The following are requests for information that we have received from members of the public. If anyone can help please email us at TSLHS.
John & Mary Annie Arkless - Jonathan Arkless has allowed us to add photos to our archive of his great grandparents and their hairdresser's shop in the old Town Hall. John Arkless, (22 May 1858 – 28 Oct 1936), and Mary Annie, his wife, lived most of their married life, of over 50 years, in Spennymoor and both died in 1936. John had an interesting life, he was born at Seldom Seen near Newfield and became a miner before becoming a hairdresser and jeweller. He was a member of The Knights of the Golden Horn (a Masonic type order) and in his youth he was a Methodist preacher. John is pictured outside his hairdresser's shop, his son William Reynolds Arkless is on the left of the group.
John and Mary Annie had five children; Mary (Molly), Sarah (Sally), Martha (Mattie), William Reynolds, and Oswald Pearson. Two of them had children, Sarah Arkless, who married Richard D Telfer of Hexham had one daughter Margaret Telfer and W.R. Arkless who married Grace P. Haire of Metheringham Lincs. had three children.
Details of Oswald Pearson Arkless can be found on the Durham at War website.
Martha married George Leonard Cooper an optician and only left Spennymoor in the 1960’s after George's death when she moved to the Isle of Wight to be near her brother William. (Jonathan Arkless)
Venners family who lived locally.
North Close - We have had a request for old photos of North Close but have been unable to find any.
John and Martha Adamson - Martin from Teddington is interested in this couple who lived at Woodhouse Farm Whitworth in 1851, described as Farmer of 180 acres. He previously lived in Wolsingham in 1841 and by 1861 was widowed and living in Black Horse Public House as innkeeper and farmer of 160 acres. His son John lived in Black Horse Cottage.
Herbert Parr, born 1885, died 1958. He lived in Duke Street Low Spennymoor in 1911 with his wife Lillie, and in 1939 ran a fish and chip shop in Coulson Street. Pat would like to know about any band or theatre orchestra in which he played or conducted.
Thomas Davis/Davies. - Pat was looking for the burial place of her great grandfather, Thomas Davis/Davies. Thomas, a collier born in Flint, Wales, was a widower with children when he married Sarah Edwards who was born in 1851, in Nercwys Flintshire Wales. She had previously married in 1874, John Smith another collier, and had twins but only one survived named John.
She was widowed between 1875-7 and moved to the Wrexham area where she met Thomas and married in July 1877. In 1880 they had a son Arthur and in 1881 Thomas, his son William, aged 9, Sarah, her son John, age 6, and Arthur, aged 9 months, moved to Browney Colliery. Alfred was born in September 1883, at 97 Browney Colliery, baptised at Brandon St John on the 10th October 1883.
They later moved to Tudhoe Colliery until Thomas' death on the 29th August 1884, aged 38. He died in the Hutton Seam, Tudhoe West Pit and an inquest at The Black Horse Inn on the 1st September gave a verdict of "Death from natural causes". He was buried on 2nd September at Holy Innocents Church. His wife and four children later returned to the Wrexham area where she had friends but no family.
On 9th November 1888 Sarah married Thomas Moss, aged 49, a widower with children and a colliery carpenter. Sarah was 38 and in March 1889 they had a son Enoch but by 1901 Sarah was widowed again. This time she had her sons to support her financially as all her sons and stepsons were colliers. Eventually she moved to live with her daughter Lena and family in St Helens where she died age 89 in 1941.
(Thanks to Pat Clare and Durham Record Office - Tudhoe Holy Innoocents burials M42/701, Brandon St John baptisms M42/583, The North-Eastern Daily Gazette Sept 2nd 1884.)
James Milson. - Derek contacted us to request a picture of a gravestone in Tudhoe Cemetery as he is researching air crashes for a book on aviation history.
The airman was Third Officer James Milson, a Canadian, buried on the 21st November 1944. He was flying for the Auxiliary Transport Association (A.T.A.) with 16 Ferry Pilot Pool (F.P.P.) out of RAF Kirkbride, Cumbria. When ferrying a Seafire III NN494 from RAF Kirkbride to RNAS Donibristle in Scotland he crashed and was killed on the 15th November 1944 at Pettinain, Lanarkshire, Scotland. The crash happened as he broke out of cloud in a snowstorm and hit the ground near Grange Hall Farm in Pettinain near Carstairs in South Lanarkshire. The actual location where the Seafire hit the ground is being researched. The crash and recovery of the body were dealt with by 63 Maintenance Unit RAF from Carluke. The reason Milson would have taken this flight path was because during the war a corridor free of anti-aircraft guns was left like a spine from North to South in the country to allow hassle free aircraft movement.(Thanks to Derek Wands)
Why was he buried at Tudhoe? We have found he was born here as his father William was living at Chilton on the 1911 census. Later that year his father married Francis Evans and James was born in 1912. On 25th May 1928 a James Milson did go, as a passenger aged 16, c/o Canadian Pacific Railways Lands Dept. London, to Canada. This was on the Canadian Pacific ship Montcalm to Quebec & Montreal but we don't have any further proof that this was the same James Milson. He married Myrtle Davina Milson in Canada and lived in Mount Dennis, Ontario.
William Henry Dean. - Lorna, from Australia, is looking for information about her grandfather William Henry Dean. He is on the 1911 census living at 5 John Street, Spennymoor. He worked as an “Estate worker” which could have been at Whitworth House.
Kenmir House. We have had a request from Carol asking if we can identify anyone on the picture of Kenmir House in 1909. She thinks her great great grandmother Mary Ann Rallison/Watts who married John Atkinson Kenmir may be on the roof.
Gordon Birlison. - We have had a request from Philip in the Netherlands who is trying to trace next of kin or any information relating to Gordon BIRLISON who was a wireless operator in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 48 Squadron. He died on 21st September 1944, aged 24, at the battle of Arnhem. He was the son of William Norman and Sarah Birlison of Kirk Merrington.
Hall Raine. - We have had a request for details of the family of Hall RAINE and Anne STEPHENSON. In the 1871 Census the family lived at 36 Durham Rd., Tudhoe and he was a butcher, Hall Raine 31, Ann Raine 28, Mary Eleanor Raine 4, John Francis Raine 4 months, Hall Raine 2. If anyone has any information please let us know so that we can pass it on.
There is an entry in an online newspaper archive for the NE Daily Gazette 24th April 1883 which mentions an accident to a Hall Raine from Tudhoe Grange but I don't know if it is the same person as he was working for the Weardale Iron & Coal Co. as a steam riser when part of his thumb was cut off.
John George Scott - A query has arrived from Elaine in Preston about the photo which shows her grandfather John George Scott on the top, far left of the picture. He was born in 1899 and lived at 4 Broom Cottages on the 1911 census with his widowed mother and sister. This has helped us identify the school as Broom Cottages Primary School. If you have any information about John George Scott please let us know.
Spennymoor's first police station. - We have had a request for details of the Police Station prior to Dundas Street which opened on 20th November 1906. There is reference to one in Oxford Street which was demolished in the 1960s.
In the "History of Spennymoor" by James J Dodd written in 1897 he says on page 159 that there was an "open market in Oxford Street adjoining the Police Station".
On rootsweb it gives similar information
"NEW POLICE STATION. The present Police Station was opened November 20th, 1906, when William Richardson, of no fixed abode, was the first prisoner, and was charged with being drunk and disorderly, and also breaking lodging house windows. Mr. J. Reavley, Chairman of the Urban District Council, dealt with the case, and would have dismissed it as it was the first case, but owing to the fact that prisoner was the last person to be dealt with at the old Police Station, this leniency could not be exercised. The prisoner was fined 7/6 for drunkenness and 9/- damages. Prisoner said he would rather go to prison than pay the fine. This request was not granted as he had in his possession a sovereign. Inspector E. S. James, who prosecuted, gave prisoner 3/6 change out of the pound, and prisoner instead of being thankful declared, I will not come back to Spennymoor any more. One hundred-and-eighty cases were dealt with by that Chairman in his year of office; 64 in the old building in Oxford Street and 116 in the new building. Spennymoor was granted a fortnightly Court in 1920, and a weekly Court in 1924. The following is a list of Police Inspectors stationed at Spennymoor since it became an Urban District :- Inspectors Fleming, Harrison, Elliott, E. S. James, Scott, Saville, Scotland, Brown, Cook and Huitson."
At Durham County Record Office there are several documents relating to plans of the Police Stations, references given below.
Ref: CC/X 101 - contracts for alterations to police stations at Lanchester, Spennymoor, 1874;
Ref: CC/Arch 291 - Plans and elevations of proposed additions to Spennymoor Police Station, by W. Crozier, 1 April 1874 Scale: 8 feet to 1 inch [1:96] (1 plan, 71 cm. x 49 cm., linen-backed, colour wash) - [Acc: 2905]
Ref: CC/Arch 292 - Foundations plan, ground floor plan, first floor plan, second floor plan and roof plan of new Police Station at Spennymoor, by William Crozier, 30 March 1905 Scale: 8 feet to 1 inch [1:96] (1 plan, 105 cm. x 68 cm., linen-backed, colour wash) - [Acc: 2905]
Ref: CC/Arch 293 - Block plan, drains plan and elevations of boundary walls of new Police Station at Spennymoor, by William Crozier, 30 March 1905 Scale: 8 feet to 1 inch [1:96] (1 plan, 105 cm. x 68 cm., linen-backed, colour wash) - [Acc: 2905] .
J. Wycliffe Longstaff - He would also like information about a photographer "J. Wycliffe Longstaff” of Spennymoor and if anyone has a catalogue of his portraits or negatives. Click to see an example of his photos.
Tudhoe Orphanage Cup - A lady from Liverpool has asked if we can supply any information or a picture of the winners of the Tudhoe Orphanage Cup in 1926-7. She has a medallion which her great uncle won which says 'Winners Half Moon Und. 1926-7'.
Mrs Helen Lowe & Quilting - We have had a request from a lady researching quilting in Spennymoor in the 1930s. The quilts were made for Muriel Rose and the Rural Industries Bureau who supplied them for a new wing of Claridges Hotel when it opened in the 1930s. She would like to find out more about the quilters including Mrs Helen Lowe who lived in Kirk Merrington in the 1930s and died in 1980.