Jump to content
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by Canny lass

  1. 10 minutes ago, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

    I still wonder if every household, prior to Family Allowance, actually made the effort to travel to the registrar's

    There was also a fine of a few pounds for those who didn't register and that would probably cost more than the busfare.

  2. 1 hour ago, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

    @Canny lass - I suppose Leslie could have been born anytime prior to when the birth was registered. There wasn't the rush to register prior to Family Allowance being introduced from August 1946. I think many families wouldn't have used their hard earned earnings to travel to the nearest registration office until it was really necessary. Getting from Bedlington to the Morpeth registrars might only have been a yearly event, or even less, for most families in the 1930's.

    I could be wrong but I don't think there was a statutory period fro birth registrations.

    Eggy, the Registration of Births and Deaths Act of 1874 became effective the following year whereby it became the parent’s responsibility to register the birth of their child within 42 days. Prior to this it was the registrar’s responsibilty.

  3. Hi Douglas, welcome to the forum!

    It's amazing the value that's placed on photos. Ask most people what they'd save first if the house went on fire and they'd say 'photos'. They can never be replaced.

    Have a look through the gallery photos here. You may find some relatives on school photos or mining photos. Most have some, or even all, names added. It's a fantastic resource for research.

  4. 2 hours ago, Symptoms said:

    Canny - I waded through that weighty tome etheses.dur.ac.uk/5614 back in 2020; 

    Is that where I got it from! It's been filed away on my PC for ages. Looking at the date of the download it's only 2 days after you mentioned it. It is certainly an extremely good and informative account of the movement in the north east. I had no idea that it was anything other than a watering hole.


    2 hours ago, Symptoms said:

    I can recommend the read as it opens the door for us into the Victorian drive for self-improvement for working men (and it was only for men);  all most women had to look forward to was a life of drudgery back then.

    I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it either but I have to disagree that it was only for men, working or otherwise. (Stockdale outlined nicely a period in the movement's history when there were more white-collar then blue-collar members). I've come across plenty of instances while reading about it that show women were admitted to the MI early on in its history:


    ”Originally, few Mechanics’ Institutes encouraged or allowed female members, although this changed towards the end of the 19th century. Where women were admitted, they often had restricted access: at Shrewsbury, for example, women paid half the subscription of men but were only allowed to attend lectures and use the library. After 1850, many larger institutions started to offer special classes for women, particularly in English.”


    ”One thing is certain: the girls and young women who attended the Institute were made of stern stuff. Unlike the mainly middle-class women attending daytime classes at Manchester Mechanics’ Institute for instance, the women of the Bradford Female Educational Institute worked for a living.”


    The Institute’s egalitarian ethos even extended to women who could attend lectures from 1825 and were able to become members in 1830.

    It's certainly a fascinating history and must have done a lot to improve education and literacy in Bedlington. Worth a mention on our timeline perhaps?



  5. Sorry! There was another page of notes that I'd missed. All of the above is correct but there is one more Davison family which I think it is Lynnes family living at 29 Old Factory. Father, Robert 27, mother, Annie Jane 25, daughters Lillian and Annie 3 yo and 8 months old. The handwritten census form is available.

    The area had many name changes over the years and the residents used one system of identifying where they lived while the enumerator used another. Old Factory is the adress given by both the resident and the enumerator.

    I can say with certainty that the blue 'circle' contains the adresses 1-24 Old Gate Row and 25-32 Old Factory. Following the enumerator's route from Old Factory to his next port of call - Clock House, I'd suggest that the eight dwellings of Old Factory are those which I've marked with a blue dot (sorry if it's confusing with only blue but it seems to be the only colour available today!). These are at the top of the bank leading from the bridge and may be the reason why they are also referred to as Bridge End by residents.

    If Lynne would like the census form filled in by Lillian and Annie's parents let me know. Perhaps she can send an e-mail adress through you Eggy, or we can message it in two steps, me to you, you to Lynne. 

    Old Factory, Bebside Furnace.jpg

    • Like 1
  6. Bridge End, prior to 1912 called Bridge End House, is the house at the end of the Bridge on the Bebside side of the river seen to the left of the attached photo. In both 1901 and 1911 it housed four families in dwellings, numbered 1 -4 in 1901 and 5-8 in 1911 when the numbers continued on from Clock House. I've never seen the name "Bridge End Cottages" on any map, census or electoral records. There were no rows of any great length in Bebside Furnace. Even the Bebside Furnace rows at the top of the bank only went as far as 42 at most (Brick Row). To live in number 46 of any Row would mean leaving the Furnace area and moving towards Cowpen on Front Row, which had 140 houses.


    I’ve researched the furnace area well as 70% of my family was living there from the turn of the century through to the 1930s. There are a few Davisons there but no Lilian or Annie. Nearest name match i can find is Julia Ann Davison a 60 yo widow and her children: David Davison 28, Agnes Davison 26, John George Davison 21, and Julia Annie Davison 16. This family lived at Old Gate, Bebside Furnace which later became Doctors Row. If Lynne can give me anymore info I’ll see if I can help her.

    Furnace Bridge 2.jpg

    • Like 1
  7. continued:

    Having read Stockdale's work I now think I, and possibly we, may be confusing the number of Mechanics’ Institutes with the number of Institute buildings because there seems to have only ever been ONE Mechanics Institute in Bedlington. Briefly (by my standards) those points of interest, gleaned from Stockdale. and relating to our discussion, are the following.


    1824 Ten Mechanics’ Institutes in England of which eight were in the North East and Durham. Among these, only Alnwick and Newcastle were in Northumberland.

    1825 Twelve MIs in the north east, Hexham, Morpeth and Tynemouth Institutes established.

    1827, 1829, 1830, 1831 With the exception of one institute 1828, NO MIs were established in the entire North East. This was due to the effects of the depression. This places a large question mark on Evan Martin’s claim of the Ironworks MI being established 1829.

    1834 – 1846 Crisis years in the movement. Only 13 new institutes established.

    1847 – 1851 Revival of the movement

    1847 The location and economic base of MIs was established between 1847 and 1851

    1848 Bedlington Mechanics Institute established. Its economic base was Bedlington Iron Works.

    1852 – 1873 Government interventions in education are introduced and public libraries opened. This heralds the demise of the movement as its traditional services now have strong competition.

    1855 -1862 The North East movement reaches its peak of activity

    1874 to 1902 The MI is still facing strong competition for its traditional services of education and libraries, added to which the institutes are now amalgamating with the Working Mens’ Institutes as the social and drinking side of the movement has gained ground, being almost the only function they have left.

    1878 Delegates reports on their Institutes to the Northern Union Annual Meeting were said to be of a ”satisfactory nature”. There was no cause for concern for the movement.

    1881 Delegates reports, including from Bedlington, were giving more details on membership, activity and finances and concern is expressed that MIs are still extremely dependent on financial support from the upper classes. This dependency continued throughout the remainder of the century.


    The death of MIs in the North East:

    The financial support of the upper classes facilitated a lot of rebuilding and refurbishing within the north east movement during the latter years of the nineteenth century, something Stockdale describes as a possible ”mission of responsibility toward educational and social improvement of the working-classes”. (Netherton got a reading room!). However, it didn’t seem to help other than allowing the movement to go out with a whimper rather than a bang. Bedlington Mechanics’ Institute, which had 200 members in 1906 hade NONE in 1907. Like Monty Python’s Norwegian Blue parrot it had ceased to be. It was extinct. It was dead.


    The movement ended in the north east in 1913. Several establishments retained the name Mechanics’ Institute, or something similar, but they are basically social clubs.



    http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/5614/1/5614 3030.PDF


    In light of that I suggest that Bedlington Mechanics’ Institute, established 1848 at Bedlington Ironworks, may have had its origins in the Society for Mutual Improvement at the same place. I don’t know when that was established, possibly 1829, but i’ts well documented that BIW had students from all over Europe.

    I’d further suggest that the institutes located at Bedlington Station Colliery and Market Place Bedlington were all part of the same ’Bedlington Mechanics’ Institute’ created to provide easier access for people on the Bedlington side of the river.




    • Like 1
  8. 19 hours ago, Symptoms said:

    We did have a bit of a discussion a while ago about 'The Mechanics Institute' in the thread about listing our pubs and clubs ... there may be some crumbs there that'll thicken the mix of this thread.  Look here:

    https://www.bedlington.co.uk/forums/topic/4448-list-of-pubs-and-clubs-bedlington-district/?page=5#:~:text=Clubs - Bedlington District-,List Of Pubs And Clubs - Bedlington District,-Rate this topic

    As promised in that earlier thread I continue to look for more info on Mechanics Institutes but documents are difficult to find online;  they will no doubt exist as ledgers archived somewhere on dusty shelves but haven't yet been digitized for all to see.



    18 hours ago, James said:

    Canny Lass 

    You are getting mixed up with the two different Mechanics Institutes.

    Evan Matin's book is about the Ironworks Mechanics Institute.

    The 38th anniversary refers to the Colliery Mechanics Institute. 

    Warning! make a cuppa this may be long!

    Thanks James and thanks Symptoms! I knew there’d been a discussion somewhere. I’ve had an opportunity to rummage through my vast amounts of notes. I see now that I was confusing the date 1855 as the founding of the Mechanics’ Institute (MI) when it was in fact the date of Michael Longridge’s departure from the Ironworks. However, I wasn’t too far out.


    I spent yesterday and this morning reading a document which I started reading at the time of the last discussion. Symptoms, if you’re interested in MI history in the north east, and not just Bedlington, then I can absolutely recommend it. It’s an academic thesis but the language isn’t overly academic and, whatever their education, anyone with a keen interest will find it readable. Excellent bibliography too, which gives plenty of sources for further research should you need them after reading. The document is Clifton Stockdale’s doctoral dissertation from 1993, entitled:

    Mechanics’ Institutes in Northumberland and Durham 1824-1902

    Stockdale traces the Mechanics’ Institute movement from its beginnings in London 1823 but, as the title suggests, the main body of his dissertation follows the introduction of the MI movement in the north east (1824), its development and eventual demise. He discusses along the way contributory factors and their effect on the movement – among them the 1826 depression, various reform bills, trade union movements, economic patronage, social and cultural factors and a whole host of other interesting things.


  9. 18 hours ago, James said:

    The Ironworks Mechanics Institute was in the Clock House at Furnace Bank and was opened in 1829 (from Evan Martin’s book on the Ironworks.)

    Hang on a minute! There's something here that can't be right. If The MI was celebrating its 38th anniversary in 1889, it surely couldn't have been founded in 1829 as Evan Martin says? I was pretty sure it was founded in 1855 or thereabout. I'll have to dig out my notes and refresh my memory.

  10. 14 hours ago, James said:

    Canny Lass

    The Bedlington Iron and Engine works operated between 1736 and 1867 and The Doctor Pit operated between 1855 and 1968. Each had their own Mechanics Institute.

    The Ironworks Mechanics Institute was in the Clock House at Furnace Bank and was opened in 1829 (from Evan Martin’s book on the Ironworks.)

    The Colliery Mechanics Institute was initially at the Market Place and then moved to what is now the community centre. I don’t know when it opened but it is shown on the 1860 map of Bedlington so it must have been shortly after the colliery started operating

    Thanks for the heads up, James. I'll have to have another look at that piece of my research.

  11. I’ve only seen the MI mentioned on the 1897 and 1910 maps but I can tell you a bit of its history because it featured in my (on-going) research on Michael Longridge who was the initiator of the Mechanics Institute in Bedlington.

    As far as I’ve been able to see it was established in or around 1851 in the building which later housed Peter Bacci’s shop, where it can be seen on James’ map of 1860. It was founded by the 'Society for Mutual Improvement', Bedlington Iron Works and was originally called the ”Literary and Mechanics Institute”. I’ve found it mentioned as such in several documents, among them:

    Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Reports from Committees. Vol. 3 Page 227 (published 1853).

    Five years later, however, The Literary and Educational Year Book, page 262 (published 1859) , refers to it simply as ”Bedlington Mechanics Institute”.

    It would seem to have relocated to the position now occupied by the Community Centre in 1888. This is the old Court House - shown on the 1860 map . The court house was vacated in 1888 when the petty sessions court moved into the new court house and police station next to the Red Lion. Of the old court house it can be read that while the date of opening is unknown, the date of closure was 1888 when "a new combined police station and court house was built and the old court house near the Market Place became the Mechanics' Institute".


    This is supported by an extract from The Monthly Chronicle of North-country Lore and Legend, Vol 3, page 93, (published 1889) where the entry for December 1889 (relating to that year's events) states:

    "The committee of the Bedlington Mechanics' Institute celebrated the 38th anniversary, by planting a number of trees in the ground in front of the large building in Front Street". This also supports the institute being established in 1851.


  12. It was indeed at the top end of Bedlington and next door to the presbytery of the Roman Catholic Church. It's an awkward place to research on maps, partly because the area is often divided over two maps and partly because it's had so many name changes over the years.

    The best map i can find that shows all the buildings together is this one from 1898. The property (or at least part of it) which i've marked in blue has had the following adresses and housed the following occupants (with occupation) on census records from 1891, 1901 and 1911. The first number is the census schedule number (not the house number), should Ingrid wish to do more research. The number in brackets which follows the adress  is the number of rooms  and seems to suggest that the property has been divided into smaller dwellings at some time. Perhaps Ingrid can recognise a family name.


    104, West End, Robert Thompson, gardener (5+ rooms)


    54? Rose Villa, Ralph Humble, Market gardener (5+ rooms)


    257, Rose Villa (Gardens), David Muirhead, market gardener (4 rooms)


    258, Rose Villa Cottages, Alfred Alexander, miner (2 rooms)


    259, Rose Villa Cottages, James Homes, miner (2 rooms)


    260, Rose Villa Cottges, Catholic Row, James John

    Middleton, miner (2 rooms)


    261, Rose Villa Cottages, West End, Alexander Brown, miner (4 rooms)


    • Like 1
  13. Would that be Ivan McBride - born Cunningham? If so, I can give you the address where he lived 2003-2010. I don't know if he lived there after 2010 but I do know the house was sold in 2018. You could always ask the present owner if they know of Ivan's where-abouts. I can message you the address if it's any use to you.

  14. On 27/04/2022 at 12:25, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

    Most of us will remember the game of 'Pitch & Toss' that was played outside the Miners Institute at the 'A' Pit that is now illegal to play.

    I remember it well! me and my brother used to get thruppence each to keep a look out for the colliery 'polis' at Netherton - and an earfull (or worse) from my mother for being anywhere near it.

    • Like 1
    • Haha 1
  15. Answers to the Easter Special:

    1. Cortenuova, Italy (but it was made by the company ‘Tosca’)

    2. I am the Walrus

    3. Peter Carl Fabergé also known as Karl Gustavovich Fabergé

    4. Palm Sunday

    5. Pontius Pilate

    6. Maundy money

    7. Monty Python

    8. £155 ($218) It was baked in London 1829 then bought at an antiques show in the UK in 2000.

    9. The Flying Bells. In remembrance of Jesus’ death the bells fly to the Vatican and are blessed by the Pope. On the way back they collect eggs and chocolate which they drop into the gardens of well-behaved French children on Easter Sunday.

    10. Simnel cake

    11. Traditionally there are 11 balls representing the12 apostles, minus Judas

    12. The blood of Jesus

    13. The moon. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox.

    14. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Cumberbunny)

    15. Crucifixion day

    16. Poland

    17. Kinder Surprise. Since 2016 the law forbids the use of toys to promote sale of any item high in calories, saturated fats, sugar or sodium.

    18. To provide a fixed date for Easter (NB. The law, although passed, is not yet implemented)

    19. Yes. 1978

    20. To disguise eventual flaws.

    21. Because it’s easier than trying to wallpaper them.

    Thank you for putting up with it for two years! If we get locked in again, which i suspect is possible, you may have to put up with it again.

    • Like 2
  16. Thanks for your input Symptoms. It answered a lot of questions and created even more! The cement rendering explains why I was thinking it was stone built. The rendering must have been scored to make it look like stone blocks. I don't suppose you could say exactly where that doorway by the two priests was located? I have a photo of my mother at the same door but, as I said,it looks like stone. Myself, I can't remember it at all.

    I'm still rummaging through the census records. The fruit trees you mention may have belonged to a market garden. 1891, 1901 and 1911 there is a 5 roomed property (Rose Villa)next door to the presbytery and the occupier (different at each census) is always a gardener/market gardener).

    It seems to have been an area of mixed class. Catholic Row consisted basically of 12, 1 - 2 room terrassed houses where 1 room could accomodate a family of 6 and even find room for a lodger! On the other hand there were a couple of 5 room properties with only two people living 'by own means'. One, 'Lydia Luxon' ,who was in 5 rooms 1891, down-sized to two rooms in 1901 and was still there in 1911. Claims to be married but there is never any sign of a husband. She's definitely sparked an interest! Then there's Mr Beadnell, a 'grocer's cartman'. I wonder if it was him ho eventually had the shop at the top-end?

    Thanks again! I may have more questions for you as I dig deeper.

  • Create New...