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PONTELAND LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
Celebrating Ponteland History
PONTELAND LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
Celebrating Ponteland History
The PLHS Archives
Following the founding of the Society in 1968, projects, competitions and exhibitions
contributed to the initial archive of local history material in the early 1970s,
with major donations from generous individuals greatly enlarging the collection during
Leslie Almond, a founder member and the immediate past Chairman, was recorded in
the Minute Book of the Society (1968-1996) as being Curator of the Society's archives
from 1979/80, the collections being housed in his home. It is mainly due to his dedicated
efforts, his contact with local people, giving talks and slide shows to various organisations
and through his own research, that further material was collected and donated, gradually
increasing the archives to cover a variety of material and subject matter.
The collections are focused mainly on Ponteland village and Darras Hall, so there
is much scope for extending them to cover the whole parish and beyond. Some of the
oldest dateable items in our archives include a book of "Estimates 1821-1838" for
work carried out by Hendersons, Ponteland joiners and cartwrights (Henderson Collection),
a Rate Book for Prestwick township dated 1854-1874, and the original death certificate
for a child still-born at High Callerton in 1877.
The Main Collection
The main collection consists of around 500 items, most of which are post World War
II material. There are a large number of newspaper cuttings and of photocopied material
-documents, census records and maps. Most of the original items are booklets and
leaflets relating to local churches, schools, colleges, inns, clubs and organisations,
also letters from former residents briefly recalling their memories of Ponteland.
There are interesting original items relating to the local railway and Thomas Scott,
the Stationmaster in 1939 when the Royal Train came to Ponteland. All are fascinating
and very useful to those searching for information from the past - even the old advertisements
tell a story!
These form the most important part of our archives and are kept separately because
of either the large number of items donated, or their age, or their physical nature.
There are over 800 photographs, the oldest of which are undated and some are duplicated.
The subject matter is as varied as the main collection, covering transport, events,
buildings, families, trades et al. Recorded donations to this collection are as follows:
PG Lloyd - a founder member of the Society who held a collection of 200 slides covering
the 1950s and 1960s which were donated in 1973 to Ponteland Branch Library. Ron Stobbs
was granted permission to copy 100 of these for the archives, which was completed
Ian Buchanan - another founder member of the Society. His collection of 1980s material
was donated in 1986.
Huw Wright - an active member of the Society and resident of the CARE village, who
enjoyed collaborative research and who donated his collection of negatives.
Our thanks must go to Ron Stobbs, past-President and past-Curator of Photographs,
who has been very active over the years in taking photographs locally for the Society,
also in producing slides to accompany Leslie 'Almond's talks and enlarging material
This important collection dates from 1821 to 1983 and contains 51 items of memorabilia
concerning the old local family of Henderson. It also represents some of the oldest
material in our archives. F R Henderson was a founder member of the Society and Miss
Mollie Henderson an active committee member.
This collection mainly relates to the First World War period as experienced by the
Rev. FW Langton, vicar of St Mary's church (1895-1934) and his wife and is primarily
concerned with the war effort. A second collection of similar material was recently
located in the Parish Council offices, having originally been found in the attic
of the Old Rectory. Copies of this second collection are to be deposited in our archives.
A wonderful feature of this "find" is a mounted set of pen and ink drawings of the
interior and exterior of St Mary's church, drawn by the then curate, HW Tustin and
used as vicarial Christmas cards between 1902 and 1914.
Ponteland Hospital Collection
There are 12 original items in this collection donated by Mrs Halliday, Hospital
Manager at the time of its closure. The items include Accounts Books, Admissions
& Discharges Books, a Minute Book and Ward Return Sheets, dated variously between
1955 and 1987.
St Mary's Church Graveyard Survey
The basis of this collection is a very useful publication (1986) containing full
transcriptions of the earliest gravestones, monuments and memorials both in St Mary's
churchyard and the church, together with an alphabetical surname index. This was
the Society's contribution to a county-led project, with the work carried out by
a variety of local people. The collection also includes a map, a plan and "working"
index cards with photographs and drawings.
Finally, there are one or two strange items in our archives - a small box of shrapnel
recovered from the brickyard in Ponteland following a zeppelin raid during the First
World War and a box of medical equipment which forms part of the Ponteland Hospital
Maintenance, access, and recording the present as well as collecting material from
and about the past is our agenda for the future. The collections are now available
to the public in our local public library. Since they are a record of our village
and parish, they provide an important resource for school children and family/local
history researchers, as well as a source of interest and reference for the local
community. We hope that anyone who either has photographs, memorabilia, or even fond
memories of Ponteland, its parish, farms and hamlets, might share their past with
the people of the present and future who wish to "look back."