MONDAY 11 February 2019

    Wallsend LHS at ST. LUKE'S CHURCH at 7:00pm.

    Coal Mining and Waggon Ways - Rob McGinley

    10 December 2018

    This was the last meeting of the year.  As part of the Christmas festivities, Robert Moon entertained us with a talk on 'A Victorian Sunday' with music.  He described the different aspects of a Sunday in Victorian times.  Church played a big part.  There was church in the morning, Sunday school for the children, and evening worship.  Robert played some of the popular Victorian hymns including The Holy City; Christians Awake; Onward Christian Soldiers; What a Friend we have in Jesus (a favourite in a Victorian sitting room) as recorded on mechanical pipe barrel organs, harmonium, musical boxes and organettes.

    12 November 2018

    A very interesting and factual talk was given by Anthony Atkinson on Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood (26 September 1748 - 7 March 1810).  Collingwood was an admiral of the Royal Navy, and notable for his liaison with Lord Horatio Nelson.  He is most remembered for the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 where he was Nelson's second in command.  Anthony  described Collingwood's early life and association with the North East. He was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and educated at the Royal Grammar School.  At the age of 12, he went to sea as a volunteer on board the frigate HMS Shannon under the command of his cousin, Richard Braithwaite.  In 1977, Collingwood first met Horatio Nelson when both served on the frigate HMS Lowestoffe,

    In 1886 Collingwood returned to England and in 1791 he married Sarah Blackett, daughter of the Newcastle merchant and politician, John Erasmus Blackett.  In 1805, Collingwood was promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Red and given a peerage - Baron Collingwood of Caldburne and Hethpool in Northumberland.  He also received a pension of £2000 per annum.  When ashore, he lived with his family at Collingwood House in Morpeth, Northumberland and Chirton Hall in Chirton, North Shields.  Whilst in Morpeth, he loved going out with his dog, Bounce, over the Northumbrian hills.

    Collingwood was totally against impressment and flogging, and was called 'father' by common sailors because of his kindness and consideration to them.  He enjoyed a close friendship with Nelson throughout their early lives until Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar.  In one of the most decisive battles in history, a British fleet under Lord Nelson and second in command, Lord Collingwood, defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet.  During the battle Nelson was shot and died before the battle ended.

    There are many memorials dedicated to Collingwood in his honour across the world.  In Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada; the suburb of Collingwood in Melbourne, Australia; and the town of Collingwood in New Zealand.  Closer to home there is a large monument of him overlooking the Tyne and Tynemouth.  His grade 1 listed statue was sculpted by John Graham Lough and the pedestal designed by John Dobson.  The four cannon on the walls came from his flagship, Royal Sovereign.  One of the four houses at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle is named after him.  There are also plaques at Milburn House in Newcastle and at his home in Morpeth, Northumberland.

    His health deteriorated, and in 1809 he was due to return home.  Tragically, he died on board the Ville de Paris as it sailed for England.  He was laid to rest beside Nelson in the crypt at St Paul's London.


    8 October 2018

    The talk by Ken Hutchinson, the society’s chairman, was about his latest book, the A-Z of Newcastle.

    In his introduction, he referred to some of the famous people who had links with Newcastle such as railway pioneers George and Robert Stephenson; the invention of the light bulb, Joseph Swan; King of Coal, John Buddle; and the inventor of the turbine, Charles Parsons.  In more recent times, sporting legends such as Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne, and musicians and entertainers like Sting, Cheryl and Ant and Dec and many others, who are linked with the Tyne, get a mention in the book. Ken highlighted one or two listings from A right through to Z.  These included Dame Allan, who founded a school in 1705 for forty poor boys.  The school is now sited in Fenham. John Buddle (known as King of Coal) who was a modern mining engineer, and was always looking to improve safety in the collieries; China Town and Chinese Arch, developed around the 70s; Marks and Spencer’s Penny Bazaar, opened in 1895 and still going strong in the Grainger Market; the old Oxford Galleries, a famous dance hall built in 1925 and featured in the film “Get Carter”; Sir Charles Parson’s (inventor of the steam turbine) – there is a piece of artwork known as the Parson’s polygon sited near the Monument metro station on Blackett Street; finishing off with Z for Zoo – Newcastle in the 1960s had a winter zoo based in the old Town Hall in the Bigg Market. 

    It was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting talk that was very well received by members and visitors, and highlighted some of the amazing architecture, landmarks  and people associated with Newcastle and the Tyne both past and present.


    10 September 2018

    An excellent entertaining talk and presentation of days gone by was given by John Moreels, MBE, titled "Nostalgic Views of the North". John introduced the talk by providing some historical background of two well-known printing companies in the North East - Ward's and Philipson's.  Robert Ward started the business in 1845 in St Nicholas Churchyard, Newcastle, which happened to be next door to Robert Elliott Bewick the son of the famous wood engraver, Thomas Bewick.  In 1885 Thomas Bewick's memoirs were produced by Robert Ward and Sons.  Phillipson's established their business in the early 1900s.  In 1996 Ward and Philipson amalgamated, and it was during this period that a large photographic collection in various formats including lantern slides, glass plates in varying sizes, negatives and photographic prints was discovered in a loft in the centre of Newcastle.  Major changes in the printing industry were starting to take place due to the advances in technology, and the company ceased trading in 2007.  As part of the presentation, John gave a brilliant slide show from the collection that included photographs of historic buildings and places, different types of transport, maritime and coal mining history.  More fascinating photographs and facts can be found on www.photomemoriesarchive.org.uk.  The project continues with volunteers continuing to scan and restore parts of this vast collection.


    13 August 2018

    There was no talk in August, as it had been decided to have an experimental meeting/discussion with Members on their thoughts and memories of what life was like in Wallsend during the heyday of the shipyards, which dominated work in Wallsend.  The yards such as Swan Hunter, North East Marine, Wallsend Slipway and Clelands were situated in Wallsend with Palmers and Redheads over the river and they employed generations of families, and brought fame to the region.  Ships such as the Mauretania, Esso Northumbria and Ark Royal were all built in Wallsend  and even the ship that rescued the survivors of Titanic, the Carpathia originated from Swan Hunters yard.  Large crowds assembled to see the launch of all these magnificent ships many of which were launched by royalty over the years.   Some of the Members had skilled jobs in the yards such as Shipwrights, Riveters and Fitters and Turners, and described what life was like working and living in Wallsend when the yards were thriving.  The discussions led to many personal accounts of both the work and from a family perspective as almost everyone had direct links to someone who worked in the shipyards. It turned out to be a successful evening, and it is hoped to have more in the future.


    11 July 2018

    Tonight we had the pleasure of having Freda Thompson give us a talk on Laurel and Hardy.  Freda talked about Stan Laurel's early life.  Arthur Stanley Jefferson was born in 1890 in Argyll Street, Ulverston, Lancashire.  His education included attendance at King James 1 Grammar School in Bishop Auckland, County Durham; Kings School in Tynemouth and Rutherglen, Scotland.  His parents were involved in the theatre.  In the early 1890s Arthur, his father, began to renovate old theatres starting with the Eden Theatre in Bishop Auckland and more followed.  In 1897 the Jeffersons moved to Dockwray Square, North Shields, and Arthur managed the Theatre Royal in Wallsend.  It was while living in Scotland that Stan joined Fred Karno's, and did a bit of music hall.  He travelled with Karno's to the United States and stayed there.

    Oliver Hardy was born in 1892 in Harlem, Georgia, USA.  In 1910 he worked in a movie theatre, and it was there that he became obsessed with the new motion picture industry.  In 1927 Laurel and Hardy shared screen time together, and went on to star in many short movies, feature films and cameo roles.  Among their finest work during the 1930s were the films - The Music Box; Way out West (featuring the famous "In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia...on the Trail of the Lonesome Pine"), and Sons of the Desert.

    There are statues of Stan in Dockwray Square, North Shields and Bishop Auckland Town Centre, and a statue of both Stan and Ollie in County Square, Ulverston.  Laurel and Hardy left behind a great legacy and became one of the greatest duos of all time.


    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 this year 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


    11 June 2018

    Professor John Derry gave another excellent and factual talk to the society on the American Civil War - "The Blue and the Gray".
    The two sides are often referred to by the colour of their official uniforms, blue for the Union and gray for the Confederates.  The Civil War was fought between the USA and the Confederate States of America, a collection of eleven southern states that left the Union in 1860/61 and formed their own country in order to protect the institution of slavery.  Abraham Lincoln played a big part as he wanted to keep the United States as one country, and refused to recognise the southern states as one nation.  At the beginning of the Civil War, 22m people lived in the north and 9m in the south (4m of whom were slaves).  The bloodiest battle of the civil war was the battle of Gettysburg in 1863.  Confederate General, Robert E Lee, launched an attack on the north.  He was defeated by the Union in a three day battle.  After the battle, President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg addess, which became one of the most famous speeches in American history.  The war ended in 1865 with the surrender of the Confederate armies to the United States, and slavery was abolished nation-wide.


    14 May 2018

    Derek Goodacre took us on a magical journey with his Magic Lantern show. The magic lantern was an early type of image projector before the arrival of TV and computer games.  It was one of the greatest devices instigating social change in Victorian Britain.  Derek's slides included a Victorian melodrama, illustrations of some well-known authors, and sketches of Victorian humour.  Derek has been collecting and studying magic lantern material for many years, and sharing his knowledge and collection with people.

    9 April 2018

    Elizabeth Finch gave an excellent overview on the National Trust in Northumberland, which also included Gibside Chapel in Tyne and Wear and Ormsby Hall in North Yorkshire  She explained as well as the big historic country houses, the Trust also looks after coastline, beaches, forests, woods, archaeological remains and nature reserves.  The talk covered Cragside, Wallington Hall, Seaton Delaval Hall, Lindisfarne (Holy Island), Farne Islands, Housesteads on the Roman Wall and Allenbanks.  As well as providing a brief history on the places she highlighted, Elizabeth gave an update on Lindisfarne castle's conservation project;  Wallington Hall's walled garden is being redeveloped, and facilities and cafe at Seaton Delaval Hall are to be improved, and some 'puffins' have already arrived on the Farnes!

    12 March 2018

    Malcolm Byrne gave a well-researched and informed talk to the society on WW2 European Theatre, which was well received by Members and visitors. He described the causes of the war going back to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo in 1914, which led to the First World War, through to the Treaty of Versailles and its reparations that affected Germany’s economic stability.  He also covered pre-war events that led to the rise of Fascism in Europe, and the rise of Hitler and the National Socialist party in Germany.  The main events throughout the war were highlighted leading up to the allied victory in 1945.

    12 February 2018

    Dominique Bell, Project Co-ordinator for the Willington Waggonway Research Programme at Tyne and Wear Museums, gave a most interesting and informative talk to Wallsend Local History Society on Willington Waggonway.  The remains of a section of a wooden waggonway were discovered underneath the former Neptune Shipyard not far from Segedunum Roman Fort in the summer of 2013.  The site was investigated by archeologists due to its close proximity to Segedunum.  The Willington Waggonway was the collective name for a series of waggonways which were used by horse-drawn waggons to transport coal from collieries at Willington Quay and Bigges Main on the edge of Wallsend to the river Tyne for shipment.  This discovery was of international significance as it was the most complete and best preserved section of an early wooden railway, which was built to what became known as the standard gauge (4'-8 1/2" or 1435m) linking the waggonway to Stephenson and the development of modern railways.


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

    Saturday 26 Jan: Hadrian's Wall at Wallsend - Dr Paul Bidwell

    Saturday 2 March: The mysterious disappearance of the ninth legion & the building of Hadrian's Wall  Dr Nick Hodgson

    Saturday 6 April:    AGM

    Saturday 18 May:      Mary Eleanor Bowes - Countess of Strathmore & Kinghorne - Anthony Atkinson

    Saturday 29 June:    Two brothers, one war - Alan Fidler

    Saturday 13 Jul: Friends summer outing by coach to Bishop Auckland


    Saturday 7 Sept:  Title to be confirmed - Dr Dan Jackson

    Saturday 12 Oct:    The Hadrian's Wall Pilgrimage - Bill Griffiths

    Saturday 23 Nov:  Title to be confirmed - 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.