I have to announce that a very good friend and major contributor to this web page passed away on the 19th of May in St Benedicts Hospice, Sunderland, his name was Allan Fulcher. Allan grew up in the village and had lots of stories and photographs to share over the years, he was very enthusiastic and generously shared whatever he had without any limitations. He and I became friends shortly after the creation of this web page and even though we hadn't met officially we both felt a bond in sharing our thoughts and our own personal histories just to have them documented for posterity. Allan's input and feedback over the years has helped to make the web page what it is today. I have added a couple of photographs of my time shared with Allan and his wife Liz. (His full obituary is currently in The Northern Echo)
VILLAGE HISTORY BEFORE THE PIT - a brief chronological history of the village before the coal mine was opened with dates of major events up to 1861 including ' A Study of a 16th Century House' - Rock Farm by Connie Gregory.
VILLAGE HISTORY AFTER SINKING OF THE PIT- a brief chronological history of the village after the coal mine was sunk in 1861 with major events up to 1968 when the coal mine closed.
|1860 - 1899||From the first pit borings to the turn of the century.|
|1900 - 1920||From the turn of the century to after WW I.|
|1921 - 1968||After WW I to the closing of the pit.|
VILLAGE TODAY AFTER PIT CLOSING - information about the village after the coal mine closed with reports from Easington District Council on their projection of the fate of the village and where we stand today.
WEARDALE COAL AND COKE COMPANY - OCCUPANTS OF COLLIERY HOUSES - information about the occupants of the village living in the colliery houses owned by the Weardale Coal and Coke Company. Includes when they arrived and departed from the houses that they lived in as well as the occupations of the workmen and numbers of boys, girls and number in family.
THE HERITAGE CENTRE - is a building (formerly The Chapel of Rest) in the Cemetery. It is used as a focal point for the history of the village with permanent exhibits on the life and times of the village. It houses a scale model of the village as well as other models depicting various aspects of village life. The local school children have visits and have participated in a mural on one of the walls. There is also a connection to the Miners Heritage Trail just as you enter the cemetery on either side of the main gate.
THE WHEATLEY HILL HISTORY CLUB - an organization in the village dedicated to promoting interest in all aspects of the village history no matter how large or small. (Please note that this web page is no longer being supported by the History Club as they now have their own web page see links below. Therefore could you please send any photographs, stories quotes etc to me directly at the e-mail address below).
PEOPLE PICTURE OF THE MONTH - a picture from the past with the opportunity to recognize one of your ancestors or put a name to someone else you may recognize.
PICTURES OF THE PEOPLE, THE VILLAGE AND THE PIT - pictures of the people, the village and the pit from many sources, just click on the thumbnail picture to see the full size photograph.
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES BY JOHN ETHERINGTON- a teacher who spent 23 years teaching in Wheatley Hill and has been prolific in writing about the colliery villages and the people in them.
BIOGRAPHIES OF PEOPLE FROM THE VILLAGE- a few biographies of people who have been born, lived or are associated with the village in one way or another. Journal of T. W. Thompson, edited by Bob Ferry. Another journal by a Wheatley Hill resident, William Herbert Shepherd brought to my attention by Alistair Mills when published in the North-East Heritage Magazine from Michael Southwick. Added with permission from his daughter Eileen Holgate.
MAPS OF THE VILLAGE - Maps of the village from different time periods including the 1843 Great Northern Coal Field. Just had updates from Alistair Mills of the 1857, 1897, 1919 and 1939 maps.
SEARCHING FOR YOUR ANCESTORS - List of people searching for ancestors that have been connected with Wheatley Hill with telephone numbers and there associated e-mail address (where applicable). I have also added a further file 'LOST AND FOUND' of miscellaneous links to internet items which refer to Wheatley Hill.
NOSTALGIA- Places we grew up with in the village as well as miscellaneous stories of things we did as children (Based on my own recollections to start with, but please send me your own experiences or your parents or grandparents. It all adds spice to the history of the village as a whole). Now includes 'Memories' from Sue Davies. Individuals who have made an impression on our lives when we lived in Wheatley Hill....School Teachers.
CENSUS RETURNS FROM 1841 TO 1901 - Returns from 1891 to 1841. I extracted them some time ago from copies of the census returns from the local Mormon Church microfilms. Also included is a comparison of the population of their occupations and places of birth for each year of the census returns. Just had recent updates to the formats from Alistair Mills to make them all consistant and more readable.
THE PIT - Technical information articles on the pit. Information from Roy Lambeth on accidents at the pit from Coal Mining Inspection Reports.
THE PIT BANNER - Pictures of the pit banner at the Big Meeting and in the village. A little bit of history about the banners from a letter to me from Billy Middleton in Thornley (including some additional information from Roy Lambeth.
FORUM - A section for visitors to this website for them to add their thoughts, stories, poems and anything that is associated with the village. Send me what your thought, memories etc. are and I'll add them to this section. Just in case we have some potential poets and authors out there this includes.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW - John Orchard suggested this section so that I could list peoples names and see where they are at today. I am in the process of extracting people and locations from Friends Reunite and other sources so that long lost friends can find one another. If you have information on people from the village wherever they are let me know and I'll add them to the list. This is a section that I will be modifying as I receive information and not once a month as I do with the rest of the sections on this web page.
OBITUARIES ASSOCIATED WITH WHEATLEY HILL - These are obituaries from The Northern Echo from March 2003 up to the present date. Everyone listed has had some association with Wheatley Hill even though they may not have lived there.
BURIALS AT WHEATLEY HILL INDEX - (With Kind Permission of Wheatley Hill Parish Council) These are from the burial registers that I am in the process of transcribing. This is an ongoing project for all the burials in the cemetery and I will modify this file as I go along. If anyone needs a copy (Excel format) don't hesitate to contact me and I will send it along.
LINKS TO DURHAM HISTORY - historical links that may be of value to people searching for information on County Durham and organizations that may be of help. Also included is a link to a web page containing a journal of a man (Thomas W. Russell) who lived at Wheatley Hill between 1877 and 1880 and eventually emigrated to the coal region of Pennsylvania, United States.
THE STREET NAMES - WHERE DID THEY COME FROM ?? - Thought I would add this page as I have often wondered where all the street names came from. I was born at 18 Liddell Terrace but still to this day I don't know the origin of the street name. Hope everyone will send in information or opinion on this and we'll find all the derivations eventually.
THORNLEY HISTORY PLUS PHOTOGRAPHS YESTERDAY AND TODAY - I have added this section not to take away from anyone who may have created a web page for Thornley but to show the close links that Wheatley Hill has with Thornley over the many years. Wheatley Hill was part of Thornley parish at one time. I worked at Thornley Colliery as well as my father and many other Wheatley Hill men too. On the other side of the coin many men from Thornley worked at Wheatley Hill Colliery. The school children that didn't go to grammar school from Thornley went to the Secondary Modern Schools in Wheatley Hill so there was a close bond with the pupils at the schools. Ian Worthington has just constructed a web page for Thornley at the following web site. http://mysite.freeserve.com/thornleydurham
LUDWORTH PHOTOGRAPHS YESTERDAY AND TODAY - I have added another section this time dealing with Ludworth. I haven't found a web page on the village and with the close association of Wheatley Hill, Thornley and Ludworth I thought I would add another section until someone from Ludworth takes on this task. Allan Fulcher has been instrumental in locating all of the photographs in this section up to now. So if you have further information, stories or photographs of the village and the folks who have lived or are still living in the village please send them along.
GUEST BOOK - I have finally added a new guestbook but I'm sorry to say it will come with advertisements. I have searched the web and asked my internet provider for help but to no avail. Sorry folks its the best I could do until either I gain enough experience to build one for myself or a page without ad's comes along. The old guestbook is also available to view just in case there is someone you would like to contact from the distant past. If you have time please visit the new guest book and add your comments or just to say "Hello". You can always add a note to someone you remember from Wheatley Hill who may now be on the net somewhere.
THE NEW TAVERN - The New Tavern is now serving meals in the new renovated lounge area. It is also giving 2 for 1 meals as shown on its latest menu. It is the last pub in Wheatley Hill and I have added this section in the hope that it will help to keep The Tavern open for a long time. Please note that The Tavern has been De-Licensed and is now closed. The information that I have received indicates that it will be sold to build houses similar to what is happening with The Crossways Hotel.........a sad loss for both villages. Link to real estate information on The New Tavern
ACCOMMODATION - Just in case anyone is traveling back to the North East to do some research and is looking for accommodation (self catering) I can highly recommend a place that my family and I stayed in recently. It is in Sedgefield and is called Todds House Farm. The Granary has been converted to accommodate a family of 4 and the accommodation and hospitality is excellent. Judith and Sam Edgoose own the farm and made us very welcome. Alternatively a lady has a guest house (the old Colliery Inn) over the beck at Lynn Terrace for B&B. Her number is 01429 821 198.
With so many changes to the web page each month I will add what has been added modified or deleted for those who visit on regular basis. It is still an ongoing, ever expanding information page on the history of the village.
Note - I have a web cam in case anyone wants to contact me via Skype, just contact me through my e-mail address and we can set up a time......Dave
New :- (updated 3rd July 2015)
Added Photographs on Photo of the Month.
Added Photographs to the Thornley web page
Please contact me (David Cook) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback on any aspect of the page.