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Willow Bridge, Choppington

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Well... progress on the old family tree is very slow and painful.

I THINK I have tracked down my grandfathers birth to 1912. His place of birth is recorded as "Willow Bridge, Scotland Gate, Bedlington"

I was wondering if anyone has any pictured of Willow bridge and the houses there from around this time? Or if anyone has relatives that were born there? As I understand it it is the houses just over the 'Willow Bridge' before you get to the speed camera as you enter Choppington.

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Found this, it`s title Willow Bridge, Choppington. I don`t know the date of the photograph though, although it looks like it could be around the year you`re looking for.

willowbridgechoppington.jpg

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Cheers Cympil... hasn't changed much really!! In fact I am sure that bloke walking over the bridge with the briefcase still drinks in the Monkey :lol:

Any more photo's welcome

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post-2446-081812000 1287928292_thumb.jpg

Hi, just discovered this photograph which was taken about 1950. The train was a miners Picnic day special, which was travelling to Morpeth.

The station, which is now all gone, was at the top of the bank.(opposite direction to the speed camera of course) The track is also now a single track.

The building on the left was definately the ticket office, whilst I think the building on the right belong to the railway, maybe the station master. I suspect these buildings were there when the photo below was taken.

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I think the station closed to passenger trains after the war, but was open for special trains, such as the Morpeth Picnic day specials.

There was also a train on New Year's Day to Morpeth, which had the train connection to Edinburgh for the professional sprint handicap at Powerhall.

Professional running was very a popular sport in Choppington, which held its own sprint handicap with bookies etc. Joe Ball, Blyth won one year and went on to win Powerhall which was the Mecca for running in those days.

I seem also to recall the station being used as a collection point for the baskets, which contained the racing pigeon. The baskets were transported by rail to far off places. I think the pigeon guys used to meet in the Lord Clyde.

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I understand this photo of Choppington Station was taken in the early 1900's. The track was single then, later increased to a double track, then back to it's present single track.

Note the 4 gas lights (I assume they were gas !!!) at either side of the gates. There does not appear to be any street lights, so it must been quite spooky walking around at night time.

The building beyond the signal, was the railway ticket office and the bus stop to far off places, like Ashington.

post-2446-041827700 1291126601_thumb.jpg

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During the first World War the Zeppelin came over here and dropped incendiary devices. No one was hurt, but buildings, including the Railway Taven and Lord Clyde, had there windows shattered by the explosions. There was a huge crater left at the side of the road and in a field a little further up on the right on your way to Bedlington.

That Zeppelin was seen by fishermen just off Blyth hovering waiting to move and do damage and kill.

If i find my eye-witness story i will post its very interesting.

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Hi Alan,

 

Where was the old chapel? I am interested in the history of the area around the Willow Bridge as I now live up the hill from it (next to the speed camera).

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The Unitarian Chapel stood halfway up the bank on left side facing Bedlington.

It attracted many local noteworthies in its time.

E .g. Sir George Peel and many others.

Why it was pulled down I don't know as it was kept in lovely condition.Demolished in the 70s.

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The Unitarian Chapel stood halfway up the bank on left side facing Bedlington.

It attracted many local noteworthies in its time.

E .g. Sir George Peel and many others.

Why it was pulled down I don't know as it was kept in lovely condition.Demolished in the 70s.

Mercury - with Alan giving that name, Unitartian, some info on the chapel can be traced on the www. There is the Unitartian Historical Society web site - http://www.unitarianhistory.org.uk/ and that has a menu of the data on that site. At the bottom of the front page is a search box and inputting 'choppinton' puts you back into your search engine and gives a link to a pdf document containing limited info, including Choppington, - 

http://www.unitarianhistory.org.uk/Unit%20Cong%20A%20to%20M%20rev%202b%20-%20MR%20amends.pdf

 

In the Menu is also an 'Images' heading but in the galleries I can't find an image of the Choppington Chapel.

 

There is also a list of all their chapels that includes the info to backup Alan's memory of it closing in the 70s -Founded and built Front St 1868-1975; Tyne and Wear Archive Services (with Newcastle Divine Unity Church records) 

 

If you want to try and track down an image of the Choppington Chapel there are a lot of contacts on that site (if you have the time to browse a lot of info) that may be able to help.

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Thanks for both replies!

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I lived just where the front biker is passing,on the left side of the road,in number three Storey's Buildings,from about 1944 to 1948-ish,after which my Parents moved to the newly-built Hollymount Square in Bedlington.

There was a biggish crater in the field just across the road,close to the houses, on the right side,where we played as three-year-old kids,and which was a bomb crater we were told.

Alan,I mentioned somewhere else on the site,that I was mooching around the place with my dog,a week or two back,and I see that the remains of the chapel wall to the rear,is still there,a few feet high from field level,and overgrown with trees.[took me back to fleeing down the clarty back lane on my little

Tri-ang crane,at forty miles an hour........what imaginations we had when we were three years old!]

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Just a final note from me, There's a smashing book in Guidepost library called A Methodist Victorian Childhood by Sir Victor Murray.He was brought up in what was Wards paper shop. Went on to become something high up in national Methodist movement.

Wonderful description of Victorian times in Choppington lovely map of Choppington in book circa 1890s in book.

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Just a final note from me, There's a smashing book in Guidepost library called A Methodist Victorian Childhood by Sir Victor Murray.He was brought up in what was Wards paper shop. Went on to become something high up in national Methodist movement.

Wonderful description of Victorian times in Choppington lovely map of Choppington in book circa 1890s in book.

 

Thanks for that! I will certainly have a look at it!

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Found this, it`s title Willow Bridge, Choppington. I don`t know the date of the photograph though, although it looks like it could be around the year you`re looking for.

willowbridgechoppington.jpg

This pic looks circa late 1950's to very early 1960's,disregarding the appearance of the horse and cart![ My Wife and I moved house on a horse and cart in 1970!]

Note the two modern-ish water hydrants' concrete info posts,on the right,the furry cagoul that the lady with the shopping bag is wearing,the new section of bridge parapet on the right,which was re-built after a bus went through the old wall,after skidding on ice,[can't remember the exact date,but wonder if Alan has any memory of it happening...[i think it might have been 1959-ish...but stand to be corrected..]

When I played in that field on the right,in 1947,there were houses all the way down the bank,on the right,and no bushes in the field,not having recovered

from being bombed,there were only small dead tree stumps here and there,one of which was our "motorbike"!!!! [to us little kids..!]

If I can find a very rare photo of Myself and little Ronnie Andrews,my friend,aged three and a half years,I  will try and post it,although it doesn't show anything except us kids,and a bit of the field,but nevertheless,interesting history!

During and after the war,there was no un-necessary wastage of paper,like the huge adverts on the gable end,no wallpaper for decorating....more like

distemper stippled with a bit of rag!!  [  now called "Rag-rolling",by our more affluent and posh society!]

Mind you,that guy leaning against the wall on the left,on the bridge,looks for all the world,like wor aad chep!!!...and,considering we lived only twenty yards along from where he is standing,[on the left],at number 3 Storey's buildings,it is easy for me to picture it as him,wondering if he should go to work,or not!

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I think one of the pit lads on bikes was me,coming yem from High pit,Choppington!!.....no,mistaken,AGAIN!....my bike had a dynamo on!!Heh heh!

Edited by HIGH PIT WILMA

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Still think this photo is around 1910ish if you look closely that seems like a shovel the person on left of bridge is carrying.

Also very top right behind the Lord Clyde is what was a very small theatre at turn of 20th cent.

Right character called Clipper Smith lived in house nearest the bridge.

Your about right with the bus Bill

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"Shovel" [looks like one!] appears to be a big shopping bag,made of same material as coat,Alan.

Photo taken in spring time,as blossoms are on everywhere,but must have been a cold day,from lady's hood being pulled up over her head!

Very few chimney pots,suggesting unused fireplaces bricked up,like we did at West terrace,Stakeford,in the early 1970's!

Pavement on right,overgrown by the hedgerows,suggests property ran down that side,[which it did in 1947,that I remember],wouldn't have been laid otherwise...I played as a three year old where those big bushes are next to the bridge,but they weren't there then!

Fella leaning on bridge parapet wall has more "modern" suit on,narrow straight legs,not baggy like they used to be in the old days!

Road is a bit of a mess,suggestive of an earlier period in time,but better than what we have got now!

"Modern-ish" haulage truck parked at top right behind the building,can't read the logo on the side.

Too early yet for telly aerials!

All this is still up for discussion,but just my observations,using not the zoom on my laptop, ..but a high-powered magnifying glass![shows the ladies coat material pattern up clearly.]

My last point is,the photo is of much better quality,taken with modernish film,very little graininess,even though it was a bright sunny day,and the photographer would have had the benefit of a high shutter speed and narrow aperture[for that time....that is!]

The bikes have been frozen,and also the ladies' swinging shopping bag,which does make it look like a square-mouthed shovel!

A 1910 cameraman would have had everyone posing for a minute or two,not smiling,but standing perfectly still,as we all know,to prevent blurring.

This pic was take around 4-30pm...how do I know?...position of the shadows caused by a setting sun in the west,mainly cos the pit lads shift [back-shift],was 8-30 am to 4-0pm,they are riding home with "clean"! pit-clothes on,not clarty wet raggy ones,like we were at the end of a normal shift at Choppington!

Al,dae ye think a shud keep me day job....heh heh!

Saw your old undermanager doon the Wanny river waak,thi day Alan,[not thi Silver Fox..but silver-haired,and reet canny.....initials Bill K.].mainly at the Plessey,at Bates,had a gud lang crack aboot thi pit.

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at the top of the bank and over the railway line on the right side (west) was station terrace - 5 houses - a mrs Syrett lived in no 3 and bred golden retrievers - she had a lodger that worked at remploy and had one of those 3 wheeled invalid cars. next door at no 4 was George Barnfather who had the demolition and scrap yard at the back of the street, then in the last house was the Rice family who had the chip shop at Scotland Gate . the station was used for passenger trains much later than previously stated. a man called Clifford was in the station house, but his wife had a few mental health problems as far as I recall (apologies if that is wrong) next to that was a separate house where an old gent lived (only known as 'old army') barnfather had two sons - one lived on the road to Scotland gate on the left side past willow bridge and the other had a house on willow bridge as far as I recall. there was a shop at the top of the bank in the photo opposite the white swan which was then the Lord Clyde. the shop was owned by norman yarrow and his wife peggy - they had a son brian who is/was a milkman and a daughter Maureen, they opened up a shop in Vulcan place in later years. the lord clyde was owned by mrs wade but run by her son Jacky. when she died he got married and moved to france I think. he had a dion de bouton vintage car stashed away behind the pub. after the beeching report the sidings behind the station were used for storing steam engines prior to being scrapped. I hope this information helps. 

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further to above -- no 2 station terrace was a woman called 'olive'. at the bottom of the bank beside willow bridge was a garage used by Barnfathers business. as you travelled towards Scotland gate on the west side I think Billy Dixon lived there and he had a horse and cart. from Yarrows shop going down to the bridge I recall the Candlish family lived next to the shop then the Miller family. Jacky Wades mother in the Lord Clyde was called Barbara.

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Thanks for the info Pilgrim, I have lived in Choppington - just up the hill from the Willow Bridge - now for a couple of years and love the place. It's quiet, I have great neighbours, two pubs and shops within a short walk and a lovely nature reserve outside my back gate.

 

I'm interested in a few details: where was Station Terrace?  I note "at the top of the bank and over the railway line on the right side (west) was station terrace"; I'm no good with directions, is/was this terrace on the Swan/Lord Clyde side of the road, or the other? Also, where exactly was the station? I was in The Swan last night; the current owner's father is looking after the place while Chris and Kirsty are away; he apparently took the place on when it still was the Lord Clyde. It's a very friendly place to sit and have a couple of beers while reading the paper, and the food is good too. One thing I discovered last night that may have just changed my life is that they do take-out meals!

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station terrace is the row of houses on the bedlington side of the crossing. the station was immediately beside the lord clyde with platforms on both sides - one for trains towards bedlington station and the other towards hepscott and morpeth. the station master's house was on a plot of land at the side of the road immediately opposite the signal box. travelling towards bedlington along station terrace, there was a small gap and a large building known locally as the german club - allegedly as someone had tried to signal out to sea from an upper floor, this was demolished in the very early 60's. further on towards bedlington where there are now stables was a single very large allotment with two pear trees. 

I should have clarified  earlier that the lord clyde is at choppington station  and not choppington itself and there was another pub opposite the lord clyde.

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