News from the Forum, Issue 6, May 2010

Welcome to the sixth issue of the Forum¡¦s newsletter. Here is an opportunity for members to post their news and promote future events. So please keep your news coming! The newsletter, past and present, is available on the Forum website, http://www.durhamweb.org.uk/historyforum

In order for us to share news and promote events to your members we would ask that you circulate the newsletters and any event booking forms to your membership as soon as possible after receiving it. Members of your society may wish to attend training courses or events and any skills and knowledge picked up could then be used for the wider benefit of the society.

News from the Forum

The County Durham History & Heritage Forum is now formally in existence. This follows the approval of the organisation¡¦s constitution by some 60 members at County Hall Durham on 16 February 2010. The officers of the new committee are:
Chair: Winifred Stokes Treasurer: Keith Pounder
Vice Chair: Allan Harley Secretary: Julie Hawthorn

The Forum¡¦s President is John Grundy, who spoke at the inaugural meeting and also supported the Forum half day conference on 27 March ¡V What¡¦s going on between Tyne & Tees. This was very well supported with some 70 people attending. Its aim was one of the key objectives of the Forum: to inform members what is happening in other societies and organisations and to share knowledge and information on the history and heritage of County Durham. As well as John Grundy, who talked about the rich heritage of chapels in County Durham, the speakers were:

  • Gill Parkes on Durham County Record Office¡¦s community volunteer project transcribing mining union records - Mining Durham¡¦s Hidden Depths.
  • Samantha Belcher on the Bowes Museum¡¦s project: Archaeology and the Arts in County Durham.
  • Joy Pounder on the Crowtrees Heritage Group¡¦s Archaeology and Landscape project.
  • John Smith on the Durham Victoria County History Trust¡¦s proposals for researching village histories.

Durham County Record Office and the Bowes Museum are among a number of public bodies, including Beamish Museum and Clayport Library in Durham City, who support the Forum as Associate Members.

Durham City New Discoveries

The book Durham City (New Discoveries) is to be published in the autumn by Derby Books and will consist of over 450 photographic images from the 1850's to 1960's, all will be published here for the first time. It is to have eight sections; Military, People, Street Scenes, Events, Sport, Working Lives, Now and Then and Around the Villages. All aspects of the city's history will be covered.

Some of the more unusual images are: The visit of the King of Uganda in the early 1900's, a train crash near Langley Moor in 1946, an aerial photo of the city by the newly formed R.A.F. in 1918, Saddler Street decorated for the coronation in 1911, a royal visit by King George and Queen Mary in 1920 and erecting the Bede College WW 1 memorial in the early 1920's.

If any individuals have photographs that they wish to be considered for the book (all will be copied and returned) or to add to the Gilesgate Archive, they can send them to: The Gilesgate Archive C/o Michael Richardson, 128 Gilesgate, Durham, DH1 1QG, Tel. 0191 3841427 or email: gilesgatearchive@aol.com
Archaeology and the Arts in County Durham

County Durham has a rich and diverse archaeological heritage. The Bowes Museum houses objects up to 6,000 years old which have been found in digs in County Durham ranging from prehistoric cup and ring marked stones, a Bronze Age hoard, to graffiti from Binchester Roman fort.

Archaeology and the Arts in County Durham is a new project initially funded until March 2011 (by the MLA through the North East Regional Museums Hub) to engage communities with the archaeology collections at The Bowes Museum. The overall outcome of the project is to create improved access to the collection and opportunities to use the objects in engaging and meaningful ways, whilst considering how this could develop in the future. This project is a partnership between The Bowes Museum and Durham County Council.

Keep up-to-date on the project and its developments at The Bowes Museum website and look out for Community Curator, Samantha Belcher, in your area.

Samantha Belcher,
Community Curator (Archaeology and the Arts in County Durham)
The Bowes Museum,
Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NP ,

Telephone: 01833 690606
Email: samantha.belcher@thebowesmuseum.org.uk 


The Bowes Museum Reference Library and Archives

The Bowes Museum Reference Library and Archives opened in the newly-created Reading Room on Tuesday 18 May.

To maximize access, the Reading Room will open on a two-week rota:
Tuesday 10.30-4.00 and Wednesday 10.30-1.00 in Week 1
Wednesday 1.30-4.00 and Thursday 10.30-4.00 in Week 2

Please contact us (details below) before making a visit so we can discuss whether we hold relevant material and to book you a place in the Reading Room.

The Reference Library books and periodicals cover a range of topics, particularly reflecting the range and strengths of the Museum¡¦s collections including paintings, metalwork, ceramics, textiles and furniture. It also includes a substantial local reference section. The Archives include letters, bills and other records of John and Joséphine Bowes, the Museum¡¦s founders, and minutes, letters and other records of the Museum¡¦s trustees and administrators. Cataloguing the thousands of items in the library and archives is still on-going so information about the holdings is always increasing.

There is no charge for using the Reading Room but normal admission charges apply if you want to visit the Museum¡¦s galleries.

Judith Phillips, Archivist
The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle DL12 8NP
Tel: 01833 690606 ext. 208
Email: libraryandarchives@thebowesmuseum.org.uk

Darlington Library celebrates Local and Family History

On April 24th Darlington Library held its first Local and Family History day. Various organisations from around the region attended to offer help and advice to customers. As well as stalls and displays, we also had a programme of talks. A big thank you to all who took part for helping make the event so successful.

May is Local History Month and Local Studies at Darlington Library will have a display of Roman Finds from the River Tees at Piercebridge, which have been loaned to us by the Piercebridge Divers Rolfe Mitchinson and Bob Middlemass. The display runs from the 4th - 28th May 2010.

The divers are also giving a talk at the library on Saturday 22nd May at 2pm, entitled "Exploration and Experiences including Roman Piercebridge and Time Team". Tickets are £2.00 and must be booked in advance as places are limited. Please call 01325 349630 to book or for further information.

(Article by Mandy Fay, Senior Library Officer)

Chester-le-Street Heritage Group has embarked on the systematic photographing of all available pages of the Chester Chronicle which runs weekly from 1911 to 1935 numbering some twenty five bound volumes.
The Chester Chronicle is currently stored at Beamish Museum¡¦s Resource Centre and due to concerns about their fragile condition, it has been agreed with the owner of these weekly broadsheets and the current custodians at the Museum, that now is the time to record in detail the whole of the collection.

To achieve this, Chester-le-Street Heritage Group has undertaken the purchase of professional photography equipment and three members of the Group have pledged to attend the Resource Centre's photography studio once every week to carry out this task which is expected to take almost a year to complete.

The process requires digitally photographing in high resolution each and every page, converting these to more usable formats which will be suitable for transferring to compact discs, compiling an index of all pages and making these available to the general public.

The information contained in these newspapers will be of great interest to all those who are researching local history or their family trees. The editions produced around the time of the First World War (1914 ¡V 1918) where lists of names and even photographs of service men and those who died during that period have been meticulously recorded will be of particular interest.

(Photo shows Group members preparing the pages to be photographed)

In addition, all Members of the Heritage Group have, and will continue to visit the Resource Centre on a monthly basis, to make notes from the newspapers that will also be made available for use with the digital photographs as well as for the Group¡¦s own research into the history of Chester le Street, the ¡§Up and Down the Street Project¡¨ and other areas of interest.


(Article by Dorothy Hall)

Construction of the website is contributed by Durham County Local History Society.
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Last update: May 25, 2010.