Ushaw Moor and New Brancepeth 1901/1959
Let me start with a few of the residents of New Brancepeth [Sleetburn!] in 1901, in the hope that it might help one or two of those people that have either began their family history research, or are contemplating whether to start it:
16 Unthank Terrace – Mary Ann Smith [widow] aged 42, John Robert Smith  Coal Hewer, Ralph Smith  Coal Labourer, James Smith  – Putter at colliery, William Smith  Driver – [below ground], Jane Ann Smith , Margaret Smith , Mary Smith ,Winifred Smith  and May Bower [niece] aged 2.
Very sadly William was accidentally killed on 15/08/1901 at New Brancepeth Colliery.
24 Church Street – James Hughes  Hewer, Ann Hughes  his wife, James Hughes , Thomas , Martha  and Edith [3 months old].
Pit House – Michael Tindale,  Annie Tindale , Ada Tindale , Nora Tindale , and Eveline Tindale [10 months old].
1 and 2 Sleetburn Street – John Walton Hutchinson  [Undermanager at colliery], Eliza Hutchinson , John Hutchinson  Mining Deputy, Thomas Hutchinson  – Assistant Weighman, George Hutchinson  [Coalmine Worker], Lily Hutchinson , Gertrude Hutchinson [aged 3] Bertha Hutchinson [aged 11 months].
I have to say that 18 seems a bit young to be a deputy. It is legitimate, at this distance, to briefly consider whether that was an example of nepotism, bearing in mind his father’s influential position at the colliery. But that is what the subject of history is all about – arguing and reaching conclusions. In my view if he was the best man for the job then it was right that he should have had it. If you are good enough – fair enough! It might not have been nepotism and even if it was, so what? The world was, and is, built upon it [generally speaking]. I believe a modern branch of it is called ‘networking!
15 Eshwood Street – Robert Milburn  Assistant Coke Burner and Hannah Milburn .
Woodbine Terrace – Hannah Hardy [widow]  and Hannah M Charlton [who was visiting Hannah]  Dressmaker.
Some of you will have already found out that family history can turn up some interesting facts – which can lead you into unexpected avenues, for example:
 I discovered that my grandfather, an Ushaw Moor lad, attended a major scout jamboree in London [probably the world jamboree in 1920] and fought and beat the French Scout Champion!
 My great aunt wrote to me in 1992 and told me that she remembered seeing one of Sammy Crook’s football caps [awarded for playing for England] in my great grandfather’s cupboard. I later discovered, independently, that one of Sammy’s caps had been stolen! That truly worried me but after further research I can gladly say that my great grandfather’s fine reputation remains intact! I am sorry to have even wobbled about it. Along the way I spoke to Sammy’s widow, who at the time was living in the Derby area; she was quite an age yet was still working. She was very understanding about it and all is well that ends well!
In the 1930s my aunt Ethel won a school attendance prize – having been off only one day during the term. Unfortunately it was ‘only’ second prize because another girl had only been off for half a day that term. The difference was that my aunt won a picture, whereas the other girl won a lovely watch. Now then, who was that other girl?
Do you remember Harry Barlow’s mental arithmetic test that started at 3pm on a Friday at Ushaw Moor County School in the 1950s? I do! I always seemed to leave school at about 3.01pm every Friday! I was hopeless at woodwork but rather better at mental arithmetic. The idea was that he would set a problem and the first pupil to answer it correctly was allowed to go home; this procedure was repeated until every pupil had left. What an inspired incentive. I wonder whether the Department of Education and Science [or whatever its equivalent was then] approved of that. Actually I do not care because it was another example of brilliance by Mr Barlow.