north east tour will begin with a world premiere at Alnwick Playhouse on Wednesday, October 17, as follows:

Alnwick Playhouse: 01665 510 785 Wednesday, October 17; Thursday, October 18 (evening and matinee); Friday, October 19
Consett Empire01207 218171 Saturday, October 20 (evening and matinee)
Hexham Queen’s Hall: 01434 652477 Monday, October 22 and Tuesday, October 23 (evening and matinee)  
Gala theatre (Durham): 0191 332 4041 Wednesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 25 (evening and matinee)  
Hartlepool Theatre: 01429 890 000 Friday, October 26  
Gateshead Old Town Hall: 0191 433 6965 Saturday, October 27     
Customs House (South Shields): 0191 454 1234 Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30 (evening and matinee)
Blyth Phoenix theatre: 01670 367 228 Wednesday, October 31   
Berwick Maltings: 01289 330999 Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2 (evening and matinee)
Playhouse Whitley Bay: 0844 277 2771 Saturday, November 3 (evening and matinee)

Tickets for Amazing Grace are on sale from the venues. For further information visit www.edwaughandtrevorwood.co.uk

The duo's play Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather is playing the 900-seat Darlington Civic Theatre from July 24 to 17.

Amazing Grace is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

06 June 2012

Ponteland hospital

The 2010 edition of Pont Island News contained a short history of Ponteland hospital. Here are some of the highlights of the article;


Castle Ward Poor Law Union came into existence in September 1836.  There were 79 elected Guardians on the Board and they represented the 77 townships in an extensive rural area that were combined to form the Union.  They ranged from Dinnington to Kirkheaton and from Heddon to Stannington.  The total population covered was, according to the 1831 census, over 15 000 people.  A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded a poorhouse at Heddon which was small and so a new Workhouse was built in 1848-49 on the North Road in Ponteland by local builder John Donkin on land bought from Matthew Bell.  In 1887 an extension was built to serve as a hospital.  In 1890 about one and a half acres were bought adjoining the north side of the Workhouse and in 1903 a board room and offices were added.

The building had several uses after closure in 1984, including housing YT students taking courses at Kirkley Hall and the last use was as a day nursery called The Cogs.   
The workhouses were abolished in name in 1930 but the problems they were supposed to solve still remained and the workhouse in Ponteland was renamed the Poor Law Institution, still looking after the old, the sick and the incapable.  It was the responsibility of the County Council’s Public Assistance Committee until 1948.  In 1940 it became an emergency hospital for convalescent soldiers, TB patients, some evacuees and later post-operative patients from Newcastle General Hospital.   When the National Health Service came into being in 1948 it continued as the Ponteland Hospital, run by the Newcastle Authorities, and nursing elderly patients mainly from the west end of Newcastle.   It closed in 1993, was demolished in 1995, and the site bought for housing by Cussins.  It was appropriately named Guardians Court.  Some of the workhouse brick wall is still standing with its Victorian letterbox and now encloses the gardens of these town houses on the North Road.

The Ponteland Hospital which was housed in the extended workhouse buildings was closed in 1993 after a hard fought campaign to keep it open.  It was a well regarded establishment employing a number of local people and had a very active Friends group which raised funds for extras for the elderly patients.  

26 May 2012

Jubilee Event

Ponteland Memorial Hall
Darras Road
NE20 9NX

 2 – 5 June
Open to the public
 A Jubilee Exhibition is to be held at the Ponteland Memorial Hall. Various local organisations will be putting on displays about their work over the last 60 years. The exhibition will be open to the public from 10.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m. Refreshments will be available.
There will also be a Loyal Address to be sent to the Queen after collecting signatures from as many residents as possible.
For more information Email: km@pontelandtowncouncil.co.uk

16 March 2012


20th SEPTEMBER 2012 ........................ ANDREW SAWYER of  Cragside National Trust
“THE ARMSTRONGS AT HOME”  a talk about the house at Cragside and family life in an unusual Victorian setting

18th OCTOBER 2012 .......................... JOHN MATTHEWS
“A tale of two Cinemas”   the rise and fall of the Paramount/Odeon Cinema in Pilgrim Street’

15th NOVEMBER 2012 ....................... CHRIS BURGESS, Archeologist
“The Battle of Flodden Field 1513 - its 500th Anniversary”

17th JANUARY 2013 .......................... JOHN A MOREELS M.B.E. 
“ Nostalgic views of the North”

21st FEBRUARY 2013 ......................... DAVID JONES
“Barrow burn - rediscovering a medieval fulling mill”
21st MARCH 2013 ................................ JOHN and KITTY ANDERSON

18th APRIL 2013 .................................. ROBERT MOON
“TUGS of the TYNE  and WEAR”
Meetings are held in Church Hall, Thornhill Road, Ponteland and commence at 7.30pm. Visitors are welcome at a nominal charge of £2                                                

Ponteland Historian March 2012

Newsletter of Ponteland Local History Society
15th  March  2012

 It is with great pleasure that we welcome the return of Alan Fendley.
Alan is a very active member of Rothbury Parish Council and a noted local historian.  His interests are many and include “The Siege of Newcastle – 1644”, “The Life of Lord Armstrong” and “The Other Geordies”.

The February Council meeting recorded a very active programme. Norham and Ladykirk LHS will host the 2013-Day School, “Flodden 500” and Mitford LHS has offered to organise the 2013 ‘Round the County’ day, including visits to the castle and Mitford Hall. 
In a further effort to raise the profile, of ANNLHS booking forms for the March 24th 2012 Day School “North East History through Art” have been sent to every branch library in the County, museums and villlage halls.

Saturday 30th June
Round The County Day, Alston & Killhope Lead Mining Centre
Saturday 10th November
ANLHS Annual General Meeting, Mitford Community Hall

Friday 20th April
The guided tour of Trinity House, built in the 16th century to support the growing maritime community of Newcastle, has been arranged for 11.00am.  The cost is £4 per person and the tour will last for about 2 hrs.
Thursday 24th May
The tour of St. Andrew’s Church, Roker is booked to start at 10.30 am.  This early 20th century church is said to be “The Cathedral of the Arts and Crafts Movement”.  There is no charge for the tour that will take about 2 hrs. but it is proposed that we make a voluntary donation which will be collected on the day.
 This date has been earmarked for visiting Bowes Museum and Rokeby Park in Teesdale.
An introductory tour of the Museum, which lasts for about 45 minutes, has been arranged for 10.30am after which members will be free to to wander at their leisure before lunch.  There are restaurant facilities available if required.  The famous Silver Swan plays at 2.00pm prompt and this will give us ample time for the short drive to Rokeby.  The group entrance fee is £7 per person.
The guided tour of  18th century Rokeby Park will begin at 2.30pm. and the cost will be £7.
Thursday 12th July
The visit to Raby Castle, Staindrop is planned to start with coffee& biscuits at 10.30am, followed by a guided tour from 11.00 to 12.30pm.  Lunch on an individual basis is available in the cafĂ© and then you are free to explore the castle, garden and park in the afternoon.  The cost, including coffee is £11 per head.
**For all outings the majority of members have opted for travel by car rather than by coach and therefore where possible arrangements will be made to share transport.  Under these circumstances it is proposed that a contribution of £5 per passenger is made towards fuel costs for the longer journeys.

Publication of the next edition is planned for mid 2012 and items are now invited.  Ideally articles should be between 500 and 2000 words long with black and white illustrations being particularly welcome.  They should be forwarded by 1st June to jmichaeltaylor@btinternet.com or by arrangement with the editor on 01661 824017.

As part of the celebrations the Town Council is hosting a Community Exhibition in the Memorial Hall from 2nd to 5th June inclusive and all organisations in Ponteland are being invited to participate.  On each day the public will have free access to the displays from 10.00am until 4.00pm and volunteers are sought to act as stewards.  If you can spare a couple of hours during this period a list is available this evening to register your interest
The theme for the Society’s display will probably be to record major events in Ponteland over the past 60 years or so.  If you have any appropriate memorabilia or photographs that you are prepared to make available for scanning please contact John Turner on 823850 or by email.  You may recall the local newspaper “The Ponteland Observer” which was initially printed in the village – if you have cuttings from this or indeed any copies then these could possibly be a source of information for events that were reported during its short life.

13 February 2012

Book Review

Mr Stephenson’s Regret by David Williams

I should immediately declare my vested interest in the historical content of this novel. As a Trustee of the Robert Stephenson Trust and a member of the Panel for Historical Engineering Works I am committed to the continued recognition of the great engineers of the past.

In welcoming the publication of this book I was prepared to give some latitude in the accuracy of its historic content if a little disappointed to see the Author’s note that made reference to Samuel Smile’s biography of the Stephenson’s which is somewhat discredited  by modern historians. However my initial reaction was swiftly countered by David Williams’ further reference to the Hunter Davis biography even if I also would have liked to see references to the recent publications, The Eminent Engineer, (Bailey), Prodigy (Haworth), and Railway Engineer (Addyman/Haworth).  

The narrative follows two intertwined timeline threads, one commencing with the funeral of George Stephenson and ending with the opening of the High Level Bridge across the River Tyne. The other thread commences with the childhood memories of Robert Stephenson and ends with the opening of the Liverpool Manchester Railway.

Weaving these threads together the author tells a story of the sometimes complex relationship between father and son, their family and wider associates. Robert’s Colombian adventure is vividly portrayed as is his confrontation with George Hudson, the Railway King. But there is much, much more to this book which follows the interaction between many nineteenth century personalities.

As for the historical accuracy? Well it’s certainly within my degree of latitude, indeed it is meticulously researched, adding colour and depth to many events portrayed in the history books.

David Williams’ novel could open the genius of the Stephensons to a new audience and foster a wider appreciation of the great achievements of the nineteenth century.    

As for what Mr Stephenson’s regret is I’m afraid you will have to read the book and make your own mind up what it is. I found the novel most enjoyable.  

Title: Mr Stephenson's Regret
Author: David Williams
ISBN: 978-1907954207
Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing
Format: Trade Paperback and E-Book
Retail Price: £9.99 / £3.99

08 February 2012

PLHS President's publication

Charlie Wesencraft's With Pike and Musket

by John Curry

This book is available for download on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iBooks and on your computer with iTunes. Books must be read on an iOS device.


The book contains Wesencraft's 16th and 17th Century Wargaming rules plus Twenty-eight scenarios from the English Civil War
Charlie Wesencraft's With Pike and Musket
View In iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • Category: History
  • Published:Aug 09, 2011
  • Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Seller: Lulu Enterprises, Inc.
  • Print Length: 187 Pages
  • Language: English

27 January 2012

Mr Stephenson's Regret

North East publisher, Wild Wolf Publishing is delighted to announce the release of Mr Stephenson's Regret by local award-winning author, David Williams.

This absorbing novel brings to dramatic life the pioneers of the railway age. Significant figures appear on the broad canvas of history – Wellington, Peel, Dickens and Queen Victoria among them – but the story belongs as much to the modest mining community that is home to George and Robert Stephenson in the early years, and to their intimates, not least the women in their lives (who have remained all but anonymous in the biographies).

Central to the narrative is the complex, often tense, relationship between father and son. Both have ambitions and desires that provide the engine for their achievements but also create a crisis of conflict that threatens to derail their journey at a crucial stage.

In following their battles, personally and as a partnership, much is revealed about nineteenth century society – about class division, self-interest and greed, indulgence and sexuality, repression and guilt – that may taint even the sweet taste of success.

Semi-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

“This richly detailed and meticulously researched storyline breathes life and a palpable sense of intimacy into these historical figures and immerses readers in an England embroiled in political and social upheaval as it teeters on the cusp of the industrial revolution.”
~ Publishers Weekly

Title: Mr Stephenson's Regret
Author: David Williams
ISBN: 978-1907954207
Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing
Format: Trade Paperback and E-Book
Retail Price: £9.99 / £3.99

19 January 2012

Ponteland Historian January 2012

 Newsletter of Ponteland Local History Society


This evening Society member, Dr. Adrian Bint pays a return visit, but on this occasion to tell us “more about those early invaders”.  Members will recall Adrian’s presentation to us two yeas ago when he took us on “A Historical Walk Around Edlingham”.  Amongst many other interests Adrian is a volunteer Ranger for a section of The Hadrian Wall Path and it was during a recent routine inspection that he sustained the injury that is so obvious this evening.  We wish him a speedy recovery.


Saturday 25th February
ANLHS Council Meeting, 1.30 (for 1.45), St. Nicholas’ Church, South Gosforth.

Saturday 24th March
 * Day School: “North East History Through Art”, Lit. & Phil. Newcastle

Saturday 30th June
 * Round The County Day, Alston & Killhope Lead Mining Centre

Saturday 10th November
ANLHS Annual General Meeting, Mitford Community Hall

 * The detailed programme and booking forms for these events are available this evening.


The University of Leicester are seeking North of England male volunteers with old surnames to take part in a research project, sponsored by the Leverhulme & Wellcome Trusts, to link with the DNA of people in the past.  They are particularly interested in the history of the Vikings and the possibility of genetic links to today’s population. 
To find a list of eligible surnames and how to participate in the study men are invited to visit the website: www.leicestersurnamesproject.org.uk


Please let us have your email address.  It makes for quick contact with you. There is a form available this evening for submitting details.

The Society was represented at a meeting called by the Spirit Group, owners of the Blackbird, to hear of their plans for development.  It is likely that the building will be branded "Chef and Brewer" described as a "pub with food".  The historic part of the building is likely to remain unaltered with the existing flat roof extension on the West side replaced by a single storey stone built extension to increase the dining area.  A new single storey brick kitchen would also be built.  Generally the proposals were well received although some concern was expressed over "signage" and car parking.


Publication of the next edition is planned for mid 2012 and items are now invited.  Ideally articles should be between 500 and 2000 words long with black and white illustrations being particularly welcome.  They should be forwarded by 1st June to jmichaeltaylor@btinternet.com or by arrangement with the editor on 01661 824017.


A new web site as been launched with the aim of building up the first dedicated encyclopedia of life in childrens’ cottage homes.  Over the years, thousands of children spent time in the cottage homes and yet we know very little about life in these institutions.  Some basic facts are included but the site aims to record what life was like for people living in the cottage homes.  If you would like to share memories, family stories, photographs and other information about the cottage homes, please visit the web site.

Durham Records Online have recently made available the following records from the Bishop’s Transcript:

“Ponteland baptisms & burials 1813-44, marriages 1813-1st July 1837”.

It is believed to be the first time that post 1812 baptisms for Ponteland have appeared indexed and online.


The Tyne is famous for its wide selection of vessels that transported the region’s abundance of coal and other materials along the tidal reaches of the river.  No complete examples of these survive but some skeletal remains of the wherry (often described as a “bath-tub of a boat”) can be seen at low tide on the south bank of the river at Newburn.  Apparently this was a popular graveyard for their abandonment during the 1940’s and 1960’s.  Further upstream at Ryton (NZ 1470 6510) the skeleton of a wooden steam drifter has been the subject of recent archaeological recording. However its name remains a mystery so if you can help or know of a local wreck Alan Williams would be only too happy to hear from you. 


If anyone has an EPSON STYLUS colour printer in any of the following series:-

400/600/800/800N/850/1520/1520k/1520H/850N/850NE/440/460/640/660/670/740/740i/750i/760/860/1160/480/580/MJ-830C/830CS//930C/6000C/SCAN2000/2500/STYLUS C20/C40

a FREE set of unused cartridges is available.