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Alston Moor History

My partner, Sue Cartlidge, & I shifted to Alston Moor in 1976. After a few other moves – wages clerk at The Foundry, barmaid at The Blue Bell, she reluctantly took up teaching again, in Samuel Kings School. Mostly she taught French and English but she also collaborated with Richard Turner- a senior master- over collecting and teaching local history- a long-gone curriculum topic!

Richard and I curated an exhibition based on a collection of glass plates once help in Don Middleton’s ironmonger’s shop. Some were by von Dix and Smedley, others by his predecessor ironmonger Hugh Walton and others by one of the Nicholson family It was around 1982 and we called it “Alston Now and Then”.  Prints were made in London by a bloke with a cold cathode enlarger.

Jump forward to 1999. We’d been away farming in Scotland but missed Alston Moor. I’d got back into photography after over 20 years & set up shop on Front Street. Financially it was a big failure but I started to copy images brought in by older folk- all wet process and hand-printed… then came the digital world- scanning and the chance to write the images’ stories “behind “ them…

Cut to 22 years later and I’d accumulated well over 3,000 almost entirely out of copyright images of the area and stared to digitally record all manner of tales. In the shop one wise person had told me. “You know what you’ve got here, don’t you? Just a social club for the old ones to hang around in- swapping stories.” I miss it!

Now I’m a part of the revived Alston Moor Historical Society. We aim to publish all their own and my collection of old local images.

Elsewhere on my site you can see a few short videos which combine our oral and pictorial histories.

  • Coll. AMHS from the Now and Then exhibition ca 1985. Prints courtesy Noel Faulkener from the Don Middleton collection.
This image is one of 2 from the day. The other is seen in carte de visite size, is associated with von Dix images (1869; in Alston), and shows the keeper alone in the same gateway.
The bowler hatted man look well satisfied with life though the woman isn't letting too much emotion hit the lens.

    Coll. AMHS from the Now and Then exhibition ca 1985. Prints courtesy Noel Faulkener from the Don Middleton collection. This image is one of 2 from the day. The other is seen in carte de visite size, is associated with von Dix images (1869; in Alston), and shows the keeper alone in the same gateway. The bowler hatted man look well satisfied with life though the woman isn't letting too much emotion hit the lens.

  • From the Herald - 1994 steps class in The Back of the Crown, Alston.
Threlkeld, Wood, Lee, Lancaster, Robinson,Swan, Kearton, Foster, Osborne, Bramwell, Horrocks.

    From the Herald - 1994 steps class in The Back of the Crown, Alston. Threlkeld, Wood, Lee, Lancaster, Robinson,Swan, Kearton, Foster, Osborne, Bramwell, Horrocks.

  • 
Spring Cleaning at Alston. H. Bell is a grocer but it's the folk upstairs who've put the mattresses out beside the old chapel.
From the scuttles beside it, that looks like coal- delivered the rough way!

    Spring Cleaning at Alston. H. Bell is a grocer but it's the folk upstairs who've put the mattresses out beside the old chapel. From the scuttles beside it, that looks like coal- delivered the rough way!

  • Coll. Jack Douglas 1 Park View Lane, Alston CA9 3TW Tel 381795. Copied into archive with permission Nov 2009.
1919 Peace Celebrations in Alston- July 19th
These photographs were probably taken by Jack's father, Mark.
George White in the Ewe and Lamb, Alston Drug Company, Walter Willson's and the Victoria Hotel all showing.
A man with gloved? hand runs from the gathering parade. A dog barks at the float driven by John Willie Cousin.

    Coll. Jack Douglas 1 Park View Lane, Alston CA9 3TW Tel 381795. Copied into archive with permission Nov 2009. 1919 Peace Celebrations in Alston- July 19th These photographs were probably taken by Jack's father, Mark. George White in the Ewe and Lamb, Alston Drug Company, Walter Willson's and the Victoria Hotel all showing. A man with gloved? hand runs from the gathering parade. A dog barks at the float driven by John Willie Cousin.

  • Coll. Chris Lovegreen. 1953 Nenthead's first Rose Queen  Run by the Women's Institute.
His Dad Alec on his Allis-Chalmers tractor- they lived at Sunniside farm up Whitehall.
On the steps of the Chapel- Sally Liverick & her sister, [lived in the Rechabite hall] & Jean Glendinning > Richardson

    Coll. Chris Lovegreen. 1953 Nenthead's first Rose Queen Run by the Women's Institute. His Dad Alec on his Allis-Chalmers tractor- they lived at Sunniside farm up Whitehall. On the steps of the Chapel- Sally Liverick & her sister, [lived in the Rechabite hall] & Jean Glendinning > Richardson

  • Early days image- no sign yet of acetylene lamps so pre-ca 1907. Horsemen at Rampgill Mine entrance, Nenthead.
L>R John George Walton, Johnny Barron, Johnny Stout, Jimmy Teasdale, Henry Teasdale, Jack Richardson.

    Early days image- no sign yet of acetylene lamps so pre-ca 1907. Horsemen at Rampgill Mine entrance, Nenthead. L>R John George Walton, Johnny Barron, Johnny Stout, Jimmy Teasdale, Henry Teasdale, Jack Richardson.

  • Coll. Isabel Johnson. Copied 2019. Nenthall School 1938.
Rear L>R ?Geoffrey Stobbs, Angus Armstrong, Tommy Harrison, John Graham- Isabel's brother, John Sraughan ?Ronnie Harrison &George (Dougal) Bell
Middle: Jean Chaters, Mary Stobbs, Renee Graham, Joan Straughan, Belinda Wilkinson, Margaret & Isabel Graham, & Iris Armstrong.
Front: Alwyn, Sidney & Clifford Hymers &Joe Walby.

Also written,

    Coll. Isabel Johnson. Copied 2019. Nenthall School 1938. Rear L>R ?Geoffrey Stobbs, Angus Armstrong, Tommy Harrison, John Graham- Isabel's brother, John Sraughan ?Ronnie Harrison &George (Dougal) Bell Middle: Jean Chaters, Mary Stobbs, Renee Graham, Joan Straughan, Belinda Wilkinson, Margaret & Isabel Graham, & Iris Armstrong. Front: Alwyn, Sidney & Clifford Hymers &Joe Walby. Also written, "Renee, Margaret & me all with the same flowery dresses on and lovely ribbons."

  • Cf Varty+Vipond+Green image of Garrigill Green.
H. Vipond is now at the George & Dragon and Kirsopp is the grocer and draper in the shop.
The inscription might be in the hand of Alston photographer Hugh Walton

    Cf Varty+Vipond+Green image of Garrigill Green. H. Vipond is now at the George & Dragon and Kirsopp is the grocer and draper in the shop. The inscription might be in the hand of Alston photographer Hugh Walton

  • Down Kate's Lane, Alston. Alwyn and Neil Hind on their rocking horse. One of my favourite images of childhood.

    Down Kate's Lane, Alston. Alwyn and Neil Hind on their rocking horse. One of my favourite images of childhood.

  • Coll. Sheila Bryant
Les Bryant pulls hay from RAF helicopter towards the end of the  '63 snows.- Cow Gap Farm. Fodder had run out at steadings and many sheep were stuck out of reach on the fell.

    Coll. Sheila Bryant Les Bryant pulls hay from RAF helicopter towards the end of the '63 snows.- Cow Gap Farm. Fodder had run out at steadings and many sheep were stuck out of reach on the fell.

  • Tynehead School. Teacher at right Sophia Dent (1881-1931), the male teacher said to be Johnny Dent (!894-1919). If the photograph had been taken before 1894 then the man could have been Robert Dent,  (1847-94). If it was Tynehead then Sophia might have shared in responsibilties? The 2 windows + larger one look the same as Tynehead school.
At the turn of the century Sophia would have been 19 years old. Some of the fashions wouldn't have been out of place in the 1890s but could as easily be from the first decade of the C20. The standard of dressing and plump, well-fed faces might imply relatively good times economically.
All the older pupils are girls. Where were the boys at this time?

    Tynehead School. Teacher at right Sophia Dent (1881-1931), the male teacher said to be Johnny Dent (!894-1919). If the photograph had been taken before 1894 then the man could have been Robert Dent, (1847-94). If it was Tynehead then Sophia might have shared in responsibilties? The 2 windows + larger one look the same as Tynehead school. At the turn of the century Sophia would have been 19 years old. Some of the fashions wouldn't have been out of place in the 1890s but could as easily be from the first decade of the C20. The standard of dressing and plump, well-fed faces might imply relatively good times economically. All the older pupils are girls. Where were the boys at this time?

  • From the late Jack Douglas's set of negatives . The 1919 Peace Celebrations on Tyne Willow, Alston.A white horse and fantastic rider double exposed- maybe with a woman in white?

    From the late Jack Douglas's set of negatives . The 1919 Peace Celebrations on Tyne Willow, Alston.A white horse and fantastic rider double exposed- maybe with a woman in white?

  • Coll: Michael Kirkbride, 10 Foster Street, Penrith,
The Brough family stall Low Market Place, in 1908- a postcard from Alston

    Coll: Michael Kirkbride, 10 Foster Street, Penrith, The Brough family stall Low Market Place, in 1908- a postcard from Alston "a p(h)oto to let you see our fresh trade from Sally and Michael." Family came from Penrith, selling fish and fruit mainly. The Sally, (Sarah), and Michael are the two adults depicted.The tall boy showing both hands is George McCulloch, all others are Boyles: Jane (long hair), Michael,(in arms), Sarah, John,(with wand) and George (3 more children were yet to be borne to the couple). Then father Michael- Others were Alston folk. Ewe & Lamb + ?Watts' grocers shop behind.

  • Coll. Ronald Sewell, (from Dorothea Little) 
Verso: blank but associated with von Dix cartes de visite. Date ca 1865
An adult woman looks down onto an archer, hoop boy and younger girl with a dolly.  Von Dix also worked in Consett, ran magic shows in Alston Town Hall, ran the Weary Sportsman pub- now called Low Bayles on the Hartside road, worked with his female partner, Smedl(e)y
Presumed to be Octavius & Jane Catherine James' family. Most likely: L>R Hugh Salvin James, 1857-1934, Mildred Althea James, 1859-1937 and Elizabeth May James,  1854-1937.  Clarghyll Hall- defining characteristic: the undercroft ventilating slit to the left of the belted boy, Hugh + the curved window.

    Coll. Ronald Sewell, (from Dorothea Little) Verso: blank but associated with von Dix cartes de visite. Date ca 1865 An adult woman looks down onto an archer, hoop boy and younger girl with a dolly. Von Dix also worked in Consett, ran magic shows in Alston Town Hall, ran the Weary Sportsman pub- now called Low Bayles on the Hartside road, worked with his female partner, Smedl(e)y Presumed to be Octavius & Jane Catherine James' family. Most likely: L>R Hugh Salvin James, 1857-1934, Mildred Althea James, 1859-1937 and Elizabeth May James, 1854-1937. Clarghyll Hall- defining characteristic: the undercroft ventilating slit to the left of the belted boy, Hugh + the curved window.

  • A rescan. Coll SPD Original from Pat Griggs,. Charlie Grant in Rortherhope Mine. Windy pick. Charlie's buried in Garrigill Cemetery and was known to

    A rescan. Coll SPD Original from Pat Griggs,. Charlie Grant in Rortherhope Mine. Windy pick. Charlie's buried in Garrigill Cemetery and was known to "enjoy a good fight".

  • Coll. Enid Graham,  Alston. Copied with permission April 2012. 
The English family & others putting up hay pikes near Blagill ca 1933. Enid was born at Blagill, where her father farmed, in 1935.
L>R Nancy English (ca 11yrs), ?,? Arnold English, (ca 4yrs).
Foreground 2 unidentified boys and Enid's Mam, Florence English>Lamb.

    Coll. Enid Graham, Alston. Copied with permission April 2012. The English family & others putting up hay pikes near Blagill ca 1933. Enid was born at Blagill, where her father farmed, in 1935. L>R Nancy English (ca 11yrs), ?,? Arnold English, (ca 4yrs). Foreground 2 unidentified boys and Enid's Mam, Florence English>Lamb.

  • Coll. Zerel Robson. Copied 2017. A remarkable tinted photographic postcard of Nenthead- taken from roughly where Bevan Terrace stands now. it appears to have been tinted with 2 shades of green, blue for the sky & some windows, red and a warm, dilute orange. The presence of the Market Hall indicates a date before the Vieille Montagne Co. built the new shed in 1907.
Mid ground: L>R St John's Church and the vicarage- above Hillersden Terrace, The school, (later to become the village hall), the Miner's Arms and Weslyan Chapel.
Foreground: A woman and child look out over the railings beside Bankfoot Stores- then K Wallace: General Merchants. Zerel can't recall there being a

    Coll. Zerel Robson. Copied 2017. A remarkable tinted photographic postcard of Nenthead- taken from roughly where Bevan Terrace stands now. it appears to have been tinted with 2 shades of green, blue for the sky & some windows, red and a warm, dilute orange. The presence of the Market Hall indicates a date before the Vieille Montagne Co. built the new shed in 1907. Mid ground: L>R St John's Church and the vicarage- above Hillersden Terrace, The school, (later to become the village hall), the Miner's Arms and Weslyan Chapel. Foreground: A woman and child look out over the railings beside Bankfoot Stores- then K Wallace: General Merchants. Zerel can't recall there being a "house window" on the Store's frontage- the whole elevation being shopfront when she was young. A man stands beside his horse and cart, behind two young women/girls. All five are well aware of being photographed. Someone's left a wheelbarrow on top of the waste level- above the Rechabite Hall. In the far distance- High House cuts into the skyline. Here's a job for someone. How many washing line posts can you find in this image? Scanned at 600 dpi this has got to be one of my favourite local images- but, if you hold the actual card & rotate it in the light it flashes according to whether the photographic surface had been tinted or not.

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Simon Danby - Alston Moor History