Category Archives: Events

The Lyon’s Roar

If you think you know about football, think again!

OK, did you know that the youngest ever player to score for England was 15-year-old, Mary Lyons?

Jarrow born and bred, Mary made her England debut in front of 20,000+ people at St James’ Park, Newcastle, 1918, a hundred years ago!

lyonsmary teamresized

Mary Lyons

This phenomenal story has been covered up, until now!

World War One saw carnage at the front so women flooded into munitions factories at home to replace men. The lasses played football during bait-time kickabouts and soon workplace teams were challenging each other in charity matches. Then it got serious!

Mary’s skills rapidly gained the attention of newspaper sporting columns and in 1918, she led her beloved Palmers team from a scratch side to the best in the region, bringing home The Munitionettes Cup to Jarrow in 1919.

But an event in 1921 put paid to women’s football for 50 years!

Our speaker

The incredible story of Mary Lyons will be told by top North East actress Viktoria Kay.

Viktoria is an awarding winning actress, appearing in many productions throughout the region and across the UK, including London’s West End (Pitmen Painters). Recent credits include Geordie the Musical, The 12 Pound Look, Joe Wilson’s Music Hall, Christmas at the Cathedral and Frankenstein: Revelations.

Viktoria regularly performs with the comedy troupe Laffalang Gang and recently performed in front of 10,000 people at the iconic Sunday for Sammy show at the Newcastle Metro Arena. Her TV and film credits include, I, Daniel Blake, Emmerdale, Wolfblood and Harriet’s Army.

Viktoria will be playing Mary in a new stage production about Mary Lyons and women’s football, The Lyons Roar, penned by top North East playwright Ed Waugh, writer of smash hits Hadaway Harry, Mr Corvan’s Music Hall and the forthcoming The Great Joe Wilson.

Book now

Our  talk will take place on Wednesday 11 July 2018 at Heaton Stannington Football Club, Newton Road, NE7 7HP 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 / 07443 594154. Until 26 April, booking will be open to Heaton History Group members only.


Heaton! The Show

Heaton History member, Peter Dillon, has written a play that’ll be a must see for anyone interested in Heaton and its history. Luckily for those of us still living in the neighbourhood, we won’t have to catch a train to London’s West End or even traipse into town. It’ll be performed at Heaton’s own People’s Theatre. But if you don’t live locally, now’s the time to start calling in favours and bagging the spare rooms and sofas of your Heaton friends and relations.

And if you encounter a film crew over then next few weeks, it might not be another episode of ‘Vera”. It’ll probably be Peter, the writer, on location.  He explains:

‘Once a script is ready for the actors to rehearse it’s usually a sign for the writer to take a back seat.    Of course the text will change & develop– all the way to ‘curtain up.  Meanwhile…… the Heaton! draft delivered there’s time enough to put my feet up and  ponder the sights of the allotments from my office window.

No, not a bit of it.  With my film head on, I could strangle the writer.  He’s gone and written a number of film extracts both dramatic and documentary.  So the tasks continue: crews to contact, facilities and locations to visit, actors to wrangle and the whole machinery of film making kicks in.  Anyone know a penny farthing rider, who’d impersonate George Waller on film?  Thankfully, the answer’s yes, Michael Stout from Durham.  A motor cycle, circa 1910, anyone?  Thank you, Jon Hill.

George Waller on Penny farthing

George Waller will appear in Heaton! at the Peoples

Then I’m reminded of the famous film producer, coming to the end of his career, who was asked what he considered the most important element essential in the production of a film, replied, “After a good script, the catering.  Like an army a film crew marches on its stomach.”  So what about a caterer?  Yes, again.

Up early one morning to catch Mark Armstrong, the Factory Manager at Siemens, who is taking me on a tour of the Heaton Works – C.A. Parsons in its day.  We stand on some cobbles, the only  remains from Sir Charles’s day.  Problem is the view’s less than inspiring, and we head off to the Heavy Machinery Shop.  Bingo! This massive shed houses an impressive number of lathes, turbines and industrial hardware that on film will give a sense of muscularity to the scene in which Parsons returns to the Fossway factory.  

Siemens in the form of Mark, Ruth Baldasera, who has made a study of the Parsons’ family and is behind the drive to repair Charles and Lady Katharine’s grave at Kirkwhelpington, and Geoff Horseman have been extremely supportive of Heaton! and a great help.

Next, the Mining Institute and their fabulous library, a grocer on Chillingham Rd,  and, if the rain and snow ever relent, Grounsell  Park for Heaton Stannington vs Darlington etc……

Lyric cinema 1936

Heaton! will be performed in the People’s Theatre, itself a historic local landmark

Come and see the show at the People’s Theatre; July 17 – 21, and all will be revealed.’  

Book here




Ralph Hedley: Tyneside’s finest painter?

This talk, which was cancelled due to bad weather, has been rearranged for Wednesday 23 June. Please rebook if you can make the new date. (The talk on Gertrude Bell, originally advertised for that date will be rearranged for a later date.) 

Ralph Hedley (who lived from 1848 to 1913) was a painter, woodcarver and illustrator. He was born in Yorkshire but moved to Newcastle as a small child. He is best known for his much-loved paintings portraying scenes of everyday life in the North East. There are many examples in the Laing Art Gallery and you’ll have seen them reproduced on greetings cards and elsewhere. More than fifty of his paintings displayed at the Royal Academy during a twenty five year period. You can see examples of his carving in local churches including St Nicholas’ Cathedral and St Andrew’s.

Ralph Hedley is the subject of our February talk.

Bill Saunders, our speaker, became interested in Hedley while working in the printing industry when he discovered that Hedley embraced modern lithograph printing technology to his advantage. He served as chairman of Whickham Local History Society for over 20 years and has given many talks on local history subjects.

Hedley1892 Newsboy

‘The Newsboy’ by Ralph Hedley

The  talk will take place on Wednesday 23 June 2018 at The Corner House, Heaton Road NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). Please book your place by contacting / 07443 594154. Until 29 March, booking will be open to Heaton History Group members only.

Fenham and the Garden Suburb

When Fenham became part of Newcastle in 1904 it was largely in recognition of the proposed development of `garden streets’ by the Fenham Estates Company Ltd. In May, we will welcome Mike Greatbatch back to the Corner House to illustrate the story of this development and the impact the Great War had on accelerating the area’s suburban transformation.


The  talk will take place on Wednesday 23 May 2018 at The Corner House, Heaton Road NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). Please book your place by contacting / 07443 594154. Until 1 March booking will be open to Heaton History Group members only.

About our speaker

Mike has many years experience of researching and teaching the history of the Ouseburn and his local area of Fenham and Wingrove. He is an editor of the North East History journal and Secretary of the Friends of Saint Ann’s Church, a group dedicated to promoting greater understanding and appreciation of this historic church whose parish included the Battlefield and nearby Ouseburn and East Quayside. In 2016-18 Mike successfully delivered a Lottery funded heritage project in Fenham and is now developing a similar project for Saint Ann’s as part of its 250th anniversary celebrations.




George Stanley introduces ‘Heaton!’

You may have noticed that, in July, the People’s Theatre is putting on a play called ‘Heaton!’ It’s been written by Heaton History Group’s very own Peter Dillon and will feature some of the figures from Heaton’s history that you may have read about on this website, alongside some new characters you don’t yet know. Over the coming months, we’ll be inviting some of them to tell us more about themselves and the show.

First up is George Stanley, the tragedian and impresario who you may remember founded the Tyne Theatre and who, we believe, played a big part in the naming of Heaton’s ‘Shakespeare Streets’ . Over to George:


Welcome one and all – For many years now I’ve petitioned Newcastle Council for a licence to run a theatre in this fine city, and with a persistence matching rain they’ve regularly turned me down.  Well, the days of petitions, the pleading letters, chaining myself to the Town Hall railings are over. No more begging.  Instead –


Now or never, I’ll be showcasing my ingenuity, my refusal to take no for an answer, my stagecraft, my indefatigable personality, my thespian artistry……..all of these virtues and more will be on show in July, yes JULY!  July 17 – July 21st to be precise – and the Box Office is open!

I’ve teamed up with those very good folks from the People’s Theatre to put on an all dancing, all singing entertainment to delight and inform the burghers of Heaton, and indeed far beyond.  

 I’m entitling the said theatrical extravangza, HEATON!

The show will feature some of the finest citizens of the borough that have ever lived, walked, and breathed in the Tyne’s fresh air.  Sir Charles Parsons himself and the Turbinia  from the Heaton Works on the Fossway, the good Lady Parsons, an engineer in her own right, the redoubtable Florence Nightingale Harrison-Bell, Hotspur Street’s intrepid reformer, Ove Arup, born on Jesmond Vale Terrace, who built Sydney Opera House, a domestic servant, and Colin Veitch, Captain Supremo of Newcastle Utd and co-founder of the People’s Theatre. 

They’ll all be there, so why not you…………..Oh, and not forgetting, someone who might be called the juvenile lead, name of Freddie.  A dubious character, whose blog it’ll be my displeasure to introduce next time –

The dates of this not to be missed epic, once again, are Tuesday, JULY 17 – Saturday, JULY 21

And if this superior example of the performing arts fails to persuade the Council to grant me a theatre licence, I’ll have to settle for a One-Man Show at The Hoppings.  Now we wouldn’t want that, would we…….

A must for all Heaton History Group members, family, neighbours, friends and hangers on, we’re sure you’ll agree. Find out more and book tickets here.

Not only that: the show will be accompanied by an exhibition called ‘Brains, Steam and Speed: 250 years of  science, engineering and mathematics in Heaton’, brought to you by the schoolchildren of Chillingham Road, Cragside, Hotspur and Ravenswood Primary Schools and Sir Charles Parsons School, Heaton History Group’s research team and Shoe Tree Arts, who put on the ‘Under the Fields of Heaton’, mining heritage arts events a couple of years ago. This is thanks to another award from Heritage Lottery Fund. Oh, and there will be music and song in the foyer too!


If We Do Not Count, We Shall Not Be Counted

For our April talk, we will welcome back an old friend, Anthea Lang. Anthea will look at womens’ desire to get the vote in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the steps they took, peacable as well as violent, to achieve their goal. The title of Anthea’s talk derives from the tactic of avoiding being counted in the 1911 census. Newcastle was a hotbed of suffrage activity and Heaton’s own Florence Nightingale Harrison Bell was one of the movement’s leaders.

SUFFRAGETTES: Suffragette rally on the banks of the Tyne in 1914

Anthea, formerly Local History and Heritage Manager for Gateshead Council, is now a local history adult education tutor, Newcastle City Guide and a local history author. Her new book ‘Visitors to Newcastle’ is due for publication in summer 2018.

The  talk will take place on Wednesday 25 April 2018 at The Corner House, Heaton Road NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). Please book your place by contacting / 07443 594154. Until 25 January booking will be open to Heaton History Group members only.


Joseph Cowen and Radical Newcastle

Joseph Cowen was the leading political figure in north east England in the second half of the 19th century. A visionary and hugely influential personality, Cowen was at the heart of the ‘radical citadel‘ that was Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the late 1800s. Using his positions as Newcastle MP and editor of the ‘Daily Chronicle’, Cowen pursued an agenda, which aimed to spread wealth and power amongst all the people of Tyneside, not just the rich and powerful.


Joseph Cowen as a young man

For our December talk, Peter Sagar will tell us much more about this fascinating figure, including how he was exactly 100 years ahead of time on one major issue, was important nationally on another issue, which continues to affect us now… and how he may have fallen foul of anti-terror legislation had he lived today. Peter will also reflect on what we can learn from Cowen about our own world today.


Joseph Cowen’s statue on Westgate Road, Newcastle

The  talk will take place on Wednesday 13 December 2017 at The Corner House, Heaton Road NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). Please book your place by contacting / 07443 594154. Until 28 September booking will be open to Heaton History Group members only.