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Howden Le Wear

Howden Le Wear photos

Displaying the first of 1 old photos of Howden Le Wear.   View all Howden Le Wear photos

View all 1 photos of Howden Le Wear

Howden Le Wear maps

Historic maps of Howden Le Wear and the local area, hand-drawn by Ordnance Survey and Samuel Lewis.   View all Howden Le Wear maps

Howden Le Wear area books

Displaying 1 of 3 books about Howden Le Wear and the local area.   View all books for this area

Memories of Howden Le Wear

Howden Le Wear memories
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Displaying a selection of personal memories of Howden Le Wear.
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I know records will prove me wrong, but summer seemed to start around the beginning of May and last until getting on to Bonfire night. We walked to Witton-le-Wear night after night to swim then walked home or, if we were lucky, got a lift in an empty meat van, not unlike the one driven by Corporal Jones in 'Dads Army'.

When it got too cold to swim we set about building and guarding our bonfire in the park. There were few organised displays in those days but there was tremendous rivalry between Bitchburn, High Grange, Valley Terrace, Victoria, 'Them up the New Buildings', and us. We invariably won, but to be fair we were well in with Dougie Wilks for a few tyres, and we enlisted the aid of a few 16-17 year olds, who in those days were not men but still big boys. We also had all of the park to ga at for dead trees and branches, not to mention a few live ones!
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Bryant's Post Office with Mrs Robson, a Queen Motherish figure always dressed in a black two piece, dishing out pensions, stamps and postal orders from the aloof position behind her cage.

Duggie Bain's cobblers, the warm oily smell, my first football boots were bought there for 13/6d. The proprietor ever smiling, with his gold rimmed glasses, shiny bald head, gammy leg and leather apron, he could have been Pinnochio's dad Gepetto himself.

Harry Waggot's, as wide a range of foods as Morrisons, but served with courtesy, a smile and a joke for the kids. Next door was Peggy's wool shop, but a young lad would not be seen dead in there!

Gibsons, substitute Joyce and Mark for Gladys and Bill, treble the 'dying trade', but otherwise things are very much as they were, indeed, as they should be!

Finlay and Wilks, two pumps on the footpath, an endless barrel of paraffin, batteries, light bulbs, puncture repair kits and sticks. Just shows what can be achieved with... Read more

Village Characters

Mr Joe (Cloggy) Jackson

Almost everyone who met 'Cloggy' has stories to recollect of this colourful village character - Dave Quinn recalls:

Mr Joe 'Cloggy' Jackson, Club Doorman and Saturday Evening vendor of 'The Pink', AKA Sunderland Echo. Invariably dressed in flat cap and tight fitting jacket, riding breeches and leather boots, Cloggy looked every inch a 'horsey man'.

He claimed that as a lad he had been bed-mates with champion jockey Manny Mercer. This was extremely doubtful as Cloggy was not so much economical with the truth, but rather he embellished it.

The classic case occurred one hot Sunday morning when Cloggy was sitting shirt sleeved and barefoot by the well along Witton Road. A by-passer remarked upon Cloggy's weary and overheated state and was answered in no uncertain terms. 'Thou'd be hot if the'd just warked back from Ireland.'

Being something of a romancer Cloggy was also rather gullible. The most famous example of this being the Friday evening phone call to the... Read more


Vague recollections of my first days, being taken in my little blue coat and cap by the girls next door. I seemed to cling to them for ages. (Was this a sign of things to come?)

Finally graduated to playing with the boys, sliding in the school yard in black boots with 'segs' in. It was all boys because the yard then was divided by a wall and the red brick toilets and you just didn't venture into the girl's half. What is now the school field was still 'Carter's' field, where Alf kept his pigs.

I suppose most of my generation will have roughly the same memories of the school, such as the huge thermometer on the wall, dinners in the W.I., sitting on the pipes in the winter, 'Tommy's Pantry', and maybe the old oak desks with wooden pens and ink-wells. Surely though, the most lasting impression must be of a certain Miss Elizabeth Heslop. 'Lizzie', with her imposing figure, grey moustache, specs stuck on the... Read more

Howden Primary

Hello, I have just come across this site and have been reading some of the memories about Howden, I went to Howden Primary School, I lived in Wear valley Junction or the Junction as it was known to us kids. I remember Mrs Heslop at the primary, we used to call her fatty Heslop, but I do not think that she was fat compared to some people now. I also remember Mr Moore who I think was the Head Master, he used to preach at Sunday school in the Junction. I have been back to that area a acouple of times in the past 65 years and still have happy memories of the place. I remember that the school had a garden or allotment that we used to go and weed etc every week, and walking home to the Junction past the brickworks where there were always tramps who lived in the works. I do not suppose that kids would be allowed to walk on their own that way now,... Read more


Seeing Frank Golden being carried shoulder high by his team mates back to the pub after a successfull result thanks mainly to Jonty Raine who was a local star at the time.The Carnivals were great fun.Howden Juniors won the County Junior Cup a year or two later.

County Durham memories

A Great Start to Life Growing up in North Bitchburn

Here are just a few of my childhood memories of my youth in North Bitchburn. My name is Ian Pinkney, I lived at No 10 Constantine Road, along with my father Raymond, he was in charge of the Royal Mail sorting office in Crook until he retired, my mother, Florence, who was a university graduate and became a school teacher, even teaching for a short time at Howden le Wear school (where did I go wrong), then there was my younger brother and sister Niel and Alison. We had a brilliant childhood, everyone in the village was really friendly and all mucked in to help each other in times of need, a true close knit community. Money was tight in those days, we didn't have a TV, telephone or car - even the toilet didn't flush, we had an earth closet along the backs, not good when you got the call in the middle of a blizzard. No one locked their doors as everyone was in the same boat, no... Read more

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