26 April 2015

Culture and Cake

Come along to Culture & Cake, the first of many events to run from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums new 'Platinum Programme' - a culture and heritage programme of activities and experiences for people aged over 55.
Have you ever fancied going behind the scenes at Discovery Museum and having an in-depth look at the vast costume collection? Well Culture & Cake will allow you to do this as well as listening to one of our experts and having a cup of tea or coffee and cake in the Turbinia Cafe after.
Sessions take place every Wednesday starting from 13 May and will be on a different theme each week (see below for details). Each session is £6, however you can block book for all six sessions for just £30. Sessions run 11am - 12noon followed by tea/coffee and cake in the cafe.
Please book in advance by contacting joanne.charlton@twmusuems.org.uk (0191) 277 2297.
Session themes
13 May - Early dresses
20 May - Fans and samplers
27 May - Later dresses
3 June - First World War clothing
10 June - Shoes
17 June - Hats

To make the people smile again

International Brigade Banner embroidered by the Women of Barcelona, 1938. 
Courtesy of the International Brigade Archive at the Marx Memorial Library, London
International Brigade Banner embroidered by the Women of Barcelona, 1938. Courtesy of the International Brigade Archive at the Marx Memorial Library, London
 Laing Art Gallery
Sat 16 May, 2pm – 3.45pm.
Free, Function Room.
This is a chance to hear to the fascinating 2007 BBC radio drama/documentary on the Spanish Civil War and the British Contingent of the International Brigades. It follows the story of a British brigade survivor, George Wheeler, who fought in the last great battle of the Ebro and was taken prisoner.
The drama is intercut with interviews with American, Spanish and British survivors, with comments by Professor Paul Preston who has written a definitive account of the war. The production will be followed by talks by the drama producer, Steve Chambers (University of Northumbria) and Martin Ellis (Zymurgy Publishing), publisher of the book on which the drama was based. (drama 1 hour, break, talks 30 mins)

WallsEnders - ships, streets and pastimes

Segedunum 2nd May 11.30am - 4pm, kids under 16 years go free
Fun for all ages
Come along and meet up with old friends and neighbours who used to live in the streets that once occupied the site where Segedunum Roman Fort and Baths now stands.
Take part in the reunion photo and enjoy a fun family day with entertainment from Linskill community choir, Wallsend Wanderers Jazz Band and many others.
Test your knowledge with our fun Wallsend quiz, enjoy looking at some of our amazing old photographs, relax with a cuppa or try your luck on some of our games - including tombola and the paper plane flight challenge.

17 April 2015

Evening Meetings Programme 2015/2016


17 September-Dorothy Brownlee:"Clifford's Fort North Shields and the Lifeboat connection"

15 October-Jim Elliott:"25th Anniversary of the Gateshead Flower Festival"

19 November-Professor Ian Haynes:"Recent Work on Hadrian's Wall on Tyneside"

10 December-Xmas Social with entertainment (Northumbrian Music) provided by "Robson's Choice"


21 January-Mike Greatbatch:"Wherrymen and Chain Horse Lads"

18 February-John Moreels:"Nostalgic Views of the North"

17 March-Dr Ian Roberts:"A History of Policing in Northumberland 1780-1950"

21 April-Rev Peter Barham:"The Railway Paintings of John Wilson Carmichael"

Meetings are held in St Mary's Church Hall, Thornhill Road, Ponteland at 7.30pm.

Visitors Welcome     £2
Annual subscription £6 (single)
                                 £10 (couple)
Christmas Social      £8 

06 April 2015

Friend of Union Chain Bridge Newsletter Spring 2015

Welcome to our Spring Up-date. Those of you who are following the progress of the project in the local news will be aware that Scottish Borders Council has pledged £550,000 to the refurbishment of the Bridge, which, with Northumberland County Council’s allocation of £500,000, means the project has more than £1m behind it so far.

Extraordinary General Meeting
Overwhelming support was given at an Extraordinary General Meeting held at Paxton Village Hall in January for the conversion of the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge from an Unincorporated Association to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Our application for charitable status is currently in the hands of the Charity Commission and we await our official charity number. Thank you to those of you who were able to come along to that meeting.

Heritage Lottery Fund Bid Bid
In February the Trustees were invited to comment on the ‘Project Enquiry Form’, which is a short, 1,000 word application to the Heritage Lottery Fund prepared by Consult Robinson and commissioned by Northumberland County Council. This outlined the application based on capital works including repairs to the deck, masonry, parapets, hangers and chains, traffic calming and also community heritage projects including education, interpretation, marketing, celebration on completion of the restoration and co-ordination. It was expected that this application would be made in February and would be based on the engineering report prepared for NCC in 2010 which estimated the costs of repair as £4.7 million. However NCC has postponed making the application in order to review those figures based on a second engineering report which we and they hope to receive in April.

Meeting with Historic Scotland
In March the Trustees initiated a meeting with Historic Scotland and here follows a report on that meeting from John Home Robertson:

"Heather, John, Ted and Stephen met David Fleetwood of the Scottish Government Historic Environment Department and Andrew Martindale and Thomas Knowles of Historic Scotland on the bridge on 5th March, following correspondence between John and Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Scottish Culture Minister.

They explained that Historic Scotland can pay grants of up to 25% of eligible repair and restoration costs up to £500k. Since this is a cross-border structure, they would have to ensure that their money is spent on the Scottish part of the bridge, but they saw no difficulty in satisfying that requirement, and they can pay the grant through either Northumberland County Council or Scottish Borders Council.

Obviously they could not prejudge an application for funding, but they clearly fully appreciate the historic importance of the bridge, and they seemed enthusiastic about the prospect of collaborating with partners on both sides of the border - they suggested an early meeting with both local authorities, their counterparts at English Heritage and the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge.

Altogether an extremely positive and constructive meeting. Let's hope that English Heritage will match the £500k that could be available from Historic Scotland."

The Trustees intend to arrange a meeting with representatives of English Heritage in the near future.

Corporate and General Membership
We have drawn up plans to launch Corporate Membership and forms will be available soon. We hope that if companies take up the opportunity to become corporate members their businesses can be advertised on promotional materials and on our website. Please email unionbridgefriends@gmail.comfor more information.

We will be asking regular members to renew their membership on 1st October 2015 and so if you became a member last summer you will benefit from a few extra months’ membership and unfortunately if you became a member in late autumn or winter you might lose out on a couple of months membership.  However, it has been thought sensible to fix a particular renewal date and the membership fee per person will remain the same (£5). Those who have become members should have received a car sticker, postcard and leaflet. If anyone has not received these please let us know and we’ll get them to you.

Berwickshire Naturalists Talk
Looking ahead, Professor Roland Paxton – who is one of our patrons - has accepted an invitation from the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club to give a talk about the Bridge in Hutton Village Hall on 20 May at 2pm. Those who are not members of the Berwickshire Naturalists are welcome to attend as guests and are asked to pay £2 per head.

03 April 2015

Rachel Parsons: Queen of the Machine - Discovery Museum 25 Apr 15

Rachel Parsons (1885–1956) was one of the most trailblazing women of her era, but she has disappeared from the pages of history – until now. The daughter and heir of Charles Parsons, inventor of the steam turbine, she was the first woman to study engineering at Cambridge and went on to become a director of the Parsons firm at Heaton. During the Great War, she taught hundreds of women to make munitions and later founded the Women’s Engineering Society.

The remarkable story of Rachel Parsons and the Parsons family is told by Henrietta Heald, author of William Armstrong, Magician of the North, a highly acclaimed biography of Baron Armstrong of Cragside.
11.30am-12.30pm. £4 per person; free for students with valid ID.
Please reserve a ticket by contacting Marleen Vincenten (0191) 277 2166 marleen.vincenten@twmuseums.org.uk or you can Book Online.

Those Who Refused: Conscientious Objectors in the First World War - Discovery Museum 18 Apr 15

In 1916, the Military Service Act first introduced conscription to Britain. Throughout the First World War, about 16,000 men conscientiously objected to military service, many with religious motives, including the Quakers.

During this talk, Dr André Keil from Durham University will discuss the perception and treatment of these conscientious objectors.
1-3pm. £4 per person; free for students with valid ID.
Please reserve a ticket by contacting Marleen Vincenten (0191) 277 2166 marleen.vincenten@twmuseums.org.uk or you can Book Online

Great War - Baking - meet at Discovery Museum

From trench cake to Anzac biscuits, each nation had its own treats for their men on the front line. Nigel Grant, head of Pastry and Baking at Newcastle College, will teach you how to prepare some tasty Great War bakes at the professional training kitchen of the Lifestyle Academy. A two-course lunch at the Academy's restaurant is also available.
Please meet us at Discovery Museum at 10.15am, from where we will walk to the Lifestyle Academy, which is a 5 minute walk away.
10.15am-1.30pm. Optional lunch 1.30-2.30pm. £10 per person (£15 with lunch)
Please reserve a ticket by contacting Marleen Vincenten (0191) 277 2166 marleen.vincenten@twmuseums.org.uk or you can Book Online

Parsons Marine Steam Turbines: From Destroyers to Dreadnoughts 1898-1918 at Segedunum

Geoff Horseman, Chief Turbine Engineer at Siemens and the keeper of the historic archive at the CA Parsons Works in Newcastle, will deliver this double talk, which coincides with the exhibition Coal, Ships and Zeppelins: North Tyneside in the First World War.

K Class Submarines: the Suicide Club
In 1913, it was decided to build submarines which were fast enough to keep pace with surface ships. These were powered by steam turbines to produce sufficient power and they were as large as modern nuclear submarines. The engines were a success but the submarines were an ill-conceived design in other regards. In this short talk, Geoff will describe the series of accidents and mishaps which led to these submarines becoming known as the ‘Kalamity Class’ and the ‘Suicide Club’.

Parsons Marine Steam Turbines: From Destroyers to Dreadnoughts 1898 - 1918
This talk will look at the evolution of the Parsons steam turbine for naval duty up to 1918. After the success of Turbinia, steam turbines were quickly adopted as the main engines for the fastest and most powerful ships in the navies of all major industrialised countries. This talk will describe how Parsons turbines evolved from rudimentary direct drive engines of 2,000hp to multi-cylinder geared turbines producing up to 100,000hp capable of propelling the largest battleships of WW1.
11am-12.30pm. £4 per person; free for students with valid ID.
Please reserve a ticket by contacting Marleen Vincenten (0191) 277 2166 marleen.vincenten@twmuseums.org.uk or you can Book Online.