Saturday, 22 April 2017

John Richardson of Hutton Rudby, proprietor of the Seaham Weekly News

Sunderland Daily Echo & Shipping Gazette, 2 May 1910
Not many readers of the Seaham Weekly News might have noticed on Friday last that that day's issue of that quaint little journal was number 2,601.  Such, however, was the case, and the paper has entered upon its second half century.  Its jubilee was on April 22nd, and so modest is its proprietor that the anniversary was allowed to pass without any reference to the interesting fact in its own columns. 
The Seaham Weekly News, and Seaton, Murton, Hetton, Rainton and Houghton-le-Spring Advertiser, to give it its full title, was begun in 1860 by the late Mr John Richardson, when the harbour was filled with sailing ships and the Rainton Collieries – now laid in  were in all their glory and contributing materially to the prosperity of the port.  As years roll on they bring their changes, and the changes in newspaper production during the past half century have been among the most striking in our national progress, but the Seaham Weekly has gone serenely on its own way, and is the same to-day as it was when it first appeared.  It is a local paper and claims to be nothing more, and it, at least, cannot be accused of sensationalism.  On the death of Mr Richardson it was carried on by his widow and their son, the late Mr Harrop Wight Richardson, and it is conducted to-day, together with an old-established printing and stationery business, by Mr Stephen Richards.  It is now printed by a machine driven by a gas engine, but there is still in the office on the North Terrace the old hand press from which it was first sent forth.  As a record of passing events it fills its place in the town it has served so long, and though it may be, in some respects, obscure it is posted to many parts of the world where former inhabitants of Seaham have made homes, and is by them highly valued.
I was recently contacted by a reader, Clare Abbott, who told me of an interesting family diary in her possession.  Her own piece on the diary in the Journal of the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society can be read online here, and it tells the very interesting story of the diary of Eleanor Richardson (1825-1905) of Seaham Harbour, wife of the John Richardson mentioned in the piece above.

But for the purposes of this blog, the main interest is John's link with Hutton Rudby – which might incidentally help anyone trying to disentangle the Richardsons who lived in the village in the mid 19th century!

Eleanor Wight recorded that she married John Richardson of Hutton Rudby on 20 June 1848 in the church of Dalton-le-Dale, the Revd J Brown officiating.  John was then 27.  The following year, on 7 July 1849 at 2.30am, his mother Elizabeth died at Hutton Rudby.

John and Eleanor settled at Seaham Harbour where they ran a shop and started the Seaham Weekly News.

I think John was probably the son of John & Elizabeth Richardson who lived in Enterpen.  The 1841 census shows:
John Richardson 45, general mechanic
Elizabeth Richardson 45
John Richardson 20
Jane Richardson 15
James Richardson 13
Robert Richardson 8
(All were born in Yorkshire)

Clare tells me that when Eleanor died in 1905 she left £50 each to her nieces Hannah and Emma Richardson of Darlington.

I think there are two prominent figures associated with the Seaham Weekly News.

Thomas Summerbell (1861-1910), first Labour MP for Sunderland, was one of them,  His story is told by Chris Mullin (author, journalist and former MP for Sunderland) here.  Summerbell was, he says, "apprenticed to a printer on the Seaham Weekly News".  This printer must have been John Richardson himself; in the 1881 Census he is described as a "master printer".

After serving his apprenticeship, Summerbell went to work as a journeyman printer in Felling and then Jarrow.  He became interested in politics and was elected in 1906 as one of the 29 original members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.  His main concerns were, explains Chris Mullins, "the dreadful condition of the labouring classes":
"A glance through Hansard shows him asking questions about the education of paupers, deaths by starvation in Whitechapel, the wages of labourers at Kew Gardens and the incidence of TB in the army."  
He died untimely at the age of 48.

The other significant figure was the journalist and independent Irish Nationalist MP, Captain Daniel Desmond ("D.D.") Sheehan (1873-1948).

The Seaham Weekly News was one of the local newspapers to carry his anonymous weekly column ("The War and Westminster") during the 1914-18 War.  Sheehan's party, the All-For-Ireland-League Party, aimed to achieve Home Rule through reconciliation and consent of the people, but he nevertheless believed it was his duty to fight in the War and he and four other Irish Nationalist volunteers joined the Royal Munster Fusiliers.  His story is told in the stories of Parliamentarians in the First World War.

For more on Seaham itself, visit the the Seaham Family History Group website.




Thursday, 13 April 2017

Women's Institute Drama in the 1930s and 1950s

I have posted previously on the Nunthorpe Women's Institute Drama Group – here, here, here and here.  (I should add that this is Nunthorpe near Middlesbrough, to avoid any confusion).

I've just come across some press cuttings relating to the group, which might be of interest.

Unfortunately, they're not dated!

There is a 1930s clipping relating to the performance of Nine till Six – which featured in the programme shown here and starred Mrs Hedley, Mrs H Stubbs, Mrs Baker, Mrs Steel, Mrs Ballingall and Mrs Borrow – which says
Nunthorpe produced A. and P. Stuart's Nine till Six, revealing a real sense of the stage, with a poise seldom shown by amateurs.  The adjudicator said she had nothing but praise for the performance.  Each of the characters held the balance, so that real unity was achieved, and there was a gratifying absence of over-acting or exaggeration.
 Another 1930s clipping from the W.I. Drama Festival is headlined "Adjudicator praises Nunthorpe Team", and begins
Nunthorpe team was praised for the ease and spontaneity of its acting by the adjudicator, Mr Jack Charlton, of London, at the non-competitive Women's Institute inter-county drama festival in the Rowntree Theatre, York, on Saturday.  They presented Symphony in Illusion, and Mr Charlton said that by bringing their imagination to bear, they had made effective a play that was an attempt to be clever, but that did not quite come off. 
Two other Yorkshire teams, Escrick and Ingleby Arncliffe, took part.  Escrick gave The Thrice Promised Bride, which, Mr Charlton pointed out, required an extremely difficult technique.  He praised the settings, costumes and acting, but said it would have been improved had the mime been as firmly handled as the words.  Ingleby Arncliffe performed Michael
West Auckland, who produced the first scene from King Lear, were criticised for their choice, the adjudicator remarking, "Of all the scenes in the whole of Shakespeare's plays I cannot imagine any that needs the heavier music of the male voice more than this one,"
 Another clipping (a very grainy newspaper photograph, I'm afraid) from the 1930s:-


Caption:  Members of Nunthorpe Women's Institute in a scene from Martha and Mary, a New Testament play which they presented in St Mary's Church, Nunthorpe, yesterday.  On stage are Muriel Ballingall (as Martha), Olga Matthams (Mary), Lesley Hownam (Sara) and Molly Stubbs (Ruth).
The full newspaper caption for the 1939 photograph shown below is
Nunthorpe W.I. members in Paolo and Francesca, which they presented in the Yorkshire Federation of Women's Institute's drama competitions which concluded at York on Saturday.
Nunthorpe W.I. members in Paolo and Francesca 1939
and underneath the photograph Molly Stubbs has written
Drama Cup for Yorkshire won by us for 3rd time 1939
M. Stubbs as Paolo with E. Cameron as Francesca & E. Whinney as Giovanni
Another cutting (with a grainy photo) is captioned 'Rehearsing for the Festival'.  It looks as though it dates from the post-War period, 1940s or early 1950s:-

Kathleen Belas (as Sister Paul), A. Blake (Patsy), Mahoney Crossthwaite (Sister Gabriella), and Molly Stubbs (Sister Annunciata) in a rehearsal scene from Time Out of Joint, which Nunthorpe Players willl present at the British Drama League (Teesside area) annual festival of one-act plays, starting in St John's Hall, Middlesbrough, tomorrow and continuing for the rest of the week. 
This cutting from the 1950s is captioned
Nunthorpe W.I. in a scene from There's Rue For You, presented at the Yorkshire Federation of Women's Institute's drama festival at York on Saturday

and I find that we have a good photograph of it in an old family album, but I'm afraid I have no names to attach.  There's Rue For You was a one-act play by Margaret Turner, published in 1950.

Nunthorpe Women's Institute Drama Group
in 'There's Rue For You'


Friday, 7 April 2017

Revd Barlow advertises for a farm manager, 1855

Even in this short advertisement, somehow Mr Barlow's distinctive voice can be heard:

York Herald, 7 April 1855
Wanted, at May-Day, a HIND, to take Charge of a FARM.  A Man and his Wife only, would be preferred.  No Stock but his Horses to attend to. - Apply, Pre-paid, to Rev R J Barlow, Rudby Vicarage, near Yarm

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Using the search box on this blog

The search box seems recently to have caused some confusion - Google have somehow altered how the results appear.

If you put in a search term and a result is found, a box will appear with the text 
"Showing posts sorted by relevance for query x ..."
Scroll down through the blog posts that appear below the notification box.  Some of them will appear in their entirety but the longer ones will have a Page Break.  Your result may be behind that break.  Click on 
"Read more" 
at the bottom of the post so that you can find your result!


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Thomas Arthur Banks of Middlesbrough 1868-1957

A reminder of times past, and a celebration of a long and busy life.  From the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 22 March 1957:-

HE WORKED 75 YEARS FOR THE SAME FIRM 
The death occurred yesterday at the age of 88, of Mr Tom Banks, of 35, Lothian Road, Middlesbrough, one of the best-known figures in legal and church circles in the district. He had the remarkable record of having spent 75 years with the same firm of solicitors.
It was at the age of 18 that he got a job as office boy with the firm which was then Bainbridge & Barnley and is now Meek, Stubbs & Barnley. 
In his early days, one of his chiefs, Mr George Bainbridge, was Town Clerk of Middlesbrough before it became a full-time appointment and Mr Banks spent much of his time at the Town Hall – the old one in the Market-place. 
He had vivid memories of the opening the present Town Hall in 1889 when he was a junior clerk of 20.  He became chief clerk with his firm and that led to a long association with the Tees Port Health Authority.  One of his principals was clerk to the authority, and in 1907 Mr Banks was appointed deputy clerk. 
Service to church 
Mr Banks devoted a lifetime of service to St John's Church, Middlesbrough, over half a century of it as sidesman or warden. 
Three times after passing the 80 milestone, Mr Banks had been in hospital with broken limbs, but though he returned to work twice, the third time acute arthritis set in and though he had been able to get about a little he had not been able to work at the officee for the past 18 months. 
He was a widower and leaves no children.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

What happened to the Hutton Rudby Paper Mill?

At last!  A chance discovery tells us more about the Hutton Rudby Paper Mill - production moved to Yarm in about 1829:-
Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, 23 August 1886 
The Tees Mills, Yarm 
The following article appears in this week's British and Colonial Stationer:
Whilst in Yorkshire a few days ago, we visited Yarm and called at the Tees Paper Mills, which are carried on under the style of C T Bainbridge and Sons.  The mill was originally a flour mill, but in the early days of the Fourdrinier paper machine Mr C T Bainbridge, a paper-maker and proprietor of a small vat mill at Hutton Rudby, about six miles from Yarm, not content with the slow process of making browns and purples by the vat, removed part of the plant, etc., from Hutton Rudby, to the then Tees Flour Mill 57 years ago, and put down one of the first Fourdrinier paper machines in Yorkshire. 
The old wooden screw press, which was worked by hand at the Hutton Rudby vat mill, was used for some time at the new mill, and the manufacture was confined to browns, purples, and grocery papers. 
In 1867, however, the mill was reconstructed, and the original Fourdrinier was abandoned for a new 62-inch paper machine, by James Bertram and Son, which is still working, and has five cylinders, and bears the date of 1868. 
In conversation with one of the finishers, who has served for nearly half-a-century, we learned that great changes had occurred in the proprietorship at this time, when, through the ill-health of the founder, Mr C T Bainbridge, the loss of his son, and soon after of his nephews, the mill was bought by Mr Wm Henry Benington, who was subsequently joined in partnership by his son, and the firm at present consists of Wm H Benington and Son. 
The management is entrusted to Mr Wm Brougham Benington, a son of the principal.  The trading name, C T Bainbridge and Son remains unchanged. 
Recently some additions and improvements have been made.  Bag machines have been introduced, and a small printing plant and cylinder printing machine are on the premises for printing names and trade marks on the bags if required by the wholesale buyer.  The bag machines have been manufactured by Mr Burnsted, of Hadnesford, one of them being the new Burnsted Patent Machine; and another of a quite new construction, and the first of its kind made by this manufacturer and patented.  The machines are kept running on bags from a 1lb.lump sugar bag up to a 4lb. moist sugar, and the large machine from 4lb. up to a half-stone flour bag.  And bags of a larger size are also made at this mill. 
The firm manufacture browns, purples, and grocery papers, and they have taken up the manufacture of grocery bags at the request of their customers, and are able to supply about eight tons of paper, and bags per week. 
The mill is close to the Yarm station, and is completely surrounded by river, road, and rail, so that there is no outlay on cartage of raw material, or on the manufactured article.  The firm deal with the wholesale, and local trade, and have confidence in both the price, and quality of their productions, and take a pride in the reputation of their old established mill.

A video of a Fourdrinier mill at the Frogmore Paper Mill can be seen here on youtube; its website is here/

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

New Close Farm, Hutton Rudby in 1806

York Herald, 8 March 1806
CLEVELAND
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION 
On TUESDAY the FIRST day of April next, at THOMAS SMITH'S, the GOLDEN LION, Stokesley, in the county of York, at FOUR o'clock in the afternoon 
A VALUABLE and DESIRABLE FREEHOLD ESTATE, situate at HUTTON RUDBY, in Cleveland, in the county of York, at an easy distance from Cleveland Port, the Town and Port of Stockton on Tees, the Market Towns of Northallerton, Thirsk, Stokesley, and Yarm; late the residence of Mr JAMES APPLETON, and now in the occupation of THOMAS KELSEY, consisting of a genteel, modern, well-built DWELLING-HOUSE, with convenient and extensive Barns, Stables, and Outoffices, all in most excellent repair, and ONE HUNDRED and FORTY-TWO Acres, by estimation, of valuable Arable, Meadow, and Pasture LAND; the whole forming a most desirable residence for a Gentleman Farmer. 
For particulars apply to Mr JAMES APPLETON, of Nunthorpe, near Stokesley, or of Mr WARDELL, Attorney, Guisbrough*.
March 6, 1806
New Close Farm, which is still a Valuable and Desirable residence but no longer a working farm, as it has only 20 acres, lies south of Hutton Rudby, off Black Horse Lane.

*Not so much a typo as one of the variant spelling of Guisborough during the C19