Friday, 2 December 2016

The Fells in the North

Some of you will recall that I dissed the nonsensical idea that Felling got its name from the felling of trees but rather from being on one side of the Gateshead Fell, the other side being High & Low Fell. The word "fell" is Norse and is mainly used in the North of England but also leaking over the border to pockets in Scotland. In our immediate area we also have Pelton Fell and Waldridge Fell and Fellside in Whickham. Per Sunniside History Group "Sunniside stands on the old boundary of Whickham Parish, overlooking the Black Burn, with a southerly aspect towards Blackburn Fell"
While en route to Grassington (twice visited by The Felling Heritage Group in the past two years) I noticed that, between Kettlewell and Grassington, we were passing a fell-like area so I googled and found to my surprise this list of 40 or so fells in that area
Fountains Fell, Fell Head, Calf Top, Wild Boar Fell, Fell Hill, Wether Fell, Great Shunner Fell, Fell End Clouds, Baugh Fell, Little Shunner Fell, Howell Fells, Holme Fell, Baugh Fell, Kisdon Fell, Cracoe Fell, Sizergh Fell, Fell Head, West Fell, Blease Fell, Harter Fell, Swarth Fell, Little Fell, Ash Fell, Barbon Low Fell, Simon Fell, Park Fell, Wold Fell,  Dodd Fell Hill, Snaizeholme Fell, Great Shunner Fell, Darnbrook Fell, Fountains Fell, Barden Fell, Dodd Fell Hill, Mickle Fell, Leck Fell, Orton Fells, Mallerstang and Wild Boar Fell,

The Lake District has 300+ fells..see here
For Northumberland
's Fells see here

Here are some of my other notes re fells in our area

Streets in Consett called Fellside and Fell View
Bollihope Fell

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
Pelton Fell, Waldridge Fell
Mickle Fell, Barnard Castle
Cross Fell
From its rise as a trickle, high on the heather covered fells at the top of the North Pennines, to the top of the whin sill rock at Forest-in-Teesdale, the River Tees steadily grows and gathers pace, then it suddenly and spectacularly drops 21 metres into the plunge pool
Chapel Fell Pennines

Peel Fell is the highest hill in the Kielder Forest region of England
Comb Fell in the Northumberland National Park
Should I have whet in you an interest in finding out more I've given you plenty of place names to feed into google
My work here is done

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Felling Social Club Set Apart From Other Defunct Clubs

What sets Felling Social Club apart from other defunct clubs in the Felling area is this
pic of a cleared site
It's the only club to be demolished, rather than being put to another use.
Just as some of Holly Hill's comfortable accommodation was converted to a Catholic Club
(St Patrick's Knights of St. Columba Club)...and later, in 1989, split from the church to become
Holly Hill Sports and Social Club, so too was..
 Heworth Hall's comfortable accommodation converted to a Conservative Club and later acquired by Aspire to be converted into a computer company's accommodation. Felling Gate club was converted into a Theatre School
Windy Nook Club was converted into an Hotel
When in 1911 Robert Bagley fell out with Felling Social Club and created Collingwood Working Mens Social and Recreation Club and Institute that venture only lasted 2 years but the premises, Collingwood Building, still exist as commercial offices and apartments

The building occupied by Wealcroft Club, opened in 1979, was eventually demolished but by then it had become The Willows pub

So why wasn't Felling Social Club building put to another use. Was it demolished because of its value as a development site plus the sale of all the recycled stone?
 Felling Social Club began life at 18 Gosforth Street..that's where the lamp post is.

Isn't it ironic...that building is still with us!!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Felling's Timeline

 1091 Heworth as a village appears in records

 1314 Scots army destroy both the manors of Heworth and Wardley
 1348 Black Death hits the area

 1362 Bishop Hatfields survey says "a great many people in a pitiable condition of want and destruction"
 1372 Watermill is established

 1473 Quarrying is being carried on 1478 Grindstones are being made

 1509 The Brandlings get Felling

 1530 White House, a mansion is built 1536-1539 Church of England takes over from Catholic as main religion
 1590 Brandling family acquire manor of Felling

 1670 Brandlings commence coal mining in The Felling
 1717 Haddon's Tomb in St May's Churchyard

 1794 Kell Quarrying commences at Heworth Shore
 1795 Thomas Hepburn dies
 1796 Hugh Lee Pattinson, industrial chemist born in Alston, Cumbria
 1779 John Hodgson, antiquary/clergyman born in the same year that the Brandlings open Felling Colliery....
...they'll regret it when that sharp Shap lad grows up

 1800 Kell Quarrying at Windy Nook
 1805 Methodist Chapel built at Felling Shore
 1808 John Hodgson becomes vicar of Jarrow with Heworth
 1812 Felling Pit Disaster

 1813 Coins and earthenware beaker discovered at St. Mary's, Heworth
 1815 Miners Safety Lamp developed
 1821 New High Heworth Colliery opens
 1822 Current Heworth Church is built
 1823 John Hodgson still vicar but also vicar of church at Kirk Whelpington
  1825 Thomas Hepburn forms a miners' union
 1827 Felling Lodge built for surgeon Mr. Lammas and Friars Goose Chemical works opened

1831 Matthew Plummer becomes curate of Heworth 1834 Heworth becomes a separate parish from Jarrow
        Hugh Lee Pattinson sets up
chemical works at Felling
The Railway comes to The Felling..Brandling Junction begins
William Falla committed suicide in Ravensworth Wood
 1842 St Alban's Church in Windy Nook opens
  St Patrick's RC Chapel in Felling Shore opens.

Brandling Station opens 
  1845 John Hodgson dies
 1847 Ardallan is built

1853 John Hodgson's wife dies 

Son Richard Wellington Hodgson, inheritor of the Kell Quarry fortune builds North Dene House
 1854 Richard W Hodgson becomes mayor of Gateshead
 1856 Joseph Hopper, creator of Aged Miners Homes is born
 1857 Historian John Oxberry is born at Windy Nook
 1858 Hugh Lee Pattinson dies
 1863 CWS comes to Pelaw
 1864 Felling Local Board begins..30 years becoming an Urban District Council
 Thomas Hepburn dies
 1866 Christ Church opens
 1871 Wardley Colliery opens and Richard W Hodgson is again mayor of Ghd
 1872 Railway line from Pelaw to Tyne Dock opened
 1877 James Steel becomes vicar at St. Mary's Heworth
 1881 Sir Godfrey Hilton Thomson is born
 1882 Walter Scott buys publishing company and links Felling on Tyne with
London, New York and Melbourne 1885 Richard W. Hodgson dies 1894 Felling Urban District Council is formed 1895 St Patrick's Church opens on St Patrick's Day
 1896 Pelaw Station in its current position opened

1898 Joseph Hopper of Windy Nook creates the Aged Miners Homes Association

 1902 First CWS factory opens..Drugs and Drysaltery

1904 Boer War Memo
rial (The Pant) is unveiled
 1907 Costelloe's Building built on Felling High Street

         Murder of John Patterson at Windy Nook Co-op
xpress passenger train derailed.

The Wheat Sheaf pub is built




 1908 Joseph W Noble hanged fo
r Co-op murder
 1909 Joseph Hopper dies
 1910 Imperial Cinema. Wellington Str opens

1 Corona Picture Hall opens, Wardley Colliery closes, Follonsby Colliery opens
 1912 Printing Works, Pelaw opened
 1917 Charles Gwilliam becomes vicar at St Mary's, Heworth
 1929 Imperial Cinema, Wellington Str burns down

 1932 large chemical works at Felling Shore closes
 1936 Felling Colliery closes

 1937 John Oxberry, Historian is made a Freeman of Gateshead

 1940 John Oxberry dies
 1946 Rev Dennis is vicar at St. Mary's, Heworth

 1951 Pant removed to Council depot where it lanquishes until broken up for  landfill. David Almond is born
 1954 Leam Lane Estate development commences
 1955 Gateshead Stadium opens
 1956 White House mansion demolished
 1958 Merry Widow of Windy Nook sentenced to death..later just prison sentence

Felling Bypass opens and Wardley Colliery reopens and merges with Follonsby Colliery
 1960 Felling Swimming Baths opens and Chris Waddle born
 1962 Crowhall Towers built

 1963 Heworth Colliery closes

 1974 Follonsby Colliery closes and The Felling becomes part of Gateshead County Borough Council
 1975 Pelaw Main coal staithes dismantled
 1979 Heworth railway station opens
1981 Heworth Metro Station opens
 1984 The Cup and Coins discovered in 1813 at Heworth are found to be 19th Century forgeries

 1986 Richard Cole's artwork "Windy Nook" is installed
 1990 Harrison's Ship Repair Yard, Bill Quay closes
 1993 Pelaw CWS works ceased
 2016 ASDA Felling Supermarket opens


Thursday, 7 April 2016

John Hodgson at Kirkwhelpington 1823-1833

 St Bartholomew's
This is Rev. John Hodgson's second parish as the boss man, although he was still the rector of the Jarrow/Heworth parish where he had two curates taking care of things for him. Hodgson had a very close personal relationship with the Bishop of Durham, who at this time was 89 years old. If you're wondering how the Bishop of Durham had jurisdiction over churches in Northumberland it's because Durham is a County Palatine 
Hodgson knew this as Whelpington. It didn't become Kirkwhelpington until the 1950's.
The Bishop wanted the Hodgson family to live in a healthy rural place like this rather than the chemical works/coal mining area that was the Felling area back then.
This is the main door into the church

John Hodgson and family lived in this Vicarage for a decade.
When he came here his family consisted of 7 children, 4 boys and 3 girls, the eldest of whom, a daughter, was now 12 years of age

From "A Memoir of John Hodgson"
"He was now able to send his eldest son and daughter to school, and to engage the services of a governess for his younger girls, and for his boys, a young man of education. 

To the children themselves how beneficial, and delightful to boot, must have been the change. For those of them who had suffered so much from illness a while before, there was the healthy and bracing air of the Northumbrian hills in all its uncontaminated purity, and for all of them there were new scenes and new subjects to engage their attention at a most interesting period of their lives"

He left here to go to a nearby parish at Hartburn

Monday, 4 April 2016

Rev John Hodgson's Final Resting Place

                      If you came here to find the grave's location it is next to the right hand end wall..the end wall at the opposite end to the tower

When John Hodgson left his parish of Jarrow with Heworth, which was a busy job he took an easier one so he could concentrate on finishing his History of Northumberland which he had started when living at Upper Heworth Farmhouse. Whilst remaining as the vicar of Jarrow & Heworth until 1834 (with curates acting in his place) he left Heworth in 1823 to go to Kirkwhelpington and then, in 1833 to here, St Andrew's Church in Hartburn. If you go to Morpeth and hang a left before getting into town you're on the road to Hartburn. The whole area is nice so there's more than just a John Hodgson pilgrimage to justify the trip.
The church was locked so didn't get in to see the inside but I found this pic on the internet
Click on photo to enlarge it.
There's John Hodgson 1833..7th bottom on left hand side board. 1833 is the date he became vicar at Hartburn. He was 53 then and he was 65 when he died in 1845 having been vicar for 12 years.
Notice that on the board next but one down from John Hodgson is Beil. P. Hodgson which is the abbreviated name of Beilby Porteous Hodgson. So was he related to John? Well, I know they were both members of the Archeology Society and both vicars at Hartburn but beyond that I can't say. It's probably just a coincidence as is the spooky coincidence that in 1539 the vicar was John Brandlyng (namesake of Hodgson's "enemy" in The Felling). The Brandlings were Catholic and Rev John Brandlying and all vicars of this church before him would have been Catholic because 1539 was right in the period of Henry VIII changing the country from being Catholic to Protestant.

Before watching video see comment at the bottom of this page

Inside St. Andrews Church

Before leaving, here's a pic of the Hartburn Vicarage where John Hodgson wrote a large part of his History of Northumberland. The old vicarage is now split into two houses and has a complex history. The earliest part of the building may be medieval, dating back to the 13th century. If so, it could be one of the earliest non-religious buildings in the county, not including the castles. The main block of the vicarage was built later and is probably 16th century. It has walls nearly one metre thick and has often been called a tower. This part was altered in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is a Grade II Listed Building

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The History of The Felling Band

Churchill was not describing The History of The Felling Band when he said it was "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" but he could have been.
That's just me saying that the history of The Felling Band is confused. The current Felling Band appear to be happy that their history started in 1873.
Per the Evening Chronicle "Starting out in the late 1800s the band was known as the Heworth Colliery Band when the mine near Gateshead was still open.
After the pit’s closure, the group became the Washington Glebe Band until 1972 when it changed names to the Felling Town Silver Band and later just Felling Band."
Well, howsabout this, describing 12 years earlier than the start date of 1873. Per Gateshead Council "The new (Windy Nook Mechanics) institute building was opened on 21st December 1861. Over 500 people sat down to tea, on that day, to celebrate. The Felling Band entertained..."
Or this, in Clarence R. Walton's book "Gateshead Memories & Portraits" describing a "do" at the Three Tuns, Sheriff Hill on Monday July 30th, 1832
"A good feed, sing-song and dancing was the order of the day.  The Felling Band was there in 'full blast' ".
So that's 41 years earlier than claimed

1832 (over 180 years ago) puts The Felling Band right at the forefront of brass band history per Dennis Taylor in his book "The Heritage of the North East Brass Band Movement".

 In that book Taylor believes that The Felling Band started in 1873 so he doesn't highlight that The Felling Band was right at the cutting edge. I may drop him a line and put him right.
If loyal Fellingites knew that The Felling Band was a leader in the field they might give it more support and find a home for the band in Felling rather than the band over the years having to find support/venue in Washington and now Birtley

Here's a video of the band at Wardley but I urge you to view the band playing at the Durham Miners Gala by clicking this link to the video
Next Performance?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Felling Pit Disaster Revisited

The Rev John Hodgson was heavily involved in the aftermath of the Felling Pit Disaster of 1812 and, against the wishes of the Pit Owners, carried out a full investigation and published a detailed report.

The report is published online and deals with the immediate aftermath and the long period that elapsed before all the bodies, except one which was never found, were recovered and interred. 
Being a man of the cloth, rather than a hard nosed mining accident investigator, the Rev Hodgson’s whole report is primarily about the loss of life and the suffering of the widows and orphans left behind.

He presumably didn’t want the most likely cause of the accident to be stated, lest it put the huge weight of human suffering, upon any persons who might have been responsible.
 It’s more than 200 years ago so I’m willing to state the most likely cause, in my view.

See William Pit, with its chimney, marked on the map in the upper right corner

Whatever we might think of the owners, the Brandling brothers and their partners, Felling pit was better than most. The William Pit’s primary purpose, you could say its only purpose, using its constantly lit furnace, was to draw out the foul air and discharge it high in the sky through its 40 foot high chimney, marked on this map.
That pit, as you can see was, opposite Woodbine Terrace at, what is now called the Q pit area of The Felling, which is a collective mishearing of Cube Pit.  The Rev Hodgson refers in the report to the Tube, which is an alternate word for the Cube which means the furnace system for drawing out the bad air.

The furnace, or Cube, is an expensive safety device, who’s effectiveness relies on the furnace (cube) always being lit, even when the pit is shut, sometimes on Saturdays and always on Sundays for if the furnace goes out the foul & explosive air accumulates underground. This accident happened on a Monday morning and when accidents in cube pits occurred on a Monday the cause was  mostly determined to be that the furnace (cube) was allowed to go out over the weekend. In this case the destruction underground was so great, with no one left to tell the tale, that who can say, other than the men scheduled to be on shift that weekend, whether or not the furnace had been allowed to go out.

Rev Hodgson says this at the end of his report

“I pass over the many theories and absurd suppositions invented to explain the cause of this calamity. The power that destroyed, raised and marshalled its forces in secrecy - it left no evidence to shew from what corner of the mine it issued out to battle. In its effects it indeed proved that it either availed itself of the delusive security, the inactivity, or the want of strength in the means employed to keep it in subjection: but let us, with that charity which "thinketh no evil," refrain from enquiry into causes which commenced and wrought in darkness, and concerning which the clearest information that can be collected will amount to little more than conjecture and uncertainty.”

“Phew” must have been the utterings of the weekend furnace men

One does wonder about the obelisk in Heworth churchyard which carries the date of Sunday 24th of May rather than the day of the accident Monday 25th of May. 
Was it an uncharacteristic mistake by the very precise Rev Hodgson or was it a breadcrumb of truth left by him to a future generation?