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OUR GREEN HERITAGE:
Cramlington Yesterday Society is a local history group launched in
1982 by people keen to record information on Cramlington in the
North East of England. We have a considerable archive of written
material, photographs, slides and artifacts which is the main source
of material used in planning our programme of four meetings held each
year. Our meetings are held
at St. Nicholas Church Hall in Cramlington.
We have ninety members and a
Committee of seven. Committee meetings are generally an occasion for an
illustrated talk on some aspect of local history. A
wide range of topics are covered including events, work, domestic
life, education, arts & entertainment, customs & dialect, recreation
and the environment. Our aim is to present a comprehensive view
of life in earlier times and make it available to the community. Apart from stimulating
memories of older people, we attempt to involve families that have
settled in Cramlington in recent years and use our materials for
education. The Society is
represented at meetings of Cramlington Community Assembly where
emphasis is put on co-operation with fellow organisations such as
Cramlington Organisation for Nature and the
Each year there is an event called
Showcase which is sponsored by Blyth Valley Borough Council and is
held in the Manor Walks Shopping Centre in September. Local
groups are invited to exhibit information about themselves for the public benefit and we have
taken advantage of this for a number of years. In addition to
Showcase occasional displays are held, for example,
in May 1998 we exhibited an historical survey of Cramlington in St.
Nicholas' Parish Church, Cramlington Village. A exhibition on
the history of Cramlington supported by Blyth Valley Arts Network and
our sister organisation, The Cramlington Local history Society, was held
in the Town Centre and Cramlington Library during the summer of 2000.
Cramlington - a rich and
Cramlington New Town
opened in 1964 and developed
around the original village of Cramlington in Northumberland, England.
The Village has a history dating to the 12th. century and
grew beside a manorial dwelling and chapel. The name
Cramlington indicates the possibility of an earlier settlement as
it is thought to be of Anglo-Saxon or Danish origin. The
manor lands were extended to the limits of the old Parish from Storton Burn in the north to Sandy's Letch in the
Parish church of St. Nicholas was built between 1865 and 1868 in
a Gothic style, its predecessor also was a rebuilding of what would
have been a chapel, probably in the Norman style. Cramlington
Hall is largely an early 19th. century rebuilding.
Village contained four farmsteads; East, Middle, West Farm and Hall Farm. Of these West
Farm and Middle Farm survive although have other uses. A smithy
stood on the site of Smithy Square and the foundation stone of the
former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was laid in 1881 west of the Blagdon Arms
(formerly the Blue Bell). Across the Village
Square stands the British Legion Comrades' Club which was the Fox and
Hounds Inn. The War Memorial was dedicated in 1922.
A small pond existed behind the Wesleyan Chapel. A larger
pond was located on the site of the north-eastern car park at Manor
Walks Shopping Centre. What was an old quarry is now
occupied by a garden centre between Quarrie House and the Surveyor's
House. A street of stone houses called Quarry Row marked the
site of a second quarry and a third is located on Station Road.
East from the car park stands a stone building built in 1853 as a school.
When a new larger school was opened in 1909, now called Parkside
Middle School, the older building became the Parish Hall and then
Before large scale coal mining began in the
19th. century, the Parish was rural with farms such as Whitehall,
Beacon, Bassington, Crowhall and Moor Farm. Arcot Hall was
built at the beginning of the 19th. century and not far from it was
Dam Dykes Farm. There had been small scale coal mining since
Medieval Times on the north-west boundary which ceased about 1813.
Traces of a wagon way constructed about 1700 to take coal to the
coast at Blyth for shipment can still be seen.
The first deep pits
were sunk about 1825 and grew during the following decades.
Colliery villages grew around the new mine-heads as at Shankhouse,
High Pit, East Cramlington, West Cramlington and East Hartford.
In 1934 a pit was sunk down Crow Hall Lane and Nelson Village was
built beside a First World War airship shed. An aerodrome built
during World War One, near the present Garden Centre, was the
headquarters of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Aero Club during the 1920's
and 1930's. A local Co-operative Society was founded in 186
which had a blacksmith's, a building department and shoe
factory. The railway station was opened in 1874 on the London to
A vigorous local culture had developed by
the 20th. century. Apart from the Anglican Parish Church in the
Old Village and its Mission Church at Shankhouse there were ten
Methodist churches, a Salvation Army and the imposing Roman Catholic
Church of St. John the Baptist. The Miners' Welfares and
Mechanics' Institutes fulfilled an important role. Sport was
prominent including football teams such as the Shankhouse Black Watch
and East Cramlington Black Watch. Music flourished not only in
the church choirs but also in the Choral Society and Cramlington Male
In the year 2000 the Town had a population of over
30,000 which was growing. Cramlington has an attractive shopping
mall and amenities with spacious business, industrial and housing.
It has excellent road and rail links but above all has a rich and
History and Cramlington's Green Heritage.
With the help and support of Tomorrow's History Cramlington
Yesterday Society researched, produced and displayed an exhibition
of photographs on our Green Heritage. This exhibition was
in support of the tenth anniversary of the Cramlington
Organisation for Nature and the Environment (C.O.N.E.).
During October 2001 for over two weeks this exhibition was displayed
at Cramlington Library and consisted of over 100 photographs
of 'green' locations in Cramlington. Many of these 'green'
areas have survived urban development. Some photographs showed
conservation work carried out in creating new areas or restoring
derelict ones by Blyth Valley Council and other organisations.
There were examples of existing farmland, old woodland, pastures,
hedgerows, ponds, a nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific
As well as Cramlington Library a shorter version of the exhibition
was displayed at the Showcase mentioned earlier. It
proved to be a popular attraction and has increased awareness about
how much 'green' space there is in Cramlington. As the display
boards, purchased with the help of Tomorrow's History,
are mobile we also held the exhibition at Nelson Village Community
Centre and East Hartford Community Centre during November 2001.