© Howden-le-Wear History Society 2015

101 Facts you

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Howden

Howden-le-Wear History Society
1. Howden-le-Wear was formerly part of Bedburn parish. 2. Howden-le-Wear stands on a small stream in a valley which is supposed to have given the name "Beechburn" to the district. 3. It is rumoured that a man named Howe harboured thieves and rustlers in a small cottage in Hargill Road.  It was called "Howe's Den", hence the name "Howden". 4. There was once a Lord Howden.  (Ref. Francis Craddock 1819). 5. At one time there were twenty five shops and businesses in the village. 6. Gibsons' Funeral Services, founded in 1861, is the oldest established business still operating. 7. Pinnington and Hillary operated the first bus service between Howden and Crook. 8. A return journey between Howden and Crook cost 1d. 9. Electricity was brought to the village in 1931. 10. The mainline railway first came to Howden in 1842. 11. In summer 1949 Waltons Builders began the first Council houses. 12. Plantation View was built in 1969 by Whittles Builders. 13. The village blacksmith in the 1920s was Mr Jim Bolton. 14. He delivered his bills by hand every Boxing Day afternoon. 15. Jubilee Park was originally called Howden Plantation. 16. The Park was the venue for the annual Howden Show. 17. A bandstand was brought from the Newcastle North-East Coast Exhibition of 1929. 18. In 1939 a grant was given to construct tennis courts and bowling greens. 19. Mr George Brown was the Band Steward. 20. The last Show in the Park was in 1934. 21. There was a Gunpowder Magazine about 100 metres from the South Side Gates. 22. In 1914 the chief landowners were the Shafto family, the Fryer family and the Stobart family. 23. Between July 1918 and August 1919 there was a flu epidemic which caused 51 deaths in Howden.  Funerals cost a straight 10 shillings (50p). 24 There were 3 deaths within 24 hours in one house. 25. Stone was brought from Scotland to build Smelt House. 26. The Coates family lived in Smelt House for about three centuries. 27. A stone from the original building bears the Bowes family coat of arms. 28. Dr Lishman bought Smelt House from the Fryer estate in 1953. 29. The British Workmen's Hall in Station Road was instituted in 1876. 30. It contained a lecture room, library, news and recreation room. 31. There were 250 volumes in the library. 32. The British Legion was established in the Green Tree Assembly Hall (now demolished) in the 1920s. 33. During the Second World War several buildings were used to billet troops. 34. Mr Pentland opened the first cinema upstairs at the British Workmen's Hall. 35. Mrs Adamson played the piano for silent movies. 36. Mrs Calvert later bought the premises. 37. The building was used as a private club, the "Blue Lagoon", which operated until it was raided by the police for licensing irregularities. 38. Mrs Calvert passed the building on to the scouts, and it was renamed "Craig Hall" in memory of her son who was tragically burned to death at a young age. 39. During the Second World War Tommy Griffiths was A.R.P Warden. 40. The Australian Hotel was built by William Walton on his return from the Australian goldfields. 41. He made a fortune of about £32,000.  This would equate to about £400,000 in today's terms. 42. He did, however, lose a great deal, gave money away, drank quite heavily and left only about £100 when he died. 43. Mr Walton's brother opened a coal mine nearby. 44. Before 1830 Howden did not exist as a real village, only scattered cottages and farmsteads. 45. Coal mining and the coming of the railway promoted rapid expansion between 1840 and 1890. 46. Mines opened on both sides of Beechburn Valley and the surrounding area and families moved in. 47. At one time North Beechburn Colliery employed 700 men and boys. 48. 700 tons of coal per day was being mined at this one colliery alone. 49. Coke works adjoined the pits and the valley was constantly polluted with fumes and waste products. 50. Fireclay was also mined and brickworks were established.
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