Category Archives: Events

Harry Hotspur’s Big Night Out: the battle of Otterburn

Our March talk is about the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, the dramatic border reiver battle of Chevy Chase and the part played by one of Northumbria’s most dashing sons, Harry Hotspur as he took on his Scottish rival, the Earl of Douglas in what became the stuff of legend.

Harry Hotspur

Harry Hotspur, Shrewsbury

Our speaker

Michael Thomson is an artist and historian and, since moving to Northumberland almost 10 years ago following 20 years working in the heritage industry, he has been  exploring the history of the North.

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The event will take place on Wednesday 25 March 2020 at The Corner House, Heaton NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting maria@heatonhistorygroup.org / 07443 594154.

George Stephenson: father of the railways

Our February talk covers the life of George Stephenson from his birth in 1781 in the single family room of the cottage in Wylam to his death in 1848 at his stately country estate in Derbyshire.

StephensonGeorge

George Stephenson

We will hear about his early years in the mines of Northumberland, the development of the steam engine – first static and then ‘moving’ – the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and the Rainhill Trials. His involvement in progressing railways across Europe.  His battle with Sir Humphrey Davy over the provenance of the miner’s safety lamp.  His gradual retirement which left the Stephenson legacy to his son, the prodigy who was Robert Stephenson.

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Our Speaker

Malcolm Smith was born in Newcastle and educated at Rutherford Grammar School. His career  was spent at Newcastle General and then in the pharmaceutical and aviation industries. He returned to Northumberland in 2001. Besides giving local history talks, he is a Freemason, supports Newcastle United and flies his light aircraft from Eshott Airfield.

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The event will take place on Wednesday 26 February 2020 at The Corner House, Heaton NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting maria@heatonhistorygroup.org / 07443 594154.

The Lit & Phil: ‘a valuable NE institution’

Our January talk will be about a much loved local institution, Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society.

Bust of Charles Hutton by Sebastian Gahagan now in the Lit and Phil

Bust of Charles Hutton, once of High Heaton,  by Sebastian Gahagan in the Lit and Phil

The Lit & Phil is the largest independent library outside London and it’s here in our home town!  The Library has played and continues to play a vigorous role in the cultural life of Newcastle and the region. The talk will take a humorous look at how the Library has developed over more than two hundred years, organising lectures, concerts, book launches and language classes, in addition to collecting and preserving some 170,000 books, some of them valuable and rare.

Our Speaker

Ian McCardle attended Heaton Technical and Manor Park schools and then went on to Exeter University to study French and Spanish. He worked for twenty years as a modern languages teacher in England and Germany before joining Newcastle University as Deputy Director of the Language Centre. He has volunteered with Age UK and the Youth Hostel Association and he is a Victoria Tunnel guide on which he also give talks.

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The event will take place on Wednesday 22 January 2020 at The Corner House, Heaton NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting maria@heatonhistorygroup.org / 07443 594154.

The Border Reivers

On 23 October 2019, our talk at the Corner House will be about the Border Reivers.

For three hundred years Northern England and Southern Scotland witnessed the longest and most savage intercnine war in history. This was largely fought by the ‘riding’ names from the upland dales of Northumberland and Liddesdale. These were not Robin Hood characters but well organised and murderous cross-border criminal mafias who preyed on the more exposed lowlands while at the same time pursuing feuds and vendettas of relentless fury which endured for generations.

 

BorderReivers2

This was a world where murder, theft, kidnapping and ransom were everyday activities, where loyalty to family was all that counted, these uplands became a blighted ‘threap’ a war-zone where the arts of civilisation, faith and culture could not endure. Set in authority to mind this shop of horrors were the border wardens, our versions of US Marshals but not a white hat in sight. Often the wardens were more a part of the problem than any sign of a solution.

At regular intervals the standard fare of low level conflict and raiding burst into a tornado of violence when England and Scotland were at war, a far from infrequent occurrence. Two kings of Scotland were killed by the borderers, two more captured for ransom.

Our speaker

Although he worked for nearly thirty years in law and related fields, John Sadler’s main passion has always been for military history. Living in the heart of the historic Anglo Scottish Borderland stimulated a particular  interest in ‘The Steel Bonnets’ – the sixteenth century border reivers.

He has a particular interest in historical re-enactment and interpretation for schools, community and local history groups. His approach to history is to make the experience of telling or teaching as meaningful and interactive for the audience as possible, with displays of clothing, arms, armour and firearms, demonstrations of swordplay, musket drill and the odd dash of drama. He sees delivery as much a performance as a lecture.

John is a member of Equity and a Fellow of The Royal Historical Society.

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Our talk will take place on Wednesday 23 October 2019 at The Corner House, Heaton NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting maria@heatonhistorygroup.org / 07443 594154.

Newcastle Hospitals: nine centuries of care

Our September talk will look at the development of hospitals in Newcastle from the 12th to 21st centuries, including the highly regarded and ground-breaking Freeman Hospital in High Heaton. The talk concludes with some observations on the past that should shape the future.

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St Mary the Virgin Hospital, 12th century

Our speaker

Reg Hall studied medicine at University College London and University College Hospital in London before spending a year at a mission hospital in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

After completing surgical training, he was appointed as a consultant urologist in Newcastle. He went on to work with international cancer clinical trials organisations and established and directed the Northern Cancer Network. After retirement, he co-founded Cancer Connections, a cancer support charity in South Tyneside where he still volunteers.

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Newcastle Infirmary, 1753

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Our talk will take place on Wednesday 25 September 2019 at The Corner House, Heaton NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting maria@heatonhistorygroup.org / 07443 594154.

Wor Woolies

Our May talk will elicit fond memories for many. In his richly illustrated and entertaining talk, featuring historic images and his own photographs, retail consultant Graham Soult will tell the story of Woolworths through its buildings.

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Can you spot Woolworths on the left?

Starting with the retailer’s UK launch in 1909, he will take us through all the highs and lows, including its first stores in the North East, its spectacular growth from the 1920s to the 1960s, and its subsequent decline and closure. Having visited and photographed all the former Woolworths stores in the North East, Graham’s talk ends with a reveal of what they have all now become.

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Our talk will take place on Wednesday 22 May 2019 at St Gabriel’s Church, Heaton Road NE6 5QN at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting maria@heatonhistorygroup.org / 07443 594154.

Gertrude Bell: desert queen

Our talk in June will feature on of the BBC’s recent twentieth century ‘Icons‘. Born in Washington, Durham, Gertrude Bell was an adventurer, archaeologist, cartographer, historian, linguist, mountaineer, traveller and writer.

During the First World War, she became an Intelligence Officer and after the War played a major role in creating the modern Middle East. She was as vital to the history of that region as her friend and colleague, Lawrence of Arabia. It is interesting to note that the political and religious problems that Gertrude faced in the Middle East have changed very little in almost 100 years.

Gertrude Bell aged 26

Gertrude Bell, aged 26

Our speaker

Anthony Atkinson was born in Gateshead, attended St Cuthbert’s Grammar School, Newcastle and studied Economics at Clare College, Cambridge. He qualified as a chartered accountant and held various positions as financial director in industry before undertaking a management buyout acquiring 32 retail shops from Vaux Group Plc. After selling the business, Anthony reverted to his ‘first love’ of history. He is now a Newcastle City Guide, a volunteer for Friends of The Laing Art Gallery and also a volunteer guide at the Lit & Phil. This is one of his portfolio of ten talks.

Book now

Our talk will take place on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at The Corner House, Heaton NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting maria@heatonhistorygroup.org / 07443 594154.

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