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PONTELAND LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY

Celebrating Ponteland History

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PONTELAND LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY

Celebrating Ponteland History

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The PLHS Archives

Background

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 the 1980s.

 

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!

 

Special Collections

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.

 

Photographic Collection

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 by 1987/88.

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 for exhibitions.  

 

Henderson Collection

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.

 

Langton Collection

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 Collection!

 

The Future

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."

 

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