Shared from the Past Times Project
Leadgate has four main streets – Front Street, Saint Ives Road, Durham Road and Watling Street, which all meet at the crossroads.
Shops I remember, says Theresa Chapman, were McAloons general dealers, Pinkertons Barbers, Hughes general dealers, The Sportsman’s Arms, the Co-op Stores, Pace Chemist, Rowes Bakers, Turnbulls general dealer, Pages gem dealers, Bousteads Music shop, The Golden Lion and Di Mambrose ice cream shop.
Theresa gives us an insight into what Leadgate was like in the 1930’s.
There was the Wesleyan Chapel, Hendersons general dealer, Gibson’s shoe shop, The Black Bull, The Miners Arms then Ogles Barbers, Walter Wilson’s newsagents, Graingers Ladieswear and Todds Butchers.
I also recall Bridgewater’s fish and chip shop, Jaggers China and Wine store, The Wheatsheaf, Dailey`s wallpaper store, Hall’s Hairdressers, The Masons Arms, Halls Dentist then Winters sweet shop.
My favourite sweets were dolly mixtures, midget gems, jap deserts, candy tabs, coconut baccy, dew drops, sherbet dabs, Spanish wheels, sherbet fountains, chocolate drops and Cadbury’s penny chocolate bars (delicious!).
On St Ives Road was The Queen’s Head, Flints fish and chip shop, Ross’s sweet shop, the working men’s club, Kinleyside’s butchers, Sibleys fruit shop, Sibley’s hairdressers and the Council Offices.
Broom’s Infant School was also here as well as St. Ives Infant and Senior Schools, St. Ives Church, the Vicarage and Redwell Hills houses and farm.
On the other side of the road was The Coach and Horses, the Post Office and Bousteads toys, sweet and newsagents.
At the start of December Bousteds decorated the shop for Xmas, putting all the toys on show. They sold a wide variety including train sets, Meccano cars, cowboy sets, dolls and prams and also roller skates and books.
On Durham Road was Wanless butchers, Cheesemond’s hardware store, Dodds Cobblers, Cross’s builders, Dr. Anderson’s and Walton’s Garage, behind which was the Spiritualist Church.
On Watling Street was The Hat and Feather, Crosby’s wool shop, Rowe’s bakery, The Commercial Hotel, the Roxy sweet shop, The Roxy Cinema, Crick’s fruiters, then Caswell`s butchers, Matthews newsagent, Prouds general dealers, Dunkins Fish and chip shop, the Methodist Chapel and Clifford’s general dealers. Around the corner was Fairhurst`s sweet and general shop then Dr. Ewan’s surgery.
The Railway Station was behind the Commercial Hotel with trains running from Newcastle to Consett, a mile away from Leadgate. The fare was one old penny for children to Consett.
I remember going to Consett station to see the Fry’s chocolate train which was in a siding. It had one carriage full of the things Frys made and they gave sweets and chocolate to the children who visited.
The Northern bus ran to Newcastle on the high road that went via Dipton, Flint hill, Leases, Burnopfield, Sunnyside, Team Valley, Gateshead then Newcastle.
The Venture transport ran to Newcastle along the low road via Medomsley, High Westwood, Rollands Gill, and Winlaton Mill, Scotswood and Newcastle. Sunderland and District ran via Annfield Plain, Stanley, Pelton, Burnmoor and Sunderland.
The Whitbank ran to Durham via Iveton, Lanchester, Whitton, and Gilbert Whitesmocks to the Riverside. We also had a Local bus service, known as Cowleys, (later Armstrongs) that ran from Consett to The Hat and Feather, which catered for the people of Bradley Pont and Whatling Bungalows.
The local doctors was Pont Head Surgery, with a Dr. George Ewan (1919-1960`s). Dr. Anderson’s surgery was at 48 Durham Road and Dr. Laurent had his messages left at a house in Front Street. He was known as ‘the black doctor’ as he was coloured. His main surgery was at Consett.
For recreation we had a children’s playground, a football field, a bowling green, tennis courts and a park, all provided by the Eden Colliery. Then there was the Roxy Cinema, opened in 1938 with Sabu the Elephant Man.
We also had three dance halls; one above the Co-op, one above the Eden Miners Hall and one at the Busty Miners Hall in Pont. These were all used for the troops as billets during the war.
Among the local farms was Herdmans, which was along St. Ives Road, Bagnalls at Pont Head, Shields and Wanless at High Brooms, with White’s at Low Brooms.
Most of the houses in Leadgate were miner’s bungalows, with council houses in Front, Plantation, Sunderland, Oak, Ash, Elm and Windsor Streets/Terraces and also the Park Villas. The private houses were in Durham Road, St. Ives Road, Park Terrace, Bellwood Terrace, Pont Road, Valley View, Baker Street, Wingrove Terrace and Bellwood Terrace.
There were also the Railway Cottages for the railway workers and Bradley Cottages which belonged to the mines.
Local places of work were The Eden Pit which was the nearest to Leadgate, the Bradley Shops which were workshops for the mines, the Consett Iron Company – a big site were they made the steel, and The Stocking Factory at Villa Real.
For our holidays we went to Whitley Bay in 1935 for a week. I think it was the first year that the miners had a week’s holiday with pay. In 1936 we went to South Wales for two weeks to stay with friends that my Dad had made in the First World War and also for the next two years before the war.
In Leadgate there were at least two carnivals a year. I remember the Black brothers, Jack and George, who were cyclists at the carnivals and would ride on a Penny-Farthing or a Boneshaker.
The Co-op dressed up the carts that delivered the milk and groceries, and other shops also dressed either their carts or delivery bikes. The children would wear fancy dress and start the parade off.
I started school at Our Lady and St. Joseph’s. The Teacher in the infant class, a Miss K McGurk, had taught 2 of my brothers and later, my eldest son. I remember on my first day we played with a tray of sand and coloured sticks and had to make a picture. We also had chalk and a slate to write on.
We had to take sandwiches for our lunch if we lived a distance away, though I was lucky enough to be able to go to my aunt’s for lunch each day and also for my tea on a Wednesday. My teacher was there for hers as well as she was a friend of my Aunt Mary.
Theresa Chapman, Co Durham, 2001