6 September 10:58
At last I found you! Been looking for you for ages! Big fan of your books especially about the Peases. I'm from Darlington but I now live in NW France. I've recently published a fantasy version of the S&D Story to Kindle called Lewis and Number One. But I'm also nearly finished a much bigger epic novel about the events that led to the opening on 27th September 1825. I saw the 150th anniversary celebrations as a kid and vowed to one day do the story justice so much as I am grateful to people like yourself recording the details, my book is different in that I actually take the reader into those imagined situations so we can meet the famous men behind the scenes and feel the emotions they may have felt. I have some queries i was hoping you might answer: a.) Peases Mill suffered a fire in Feb 1817, right? Do you have any details of this fire? When exactly was it? Where was it? How did it start? What damage did it do? b.) Alfred Pease wrote:"I disliked from childhood the spoiling industrial hand of my family who thought they were always doing good work in providing more and more employment for people. I could see as a boy that the more that they did this the more families of boys would be produced for whom more and more mines and pits and factories would have to be made till our lovely world would be ash heaps, chimneys, and hideous houses under smoke clouds" Do you know what year? If you had to sum up a simple guide to how the interior of a steam engine worked to power a locomotive, what would you say? Hope you can help. Tony
Thank you, Bernie.
Maybe a McCLARENCE / McLARENCE relative will see it. Never know when those contacts can happen – serendipity. Your family history with mining in County Durham connects all of us with ancestors from those mines. The world has certainly become smaller and information / contacts more accessible!
Again, thanks. Be well.
I just finished looking at the material on your site. I am researching my Great-Grandfather and Great-Uncles who were miners in and around Birtley, Tanfield, South Shields , Sacriston and Willington. They worked in various collieries near those towns … Browney Colliery, Brandon Colliery to name a few. When the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Illinois, the McClarence men again went underground in the mines here. They endured many of the same challenges as they had in the UK – poor working conditions, poor pay, strikes and violence. Add to that the fact that many of the miners were immigrants who often could not speak English very well (if at all) and there is another layer of difficulty and struggle.
I found your site to be very interesting and it is obvious you have a passion for the topic and for writing. I appreciated the narratives of actual miners … I am sure I would not have been able to maintain a household as the wives did with great courage and creativity under the existing conditions. The pictures of mines and miners were interesting to me as well. I harbor a hope that someday I will be researching and run across a picture of my G-Grandfather or some of his sons. At any rate, thank you for the detailed and interesting book you created.
Diane Nelson Robert
I found your book very interesting and well written, my grandfather was named Robert Granville Crooks Pease born in Stockton on Tees in 1887 his father was Henry Pease (I do not know his middle names), however my father was also named Robert Granville Crooks Pease born in 1921. The Crooks name was not passed down to me but I am lead to believe it goes back four generations, but I am unable to find why it was included; if you can shed any light on this I would be very great full. I know my grandfather was left factories at Middlesbrough and Stockton in a will but did not bother to do anything about it. I hope this is of interest to you.
James Henry Pease
Let me begin by saying how much I enjoyed reading your work. The facts of these biographies are not unfamiliar, especially when it comes to the Stephensons or Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but the idea of bringing together all of these famous North Easteners in one volume is an excellent one. Moreover, the biographies are retold in a lively and highly readable style which is both entertaining and authoritive.
Overall therefore, People and the North East of England 1700-1850 is a highly accomplished book which shouldbe very well recieved.
Your accounts of notable Northern characters are detailed, insightful and make for very compelling reading. Figures such as Sir Charles Parsons and Sir Joseph Swan made valuable contributions to their respective fields, and your book will, in turn, offer a valuable addition to the public's knowledge of them. It is also a fine testament to the quantity and quality of the research that you must have undertaken in order to write it.
Ronnie Cranson, Now lives in Australia
Dear Mr. McCormick
My name is Ronnie Cranson. I was born and bred in Coxhoe and lived initially at No. 2 Blackgate. I am in touch via the internet with Raymond Tate and have received Coxhoe Books 1 and 2 courtesy of my good friend Pat Gorman (nee Ray) who lives in The Avenue. I migrated to Australia in 1965 and have found your publications to be a time capsule for me taking me back over the years and seeing names and photos of people and places that were previously just dim memories.You even showed me my old house in Coxhoe 2 page 13. We lived next door to Mr. and Mrs. Hutchison at No. 1 and Old Grandma Heron (Keith Herons grandma) at No. 3.
If you are collecting information for another Coxhoe book I would be pleased to write a little list of memoirs and send a couple of photos.
Please advise accordingly.
Mr Peter B Hindmarch
I've just finished reading your excellent book "Troubled Collieries" which I enjoyed. I was especially interested in the chapter on the Hartley disaster f 1862. While researching my family tree I discovered that my Great, great uncle “George Hindmarch” died in the disaster aged 30. I have since found out that this was his first ever shift down Hartley that morning having transferred form another colliery. Considering that George probably started working underground at 12 years old, he had 18 years service and must have been the unluckiest man in the disaster.
I think it is important that future generations are reminded of the lives lost while winning coal. I’ve interested my 12 year old grandson In this & we have recently visited Earsdon church yard & Hartley Hester pit site, which is now a nice garden.
Mr J.D Armstrong
Ref: Troubled Collieries and Coxhoe book 1
I have been giving talks o the Durham Coalfields since 1997 usually to retired men’s groups, civil service groups and similar ladies groups, all based around Tee side or Cleeveland. One talk is about general life in the pit villages and down the pits, charting the decline of 151 deep pits when I was a toddler, to no pits at all now in the county. The second on is more about the “lock outs” or strikes of 1921 and 1926, and contrasts the owner’s attitude to the miners requests.
Sometimes I touch on the disasters, mentioning seaham, Tudhow, sacriston, Trimdon Grange Wingate, kelloe (east hetton) and Easington. I don’t go into the detail you do but use the tragedies to illustrate the dangerous business of coal mining and the ever present threat of death.
Just before my heart attack in 1999 I had been considering creating a more comprehensive account, prompted by the recollections of a retired mining engineer who visits our Retired Men’s Association, who loaned me his original book of the Hartley disaster. After my cardiac operation, I lost interest in this one but have been asked to give it some more thought.
“I look forward to the second Coxhoe book”
Hi Bernie, Can't wait for the new book. Had the first one up there a week ago. Let a few strangers have a look too........
Hello Bernie..............Got the book..........incredible. Couldn't believe the pic of Dicky Brown!!..............And John Arthur gets in every where!! Such a real nice guy.
People are asking in the street..........Is it available at laings/club etc again??
Mrs Kate Siou
Dear Mr McCormick,
I have been reading your book Troubled Collieries, from the City Library in Newcastle. I would love to own a copy and wonder if you can tell me where it is possible to buy it.
Congratulations on producing a book that documents the lives and deaths of those that worked at the pits - so that we never forget.
recently bought a copy of "Coxhoe 2" and was delighted to see my late mum, Jean (Johnson) Bainbridge, on the "Siemans" photographs. My dad grew up in Quarrington Hill and recognises many of the faces in the book. We would now like to obtain a copy of the original "Coxhoe" book. Is it still being published?
'NORTHERN MINING ROOTS'
Hi, I just would like to thank you for sharing your wonderful book. I am researching my family history and most of my ancestors were all miners working in the North East and your book has helped give me a insight into their working conditions. Once again thank you.
I have just finished reading the above book and I would like to say how much I have enjoyed it, I am interested in Railways, Mining and houses, and I have learnt a lot from your book.
I am pleased you mentioned Trevithick, like Newcoming they tend to get forgotten about.
I was in Shildon in 1975 for the 150 th anniversary and walked from Shildon to West Auckland I also did the walk this July but did not get to West Auckland as I missed the turning and ran out of time plus passed the Brusselton Incline the path was overgrown I will try it another year ( I live in East Anglia).
Shildon has changed a lot since 1975, very sad, but they have Locomotion.
I was sorry to see Hutton hall has gone but some of the others are still with us and I am still researching those.
Many thanks for an excellent book which I purchased from the Darlington Railway Museum.
R W Thompson.
My name is Tom Willis, I have just been looking on your website and saw a copy of a letter to you from David Armstrong who lived in Burnett Crescent, Kelloe at the same time as I did. I was born and brought up in number 29 and remember most of the names mentioned by David. Terry Ede lived 3 doors below me, Matty Davison lived straight opposite. I was good friends with Raymond Tate. I left Kelloe when I was 17, enlisting in the RAF and have had little contact with the village since as the rest of my family moved to Bowburn soon afterwards. I married a girl from Bath in Somerset and have lived most of my life in that area. If you have contact with David or any of the others named I would be pleased to hear from them.
I also knew Ronnie Cranson who lived next to the 'Avenue' picture house in Coxhoe.
I have 2 of your books, Pictures around Kelloe,Bowburn,Cornforth, I am one of the smiling young lads on the front cover of the book, rear left. I also have the one on Coxhoe, I am also featured in that one with my classmates at Cornforth Lane School.
I look forward to hearing from you.
hi, i was the son of a coal miner and his parents before him we should never forget the hard ships that they had to ensure, i left england in 1974 ,and worked in the canadian coal mines. thanx for your fantastic historic artiicals don walker from staley village nr. crook