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The next meeting of the South Tyneside Branch will be held at the usual venue of St. Hilda's Church Visitor Centre at South Shields on Wednesday 21st January 2015 at 7.30 pm, and you are invited to bring along old photographs that you can either talk about or would like to seek advice on. 
This is just a preliminary notice of the meeting, as no doubt Geoff Nicholson will post more details nearer the date and at the same time try to rally the troops for a good attendance!
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The next meeting of North Northumberland Branch at the Bell View Resource Centre at Belford will be held on Saturday 17th January 2015 at 10.00 am and will be a Members' Forum.
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The next meeting of Newcastle Branch will be held at Brunswick Chapel at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 7th January 2015 and will feature a talk by the Revd. Roy Large on "My World War One Grandfather".
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Blyth Branch / Blyth Branch - January 2015 Meeting
« Last post by Pat Pierpoint - Publicity Officer NDFHS on January 02, 2015, 04:32:12 PM »
The next meeting of NDFHS Blyth Branch will be held at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 20th January 2015 at Briardale Training & Community Centre.  There will be discussions on research and there will be a slide show. There is no guest speaker on this occasion.
75
Tynedale Branch / Report of Tynedale Meeting Talk December 2014
« Last post by Susanne on December 12, 2014, 08:10:13 PM »
Today’s Meeting: 11 Dec 2014    Durham Wills Project and Xmas Quiz
(8 attendees)
A combination of weather and other commitments meant that that there was only a small audience for Douglas Burdon telling us about the Durham Wills project.  The project was started because he realised that all wills involve more people than the testator, yet only the testator’s name appears on the index of wills held by Durham University.  One example is indexed under Clements - but involves 27 other people under 10 different surnames.  The index will unlock the information held on the Durham Wills for researchers looking for people dying between 1701 and 1858.  Wills were made by many people, sometimes comparatively poor, to make sure that their money and goods were inherited as they wished eg “to the sole use of a sister, with no intermeddling  by her husband”.  Durham University holds  almost 55 thousand Wills and Bonds and now that they are available on the internet these names can be found and transcribed by anyone with online access and a computer.  Volunteers will get a list of names with the appropriate detail eg index number. Putting the name and place into the Durham Wills web page advanced search will bring it up, with a clickable link direct to the images of the will and or bond hosted on the Family search site.  A template spreadsheet is provided on which each new name (and details like daughter, location  etc) can be added along with the index surname and number for the Will.  Douglas has prepared some detailed explanation pages that he will send to potential volunteers in the NDFHS.  The spreadsheet will work with either Excel or with Open Office’s free spreadsheet.  Help will be available for any difficult to read words or any other queries.  For further detail please Email vicechairman  @ndfhs.org  (remove spaces in the address).  Page 166 of the NDFHS Winter 2014 journal has an article on the Project..

This was followed by the Xmas Quiz organised by Christine Hanley  and light refreshments brought by attendees
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South Tyneside Branch / S Tyneside Branch - December 2014 Meeting
« Last post by geoff on December 06, 2014, 10:01:47 AM »

     The December meeting of the NDFHS S Tyneside Branch will be in the Visitor Centre of St Hilda's Church (the one adjacent to South Shields Market Place), through the big red doors at 7.30pm on Wednesday December 10th, ie Wednesday coming.  This is one week earlier than for most months but is in line with our usual practice of keeping the meeting well away from Christmas.

     Our member John Stobbs will give a talk on "Useful Web-Sites", a subject which, in my experience always generates lots of discussion as we all probably have our own subjective list of such sites.  In my experience there are lots of very useful ones, in an ever-changing scene, not all of which are as well-known as they deserve, so John's talk could be highly informative to expert and beginner alike.  All are welcome at our meetings.

                              Geoff Nicholson
                             Chairman, NDFHS S Tyneside Branch
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Tynedale Branch / Reminder - Tynedale meeting 11 Dec 2014
« Last post by Susanne on December 05, 2014, 12:13:29 PM »
11 December 2014 at 7pm at the Community Centre, Gilesgate, Hexham
Douglas Burdon will talk about the Durham Wills Project
This will be followed by a Christmas Quiz
and then a buffet of refreshments provided by members,
with a choice of  tea, coffee, wine and Valerie's delicious non-alcoholic punch to drink
78
North Northumberland Branch / VOICES OF STANNINGTON SANATORIUM
« Last post by belfordian on November 30, 2014, 06:07:40 PM »
VOICES FROM STANNINGTON SANATORIUM – LIZ O’DONNELL

Camp beds on the grass, rolling bandages for the war effort, daily doses of Virol malt, waving to the soldiers, injections with needles like pokers, these were just some of the memories of former patients of  The Children’s Sanatorium at Stannington near Morpeth. It had its origins in the Poor Children’s Holiday Association, a Methodist Charity which organised day trips to the seaside for needy children and also provided night shelters for destitute children on Tyneside. They set up Street Vendors’ Clubs in Newcastle and Gateshead with activities such as keep fit and magic lantern projections. It was noticed that many of the children were in poor health with some suffering from TB. Poor housing and cramped conditions were considered the main cause, with most patients coming from towns. Most children contracted it from an adult. There was a great deal of fear and stigma about it and children were often told not to tell anyone about their stay at the sanatorium after they left. This approach led to the first sanatorium in the country especially for children. Proposed in 1904 it was built on land acquired from benefactors.

 At a later stage another ward and the Vita Glass Pavilion were added. The latter permitted the transmission of ultra-violet rays from sunshine believed to be essential for improving the health of children with TB. Fresh air and good food were also the main treatment before WW2 for pulmonary TB. The average length of a child’s stay was 3 years during which they would be allowed a visit from their parents only once in 2 months for 3 hours. No siblings could visit.

The miracle drug streptomycin was available for soldiers etc in WW2 but the general public did not have access to it until the 1950’s. It had a massive effect upon the illness and this was the beginning of its virtual eradication. At Stannington there was even an isolation unit (A shed in the woods!) if children contracted an infectious disease such as chickenpox.

Liz interviewed 25 former patients for this project and 5 members of staff. Extensive archives were submitted to Woodhorn Archives, so many that a removal van was needed to transport them. All patient records remain closed for 100 years except in exceptional circumstances. It was interesting to hear that one of the interviewees was contacted through Liz’s previous talk for us when one of our members put her in touch with a former patient.

Many of the individual stories were heartbreaking. Most patients felt it had made it more difficult for them to feel close to their parents after such early and lengthy separation. In one case three young brothers were in the sanatorium but never saw each other. One was strapped to a curved frame and occupied himself rolling bandages for the war effort. Wherever possible the children spent time in the open air, even if this meant wheeling the bed outside. Occasionally older children already working became patients and we saw a photograph of the autograph book of a teenage girl who had to have her leg amputated. It contained a verse in German from a German POW in a nearby camp.

We heard the story of a child who was shocked to discover she had to remain in the sanatorium while her parents went home. She remembered “big needles like pokers”, retained a dislike of milk puddings for the rest of her life and felt abandoned by her parents. Nursing staff had to begin washing the children as early as 4 am when they were still sleeping!

Not all the memories were unhappy ones. Nurses in cloaks carrying lanterns who came round the wards singing carols on Christmas Eve were a happy memory for  one little girl. The cast of the Theatre Royal at Newcastle used to visit every year. For a few it created the motivation to train to become a nurse specialising in the treatment of TB.

The sanatorium closed for TB patients in 1953 and then took long term patients, finally closing its doors in 1985. This moving talk finished with a photograph of a Reunion of former Nurses taken very recently.

Liz drew attention to the extensive archives of the sanatorium now held at Woodhorn, which are now being catalogued and will be available to the public, with the exception of Patients’ Records.

The talk demonstrated that Stannington Sanatorium was a world in itself and served an important purpose during its life. Thank goodness it is no longer needed!

Our next meeting will be on Saturday 17 January 10 am at Bell View, Belford and will be a Members’ Forum, topic to be announced.
79
North Northumberland Branch / REPORT OF VOICES OF STANNINGTON SANATORIUM
« Last post by belfordian on November 30, 2014, 06:06:18 PM »
VOICES FROM STANNINGTON SANATORIUM – LIZ O’DONNELL

Camp beds on the grass, rolling bandages for the war effort, daily doses of Virol malt, waving to the soldiers, injections with needles like pokers, these were just some of the memories of former patients of  The Children’s Sanatorium at Stannington near Morpeth. It had its origins in the Poor Children’s Holiday Association, a Methodist Charity which organised day trips to the seaside for needy children and also provided night shelters for destitute children on Tyneside. They set up Street Vendors’ Clubs in Newcastle and Gateshead with activities such as keep fit and magic lantern projections. It was noticed that many of the children were in poor health with some suffering from TB. Poor housing and cramped conditions were considered the main cause, with most patients coming from towns. Most children contracted it from an adult. There was a great deal of fear and stigma about it and children were often told not to tell anyone about their stay at the sanatorium after they left. This approach led to the first sanatorium in the country especially for children. Proposed in 1904 it was built on land acquired from benefactors.

 At a later stage another ward and the Vita Glass Pavilion were added. The latter permitted the transmission of ultra-violet rays from sunshine believed to be essential for improving the health of children with TB. Fresh air and good food were also the main treatment before WW2 for pulmonary TB. The average length of a child’s stay was 3 years during which they would be allowed a visit from their parents only once in 2 months for 3 hours. No siblings could visit.

The miracle drug streptomycin was available for soldiers etc in WW2 but the general public did not have access to it until the 1950’s. It had a massive effect upon the illness and this was the beginning of its virtual eradication. At Stannington there was even an isolation unit (A shed in the woods!) if children contracted an infectious disease such as chickenpox.

Liz interviewed 25 former patients for this project and 5 members of staff. Extensive archives were submitted to Woodhorn Archives, so many that a removal van was needed to transport them. All patient records remain closed for 100 years except in exceptional circumstances. It was interesting to hear that one of the interviewees was contacted through Liz’s previous talk for us when one of our members put her in touch with a former patient.

Many of the individual stories were heartbreaking. Most patients felt it had made it more difficult for them to feel close to their parents after such early and lengthy separation. In one case three young brothers were in the sanatorium but never saw each other. One was strapped to a curved frame and occupied himself rolling bandages for the war effort. Wherever possible the children spent time in the open air, even if this meant wheeling the bed outside. Occasionally older children already working became patients and we saw a photograph of the autograph book of a teenage girl who had to have her leg amputated. It contained a verse in German from a German POW in a nearby camp.

We heard the story of a child who was shocked to discover she had to remain in the sanatorium while her parents went home. She remembered “big needles like pokers”, retained a dislike of milk puddings for the rest of her life and felt abandoned by her parents. Nursing staff had to begin washing the children as early as 4 am when they were still sleeping!

Not all the memories were unhappy ones. Nurses in cloaks carrying lanterns who came round the wards singing carols on Christmas Eve were a happy memory for  one little girl. The cast of the Theatre Royal at Newcastle used to visit every year. For a few it created the motivation to train to become a nurse specialising in the treatment of TB.

The sanatorium closed for TB patients in 1953 and then took long term patients, finally closing its doors in 1985. This moving talk finished with a photograph of a Reunion of former Nurses taken very recently.

Liz drew attention to the extensive archives of the sanatorium now held at Woodhorn, which are now being catalogued and will be available to the public, with the exception of Patients’ Records.

The talk demonstrated that Stannington Sanatorium was a world in itself and served an important purpose during its life. Thank goodness it is no longer needed!

Our next meeting will be on Saturday 17 January 10 am at Bell View, Belford and will be a Members’ Forum, topic to be announced.
80
Tynedale Branch / Report of Tynedale Meeting Talk November 2014
« Last post by Susanne on November 17, 2014, 11:35:56 AM »
Today’s Meeting: Christine Seal  The Home Front in Tynedale, 1914-15 
(12 attendees) 
Christine has been gathering research for the Family & Community Historical Research Society on the Home Front.  It is looking at how widespread support was for the Home Front in WW1.  She has focussed on Tynedale.  Much of the research has been done using the local papers available in Hexham and in Woodhorn.  Articles and pictures in the papers, especially the Hexham Courant, show the mobilization of the Territorial Force, with crowds turning out to see the first cohorts sent off.  The Abbey Park was used to inspect horses that were taken for the Transport section.  Volunteers aged 19-35 were wanted, men under 19 were not supposed to be sent abroad but some lied in order to join up.  Married men were promised that their wives and children would be looked after but this did not always happen and the Board of Guardians regularly got applications for assistance to tide families over. One effect of recruitment was that there were shortages of staff in many areas. Unqualified men and married women teachers took men’s places; retired and ex-policemen came back as special constables  while skilled farm workers (eg who could use machinery) were eventually discouraged from joining up so that food supplies would not be affected.  Some firms offered to pay part wages to the dependents of their workers who enlisted eg the Mickley Coal Company.  Various buildings were commandeered as hospitals, often to act as convalescent homes for soldiers etc who had been treated at the hospitals in Newcastle.  Armstrong College (now Newcastle University) was taken over as the 1st Northern General Hospital providing an extra 2000 beds.  Advertising encouraged people not waste food and various charities were set up to help the war effort, ranging from collecting eggs to making garments for the Territorials who were supplied only with their uniform - no under-garments or other clothing, unlike the regular soldiers.  Refugees from Belgium were also supported in various ways in Tynedale. A lively discussion followed.
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