News from the Forum, Issue 1, February 2009

¡@Welcome to the first newsletter from the Forum. This is an opportunity for members to post their news and promote future events. So please keep your news coming! The newsletter will be e-mailed to members and, in due course, will be available on the Forum website.¡@

News from the Steering Group

Thank you to everyone who attended and exhibited at the Forum event in November. Since the event we have some new members on the Steering Group and offers to host events later this year. We are busy putting together a programme of events for 2009.

We have 55 members in the Forum at present but more are welcome to join. So please spread the word if you know of a group in your area who might be interested in joining.

Over the next few weeks we will be adding more information to the website and finishing off the last few bits in the design. You will be able to see a list of members and get news on events and projects.

One resource we would like to include is a list of speakers but we need your help to get a comprehensive list together. Please print off copies of the form on the back of this newsletter and pass it to speakers who might be interested in being included on the Forum¡¦s Speakers List. The list will be available on the Forum website.

We are also in the process of seeking funds to support the proposed events and activities and would welcome donations.

For further information about the Forum contact:
Local Studies, Durham Clayport Library
on 0191 3864003
Julie Hawthorn on 0191 370 8845
John Banham
For the website)

Events 2009

The following events apart from Yesterday Belongs to You) are being organised by the Forum. Further details will be circulated to members once arrangements are finalised but please put the dates in your diary.

Saturday 25 April 2009
Oral History Training session

This session will be delivered by the Oral History Society¡¦s North East region net-workers. Limited places. Date and venue to be confirmed

Saturday 16 May 2009
Yesterday Belongs to You

Local & Family History Fair
10:30am ¡V 4:00pm
At County Hall, Durham

Saturday 13 June 2009
Talk and Guided walk in Weardale

This is a Forum event for members hosted by the Weardale Society

Saturday 19 September 2009
Oral History Training session

A second training opportunity for Members. See entry above.

Saturday 17 October 2009
County Durham History & Heritage Forum Conference and AGM
A networking opportunity for members. Details to follow. 


News from the Members

Archaeology Project at Quarrington Hill

Crowtrees Heritage Group who meet regularly at the Resource Centre in Quarrington Hill are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Awards For All programme which will enable them to investigate the former Crowtrees Colliery site which is now part of the Crowtrees Local Nature Reserve, popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

The site is influenced strongly by past heavy industry such as coal, sand and limestone extraction. Evidence of these past industries is still in place, although the former colliery spoil heaps and sandstone quarries have been gradually colonised by a variety of plants, shrubs and trees. The presence of a large concrete structure, thought to be the housing of the haulage wheel for Crowtrees Colliery is a significant feature in the landscape.

In April 2008 members of the Crowtrees Heritage Group contacted the Archaeology Section of Durham County Council in order to include archaeology features within the current interpretation of the Crowtrees site. A field visit was organised and a number of features were noted on site which were in a vulnerable state. Appropriate management on this site is therefore necessary to ensure that they survive in good condition. Depending on the results of the assessment phase, further archaeological works may be required to complete the process. Future works may involve building recording, scrub clearance and consolidation of features.

Archaeo-Environment Ltd have been appointed to conduct an assessment and rapid identification survey as part of what is expected to be an exciting start to a local community heritage project. Further details will be available in due course.

Article by: Joy Pounder, Crowtrees Heritage Group

Burn¡¦s Pit Disaster 100 years on.

At West Stanley Colliery, known locally as Burn¡¦s Pit, a disaster took place at 3.45 pm on Tuesday 16 February 1909 in which 168 men and boys lost their lives.

As a member of South Moor Local History Group Ian Finlayson has been gathering information on the subject over past years from different sources and locations in the North East and has been collating this information on paper. The history group was approached by Beamish Museum to see if they had any material on the subject for a commemoration to mark the disaster¡¦s centenary on 16 February 2009.

Beamish Museum is also working with a number of schools in the area as well as with a group working on a banner which will go on display at the museum. Ian knows there is still a lot of information and memorabilia out there gathering dust which has not been looked at for a lot of years if not forgotten about and would like the chance to copy if in one form or another and put this information on record for future research by others, as well as putting a number of copies in the local record offices and libraries of County Durham.

The group is also running a poetry competition in the local schools and the entry to be judged to be the best will be on display along with some of the collated information at a number of locations in the area.

For further information or to offer material please contact Ian on 01207 284344

Article by: Ian Finlayson, South Moor Local History Group.
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Ayclifffe Village Local History Society
Meetings held in the Village Hall, Aycliffe Village at 7pm

11 March 2009
¡¥North Eastern Witchcraft¡¦
A talk by Jo Bath

8 April 2009
¡¥Mining History of the North East¡¦
A talk by Geoff Wallis

Brancepeth Archives & History Group
Brancepeth Village Hall

4 March 2009 10.00am to 12.30pm.

Exhibition ¡V ¡¥Distinctly Durham¡¦ A look at the changes affecting several County Durham villages from the 1950s.
The exhibition will also be available for viewing at the 5 March meeting

Free Admission

5 March 2009 7.00pm

¡¥The History of Postcards, including Mr Coates and his cards of Brancepeth¡¦
A talk by George Nairn

Admission Free to members, £5.00 for non-members to include a light buffet supper. Booking required. Please contact Ruth Pickles for tickets.
Email ¡V

Chester-le-Street Heritage Group
Methodist Church, Market Place

3 March 2009 9.00am and 11.30am

An exhibition of old photographs and Coffee Morning. Free admission. Please bring along your old photographs and memories and find out more about our town and the surrounding area.

Durham County Local History Society
St Giles Church, Durham City, 2.00pm
Free admission

21 March 2009
¡¥Iron, coal and cinders ¡V the coking industry of County Durham¡¦
A talk by Winifred Stokes

Thorpe Thewles Local History Society
Grindon Parish Hall, Thorpe Thewles

27 February 2009 7.30pm

¡¥Secrets of the Attic Part II¡¦. A talk by
Dr Tony Nicholson, University of Teesside.
Presenting stories related to the forgotten histories and characters detailed in a collection of photographs and letters discovered in the attic of an East Cleveland house in 1999.

Tudhoe & Spennymoor Local History Society

23 March 2009
Spennymoor Settlement ¡V Visit and presentation on the history of the Settlement.

Meet at the Spennymoor Settlement at 7.30pm

These events are public events, hosted and organised by the individual societies.

If you would like to promote your events via the Forum website please contact John Banham

For newsletter items contact Julie Hawthorn

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The County Durham History & Heritage Forum is compiling a list of speakers interested in giving talks to its member societies and organisations. This list will be in hard copy and also available on-line at

If you would like to be included on this list please complete the form below and return it to:

Julie Hawthorn, Development Worker (Heritage), Libraries, Learning & Culture, Adult & Community Services, Durham County Council, The Rivergreen Centre, Aykley Heads, Durham DH1 5TS

Do you give permission for your details to be included on the On-line list? YES/NO *

Please state the details to be included:

               Email address
       Telephone number

If you do not wish to be included on the On-line list your details can be held by the Committee and circulated when requests are received from members.

Name (Please Print) _______________________________________________________________
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Address _______________________________________________________________
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Telephone _______________________________________________________________
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Email _______________________________________________________________
Signature ____________________________ Date _________________________________

Please Note: Whilst the County Durham History & Heritage Forum has compiled this list all booking arrangements and fees are to be conducted entirely between the members and speakers concerned.

* Please delete as appropriate

[Please print this page and distribute to your speakers]

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Last update: November 14, 2008.