The fifties were exciting times living around Coxhoe. After the war years the birth rate was tremendously high, families started to again feel a sense of freedom wanting to better their lives and that of their offspring, after the early struggles working in Collieries & Serving their Country in two World Wars. There was plenty of employment for everyone; people began to enjoy themselves after two bitter world wars when the area lost many good men, now families wished to progress their offspring as best they could. As the collieries closed many Engineering and other manufacturing industries surfaced to make our lives better through modern technology.
Early family Ancestors and the Wood family of ‘Coxhoe Hall’ left a wonderful legacy to the people of the area. Brilliant history was made at the Hall crowned by the birth of ‘Elizabeth Barrett Browning’, in 1806. The last surviving member of the Wood family ‘Maud Mary Wood’, left part of her estate to build a Concert Hall, Supper Room where all kinds of activities could be organized, facilities where men could play snooker and where dances and other activities could be organized. The Clarence Railway was first established in the area along with early historical Collieries. The village had been carefully planned with a good mix of shops and licensed premises, a Cricket Pavilion and sports ground. A Workingmen’s Club where local people could spend their leisure hours. I decided also to produce an affordable pictorial volume of books on Coxhoe in five sections; Area, People, Sport, School days, and Industry.
By 2012 there had been many changes in the area and many new faces were seen mainly because of the new housing now available. Sadly there had been many death’s in the area among them Stan Jackson, Tot Clark, Denis Chisholm, Ian Chisholm, Jakey Bryan, Alan Seaton, George Quinn just to mention a few. But life has got to go on and it does; Coxhoe is now a little bustling village where it would seem everyone wants to live, all of the businesses it would seem are doing well and the front street is as busy as ever, the two remaining Pubs and the Club even do well.
There is not a day goes by without enquiries about this particular book ‘Coxhoe’ this was my first book in the series so I have decided to again make it available along with the best of the other Coxhoe books for the final time to help remind the families and descendants just what life was like years ago in this remarkable little village. From time to time photograph’s were sent to me from surrounding villages like Kelloe; Families & their happiness are what I am about & I am glad to add these to the book where possible; these are real people, I publish & produce all of the books myself so that families are not paying exorbitant prices to get their photograph’s published. Jean Lamb & Rueben Dowding has been brilliant help for me with captions and names. Recently I called at the local school where the head Carol Musztacs and Brenda helped me tremendously with ex’pupils photograph’s and names so I decided to include these and any others that I may receive up to the time of publishing. I finally had to include about 80 photograph’s from the Kelloe area. Among these were the history of the school & ‘St. Helens Church, I intend selling the book at £12 basically to cover the expense of printing:
During the eighteenth century hundreds of miners lost their lives by explosion, roof falls and other accidents in order to develop the coal industry in England, as the main power source in the Country; as well as a major export commodity to gain precious currency abroad. In the Collieries, which I have written, there were in excess of, 1200 deaths. Small accidents in the pit were normal and did not attract much press attention, even when fatalities occurred. However these fatalities were noticed when the banners were draped in black at the annual Durham Big Meeting onlookers made special note of these pits. The book consists of 13 sad stories of mining disasters wherever possible I tried to get the names of the dead; the book again highlights the hard and dangerous job it was to mine coal at that time being the main source of power and warmth in the Country. The miners were paid a pittance for the task and there life expectancy was very short indeed.
I have enjoyed every minute while compiling the characters in 'Irish Legends', their particular achievements are far ranging and each very different, chosen by me mainly for what they have achieved for Ireland all in different ways. Ireland is a relatively young country partition happening in 1921, in many ways this was the start of the trouble as the 'Irish Free State' strived to unite people. Roger Casement, early in his career ,worked for the British Foreign Office where he completed valuable work in the depressed areas of the world; he was knighted in June 1911 for his work. The work was so severe he had to retire because of his failing health.
I felt that I had to include the Casement story, Casement disliked the British bitterly and felt they treated his fellow Irishmen with contempt. At this time he longed for independence and seized the opportunity to take a leading roll in the Easter Rising in 1916 - against the British - to attempt to force them into declaring independence. Arms were willingly supplied by Germany, who were at war with England at this time. Later Casement was hanged as a traitor.
Having completed two series of ‘Northern Folk’, I realised the great contribution of Scottish people to the present well-being of the people that live not only the British Isles, but also the world in general. Scottish scientists, inventors and writers pioneered positive change for the better; even in the present day at least four ministers lead our nation in the inner cabinet in Parliament, all are Scottish.
In my opinion I feel that one of the greatest discoveries ever made was that of Penicillin, by Alexander Fleming. This saved millions of lives – not only in times of war but also in peacetime.
Around one hundred years ago, thousands of people were dying of consumption, tuberculosis, bronchitis and other related complaints brought on by our climate, Penicillin brought about a cure, one for which I was, eventually, to be grateful.
The invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell and television by John Logie Baird progressed communications enormously. Wonderful romance was created and supplied by poets and authors like Walter Scott and Robbie Burns, not forgetting Robert Louis Stevenson.
My inspiration to write this book came after serving my National Service with the 13/18 Royal Hussars in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency. The Regiment's proudest day was the date of the Battle of Balaclava. On that day all other ranks are allowed to stay in bed and they are served their meals and afterwards drinks by officers. The Regiment was immensely proud of this anniversary and proud of the honour of the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Fitzroy Somerset was the youngest son of the Duke of Beaufort; by 1810 the Duke of Wellington had selected Fitzroy to replace his long-term secretary Colonel Bathurst, who, because of Wellington's temperament, suffered a serious nervous breakdown. Somerset cleverly commandeered and guided our forces through the horrible Crimea War, during which our forces suffered years of deprivation and cruelty.
The story of Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC (12 May 1820-13 August 1910), who came to be known as The Lady with the Lamp, was a pioneer of modern nursing, a noted statistician and an inspiration to all. Raglan befriended her and put faculties and stores her way. Her story is also told in the book.
The Battle of Balaclava on the 25th October 1854, the cavalry were early risers, Lord Lucan with his staff officers headed for Causeway Heights. Lord Lucan received the order to charge the Russian guns reading it once and then again, Lucan murmured that such an attack was absolutely suicide and would serve no purpose, but he charged as ordered. These were the Commanders that led the greatest military machine on earth for centuries. They needed high integrity and strength to lead this force against never ending threats to our sovereignty, mostly from invasion by Napoleon and Phillip of Spain, at the time of the Spanish Armada. I have also taken a look at great Scottish Commanders who were equally as brave as their English counterparts for their military acquisitions and wars.
The following people, that I discuss gave me much pleasure as I took a look into their lives and I have enjoyed every minute of my involvement with them: Horatio Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, James Wolfe, Lord Fitzroy Somerset (The Crimea War) Robert Clive of India, T.E. Lawrence of Arabia, Charles Edward Stewart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) Mary Queen of Scots, William Wallace (Brave Heart,) and Admiral Sir Charles Napier KCB (Black Charlie).
W hen deciding to write this further book on the areas of Coxhoe & Kelloe I was encouraged by the promise of Photograph’s & stories from various sources that did not materialise mainly because of ill health. By that time I already had what material that I had compiled. From mainly the Chisholm & Crook’s families; Marjorie Andrew ne Chisholm sent me a lot of photograph’s from her family all one time or an-other connected to Coxhoe. Marjorie was worried in case they were too many of their family photograph’s but that’s what I am about (people & families) from the area and I was proud to feature such a lovely Coxhoe family. I was also aware that there was areas in the Coxhoe area that I had not fully covered for example the Gillett busses story, the beginning of the Co-operative and also the Churches, & the oldest traditional sport of the area Pigeon racing. I was also aware that I needed more material from Kelloe.
The latter is such an amazing little village characters are wide spread, all hard working people they seem to have a language that only they understand all are loyal to each other. Reuben Dowding came to my rescue at Kelloe with a series of family photo-graph’s and also their beloved pigeons. Trevor Smith’s family have a long tradition in Kelloe, where his mother still lives. Trevor was in the RAF for many years where he spent all of his spare time studying photography and was one of their official photogra-pher’s. He supplied me with many of the Kelloe photograph’s and also supplied me with the photograph of Leslie Denison. Trevor is now doing an in depth study of the Lord Krishna faith with its many relaxing meditation & Yoga techniques.
Recently I have been contacted by Bill Kirk who worked for the bus company G&B as a fitter. Bill later completed a series of paintings that the ‘Advertiser’, highlighted in June 1994. Gillett gave Bill a complete free hand and even paid his National Insurance stamp. Bill painted busses mainly from the G&B collection from memory. Bill has sent me a great deal of new material of the Bus Company which I intend including in the book but this time I will complete a background story of the Company. My great friend Ray-mond Tate has helped me out with family photograph’s. Some years ago after I com-pleted the final Coxhoe book Ronnie Cranson contacted me from Australia saying that if I was to compile any further books on Coxhoe he would like to add a few photograph’s and also tell his story on the way Coxhoe was in those days as he grew up in the area until such time as he emigrated to Australia. I was also amazed at Ronnie’s knowledge of Pub’s and businesses in 1953/4 literally anywhere in the Coxhoe area.
I have included a short history of ‘Durham Big Meeting’ and the formation of the Committee that produced the new ‘Coxhoe Drift’, banner. They all have worked really hard to achieve the end product, the banner. In conclusion when checking out an order for the Kelloe, Bowburn & Cornforth’, book found that it was out of stock and decided to combine it with my current ‘Coxhoe & Kelloe revisited’ printing has gone up leaps and bounds, the previous books at £7 did not even cover the printing so I am having to charge £10 for 260 pages which still hardly covers my costs.
In conclusion I have been in touch with Sheila Mohon from Coxhoe and she very kindly sent me some photograph’s of her family; her family has been in business for over a hundred years as a Newsagent/Post office mainly in the West Cornforth area but spent many years living in the Avenue, Coxhoe where Sheila & her brother Roy com-menced their early education at Cornforth Lane school. Lastly I have been desperate for information on Leslie Denison and just before going to press Marjorie Chisholm sent me an article given to her by a neighbour that died aged 98 she was born in Coxhoe leaving to get married in 1938 I have now included it in the book and I am grateful to Marjorie:
T he S & D Railway was officially opened September 1825, the rest of the North of England if not the whole Country watched with interest. The Peases played a major role in Es-tablishing this exciting rail venture and infact it was the first passenger travelling railway in the world. George Stephenson was chief engineer and I have charted this brilliant time in history having a look at all of the people involved along the way. Through trials and tribula-tions to the final successful conclusion.
The man credited to pushing this project forward was undoubtedly Edward Pease; he found cash and resources when all else had failed. I have also added selected years of the Edward Pease Diaries to the end of the story and this makes compelling reading; he shares with the pub-lic his innermost thoughts and later his sadness when losing his great friend and wife Rachel, & his grandson John Henry in 1854, then on to his final sad death in July 1858. The diaries were made public some years ago, edited by A.E. Pease, but are long out of print and I have again made selected years available to the public. In the Diaries the years 1840 & 1843 mention the death’s of Johnathan Backhouse & George Stephenson; also in 1851 the discovery of a large amount of Iron Ore in the Cleveland hills.
Edward, found the balance of £7000, which was needed to progress the legislation for the S&D Railways when all else had failed; saving years of delay in the Companies second application. Edward also backed the Stephenson's in their engineering works at Fourth Street, Newcastle enabling them to produce the brilliant Locomotives that was the start of a wonderful transport system throughout the world. Joseph, Edward’s second son put an equal amount of work into coal and collier-ies, owning many in the North of England transporting the coal on the family owned railways. The family also showed that they could work hand in hand with the miners in adversity at the sad time of strikes and recession.
Throughout the trials and tribulations of the S&D, George & Robert Stephenson kept producing the best Locomotives in the world & ex-ported them world wide, they made profit when the Peases were hit by
heavy recession and the dividends from the Company kept them going to the brilliant conclusion of the S&D Railway Company; later Robert produced the best bridges known to man. The Stephenson's were initially sponsored by Edward Pease after the famous meeting at Darlington. I have told the story of this & the wonderful people in history that created the wealth of the period for the benefit of all.
Coal Every worthwhile invention over this period was developed around the power of the age ‘Coal’ as the S&D became more and more established production increased enormously all over the North of England and I have included people who I felt was very important in producing this wonderful power of the day.
At the time of the ‘Ironstone Boom’ in Middlesbrough, Joseph and the family backed ‘Bolckow & Vaughan’, in their quest to develop the ironstone from the Cleveland Hills, also converting their own coal operation into coke to support the production of iron. They even had bailiffs removed from Bolckow & Vaughan sites when the partners had cash flow problems. Advise came from the family on the re-structure of Middlesbrough to make it into a thriving port.
Although Darlington benefited from Libraries, Alms Houses, Market Halls, Market areas, Cemeteries, most of the North of England were grateful for Miner’s Hospitals and Schools, Mechanics and Miner’s Institutes, Assembly Rooms’, But the family can be remembered mainly for their part played in the early Railways.
Kelloe, Bowburn & West Cornforth’, are all very individual, independent unique villages. All, have been supported by their own Collieries that employed a high percentage of the personnel from the communities. All of the villages had Workingmen’s Clubs, Community Centres and a host of shops and licensed premises where they spent leisure hours away from the grime and hard work of the pits. The book contains many people including many war heroes, Stories of times long ago all enough to create pleasant memories:
The North of England is steeped in History and achievements of Engi-neers, Authors, Scientists who all made major Improvements to our Indus-trial Heritage; creating wealth and prosperity of, not only the North of England; but also Great Britain and the rest of the world.
After the publication of ‘Northern Folk in 2000, and noting the interest in the book I realized that the north of England was still brimming with notable characters that contributed so much to the present well being of England and the rest of the world. Charles Parson discovered the tur-bine that revolutionized engines and ocean going liners; putting this coun-try ahead of rivals. In the beginning of the 18th. Century our country relied on coal to produce power, work and hard earned currency from abroad so that we could feed our young families. William Coulson and his men sank over a hundred Collieries boring into an abundance of much needed coal. John Harrison with his accurate maritime clock made shipping easier and safer. Elliott Verdon Roe, and Sir Joseph Swan were leaders in aviation and incandescent lighting; Joseph Whitworth, John Smeaton and Bolckow and Vaughan, were specialists in their particular fields, all were very nec-essary for the progress of our country. William Wilberforce was a brilliant politician who changed the law to free slaves. Robert Surtees wrote the ‘History of Durham’, and L.S. Lowry completed unusual art that is now worth thousands of pounds; and much sought after. In conclusion George Hudson was an amazing man who developed the railways in England. Altogether there are twenty four characters, they all, make compelling reading, and I spent many pleasant hours researching and writing about these dynamic people.
Most Autobiographies and information on these brilliant people are long out of date and information on them is hard to come by; schools when teaching History seem only to go as far back as the First World War; making it more important to keep the lives of these amazing pioneers at hand and I have strived to make details on their lives available, by re-searching and writing 12 further short Biographies on them.
It is only right and proper because of their major contributions and achievements that they all should be remembered and honoured.
When deciding to write this further book on the areas of Coxhoe and Kelloe, Bernard was encouraged by the promise of photograph’s and stories from various sources that did not materialise the first time round, mainly because of ill health. There were also elements in the Coxhoe area that had not been fully covered, for example the Gillett Buses story, the beginning of the Co-operative, the Churches and also pigeon racing - the oldest traditional sport of the area. It also includes a short history of ‘Durham Big Meeting’ and the formation of the Committee that produced the new ‘Coxhoe Drift’ Banner. This book also features more material from Kelloe, an amazing little village with characters that are wide spread. All hard working people, they seem to have a language that only they understand and all are loyal to each other.
‘Coxhoe & Kelloe Revisited’ combines this new material with one of Bernard’s earlier books: ‘Kelloe, Bowburn & Cornforth’ to provide a more comprehensive history and account of the area about heritage.
A Wealth of Colliery Photograph’s & information on the Mining History in the North East. Also gives information on North Eastern Coal seams and also tells of all of the difficult coal shaft sinking in the area. The book also tells the story of Ken Robinson and his family who originated from Witton Park and the difficult years of his youth in Pits in the area: