Category Archives: Events

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.

 

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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.

Book now

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

Book now

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.

Book now

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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Class Act? A history of Newcastle schools

School education in Newcastle has gone through many changes since the mid nineteenth century. Using research undertaken while writing a history of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in the northeast, in April Peter Sagar will guide us through 170 years of history and show how the lives of Newcastle schoolchildren, of which Peter was himself one, were affected by when, as well as where, they were educated.  This will be a fascinating talk, of interest to anybody who went to school, whether in Newcastle or not.

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Chillingham Road pupils, c 1908

Our speaker

Heaton History Group member, Peter Sagar is a well respected local historian who has many published articles to his name and has taught history and geography for over 30 years.

Peter has an M Phil in the regional identity of north east England from the University of Northumbria and is a founder and company secretary of A Living Tradition, which seeks to help people in our region to learn more about our great traditions of human rights and community cohesion and to be inspired to help continue them.

High Heaton Infants School Pupils, 1935

High Heaton Infants School pupils, 1935

Book now

Our talk will take place on Wednesday 24 April 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.

Chillingham Road School prefects

Chillingham Road School prefects,1962

Tyneside’s Home Front in WW2

To commemorate 80 years since the start of the second world war, local author Andrew Clark will evoke the days of evacuation, gas masks, the black-out, air raid shelters, identity cards, the Home Guard and VE Day as well as campaigns such as ‘Dig For Victory’ and ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’. Food rationing did not end until the 1950s so a few members of our audience may have tried bananas made out of parsnips or even chocolate potato cake. Andrew’s talk will bring back memories for some and be entertaining and informative for the rest of us.

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Denmark Street victory street party, 1945

Andrew is an author and publisher of North East local history books. He has written over 20 books and, through his company Summerhill Books, has edited and published over 150 books on communities throughout Tyneside, Northumberland and County Durham. Andrew has also worked on heritage projects in school and youth centres.

Book now

Our talk will take place on Wednesday 27 March 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. 

 

Social Care in Almshouses and Aged Miner Homes in the North East

Almshouses and ‘aged miner homes’ are still a common sight around the north east. But what’s their history? When did they originate? Who founded them and who owns them now? What were and are they like to live in?

In October’s talk, Christine Seal will look first at almshouses, giving examples of different types and their occupants, and then at the growth of aged miner homes in the north east from their inception in the 1890s to the 1930s, after which few were built.

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Tynemouth Master Mariner Almshouses

Our speaker

Christine researched the subject as part of a nationwide project conducted by the Family and Community Historical Research Society that culminated in a book to which she contributed a chapter on occupational almshouses in the north east. She had previously studied relief of the poor in the community for a PhD at the University of Leicester.

Among her many interests since her relocation to the north east is involvement with the conservation group of Hexham Abbey, where she is helping to record the abbey’s textiles and memorials. She is also secretary of the NE Methodist History Society.  As well as aged miner homes in Durham and Northumberland, Christine is currently researching stories of Methodism, local preachers and chapels in the north east.

Book now

Our  talk will take place on Wednesday 24 October 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. Until 27 September, booking will be open to Heaton History Group members only.