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This Week in World War One, 28 May 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915






Formal Handing Over of the New Nine Holes to Directors.


A large company of lady and gentlemen members with their friends assembled at the Golf House in the Magdalene Fields, Berwick, on Thursday afternoon to witness the opening of the new eighteen-hole golf course, and the handing over to the Directors of the Magdalene Fields Golf Company of the new nine holes. The Mayor and Mayoress (Mr and Mrs Thomas Wilson) were present, along with the Sheriff (Mr E. W. Stiles), the Chairman of the Magdalene Fields Company (Mr A. J. Dodds), and the Captain of the Club (Mr John Brough).

“For The Town’s Good.”

Mr Dodds, in accepting the new nine holes on behalf of the Company said :- On behalf of the Magdalene Fields Company I desire to take over this extended course which Mr Brough has

Magdalene Fields Golf Course, 20th Century Aerial photograph, Berwick-upon-Tweed

Magdalene Fields Golf Course, 20th Century Aerial photograph, Berwick-upon-Tweed

described to us, and in doing so I feel I must be getting a very venerable old man. (Laughter). The Club is the offspring of the Company, and the new eighteen hole course is the offspring of the Club, and we, as Directors stand in the position of being grandparents to  the new nine holes (laughter).

The fields were originally taken over from the Duke of Northumberland with special instructions that they were for the good of the town. The 18 holes have been carried out exactly in the same spirit and they are taken over in the spirit- for the good of the town. It is only for the members then to make it a huge success. Mr Brough has referred to to the question of the terrible war and perhaps we have some justification for holding this function this afternoon. We have 20 members actively serving in His Majesty’s Forces, and one has laid down his life. The course was laid for the good of the town and so our gathering today is of a public more than of a private nature and this is proved by the fact that it is patronised by the Mayor and Mayoress and our energetic Sheriff. I am glad to see with us an old member, and one who has taken a great interest in the extended course- I refer to Mr Thomas Carter, junior. (Applause) I have pleasure in declaring the course open. (Applause).

The captain said as a memento of the occasion he had pleasure in presenting to the Club a framed plan of the new course which had been excellently drawn up by Mr Carfrae of the Borough Surveyor’s office. (Applause.)

The company then adjourned to the first tee when Mr Dodds drove off the first ball, thereby beginning a mixed foursome competition (handicap stroke).




We learn that Doctor John Paxton, Norham, has received an appointment as surgeon in the Royal Navy. Dr. Paxton left to take up his duties at Portsmouth on Wednesday. Dr. Paxton is the only son of Mrs Paxton, and the late Dr. John Paxton of Norham-on-Tweed. Dr. Paxton succeeded his father in practice at Norham, and he is also Medical Officer to the Rural District Council of Norham and Islandshires.

Berwick Advertiser 28 may 1915 Advert Berwick Cockles

Berwick Advertiser 28th May 1915 advert for Berwick Cockles



Promotion of a Local Soldier- The many friends of Col. Sergt. Sleath, civilian as well as military, will be pleased to hear of his promotion to the important rank of Staff Sergt. Major. he has just left for

Queen's South African Medal with three bars.

Queen’s South African Medal with three bars.

France to take up his duties on the Staff of the General officer in command of the Northern Territorial Division Base. A keen soldier, he has twice been  granted an extension having now served 25 years in the Army, 12 years as Col. Sergeant. he came to Belford seven years ago, as Instructor to “C” Company, 7th N.F., and during his term of years this Company has always held place as one of the most proficient of the Battalion, both in discipline and on parade. this alone shows his worth as an Instructor, especially considering the fact that this Company is recruited from a wide district, there being 30 outlying sections something like 10 or 12 miles from headquarters. On mobilisations he went with his Company to Tynemouth, and thence to Gosforth Park, where, chiefly through his influence, a large  percentage of his company volunteered for foreign service. Shortly after this he was transferred to the Notts and Derby Regiment at Chelmsford. Great disappointment was felt by the men of “C” Company when they learnt that he was not able to accompany them to the front. However, they may happen to stumble across him now, since he has gone out to the base. Needless to say they will all wish him luck on his well-deserved promotion. Staff Sergt. Major Sleath holds the South African Medal with three bars, as well as the Good Conduct Medal.

Genitourinary TB – Part 2

Having looked at a case of genitourinary TB in a young male in our first post from 01/05/2015, part 2 will focus on a case of genitourinary TB in a young female.


Patient 83/1952 was 14 when she was admitted to Stannington from Newcastle General Hospital in May 1952 diagnosed with abdominal TB.  She had first presented with serious illness in November of 1951 with lassitude, loss of weight, loss of energy, and a chest x-ray showing a probable primary in the right lower zone and enlargement of the hilar glands.  Following three months bed rest an additional chest x-ray showed an improvement in the hilar glands and the disappearance of the primary focus and she was able to return to school.  However, it was only a month later that she began to complain of abdominal pains and her abdomen began to swell and loss of weight and appetite recurred.


On admission to Newcastle General Hospital the quantity of fluid in the abdomen began to increase rapidly and her temperature was often raised so treatment with streptomycin and PAS was begun.  She continued to receive the drug therapies when she was transferred to Stannington.  An examination of the abdomen on admission to Stannington read as such:

‘Abdomen distended and taut.  Ascites present.  No enlargement of liver.  Spleen not palpable.  No masses palpable (probably due in part to tautness).  Circumference = 32.5 inches.’


A continuation of the drug therapies throughout her stay at Stannington led to a marked improvement of her condition and she was eventually discharged as quiescent in March 1953.  At no point in her case notes do the medical staff suggest that there might be any signs of genitourinary TB and continue to describe her condition as abdominal TB.  However, the case was followed up by Doctors Miller and Taylor in the following years and published in a book of 1963, in which they describe the case:

“On examination she had pelvic masses clinically characteristic of bilateral tuberculous salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes).  Despite chemotherapy (streptomycin and PAS) and bed rest the pelvic swellings, especially on the left side, became larger.  A month after chemotherapy began they slowly regressed and in six months had disappeared.” [F.J.W. Miller, R.M.E. Seal, & M.D. Taylor, Case No. 114]


Later correspondence in her file from the Newcastle General Hospital dated from February 1963 indicates the lasting effect that this form of TB had on the patient.  The patient is by this point 25 and married and attending an Infertility Clinic at NGH.  The doctors there are requesting her medical history from Stannington in the hope that something within it might help to explain her current infertility.



MILLER, F. J. W, SEAL, R. M. E, and TAYLOR, M. D. (1963) Tuberculosis in Children, J & A Churchill Ltd. p.558

This Week in World War One, 21 May 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915







Mrs Wilsden, The Elms, Berwick, has received the following letter from a trooper who had the good fortune to receive some cigarettes which Mrs Wilsden sent to the front through a lady friend. It is as follows:-

From Trooper F.Bark (72008)

“J” Battery,

Royal Horse Artillery,


Dear Madam, – Thank you very much for sending the cigarettes which were greatly appreciated by myself and comrades. we have been resting almost the whole of the winter, and we are just starting business again now. You may guess that we all feel fit for almost anything that comes our way. we are having glorious weather out here now but not so stifling as at the beginning of the campaign. Hope all our friends in England hold the same opinion on the war as we do out here which is decidedly cheerful. This life far exceeds all my ideas of active service-war, to my idea, was a series of long marches with little and ragged clothing, but here we are, plenty food, well clothed and tended for and living almost as well as at home. I think this is about all I can say at present, so will close by again thanking you and wishing you the best of health.

I remain, yours respectfully,


BAdvertiser 21 May 1915 Presents For The Front-advert

Advert published in the Berwick Advertiser on the 21st May 1915 placed by Ralph Dodds & Son Ltd



Mr A.A. Crisp, tobacconist, High Street, Berwick, is displaying in his window a pretty silk cushion presented by the B.D.V. Cigarette Company. The cushion is to be sold to the highest offerer, and the proceeds are to be given to a local relief find. The highest bid so far is £1.


127, High Street, Berwick.

19th May, 1915

(To the Editor, “Berwick Advertiser.”)

Dear Sir, – I should be obliged if you would allow me to make an appeal, through your valuable paper, for funds for the above society. Since the beginning of the war the Guild of Aid has been doing a great work for our soldiers and sailors.

Over 2,500 articles have been collected and distributed to the Red Cross Society, Her Majesty the

WW1 Propaganda poster shows Red Cross Nurse holding a wounded soldier as she signals for help.

WW1 Propaganda poster shows Red Cross Nurse holding a wounded soldier as she signals for help.

Queen’s Collection, the 7th Northumberland Fusiliers, the K.O.S. Borderers, Lady French’s Collection, and the Ladies Territorial Association. I know that there are many demands made upon the inhabitants of the Borough and the outlying country districts at this time, yet I think that an appeal for this work cannot fall on deaf ears.

The duty of those at home is to see that our brave soldiers and sailors lack for no comfort that we can provide, and anyone who contributes to these funds can be assured that their gifts will be used to the best advantage.

Miss Miller, Longstone View, will be glad to receive donations of money towards this good object, and comforts can be left, addressed “For Guild of Aid, ” at the Townhall; and also at Mrs A. T. Robertson’s, Tweedmouth House.

Yours faithfully,

T.Wilson, Mayor.

Matron’s Medical Report Book-Part 5: WWI

Like people up and down the country soon after the outbreak of WWI the staff and patients of Stannington Sanatorium began to see its effect.  Reports made by the matron over the war years give some indication of the kind of changes that were felt by the sanatorium.


August 1914

“During the month of August 29 cases were admitted and 29 discharged.  We have now 110 cases under treatment.  Last month we had 4 cases of chicken pox & 2 cases of scarlet fever.

On August 6th the sister was called up to join the territorial nursing force.  I have not managed to get anyone to fill her place.  Have I the authority to tell sister that her post will be kept for her?  Tho’ the time she will be kept is uncertain.”


Nurses and children on one of the wards, 1918. HOSP/STAN/11/1/41

Nurses and children on one of the wards, 1918.


January 1916

“We had on Thursday evening a visit from the policeman.

We have for some considerable time now had all our lights shaded & I have been very careful that no bright lights should be seen form here.

I think Dr Allison will agree with me when I say it has been most difficult to find our way about in the sanatorium the lights have been so subdued.

However, the policeman informed me that having the lights shaded was not sufficient now & after Monday the place would have to be in absolute darkness, not even a candle light seen, & that the windows would have to be curtained, so that I have had to go to some little expense this week to get material for curtains in.”



HOSP-STAN-2-1-1 zeppelins

Matron’s comments on the zeppelins


April 1916

“Nothing of any consequence has happened during the month except, I might say, on Sunday night last we had a bit of a scare with the zeppelins.  They were certainly very near us.  We could hear the engines overhead quite distinctly.

The staff were all up, & several of the soldiers from the Farm Colony very kindly came and offered their help in the case of any bombs being dropped near us.

A good many of the children heard them, but they were as good as gold & behaved splendidly.  There was no panic whatever, but everyone was in readiness to do their best should the worst have occurred.

I had several of the children visiting here next day enquiring if we were alright.”


See an earlier post by the World War One Project for more about airships in Northumberland.

Images relating to the zeppelin raids over Northumberland can also be seen on our Flickr stream

Cunard Atlantic Liner – R.M.S.Mauretania

Amongst the many collections held by Northumberland Archives are some family papers of the Taylor Family of Tynemouth. Within this uncatalogued collection we have located a large folio book published by the offices of “Engineering” of Bedford Street, Stand, London in 1907 on the Cunard Atlantic Liner “Mauretania” which was constructed by Messrs Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Limited of Wallsend on Tyne (ref ZTA 4/1).

The Wallsend shipyard where the Mauretania was built dates back to 1872. Mr C.S. Swan was the principle partner, but soon after his death in 1878 Mr G. B. Hunter became head of the firm. The firm became a limited liability in 1895 and in 1903 amalgamated with Messrs Wigham Richardson and Co. The combined companies then had a river frontage of some 4000ft and covered an area of 78 acres. The yard was located about three miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne on the north bank of the River Tyne at a point where there is a bend so that little difficulty is involved in launching large vessels.

mau 5

These photographs show the Drawing Office which seems to be an all men environment and the Tracers’ Room an all women office!

mau 6


When she was built in 1906 the Mauretania was the world’s largest ship. This record was held until The Olympic was built in 1911. The Mauretania consisted of nine decks, seven of which were above the load water-line. During construction they used a product known as Corticine [A material for carpeting or floor covering, made of ground cork and India rubber] instead of wood to save on weight for the deck covering.

The Mauretania during her fitting out at Wallsend.

The Mauretania during her fitting out at Wallsend.

Her capacity was 2165 passengers in total consisting of the following 563 First Class, 464 Second Class, 1138 Third Class and 802 crew.

This book comprehensively records dimensions and furniture in all the rooms for first, second and third class passengers. We have extracted some information from the book to provide a flavour of what she must have been like.

“The boat deck extends over the greater part of the centre of the ship and contains some of the finest en -suite rooms. At the forward end you could find the First Class Library, Grand Entrance Hall, First Class Lounge, Music Room and First Class Smoking Room.

The Library extends across the deck house and is 33ft long by 56ft. The Lounge is 80ft long and 56ft wide. The Veranda Café is the same as the Lusitania’s and is sure to prove a popular resort.


mau 4

The Regal Suites comprise a drawing room, dining room, two bedrooms, bathroom and private corridor. They are all decorated in the Adams style. The carpets, throughout the suite are green. The rooms are supplied with statuary marble chimney pieces and electric radiators. Both bedrooms are Georgian in character with carved mouldings and the wall panels are covered in silk. They are finished in white with mahogany furniture

The Nursery was decorated by Messrs J. Robson & Sons of Newcastle it is in mahogany, enamelled white and the panels have a series of quaint paintings of the well-known nursery rhyme ‘Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.’ The dining tables and chairs are of a suitable height for little passengers. There is accommodation for four stewardesses and two matrons.”

The Lower & Upper Dining Saloons and Dome

The Lower & Upper Dining Saloons and Dome

Her official trails extended over four days terminating on 7th November 1906. There for 4 trails where he vessel steamed at an average speed of 26.04 knots. The trails took place sailing to and from Corswall Point Light, Wigtownshire, Scotland to Longship Lighthouse, Cornwall a distance of 304 nautical miles each way. This course was used because the length could be travelled in about 12 hours so that tidal influences on the north and south runs would balance each other. Her first run south was affected by adverse weather. Over four trails the vessel steamed at an average speed of 26.04 knots.

Her first trans-Atlantic voyage took place on 16th November 1907 when she departed Liverpool for New York, under the command of Captain John Pritchard. She continued her Atlantic voyages until the outbreak of the First World War when she was requisitioned by the British Government to become an armed merchant cruiser, but due to her size and excessive fuel consumption she was deemed unsuitable and reverted back to her Atlantic trips, but due to lack of passengers she was laid up until May 1915.

After the sinking of the Lusitania she was used by the British Government as a troopship for the transportation of troops during the Gallipoli campaign. As a troopship she received what was known as dazzle camouflage, this was a form of abstract colouring applied to confuse the enemy. Later she became a hospital ship and was repainted white with large red crosses. Later in the war she was requisitioned by the Canadian Government and used to transport Canadian troops from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool and once America entered the war in 1917 used to transport American troops to the UK.

She returned to her civilian life after the First World War in 1919, until she was withdrawn from service in 1934, being ‘deemed surplus to requirements.’

This post was prepared by Paul Ternent, Northumberland At War Volunteer Manager.

This Week in World War One, 14 May 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915



The Late Sergt. Jones, Berwick


BAdvertiser The Late Srgt Jones, Berwick 3

We have received the following letter regarding the death of Sergeant Jones, teacher, St Mary’s School, Berwick who was killed in action:-


55, Meerbrook Road,

Hesley, Sheffield

(The Editor, “Berwick Advertiser.”)

In your report of the death of my nephew, Sergt. L. S. T. Jones, you state that his parents reside at South Shields.

May I ask you to correct this report. Sergt. Jones has had no parents since quite a child, and never did reside in South Shields, otherwise your description is accurate.

May I at the same time convey to the citizens of Berwick (and the numerous friends of the late Sergt. Jones, who have so greatly sympathised with us in this our sad bereavement), our heartfelt thanks for their consideration to us. It is indeed touching to know how he appears to have been appreciated by the Education Committee, the public bodies with which he has come in contact, and by the citizens generally.

Yours faithfully

J. Memmott


Hints for the Home


A very appetising way to use up all pieces of cold meat is to make a pie of the same, and in these days of high prices we must not waste a morsel. Take cold meet and mutton and slice it, lay these in a pie dish with onion etc, and seasoning. Also cover with gravy of stock, then cover with potatoes and bake in a hot oven until brown.


Berwick Advertiser, 14 May 1915

Berwick Advertiser, 14 May 1915. H.L.Christison Advert.


The first matter of importance when treating a scald or burn is to exclude the air from the wound, covering the burnt apart thickly with flower, and wrapping in cotton wool until medical air can be obtained.

Berwick Advertiser, 14 May 1915 Ralph Dodds Advert

Berwick Advertiser, 14 May 1915 Ralph Dodds Advert


Capital portage labels can be made from old linen collars, which are usually thrown away. They are preferable to paper ones as they cannot be torn and can be cut to any size required.

To make a strong loop for heavy garment, take a thick piece of cord, and cover with kid. This will last as long as the garment.

Knitting needles in rubbed with a cinder will become bright like silver.


Interesting Letter from Engineer at the Front.

Tale of Terrible Fighting.


Private J. P. Smith, of the Royal Engineers, writes an intersting (sic) letter home to Mr Wm. McMillan, 45 Walkergate, Berwick. The letter, which is dated 6th May, states that it is a treat receiving letters from home, especially from people not young enough to take their proper place in this awful crisis. “Well, old man,” he proceeds, “I am in the best of health, although this business puts grey hairs on a fellows head. It is very busy times just now, as the (sic) are constantly at it day and night – no halt. A sudden move has taken place near Hill 60 again, and the Borderers, along with the West Kent

View from crater on Hill 60 towards Zillebeke, 6 July 1917

View from crater on Hill 60 towards Zillebeke, 6 July 1917

Regiment are about to distinguish themselves again. The 25th have lost a number of good officers and men, but still the vacancies are always filled and ready for action again. On account of the gases used by those unhuman beings you have read about, Poor fellows!, have to report sick with sore eyes. They are using these respirators now, which help to keep it down. But, oh! they are dirty dogs! And our fellows are always waiting for a chance – a fair fight, of which they don’t know the meaning. Well, our Brigade (13th) have been back for a few hours rest, only to be called on again. To look at some you forget you are at war. They are so cheerful. They might be “fed up,” but never show it. I was along with other two fellows of the Canadians on Tuesday night, and they gave me an illustration on the big fight, for those trenches the French lost. Well, what they said I won’t print. One said: “If that is worse than hell, well, I shall never go there.” The Germans are good fighters, but they had a big casualty list. However, it is the fortunes of war. I expect you saw the German casualty list – 12000 dead alone. Its not war; there is another name for it. However, he is going to be very lucky he who sticks it to the end, and I hope this will be in the near future for one and all. Talk about strikes! Put the people on strike in England in Tommy’s place at the front – what a difference! Well, I hope they have settled down again, as this affair is enough at a time. Well, Willie, news is very secret at present and scarce, so be satisfied with these few lines. Remember me kindly to Mrs McMillan; hope she is still well. I only hope I find my way back to Berwick soon. Well, write me again at your leisure. Good night!

“Behaviour Splendid and Magnificent.”

Local Officer’s Letter.


Captain H. R. Smail, 7th N.F., Berwick, writing from the front says:-

You will see our address is changed and we are evidently now to refit. We are at a farm, only a few hundred yards from the one I wrote from a week ago. Wish it was the same one but the people are nice here also. We were at an estimauet (sic) overnight. At 11 a.m. we had a visit from Sir John French and staff, including, we think, the Prince of Wales. The Field Marshall evidently thinks a lot of us. I append his address, which is almost in his exact words. He has a voice which carries beautifully. Here goes then – Northumberland Infantry Brigade, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Northumberland Fusiliers. I am taking this opportunity to come among you to thank you for what you have done during the last ten days. Any unit, and especially a large unit like a division, arriving in this country expects and indeed is necessarily given some time to pull itself together. In the ordinary course of events you would have undergone this period on arrival at C—–l, but owing to the treacherous attack of the Germans which made a serious breach in our lines – a treacherous attack assisted by gas and other devices, the use of which no one worthy of the name of soldier would dream of employing, owing to that attack, I was saying I was forced to send you forward to reinforce the line around Ypres. For any brigade of regular troops your performance would have been wonderful for Territorial troops just landed in this country it is nothing short of SPLENDID AND MAGNIFICENT. I desire to express my appreciation of your work during the last ten days.  The way you attacked and took St. Julien was

German's on the ground, St Julien, World war One

German’s on the ground, St Julien, World war One

magnificent and though you had to retire at night you inflicted great loss on the enemy. Though you were bound to retire it was not your fault. You were not supported, why it is not for us to say. During this attack you lost your leader. Brigadier-General Riddell, whose death we all deplore. He was one of the most gallant officers that lived and I feel sure he could not have desired a more glorious death than to die leading his brigade. Your LOSSES ARE SERIOUS among the officers – nine killed and fifty three wounded, while among other ranks the losses are 50 killed and 700 wounded, also there are a great many missing, among which unfortunately there must be a large number killed. Looking all around this morning I admire your lines. From your appearance you might have been in bivouacs all this time, and you look as if you could take your place in the firing-line this afternoon if required. I have no doubt you will SHOW THE SAME GALLANTRY AGAIN if called upon. I always think when addressing Territorial troops of the splendid form of patriotism you have shown. You enlisted for home defence, but you have since taken upon yourselves the obligation of fighting abroad. Not like some others. I think the country appreciates more and more and day by day the sacrifice you are making.”…………..

This has, of course, bucked us up tremendously. I think we will be here for a week at least.

Pott’s Disease (Tuberculosis of the Spine)

The spine is the most frequent site of skeletal involvement in tuberculosis of the bones and joints. Commonly known as Pott’s Disease, after Sir Percival Pott who first described the condition in 1779, tuberculous osteomyelitis of the spine affects between 25 and 60% of all individuals suffering from skeletal tuberculosis. It is most commonly seen in children and young adults, predominantly affecting the thoracic and upper lumbar regions of the spine, although evidence of cervical involvement also exists. Spinal lesions begin in the cartilage between the vertebrae or in one or more vertebral bodies, this leads to a narrowing of the joint space, noticeable in radiological examination. Paravertebral abscesses can also occur when diseased tissue in the vicinity of the affected vertebrae forms a mass and pus collects. With the expansion of this abscess there can be a loss of blood supply to the vertebral body resulting in a loss of integrity causing the vertebral column to collapse creating an angulation or ‘kyphosis’ to the spine. The collapsed vertebrae form a wedge, known as a ‘Gibbus deformity’, which can lead to compression of the spinal cord resulting in paraplegia, as well as functional problems with the pulmonary system.

There are numerous cases of spinal tuberculosis in the records from Stannington, all varying in their severity and final outcome. Below are two examples of the different types of spinal tuberculosis and the methods used to treat it.


Case Study 1 – Dorsal (Thoracic) Spine

Patient 17/1949, a 4 year old boy, was transferred to Stannington Sanatorium from the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in January 1949. His medical history had included a bout of pertussis, whooping cough, complicated by pneumonia followed a year later by lethargy and a swollen knee. In April 1947 he was admitted to Earl’s House Sanatorium with a primary tuberculous complex in the left upper zone of his chest and TB of the left upper tibial epiphysis and upper dorsal (thoracic) spine.

Paraplegia developed in September 1948 and he was transferred to the RVI that December showing signs of wasting and obvious kyphosis in the upper dorsal spine with paraplegia evident and total incontinence. His notes state that his head and thorax were encased in plaster cast, as was the left leg, to immobilise the affected areas. The incontinence was dealt with by applying a tube. Tuberculosis of the spine was relatively advanced, with the 3rd and 4th dorsal vertebrae having collapsed resulting in a noticeable kyphosis, seen in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1662-22

FIGURE 1: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1662-22

On admission to Stannington it is recorded that the radiographs showed a high dorsal lesion. The plaster cast encasing the head and thorax was removed and the patient was fixed to a short plaster boat with head piece, see left image in Figure 4.

FIGURE 4: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1662-24

FIGURE 3: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1662-24

FIGURE 2: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1662-16

FIGURE 2: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1662-16













Radiographic images show further kyphosis, Figure 2, and the collapse of the vertebral bodies. Porosity is evident in the vertebral bodies in the upper dorsal region, identifiable by their translucent nature in Figure 3, giving rise to the extent of the infection.

In November 1949, the patient was fitted for a plastic splint. This was to fit

‘from the hips up the trunk extending over the neck to the occiput, reinforced with metal where necessary’.

The spinal lesion was considered quiescent by April 1952, all evidence of paraplegia having cleared up. However, he was to be fitted with a splint with a shaped head piece to immobilise the spine as much as possible. This patient was discharged in March 1953 and his brace discarded entirely in May 1953. He continued to be seen as an outpatient until February 1959.


Figure 4:  HOSP-STAN-09-01-01


Case Study 2 – Cervical Vertebrae

Patient 148/1948, a 3 year old girl, was initially admitted in January 1948 (Patient Number 8/1948) with a Primary Tuberculous Complex of the right mid-zone.

Preliminary medical reports described this girl as having had an enlarged right hilar shadow, a shadow of the hilar lymph nodes, and ‘shotty,’ swollen, glands with an impetigious lesion on the scalp. However, her initial stay at Stannington was short as she was removed against medical advice by her mother 28 days after admittance, only to be re-admitted seven months later with TB of the cervical spine.

Following an examination by the surgeon, Mr Stanger, on re-admission a comprehensive outline of her condition was given:

The lower surface of the 2nd c.v (cervical vertebrae) is involved; the body of the 3rd c.v is completely destroyed and the upper surface of the 4th is probably eroded.

This child should have every bone in her body x-rayed.

The destruction of the vertebral bodies can be seen in the radiographs in Figures 5 and 6. Figure 5 shows the collapse of the vertebrae inwards creating a wedged shape in the neck. Figure 6, taken through the open mouth of the patient in order to gain a clear veiw of the vertebral bodies of the cervical vertebrae in the neck, shows a loss in denisty and clearly defined outer edges of the vertebral bodies due to collapse.

FIGURE 4: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1625-14

FIGURE 5: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1625-14

FIGURE 6: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1625-43

FIGURE 6: HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-1625-43













It is likely the request for all bones in her body to be x-rayed came from the suspicion that other areas of the skeleton had been affected by the disease. The request was carried out with the x-ray report card indicating that anteroposterior (AP) and lateral radiographs, where possible, were taken of the chest, spine, legs and hips. The patient was immobilised on a Bradford frame, a rectangular metal frame with canvas straps to hold the individual in a prone or supine position, seen in the right hand image of Figure 4.

Between September and December 1948 the patient is noted to have developed a number of additional symptoms, including vomiting sputum; patchy erythema (a scarlet rash) on her chest; purulent nasopharyngeal discharge (discharging pus from the nose); aural discharge; an inflamed throat and enlarged cervical glands.

By July 1949, these symptoms had largely been addressed and the patient was showing improvement. Immobilisation was considered satisfactory as a form of treatment and a moulded plastic splint was to be prepared for the patient, to consist of

a jacket taken from the hips and extending upwards to embrace the head and the occipital region to the chin.

This was later described as being reinforced with steel both vertically and transversely.


One year later, further examination by Mr Stanger noted that the disease had involved the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cervical vertebrae; the bodies of the 2nd and 3rd were showing signs of fusion and bone regeneration. It is at this point in July 1950, two years after first being admitted, that the child was allowed to ‘get up’.


This patient was discharged in December 1950, as being clinically and radiologically inactive and able to dispense with the splint. She continued to be seen as an outpatient at Stannington until 1956. Her last out-patient report stating that there was no deformity and no limitation of movement. Sound fusion was noted between both the vertebral bodies and posterior articulation of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cervical vertebrae.


Further radiographic images can be seen on the Stannington Sanatorium ‘Radiographs from Stannington’ Flickr stream



Miller, F.J.W, Seal, R.M.E and Taylor, M.D (1963). Tuberculosis in Children. J & A Churchill Ltd.

Roberts, C and Buikstra, J (2003). The Bioarchaeology of Tuberculosis: A Global View on Reemerging Disease. Univesity Press of Florida.

Roberts, C and Manchester, K (2006). Archaeology of Disease (3rd Edition). Cornell University Press.

This Week in World War One, 7 May 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915







Before the Mayor ( Thos. Wilson, Esq.), and Captain Norman, R.N.


Bright Lights- Mr Wm. Kirk Hawkins, cabinet- maker, Berwick, was charged that he did unlawfully allow a bright light to show in his window in Hide Hill, Berwick, at 11.10 p.m. on the 30th April. The charge was brought up under the Defence of the Realm Act. Defendant said, in pleading guilty, he was quite unconscious of the offence. The Chief Constable said it was the third time the defendant had been cautioned. Sergeant Wilson said he saw a very bright light coming from one of the bedrooms in the top window. He stood several minutes, but the light never went up. Witness rang the bell, and defendant put his head over the window complained and asked what he wanted. Witness told defendant the light was too bright, and told him to put it out, and defendant called down and told him to be more civil. Defendant said he had been very careful, and was sorry to be there that day under such circumstances. Fined 12s 6d, the Mayor stating that in future cases persons brought up for the same offence would be more severely dealt with.



If there is one conspicuous feature about our Corn Exchange it is its noble commanding  dome, and the brilliance of the light streaming down through the expansive and glittering canopy. No wonder there were reasonable apprehensions and fears at the approach of the recent grand concert held on behalf of the Berwick Improvised Hospitals, for it was realised that unless the interior light could be sufficiently obscured the blaze of illuminant penetrating to the sky would be an infringement of the emergency bye-laws, possibly leading to the upsetting of the very laudable object aimed by the  promoters. It was at such a critical juncture that Mr Angwin, manager of the Electrical Supply Company, came to the rescue of the local committee.

Image from the Berwick Advertiser 4 December 1858, opening of the newly erected Corn Exchange, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Image from the Berwick Advertiser 4 December 1858, opening of the newly erected Corn Exchange, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

 He so manipulated and arranged the lamps of the  Corn Exchange that these fully met the  requirements of the Chief Constable. The lighting  of the Exchange if deprived of its usual brilliance  on the other hand presented a mellow and homely  effect, and was certainly in this respect in  consonance with the strenuousness of the critical  times in which we live. The result of the concert  was a most pronounced success, and Mr  W.J.Dixon, on behalf of Colonel Fraser, R.A.M.C.  (T.), made a neat little speech of thanks. the  appearance of Boy Scouts, under the command of  Scoutmaster R. C. Clements, was an attractive  feature, and they lent material assistance in the  sale of programmes.





The 307th time of Riding the Bounds of Berwick was observed on Monday when a large crowd assembled on the Parade to watch the start. There were only six equestrians as compared with nine on the previous year, while there were nine drawn vehicles containing citizens who preferred the more sedate and leisurely mode of travelling. Ideal weather favoured the  function.

BRO 1944/1/149/1 Riding of the Bounds, Parade, Berwick-upon-Tweed, 1952

BRO 1944/1/149/1 Riding of the Bounds, leaving the Parade, Berwick-upon-Tweed, 1952

Sharp to the mid-day hour the horsemen set off by the way of the fields, the brakes proceeded by Church Street, High Street, Castlegate and North Road. As usual  at Mordington the school children were lined up in expectation of their usual supply of oranges from Chief Constable Nicholson of which they received an ample share engaging in an amusing scramble as the fruit was thrown amongst them. At Canty’s Bridge the horsemen indulged in their usual races. At the Inn a supply of refreshments on a liberal scale were served out.  On returning to Berwick a short halt was made at the Town Hall where the Mayor returned his thanks to those who had accompanied him in the historical ceremony, and in return hearty cheers were raised for thee Mayor, the Mayoress, and their little daughter.

The horsemen were:- Mr John Lauder, Burnbank, Foulden; the Messrs Waites, Castlehills and Mr Collingwood, who was accompanied by Miss Collingwood.





A monthly meeting of Berwick Education Committee was held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall on Wednesday morning. The Chairman, Mr W.J. Dixon, presided, and others present were:- Ald. Greenwood, Capt. Norman, R.N. Messers C. Forsyth, A.J. Dodds, Jos. Watson, E. Brewis, A.D. Watt, J. McDonald, W. C. Richardson, along with the Clerk ( Mr Jas. Gibson) and the Borough Treasurer, Mr T.C. Smith.


The Chairman, prior to the commencement of the business, made the following feeling reference to the death of Sergeant L. S. T. Jones of the 7th N.F., who has been killed in action:- before proceeding with the business of the meeting I refer with the deepest regret to the sad death of Sergeant L. S. T. Jones of the 7th N.F., who was killed in action on 26th April. As a teacher in St. Mary’s School he was beloved alike by his fellow teachers and the children. The Education Committee have lost a good and competent teacher and the borough a useful and promising citizen. As President of Berwick and District Harriers I was intimately associated with him in this branch of sport, he being one of our best and gamest cross-country runners. Only a few weeks ago he was second in a military cross-country run at Blyth. I ever found him a keen and genuine sportsman, and as a sportsman he has died the most glorious death a man can die- fighting for his King and Country. I now move a resolution that a letter be sent to his relatives from this Committee expressing our sincere sympathy with them in their sad bereavement, and our admiration of his gallant conduct; and ask Captain Norman, a Manager of St. Mary’s School, to second the resolution.

Captain Norman in seconding said:- Mr Jones was a teacher of great ability and much promise, devoted to his work, and became a great favourite of staff and scholars alike during his four years service as certificated assistant. His work has been commended by Inspectors, especially in drawing, in which he was highly qualified. His interest in the boys led him to form a drill and gymnasium class. He entered thoroughly into and took a leading part on the games and sports. In promoting swimming, and football, and harriers races his efforts were unceasing. I am sure that the boys as well as the teachers of his school will very keenly feel his loss; and I should like to extend these remarks by saying that a man of that sort is a most serious loss not only to his own immediate circle, but to the community in which for the last 4 years he has been usefully engaged.

The resolution was unanimously adopted, the members the while standing.


In Memory of
1384, 1st/7th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers who died 26 April 1915, aged 25. Nephew of Mrs. E. M. Memmott, of 55, Meersbrook Road, Sheffield. Remembered with Honour, Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

(Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Memorial T L F Jones

Photograph Marc Ryckaert, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.




Manor Courts

The lord of the manor had the right to hold a court for his local tenants to facilitate management of the manor as a social and economic unit. From the beginning of the manorial system in the 11th century the manor courts conducted a variety of business. This was recorded on the court roll and by the 13th century it is evident that two main types of court are being recorded. The court baron, or ‘curia baronis’, was held every three weeks and handled the general business of the manor. This would involve issues relating to land tenure and use and enforce the payment of all dues and performance of services owed by the tenants to the lord. It also had other powers giving it jurisdiction over disputes between individuals and over personal actions by tenants, such as the recovery of small debts and complaints of trespass.

The court leet, or ‘curia leta’, was held every six months and inspected the working of the frankpledge, a system of mutual responsibility within a group of about ten households for the maintenance of law and order. This was often called the ‘view of frankpledge’. It also had powers to deal with offences such as common nuisances, affrays and the breaking of assize of bread and ale, (this regulated the price, weight and quantity of bread and beer sold). This court could fine and imprison offenders, in many manors in Northumberland the right went beyond imprisonment. The Barony of Langley was one of the lesser Baronies of Northumberland in which the Tindale family were enfeoffed, required to pledge service in exchange for land, by Henry I. They enjoyed an ancient liberty where they were able to try thieves in the Leet Court and then hang them on their own gallows.

The Barony of Embleton, via a succession of powerful Lords, had very extensive privileges. The incumbent Edmund Earl of Lancaster claimed, in 1292, the right to decide in his court pleas similar to those tried before the sheriff. He had a prison at Embleton and gallows at Newton, Embleton, Dunstan and Craster.

Woodhorn also seems to have had a licence for gallows in 1294, as well as Ovingham where in 1294 the Umfraville lordship claimed the right to pit and gallows, tumbrel, pillory and toll. Tynemouth also had the right to prison, gallows, tumbrel, and pillory and Bewick near Tynemouth a tumbrel and gallows.

Other types of court, which were held less frequently within the manor, included the court of survey and recognition, the court of pannage, the court of pie powder and the woodmote or forest court.

The business of the court was submitted via the presentments; this was done by the jury who were required to state or present the various matters which were dealt with by the court. The actual procedure for making presentments is not entirely clear and it is possible they were prepared several days in advance of the court session. The enclosed image is a presentment from the manor of Melkridge in Northumberland, dating from 1700, it gives a flavour of the type of court business being dealt with by the court baron.

ZBL 2/13/21

ZBL 2/13/21

[click to enlarge]

The jury are to enquire for and on behalf of the lord of the manor whether:

  • Elizabeth Robson wife of Thomas Robson died forfeit of and in a tenement called Lowhouse and to establish who and how old the heir is.
  • we present William Kettlewell for speaking scandalous words to Anne Ridley. vi d
  • we present Robert Garlick for tethering his horse in William Greens meadow. vi d
  • we present John Smith of Whitchester for steeling [?] the wood of his customary tenants in Whitchester and is therefore amerced (fined) vi d
  • we present Ridley Haverlock and John Smith for suffering the hedges of their ground to lie down whereby the cattle can damage other men’s grounds. iii s  iiii d



ZBL 2/13/21

ZBL 2/13/21

[click to enlarge]

  • we present John Rea for not repairing a gate towards the high shoot and is therefore amerced. iiis iiiid
  • we present Thomas Smith for taking away hay. vi d
  • we present Richard Thompson for entertaining a thief in his house and knowing him to be so. iiis iiiid
  • we present Richard Thompson for interfering with a well and not having a passage to it for the neighbourhood amerced. iiis iiiid

The presentment is signed by the jurors, note with the exception of John Smith, who can write his own name, most make their mark which in themselves are quite interesting as they have obviously been designed to be as unique as possible. A number of the jurors appear to be related to those on the presentment, or in the case of Ridley Havelock, seem to appear themselves.

Surgical Procedures – Artificial Pneumothorax

Pulmonary tuberculosis is by far the most common manifestation of TB witnessed throughout the Stannington records.  Prior to the development and use of any effective antibiotic treatments the most common form of intervention was the induction of an artificial pneumothorax.  Many of the different treatments employed to treat TB of all types at this time were based on the principles of resting and isolating the affected area, and the thinking behind artificial pneumothorax treatment was no different.


A needle would be inserted through the chest wall to allow for the insertion of air into the pleural cavity.  The amount of air inserted would depend on the size of the patient as well as how much the physician in charge though the patient could realistically manage in one go and how quickly they wished the lung to collapse.  Once inserted the pressure from the air would force the lung to collapse in on itself and to cease functioning properly.  The entire lung would not necessarily be collapsed at once, either because it wasn’t necessary for treatment or because fibrotic adhesions between the lung and the chest wall as a result of the disease prevented it from doing so.  Where only part of the lung was affected it would not be desirable to collapse the whole lung and in such instances just one lobe might be collapse.  Bilateral artificial pneumothorax was also a possibility, whereby part of both lungs would be collapsed at the same time.  A state of collapse could be maintained for a period of months or even years and required the patient to undergo regular refills of air in order to do so.


A great number of radiographic illustrations of the progression of a collapse are available in the Stannington collection.  One patient, 2/1946, has a large amount of radiographs taken over a period of two years which demonstrate the change in the lung from admission and through the progressive stages of lung collapse.


Patient 2/1946 was female an age15 when she was admitted to Stannington on 21 June 1945 with pulmonary TB stage 3, at which point her sputum tested positive for TB also.  A report on an x-ray taken pre-admission reads:

‘Right lung shows several active foci beginning to coalesce.  There is extensive infiltration in the upper zone & suspicious blotchy areas in the middle zone.  A small calcified opacity in the right lower zone.  The left lung shows infiltration in the middle zone.  The upper zone and apex are clear.  Early active foci are noticeable in both lungs in the affected areas.’

Figure 1 was the first x-ray taken after admission on 25 June 1945 being three weeks later than the one reported above.  Observations on this x-ray note:

‘Scattered foci in right upper zone.  One definite cavity.  Increased bronchial marking at both bases.’

HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_22 25 June 1945

Figure 1 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_22
25 June 1945

HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_18 31 Aug 1945

Figure 2 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_18
31 Aug 1945














It was quickly decided that and artificial pneumothorax should be induced on the right side and this took place on 16 Aug 1945. Figure 2 taken later on that month shows the initial results of the artificial pneumothorax.  The black area along the lateral side of the right lung is evidence of the air that has been inserted and the lung has begun to compress.


The collapse was maintained well into 1947 which involved her having refills of air every two weeks throughout this period.  For the first three months she received refills of 200-300ccs of air at a time, progressing to 400ccs the month after, and then eventually 500-600ccs at a time.  Figures 3-6 show the progression of the artificial pneumothorax as more air is inserted and the lung collapses further.  Over time we can see that the cavity in the right mid zone collapses and closes, one of the main aims of the treatment.  In early June 1946 a procedure was performed to divide adhesions between the lung and the chest wall which allowed the collapse to progress further.  She was discharged in June 1947 with her condition described as improved.


Figure 3 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_23 17 Jan 1946

Figure 3 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_23
17 Jan 1946

Figure 4 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_09 18 June 1946

Figure 4 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_09
18 June 1946













Figure 5 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_10 2 Sept 1946

Figure 5 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_10
2 Sept 1946

Figure 6 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_27 15 April 1947

Figure 6 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1057_27
15 April 1947