Sunday, 25 June 2017

Joseph Hopper of Windy Nook

Another member of my Famous Felling Fellas Club

(Born: 2nd May 1856, Died: 17th Apr 1909...just short of his 53rd birthday)

Joseph Hopper is famous for having taken a prominent part in social and political movements amongst the miners in Durham county for many years.
In early life he displayed an active interest in social and religious questions, taking a part in some of the political contests in North Durham, and being a local preacher in Gateshead circuit of the Methodist New Connection. He was also for some years a member of Felling Local Board and the Heworth School Board.
The provision of homes for aged miners in Durham was largely due to his initiative, and for some years he had occupied the post of secretary for the association who had in hand the provision and maintenance of the homes. He was also a member of the Durham County Council. He remained unmarried. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Why Has Windy Nook Turned Its Back on Paradise?

Croduce Square, The Stead, Howard Street, Union Street, Albion Street Back, Paradise Place are the Windy Nook's lost streets, at one time serviced, not just by a big Co-operative Store but by the Bay Horse, the Club (now Sutherland's) and the now long gone Hare and Hounds pub.
Don't get me wrong. I love the pond and wooded area behind the Methodist Church and Sutherland's but some of it could be retained and still have houses. Let's face it, next to it there'd still be a massive and magnificent green space that was once a very deep quarry and until we learn how to build on former quarries that great big dog walking area will remain.

If you a house builder, I suggest you take a butchers and I'm sure you'd not only be inspired to rebuild Paradise, but see the opportunity to make a bob or two, as well. Please price in 10% for yours truly for the heads up.
Here's a bigger view of the map to get you started

I have found a teeny weeny obstacle in the small print. The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers could scupper my fund swelling ruse

Friday, 16 June 2017

At the Cutting Edge of Education for the Masses

It was almost a Century before Government involved itself in creating schools for the masses that The Felling, along with many other places, had places of education
The idea of ragged schools was developed by John Pounds, a Portsmouth shoemaker. In 1818 Pounds began teaching poor children without charging
 fees. In Low Fell 
Thomas Wilson, after working down the pits as a boy, started teaching in 1792.

John Hodgson created his Heworth School in 1813. The Felling was therefore among those towns at the cutting edge of providing free/affordable education for its youth.
In Windy Nook there was Henderson's Academy in the late 1820's
Heworth Council School didn't open until 1904

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Felling Theatre That Never Was

Right in the centre of this map of 1894 is the Paragon Theatre, which, it seems, never existed. I've been told that it was planned to be built but was initially rejected by the planners for technical reasons.  If true, it may be presumed that the developer lost heart and shelved the scheme.
The drawer of the first OS map must have included it, on the assumption that the development would go ahead. It was not on the next OS map of ...(date) but it has remained on reprints of the 1894 OS map by the Ordnance Survey Office. It is also there on the Alan Godfrey Maps, though it is likely that Alan Godfrey himself, a local historian, knows or suspects that the theatre was never built. He may feel compelled to honestly reproduce the 1894 OS Map, right or wrong.
I decided to try to correct this and wrote to Gateshead Council, who will have inherited papers from the former Felling Urban District Council. The response from the Council is that they do not have any papers on the subject but have suggested that Tyne & Wear Archives might be of assistance. Now awaiting a response from the Archivists

If it turns out to be true that the project didn't proceed, then it will presumably be corrected by the OS Office.
A 120 + year error..or not..deserves correction..or clarification.
Watch this space

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Felling Pubs with Curved Windows

As a "nerd" on pubs in Gateshead, here's what I reckon. Felling has more pubs with semi circular topped windows than anywhere else. Here's The Swan Lake...

 There are eleven in Felling, almost more than the rest of the whole extended Gateshead area.

 Shakespeare (now Portland Arms)

Lord Collingwood



 Blue Bell

British Lion



The Wardley, Pelaw

Pelaw Inn

Only 4 of The Felling ones are still open but that's still more than the whole of the rest of Gateshead

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!!