Rowlands Gill in old picture postcards

Rowlands Gill in old picture postcards

:   Noël G. Rippeth
:   Tyne & Wear
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-5225-9
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Rowlands Gill in old picture postcards'

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49. Highfield; Smailes Farm looking south cl900. This card gives an accurate impression of the rural nature of the Rowlands Gil! area, before developments during the 1900s, 1920s and after 1945 covered sa many of the old farms' fields with housing. The tranquility of tb is scene, with the cows being taken for rnilking, belies the hard lives that faced most workers. whether on the land or down the mines. For the farm hand days began at sun up, and lasted till sunset. If it rained, they couldn't work in the fields and were not paid. For the miners the shifts only started when they had walked from the pitshaft to the coalface, and if they hit stone or shale their earnings feIl. These were the days when families were evicted from the tied cottages of the farms or the collieries if tbc breadwinner feil sick or died. Due to frequent lay-offs or poor harvests, few ordinary folk had tbe chance to save, sa if they survived fever epidemics or industrial ilInesses, many had only the Workhouse to look to in old age.

50. Highfield; Smailes Farm looking North c1930. North Smailes Farm was built in the 18th century. The name Srnailes, originally 'Smeales' meaning 'Narrow' , is first recorded at this location in Bishop Pudsey's tax Survey of 1183. Smailes Farm appears in records in the 17th century and was one of the farms which forrned, with the Towneley Arms, the rather sparsely settled and welldispersed hamiet of Rowlands Gil! in the years before the turnpike and railway enabled the town to grow. Christopher Hopper of Coalburns spent his honeymoon at Smailes Farm. Hopper, who began his werking life as a wagonway horseman. was an early convert to John Wesley's Methodism. In 1744 he became one of the first local preachers. Within a year of beginning to preach he was arrested. He claimed: 'My crime was to teil of the judgement th at awaited all sinners.' The Rector of Whickham said the offence was 'preaching without a licence'. On Wesley's death in 1791 Christopher Hopper succeeded hirn as President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference.

51. Low Spen; farm cl930. This building, built originally as a farmhouse, was substantially rebuilt in the reign of Queen Victoria as a barn. During the present century its main use has been as a grain store. Today it is being restored as a private house, 'The Granary'. One notabie visitor to the old farmhouse was John Wesley, invited there in 1744 by the farmer, John Brown. Subsequently the farm became a regular meeting house for a group of local 'Methodists'. the nickname given to Wesley's followers. Christopher Hopper was converted here while listening to a sermon on 'faith, hope and charity', by Mr. Reeve, one of Wesley's first local preachers. John Brown continued in the faith for the rest of his lang life , welcoming worshippers to Sunday meetings in the farm until his death in 1808. John Brown witnessed the early days of persecutions, including the arrest of Hopper, but lived to see the expansion of the new church, when there was a Wesleyan chapel built or planned in almast every village.

52. Rowlands Gill; Sherburn Tower c1920. The hierarchical structure of colliery management, reflecting the class structure of society, was reinforeed by the Coal Cernpany's housing. This country house style building was the house of a senior manager. Just as colliery row cottages were supplied with a minimum of amenities for the hewers and putters, sa th at the men would 'know their place' , so the manager was given this level of luxury, as a visible sign to the workers of his importance. The manager was thus housed as weil as the more successful professionals of the town. However , his house went with his job, and, like his lewlier pitmen, if his job went, so did his house. The colliery owners expected that their managers would be ruthless in the drive for efficiency in the mines. After the strikes in 1925-6, several managers of local collieries were sacked for being too easy going on their workers. One lost his post because he had allowed his Colliery Institute Library to include the works of Marx and Lenin.

53. Thornley; 3 High Thornley 1906. Bourne , writing in 1895, described High Thornley as a hamlet of a dozen houses built near the wagonway th at took coal from the pits at Garesfield and Whiteside to Derwenthaugh. The rails of this wagonway were first Iaid in the early years of the 19th century and High Thornley was at the top of an incline that took the wagons down to join the oid Pontop wagonway at Loekhaugh. This house, brickbuilt with a chimney stack that indicates a fireplace in every room, had a parlour and dining room with scullery on the ground floor and two bedrooms upstairs. The lady of the house is in typically sombre widow's attire, and wears a pinny to proteet her black skirt. Most of the residents at High Thornley worked for the Coal Company at one of the neighbouring collieries or on the Wagonway. The hamlet, to the north of Rowlands Gill and east of old Garesfield Colliery, was ideally situated for the miners of the Garesfield Colliery Co., as the company also worked a landsale pit a little to the east at nearby Lilley Crook during the 1840s.

54. Thornley wagonway; locomotive c191O. This 0-6-0 saddle tank steam locomotive was used to haul full coal trains along the Thornley wagonway from the collieries at ChopweIl and High Spen to High Thornley, and then return with empty trucks to the pits. When a train reached High Thornley it was uncoupled from the engine and attached to an endless rope , which was controlled by a winding engine. The winding engine house stood on columns over the railway at the top of the incline, which took the line down to Lockhaugh. From there the trucks were hauled along to Derwenthaugh. Full coal trucks ran down the incline from High Thornley on one side of the rope. The rope passed over a large brake drum in the winding house which controlled its speed. The other side of the rope was used to haul ernpty trucks up the incline. This system, known as the gravity incline, was developed by George Stephenson, who was to use the knowledge he gained on pit wagonways to design steam locomotives and public railways.

55. Thornley wagonway; Christmas card 1910. One reason for the popularity of the postcard in the early years of the present century was the V2d stamp postal rate. In order to save money on postage and envelopes, many people used modified postcards as Christmas cards. This is an example. Whether or not the subject matter, with the brakeman displaying the club he used on recalcitrant brake or hopper door levers, is suitably seasonal, I leave to the imagination. For wh at we have is a postcard sized photograph of the wagonmen and wagous on the Thornley wagonway. Ta the photograph has been added, at right-angles, the inscription 'The Seasons Greetings', on the right of the picture. This type of photographic Christmas card was probably regarded as something special by the recipient, as the only photographs in the average house in 1910 were expensive studio portraits taken for special occasions. The modern equivalent to this card is the expensively produced 'personalised' card with the sender's name and address printed inside.

56. Winlaton Mill; the Venture coach cl925. This coach, a reminder of how people travelled befare the railways were built, provided a service for the villages of the Derwent Valley from 1923 until the Second World War. The coach and its set of fine greys was owned by Mr. Priestman of Shotley Bridge. It supplernented the three trains a day service of the Derwent Valley Railway. Passengers on the coach were able to enjoy the exhaustive repertoire of post horn tunes played by Will Payne, whose farne on the horn achieved national recognition in 1936, when he was asked to broadcast by the B.B.C. The coach was called the Venture and all the greys were given narnes starting with V. The Venture name was used after 1929 by the bus company that was formed on the amalgamation of Mr. Priestly's transport interests with those of four Iocal char-à-banc owners. This photograph was taken ne ar Winlaton Mill. Notice how weil wrapped up the passengers are, a reminder that this was an uncornfortable, if romantic, methad of transport!

57. Winlaton Mill; the Golden Lion inn c1925. This card has the Golden Lion inn as its central feature, with the cottages of the villa ge in a rather hazy background. The small cottages in front and to the right of the Golden Lion inn Iorrned, with the pub, the Low Close area of the village. The pub was originally Huntley Hall, which had given irs name to the viJIage for centuries befare Crowley built his iron mills. There had been a flour mill at 'Huntley Haugh', owned by the Prinee Bishop, sinee the early years of the 14th century. Same years later the miJI's energy was also put to use in the fuJling of wool, By 1632 the Hardings of HoJlingside had acquired the miJl and the hall, which beeame an inn. It was then known as the Three Golden Greyhounds. These greyhounds were on the arms of the Harding family, and were painted on the inn sign. When Crowley built his works at Win laton MiJl in 1691, his employees were forbidden to frequent it, or any other alehouse.

58. Winlaton Mill; Main Street c191O. William Bourn in his 'History of the Parish of Ryton', written in 1896, records that these houses were 'Old, and after being whitewashed, give to the village a picturesque appearance'. The houses were built for the workers at the Crowley Iron Mill established toward the end of the 17th century. This street was in addition to two sets of workshop houses for blacksmiths, built facing into squares, sa a gate could be cIosed at curfew every night. Other squares were built by Crowley at Swalwell and Winlaton, but these additional streets were needed at Winlaton Mill as homes for the men who worked the Hammers and the File mill driven by the ni ne sets of water wheels that Crowley built. Ta drive these mill wheels the Derwent was partially dammed by a weir to raise the he ad of water available for the millrace. This weir closed the river to navigation upstream from Swalwell.

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