Please note that Wallsend Local History meetings have been cancelled for April, May and June due Covid 19.

    Visitors from America retrace the life of their famous Wallsend Ancestor

    Claire Cormier the great granddaughter of former Wallsend Mayor John O’Hanlon visited
    Segedunum and Wallsend in April 2018 to follow in the footsteps of her
    illustrious ancestor. John O’ Hanlon was Mayor of Wallsend from 1913 to 1914 at
    the time when the First World War was commencing and five years after the famous
    ship Mauretania was built at Swan Hunters shipyard where he worked as a
    driller. He was the first ‘working man’ to be elected as a councillor on
    Wallsend District Council in 1894 and as a second generation Irish immigrant he
    was the recognised leader of the Irish Party in Wallsend. In 1901 he was
    elected as an Alderman on the newly established Wallsend Borough Council, he
    was Mayor from 1913-1914 and was admitted as a Freeman of Wallsend Borough in 1917.

    Claire lives in California and travelled to Wallsend with her family, husband Kevin and son
    William (who is studying in Ireland), after making contact with Wallsend Local
    History Society through its website. Ken Hutchinson who is Chairman of Wallsend
    L.H.S. as well as Friends of Segedunum, together with website manager Elaine
    Borthwick (also a Friend of Segedunum) met the family at Segedunum and gave
    them a brief tour of the museum and had photos taken in front of Sentius
    Tectonicus and the Hadrian’s Wall reconstruction. They were very impressed with
    the museum and how it overlooks the berth where Mauretania was built and where
    their ancestor worked. They had even watched episodes of Vera in America not knowing that 
    Swan's office is the Police station in the series. Elaine and Ken took them on a tour of Wallsend including
    visiting Wallsend Town Hall, St Columba’s Church, Woodbine Avenue (where he
    lived), O’Hanlon Crescent (named after him) before a lunch stop at the Rising
    Sun Countryside Centre. After lunch they visited Wallsend Hall to view the
    portrait of Mayor John O’Hanlon that was donated to Wallsend Borough Council in
    1931 by his family. In addition the present day ceremonial Mayor or Chairman of
    North Tyneside Council, Councillor Cath Davies met the family at Wallsend Hall
    for tea and cakes.

    As they were stopping in Newcastle, Ken & Elaine took them back to Newcastle and gave
    them a tour of the Quayside including the Baltic, Sage and the Castle area before
    leaving them at their hotel for a rest before heading to Edinburgh the next day.


    William Cormier, Kevin Cormier, Elaine Borthwick, Claire
    Cormier at Segedunum

    Ken Hutchinson, Claire, William & Kevin Cormier at
    Hadrian’s Wall reconstruction

    Great Granddaughter Claire Cormier in front of her Great
    Grandfather Mayor John O’Hanlon


    Friends of Segedunum Lectures at Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum, Wallsend - 2019-2020

    Saturday 23 Nov:     Jellicoe of Scapa - Professor John Derry 

    Saturday 25 Jan: The Northumbrians - Dr Dan Jackson

    Saturday 29 Feb: Working Together - Beamish and its Friends - Ian Bean

    Saturday 18 Apr:         AGM - CANCELLED

    Saturday May/June:      Dates and subjects to tbc.

    Saturday 18 Jul: Friends summer outing - coach trip, details tbc.            

    Saturday 5 Sept:  Speaker and subject tbc.

    Saturday 17 Oct:    WallCAP - Dr Rob Collins

    Saturday 28 Nov:  (tbc) Professor John Derry (followed by Xmas lunch)

    All meetings start at 11 am with coffee, etc., available from 1030 am.  Free to Friends, visitors always welcome - £2 - refunded if you join the Friends on the day.  


    Lucy Winskill, OBE DL, gave an excellent talk to Wallsend Local History Society on 8 February 2016 on the role of the High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear.



    The committee members of Wallsend
    Local History Society were invited to a private viewing  at the
     Amber Cinema, based at the Side in Newcastle to view some of the archive
    films and still photos they have at their gallery.

    They were shown a 10 minute film titled
    'THE LAUNCH',   of the World Unicorn supertanker.  The film was about Swan Hunters shipyard and
    the men and women of different trades building the ship. Afterwards there
    followed a discussion about the film, and Amber explained that they are in the
    process of digitalising all their stock, which will, of course, take some

    Amber were invited to give a presentation to the Wallsend Local History
    Society on 10 February 2014. Although they have film archive, they would like
    to find out from local people more about the type of trades and skills that
    were required by the workforce to build a supertanker. 



    After many sterling (literally) years as Treasurer for the
    Wallsend Local History Society, Bill Baxter has retired and handed the
    responsibility of this important position to fellow committee member, Liz

    At the AGM held on 14 January 2013, Bill was presented with a bottle of his favourite
    tipple, Scotch whisky, by Chairman, Edmund Hall.

    The society and members wish Bill a happy retirement, and
    thank him for all his efforts in looking after our cash.  Well done Bill.

    Exhibition at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery
    Until 9th. March 2013

    The intruiging story of  Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

    Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (Job ben Solomon) (1701-1773)
    by William Hoare

    This portrait, painted by William Hoare, lives at the national potrait gallery in london.
    This is the earliest known British oil portrait of a freed slave and the first to honour an African subject as an individual and an equal.

    The National Portrait Gallery has sent out the first known British oil portrait of a Black African Muslim and freed slave  on a British tour. 

    The 1733 oil portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, by William Hoare of Bath, is on loan from the Orientalist Museum, Dohar, Qatar since January 2011. 

    It began its tour with an opening at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool on June 29 before heading to South Shields Museum and Art Gallery and New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester. 

    Diallo’s story is one of the more intriguing escapades from the dark history of the international slave trade. Born into a devout aristocratic Muslim family in 1711 in Senegal West Africa, he was captured by Mandingo warriors whilst on a trading mission and sold into slavery. Ironically, Diallo’s business concerns included the trade in slaves. 

    Transported to America, he was sold to a plantation owner, escaped, was re-captured and then discovered in gaol by an enlightened American lawyer who helped secure his passage to Britain. 

    In London, on account of his education, bearing and aristocratic connections, he became a celebrated member of high society and an invaluable translator of Arabic texts. 

    Painted by the artist William Hoare of Bath in 1733, Diallo chose to be depicted in his traditional clothing, with a Quran written in his own hand tied around his neck. 

    In 1734 he returned to his homeland, where he died in 1773. Diallo's memoirs were one of the earliest slave narratives and offered some valuable insights into the transatlantic slave trade. 

    The portrait, which had initially been thought to be lost, resurfaced some years ago and was purchased by the Qatar Museums Authority who loaned it to the National Portrait Gallery for a period of five years.

    Each venue will use the portrait in a different way, exploring issues of faith and identity and the experience of those affected by the transatlantic slave trade.