West chester area dating

West chester area dating

Chester-le-Street Heritage Group

Chester-le-Street Heritage Group was formed in 1986, although its origins go back to the mid 1960s when it was known as Chester-le-Street Local History Society. The main activities of the Group are the study of local history issues, in particular Chester-le-Street and the surrounding area.

New Artwork for Newfield and Pelton Lane Ends .

Two new pieces of artwork/signage have been installed on the approaches to Newfield and Pelton Lane Ends. They commemorate the area’s history going back to the Bronze Age.

The artwork displays a sword, a shield and a spear, representing the area’s Bronze Age history. The heritage of the mining industry is depicted by the inclusion of flames, a miner’s banner and a pit head wheel, with a set of railway tracks highlighting the importance of the local railway infrastructure. Also, there are some poppies included as a tribute to the local men and women who gave their lives in the two world wars. Local historian Dorothy A. Rand worked together with the artist Graeme Hopper, the school pupils and the Local Residents’ Association to create the artwork/signage, which has been placed on the approach to Newfield from Pelton Fell and at Pelton Lane Ends on the road leading from Pelton.

The installations are to be launched at a ceremony on Thursday 30 th November at 10.30am.

Up for sale - The site of the Civic Centre

The site where the Civic Centre once stood is now up for sale. Durham County Council has announced that the land is on the market, but the asking price is currently unknown.

The Civic Centre was opened by the Duke of Gloucester on the 6 th May, 1982 and demolished in November 2014 and won awards for its design and its steel construction. There was even an attempt to save the building by having it made Grade II listed, but that unfortunately failed.

However, there has now been a call for the money raised by the sale of the land to be reinvested in the town. One suggestion is for the money to be used to directly support community buildings, which would benefit all residents and the various groups such as those running art projects and youth groups etc..

Rare WW1 Photos at County Hall Exhibition

Reconnaissance photographs from the 1 st World War show the effects of a raid on the German trenches at Cherisy in France by the 9 th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry.

The exhibition started on 15 th September and runs until the summer of 2018. Admission is free and the exhibition is open from Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm.

TV Screens proposal for Parish Church scrapped.

Plans to install several 50” TV screens to the interior pillars of the Parish Church have been scrapped due to opposition from members of the congregation, Historic England and Chester-le-Street Heritage Group.

The church is a Grade 1 listed building dating from the 13 th Century and stands on the site of original wooden church where the body of St. Cuthbert lay before moving to Durham Cathedral.

The recently held “old photographic exhibition” at the Lambton Arms, has proven to be a very popular event and will be the venue of choice for future displays.

The exhibition featured photographs from the Group’s recent research into the local Collieries, including Pelton Fell, South Pelaw, Waldridge A and D pits and there was also a collection of old photographs of teachers and pupils who attended Chester-le-Street Secondary Modern School, at Bullion Lane in days gone by.

If anyone is interested in in seeing the collections, they will be available to view when the Group restarts its Drop-In Sessions in September. (See Below).

Finchale Training College backdrop to George Gently

The college has been returned to normal following it being transformed into a Police Station for the new series of George Gently, the BBC’s well-loved Crime Drama due to be aired on 21 st May and later this year.

Unfortunately, this will be the last series for Gently and Bacchus and will include two feature-length episodes entitled “Gently Liberated” and “Gently and the New Age”.

In December last year,the College was transformed into a 1940s period Police Station and its reception area converted into a full custody suite.

Roman Bathhouse found in Chester-le-Street

The remains of a “Roman Bathhouse” and “Hot Room” are believed to have been found in the back gardens of two adjoining homes in the town. Amateur Archaeologists were given permission from the householders to dig test holes in their back gardens, which soon revealed the remains of a wall about two feet below the surface which were identified as the rooms where the legionnaires would have changed. It has always been believed that a bathhouse must have existed near the Roman Fort in the town and these finds have been dated by experts to around 150AD , in the time of the Emperor Hadrian. The excavations have now been covered over again.

This week saw the demolition of the old Wardles Bridge Inn, which at one time in the none to distant past was a popular watering hole. Recent planning permission has been obtained for the building of 10 holiday homes, each with a “sun hut” on the site.

The original Inn was located further along the road and still stands today, although it is now a private home and was in existence in the 1850s. The name “Wardles” probably derives from that of the Wardel family who owned nearby Edmondsley in 17 th & 18 th Centuries.

HSBC Bank Closed

All accounts will have been transferred to their Bridges branch at: 49-51, The Bridges Shopping Centre, Market Square, Sunderland and staff will have been transferred to the HSBC branches at Durham & Sunderland.

This week sees the demolition of Mendip House on West Lane, which was previously a nursing home that closed earlier this year.

Built in 1959, Mendip House provided 28 beds which were all single rooms, but were not en-suite. The two story building also included spacious lounges and dining areas.

The remains of around 17 to 28 sets of skeletons which were discovered during the course of building works on Palace Green, Durham in 2013, are to be re-interred at Elvet Hill Cemetery.

The skeletons are those of Scottish prisoners who were captured at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. They were apparently forced to march from south east Scotland to Durham City. Many died during the journey, some however escaped, but others were executed or died of disease or malnutrition while imprisoned.

It is possible that there are more mass graves lying uder the current University buildings.

Dainty Dinah Memorabilia in St. Cuthbert’s Walk

Chester-le-Street Heritage Group have set up a mini exhibition of Dainty Dinah and Horner’s memorabilia in the vacant display windows at St. Cuthbert’s Walk shopping mall.

Lottery Funding To Resurrect Hylton Castle

The historic “Hylton Castle” in Sunderland which has been described as a “Forgotten Gem” along with an old Fire Station have been awarded a ?5.4m cash boost by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Hylton Castle which dates from the 14 th Century, but stands today as an empty shell, is set to become a Community, Educational and Visitor attraction with a ?2.9m grant and a further ?1.5m from Sunderland Council. Sunderland’s old Fire Station is to receive ?2.5m to make it into an Arts & Heritage Centre.

Lambton Estate ?28.5m plans set to secure its future.

It appears that a planning application put forward to secure the future of the Lambton Estate is expected to receive approval. The plans included building around 400 (mainly executive) homes at the estate’s southern edge along with shops, offices and a community hub.The money raised would be used to restore the Grade II listed Lambton Castle, the Lamb Bridge and some of the stables. Biddick Hall located within the Lambton Estate, was the setting for the recently televised BBC drama production “The Paradise”.


This is the new book by Dorothy Rand. It tells the story of Jack and Bella Lawson, later Lord and Lady Lawson of Beamish. Jack was a miner and lived locally 1910-1965, he worked as a member of the DMA, as a County Councillor and as our MP to improve the working and living conditions of miners and other workers. He was known as "The Champion of the Working Man". Bella pioneered Child Welfare Clinics in County Durham after WW1. New information provides interesting accounts of local events, including the story of the Lawsons' adopted son Clive who was killed by the Beamish Bomb in 1942.

The Heritage Group have embarked on a new project to record as much information as possible about the Collieries of Chester-le-Street and the surrounding area.

The Chester Chronicle 1917 and 1918 Editions now available.

The Heritage Group have just completed the 1917 and 1918 Editions of the Chester-le-Street Chronicles which are now available on DVD. These digitised pages provide a fascinating insight into the period of the 1 st World War and the effects it had upon our local community.

The new ‘Pelton Memorial’ unveiled Friday 20 th March.

The new ‘Pelton Memorial’ has been installed opposite the entrance to the Lavender Centre in Pelton Village and was unveiled at 2pm on the afternoon on Friday 20 th March, 2015. Kevan Jones MP, local Historian Dorothy A. Rand and Council dignitaries attended the unveiling.

Did you attend Chester-le-Street Grammar School in 1960?

Can you help identify the pupils and teachers in a collection of school photographs from Chester-le-Street Grammar School dating from the school year 1960? If so, we would very much appreciate your help. Just click on “ View Photos ” above to see the collection.

Did you work in the collieries? if so we need your help.

This project is the latest undertaking by the Heritage Group and covers the surrounding collieries of Chester-le-Street. The aim is to detail collectable information about the collieries and to display the results on this website. Just click on the READ MORE button.

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GRAMMAR SCHOOL 1960 Photographs

“FREE” Drop-In Sessions are held on Tuesday mornings

in the Salvation Army Citadel on Low Chare.

TUESDAY 9 th January, 2018.

Bring your memories, photographs & memorabilia along,

meet the Members & view the Group’s Archive of our town.

The next meeting will take place on:

In the Library on the Front Street

(Small charge of ?1.00 for Members and ?2.00 for non-members).