News from the Forum, Issue
||Welcome to the second newsletter from the Forum. This is an opportunity for members to post their news and promote future events. So please keep your news coming! The newsletters are now available on the Forum website,
News from the
The Group continues
to work behind the scenes and has recently started
the process of developing a constitution for the
Forum with the guidance of Julie Taylor, Durham City
CVS. We plan to have this ready to present at the
Conference and AGM on Saturday 17 October.
The development of the website continues with more
information being added. The newsletters will be
available under the ¡¥Forum News¡¦ link and the
Membership listing is now available on-line also.
The next step is to get the Speakers¡¦ list onto the
site. Please continue to send in your completed
Speaker information forms so that we can get a
comprehensive list together for the benefit of
You will remember that in the previous newsletter we
mentioned the need to get some funds together to
allow us to move the Forum forward. A letter to
members seeking donations accompanied the
newsletter. In light of this request and in seeking
support from other areas we now have a ¡¥pull-up¡¦
promotional banner to take out to events and
exhibitions. This banner was kindly funded by
Rosemary Laxton, Head of Libraries, Learning and
Culture, Durham County Council.
We would like to thank the following groups for
their donations to the Forum funds:
Aycliffe Village Local History Society;
Chester-le-Street Heritage Group;
North East War Memorials Project;
Brancepeth Archives and History Group.
The Forum will be
holding a small display at this year¡¦s ¡¥Yesterday
Belongs to You¡¦ local and family history event. The
event usually attracts over 2,000 visitors and
exhibitors from around the County, Region and
beyond. If you have your own table on the day, don¡¦t
forget to mention the Forum to your visitors!
On Saturday 13 June the Weardale Society will be
hosting an event for members. On offer for the day
will be guided walks around Stanhope Church and
Quarry and a visit to the Weardale Museum and High
House Chapel. A charge will apply for this event to
include refreshments and a light lunch. A booking
form and programme will be circulated with this
newsletter and via emails.
A half-day Oral History training session will be
held at the Resource Centre, Beamish Museum on
Saturday 19 September 2009. The session will be led
by Jo Bath. Jo is a trained oral historian and one
of the Oral History Society¡¦s North East Region
net-workers. Many of you will have met her in her
post at Beamish Museum. Booking forms will be
On a final note, thank you for your continued
interest in the Forum. Membership Forms for the year
2009/10 will be available from August.
For further information about the Forum contact:
Local Studies, Durham Clayport Library
on 0191 3864003
Julie Hawthorn on 0191 370 8845
(For the website)
News from the Members
for the diocese of Durham
Many members of the Forum are probably aware that among
the Durham Diocesan Records in Durham University Library
are bishops' transcripts of the registers of baptisms,
marriages and burials for most parishes and chapelries
in the diocese of Durham (including most parishes and
chapelries in Northumberland before the establishment of
Newcastle diocese in 1882).
The earliest transcript in Durham dates from 1660 and
the latest from 1919. For the majority of parishes and
chapelries, however, transcripts survive only for the
period from ca 1760 until the mid nineteenth century,
and in many cases there are significant gaps within the
holdings. There are no transcripts of marriage register
entries after the introduction of civil registration in
1837. A list of the outside dates of all known surviving
transcripts in this series, and of strays identified in
other collections administered by Durham University
Library and Durham Cathedral Library, is now available
In an exciting new development digitised images of all
these transcripts have now also been made freely
available on the pilot record search website of the
Genealogical Society of Utah (part of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) at
. To access the images select Europe on the map
of the world, then choose the collection England,
Diocese of Durham Bishops' Transcripts ca.1700-1900.
Note that the names included in these images have not
been indexed and so will not be found by doing a name
search on the FamilySearch website.
Article: Margaret McCollum, Durham University
Gateshead Heritage @ St
In December 2008, Gateshead Council¡¦s first heritage
centre opened in the former St Mary¡¦s Church above
Gateshead¡¦s quayside. Last used as a church in 1979, the
building then suffered two serious fires. Basic repairs
were undertaken by the Civic Trust in 1985 prior to
Philips Auctioneers buying the building in 1990. From
2000 ¡V 2007, the building was used as a Visitor centre
by Gateshead Council who bought the former church helped
by money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Now restored, with the intrusive additions made by
Philips removed, the building contains displays
focussing on Gateshead¡¦s history and heritage as well as
a small family history area.
Regular history events are held together with monthly
family history surgeries. These are held on the third
Saturday of each month from 10.00am ¡V 1.00pm and are
supported by the Northumberland & Durham Family History
For further details of events, check out our website or
contact Anthea Lang, Local History & Heritage Manager on
0191 433 4696
Do you have a
connection with Crusader tanks?
Did you work with Crusader Tanks during World War 2?
Locomotion: the National Railway Museum at Shildon
is appealing for anyone who built, transported or
served in one of these vehicles, as part of an
exciting intergenerational project in association
with Head of Steam Darlington.
¡¥The Railways At War: Reserved occupations, our
unsung heroes¡¦ recognises the role of the reserved
occupations in our local area - and in particular
railway workers and munitions workers ¡V during World
Railways played an important part in the conflict,
as they provided an efficient way of moving goods.
Armoured vehicles were often transported on
railways, as long journeys by road resulted in
At Locomotion: the National Railway Museum at
Shildon, visitors can see a Crusader Tank which was
used in the Battle of Tobruck in June 1941. More
than 5,300 of these tanks were built between 1936
The tank is displayed on the Warflat No. W161041,
built in 1940 in Birmingham by Metropolitan-Cammell
Carriage & Wagon Company. This type of wagon was
designed specifically to move tanks and other heavy
vehicles. Made out of bridge girders, it can bear up
to 50 tons.
The theme of ¡¥The Railways At War: Reserved
occupations, our unsung heroes¡¦ is remembrance,
recognition and identity of the veteran workers from
the pre-nationalised North East Railway system, and
the industries connected to it.
The project aims to look at the practices of the
workers, and link this to learning opportunities for
our present generation of school children. Resources
will be developed and used to produce a set of
interactive learning tools, which in turn will
support a travelling exhibition.
For more information,
please contact Tony Attle at Locomotion on 01388
71444 or Sarah Goldsborough at Head of Steam on
Furness Railway Number 20 Comes East
Locomotion - The National Railway Museum at Shildon,
and the Furness Railway Trust are pleased to
announce that Furness Railway No. 20, the oldest
working standard gauge steam locomotive in the UK,
is spending Summer 2009 as the operating locomotive
in residence at Locomotion.
Built in 1863, FR No. 20 is a remarkable survivor
from a bygone era and has already starred at the
County Durham museum's steam gala in 2008.
The move of FR No. 20 to Shildon took place in
March, and the engine will see regular use over the
coming months on the 2/3 mile running line at the
museum. At times it is hoped to pair the engine with
the Great Eastern Railway Directors' saloon which is
in the final stages of restoration in the workshop
at Locomotion, offering the museum visitor a unique
experience in rail travel.
Locomotion Curator Anthony Coulls said "Furness
Railway No. 20 was a great draw at our Steam Gala
last year, and we hope that many more people will
come to both see the engine, and ride behind it
whilst it is here. It¡¦s a great opportunity to see
first-hand a throwback to one of the most exciting
periods of railway history"
Tim Owen, Chairman of the Furness Railway Trust,
said "We are delighted to be back at Locomotion,
following on from the successful visit back in
September 2008. The Furness Railway Trust is
honoured to have its flagship locomotive invited
once again to be part of the National Railway
Check the Locomotion website for up-to-date
steaming information via
, or call Locomotion on 01388 777999.
||A project update from Thorpe Thewles
Members of the Thorpe Thewles History
Group (TTHG) have embarked on a two-year project to
record wartime (1939-45) memories and related sites and
monuments in their local area. This project has been
made possible by the award of a CBA Challenge Funding
The sites and monuments part of this project will
look at the districts of Wolviston, Wynyard, Blakeston,
Roseworth, Thorpe Thewles, Carlton, Redmarshall,
Bishopton, Whitton and Stillington all of which were
formerly in southeast County Durham. The memories
section of the project will focus on the central zone of
this rural area, which lies to the northwest of
Stockton-on-Tees. This part of the project will utilise
both archival and oral history research methods.
The idea for this project came about from earlier
research undertaken by the group in 2006/7. This
highlighted the existence of a wealth of wartime
memories within the local community that were in danger
of becoming lost if not recorded soon. In addition the
group had identified several anti-invasion defences that
were not recorded on either the Cleveland or County
Durham Sites & Monuments Records (SMR) or the Defence of
Britain Project database.
To date the project has identified the location of
several unrecorded wartime related sites and monuments
(see listing below). While some of these are now largely
destroyed or are in a poor state of preservation others
are in remarkably good condition.
Most of the above
anti-invasion related sites are associated with the
Northern Command 59 Divisional Reserve Stop Line.
- Concrete road blocks ¡V 4 pairs plus the site of 2
- Pillboxes ¡V FW3 Type 23 ¡V 4: ¡§Lozenge¡¨ Type
(northeast variant) ¡V 1
- Auxiliary Unit Operational Bases ¡V 2
- Communal And School Air Raid Shelters ¡V 7
- Military aircraft crash sites ¡V 1
- Barrage Balloon and searchlight sites ¡V 2
- Anti-aircraft battery & central ordinance magazine
sites ¡V 2
- Sites of anti-glider landing poles and trenches ¡V
- POW Camps & Hostels - 2
The Thorpe Thewles History Group will report in full
on the findings from this Project in December 2009.
Details of all sites will be registered with the
respective HER/SMR Officers in Cleveland and County
Anyone wishing to contribute information or learn more
about this project should contact Mark Smith on 01740
630014 or email
Your can visit the website at
Durham County Record
As part of the transition
to the new unitary authority in County Durham, the
Record Office website has been changed from
At present the new website address is not
working. In the interim please use the link from
¡¥Popular Pages¡¦ on the Durham County Council Homepage.
Hill Heritage Centre
The Heritage Centre opened a new photo exhibition in
March of this year ¡V it concentrates on the mining
industry and is very appropriate, given the 25th
anniversary of the last strike.
The exhibition tries to cover all aspects of the
industry ¡V underground, workers, documents, etc and have
used mainly photos in our archive and some loaned by
members of the committee and the local history club.
Alongside the photos, are various written pieces about
life in a mining village, which have been provided by
the Crook Writers Group and they make a suitable
addition to the images on display.
The normal displays are still available throughout the
Wheatley Hill Heritage Centre is situated in the
cemetery grounds and is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays
10-12 and 2-4 and on Saturdays 2-4. Entry is free and
refreshments are available.
Wheatley Hill History Club
The Wheatley Hill History Club is currently planning
this year¡¦s Local History Day which will take place, on
Saturday 26 September, in the Workingmen¡¦s Club.
This year, the history club are launching a book looking
at the development of the pit and villages of Thornley,
Ludworth and Wheatley Hill from 1947-1960. This is the
fourth book in a series.
The event will be opened by Alfie Joey from BBC Radio
Newcastle and for entertainment Easington Colliery Band
and the Durham Constabulary Male Voice Choir will be in
attendance. The even starts at 10.00am and usually
closes at about 3.00pm. Everyone is welcome.
Articles: Margaret Hedley, Wheatley Hill History
John Swain's latest publication, Railway Walks: Branch
Lines Around Bishop Auckland, continues to sell steadily
from selected outlets, including the Tourist Information
Centre, Bishop Auckland Town Hall and Locomotion
National Railway Museum, Shildon. A Limited Edition is
being planned for late April, and interested parties are
being invited to register their intention to purchase a
copy by contacting the author at 38 Rochester Close,
Bishop Auckland, DL14 0RJ, Tel: 01388 604971, as soon as
possible. By popular request, a chapter on the former
railway station at Bishop Auckland will be inserted as
an introduction to the four disused branch lines (Spennymoor,
Barnard Castle, Tow Law and Durham).
John Swain has already started on his next project,
Railway Walks 2: Branch Lines Around Durham City, which
will include some of the Durham County Council's famous
railway paths such as the Deerness Valley and Lanchester
Valley routes. It is hoped to launch this publication in
Saturday 16 May 2009
Yesterday Belongs to You
Durham County Council will also be launching a small
touring exhibition at the event to show some of the
many fascinating facts about the County¡¦s history
and heritage. This is also an opportunity to seek
the community¡¦s thoughts on current and future
heritage provision in the County.
Local & Family History Day
At County Hall, Durham City
10:30am ¡V 4:00pm
Durham Clayport Matters Group
Monday 1 June 2009
10:30 am ¡V 2:30 pm
Clayport Library, Durham City
An opportunity to view
the newly created piece of work by the Matters
showing views of Durham in all its diversity; people
and their histories, the beauty of fields and fell,
life and home, work and play. All welcome.
Wednesday 3 June 2009
A second opportunity to
view the work of the Clayport Matters Group.
10:30 am ¡V 2.30 pm
Bowburn Community Centre
Saturday 13 June 2009
10:00 am ¡V 4:00 pm
Guided Walk and Museum
See ¡¥News from the
Steering Group¡¦ section. Booking form now available.
Saturday 19 September
Oral History Training session
To be held at The
Resource Centre, Beamish Museum. Limited places
available booking required. A training opportunity
for Members. Details to be confirmed.
Saturday 17 October
County Durham History &
Heritage Forum Conference and AGM
County Hall, Durham City
A networking opportunity
for members. Details to follow.
Wheatley Hill History Club
Saturday 26 September
Local History Day and
10:00 a.m. ¡V 3.00 p.m.
Working Men¡¦s Club, Wheatley Hill
See earlier article for more information.
Thorpe Thewles History Group
Grindon Parish Hall, Thorpe Thewles
Friday 19 June 2009
¡¥The Demoniacs: Cleveland¡¦s Hell Fire Club¡¦, An
illustrated talk by Dr Tony Nicholson covering the
history of the ¡¥Demoniacs¡¦. This Secret Society,
founded in the 1740s met at Skelton Castle where
John Hall Stevenson ¡V better known as Crazy Hall
Stevenson ¡V kept open house.
Friday 18 September 2009
¡¥Saxons, Vikings & Normans ¡V the medieval
settlements of Teesside¡¦ An introduction by Robin
Daniels of Teesside Archaeology to post Roman
development and settlements in the Teesside region.
Entry for both events by ticket ¡V available from
Linda Smith on 01740 630014 at £2.00 each.
If you would
like to promote your events via the Forum website
please contact John Banham
items contact Julie Hawthorn