Archive for June 2015

This Week in World War One, 25th June 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915





White Gloves to the Mayor

Flattering Reference to the Military.


On Thursday, at Berwick Petty Sessions, there was a unique little ceremony of presenting a pair of white gloves to the presiding Magistrate, the Mayor (Mr Thomas Wilson), to mark the gratifying fact that there were no cases for disposal. The other Magistrates on the bench were:- Captain F.M. Norman, R.N., Mr H. G. McCreath, Mr A. J. Dodds, Alderman Plenderleith, and Mr Thomas Purves.

The Clerk (Mr James Gray), addressing the Bench, said he was pleased to say that the inhabitants of the town were earning a reputation for law-abiding and keeping the peace. The terrors of the war had been brought home to its citizens during the last few weeks, and many of their gallant sons had laid down their lives in defence of the country. It was a pleasure to think that those remaining at home were so law-abiding, and had such a respect for law and order, and there were no cases before their Honours that morning. He had much pleasure, therefore, following the old custom, in asking his Worship to accept a pair of familiar white gloves in token of a maiden Court.

White Gloves presented to Mayor, 25 June 1915

A pair of white gloves were given to the presiding officer at Berwick Petty Sessions in June 1915 as there were no cases for the court to to deal with.

His Worship the Mayor said that on behalf his brother Magistrates and himself he had much pleasure in saying how pleased they were to think that there was no business for the Court. He hoped it would continue, and that there would be many more occasions when no cases of crime would be reported. While the occurrence of such maiden Courts imposed a penalty on the Clerk in supplying the gloves, he was sure it was one which the Clerk was delighted to bear.

Chief Constable Nicholson said he desired to congratulate the Mayor in being presented with the white gloves, and he also wished to congratulate the Bench generally on the absence of crime in the Borough. There was practically no crime, and such a state of matters must be gratifying to their Honours as well as the officers of the various regiments quartered here, especially Colonel Pennyman and Colonel Peterkin. He was very glad to say that he had practically no trouble whatever with the men. This was specially gratifying when they remembered the hundreds of men who arrived and left the town week after week; they gave the men a hearty welcome when they came, and wished them God speed when they went away. He hoped the present state of matters would long continue.

The Court then rose.


Berwick Advertiser 25 June 1915 Renton & Co. Advert

Berwick Advertiser 25 June 1915 Renton & Co. Advert





A special hospital train arrived in Berwick Station on Friday night about 9 o’clock containing 90 wounded men- this being 16 more than arrived with the first contingent in November. Colonel C.L. Fraser, Berwick, was informed early on Friday morning that the wounded would arrive at night and forthwith arrangements were made for their reception and the three hospitals were quickly got ready, viz- Bell Tower, Parochial Hall, and Berwick Infirmary. Dr C.L. Fraser was responsible for all the arrangements and he had the capable assistance of Mr W.J. Dixon. the transport officer was Colonel Peterkin, 2nd/10th Royal Scots, while accompanying him were many of the officers of the Royal Scots in charge of  the stretcher-bearers, while Mr R.C. Clements, assisted by the Boy Scouts, saw that the wounded went to the hospital to which they had been allocated. As on the last occasion at the station the members of St. John’s Ambulance Association rendered invaluable assistance in carrying the wounded from the train, they being under the supervision of Mr Bate, the secretary of  the local branch of St. John’s. There was an abundance of cars to convey the wounded to the hospitals and a large crowd assembled to witness the arrival. The wounded are more serious cases than on the last occasion, there being 41 stretcher cases against none on the last occasion. The hospital train left Southampton at ten o’clock on Friday morning and was therefore eleven hours on the road. An R.A.M.C. Private who is an attendant on the train informed an “Advertiser” representative that there were a number of “gassed” amongst the contingent, but they had all kept wonderfully cheerful during their long journey.





Eggs– Mrs Craik, Low Greens; Mrs Ritson, Mrs Richardson, West Hope; A Friend, Miss Weatherhead, Miss Bridgewater, A Friend.

Fresh Butter-Miss Forbes, Miss Weatherhead.

Jam Puddings, etc.- Mrs Bald , Mrs Trotter, A Friend.

Jelly– Mrs Caverhill.

Scones, Cakes.- Captain Herriot, Mrs Purves, Mrs T.C.Smith, Miss Bridgins, Matron Hawick Hospital, Miss Roberts, Queen’s Nurse, Hawick. Mrs Hotham

Boiled Ham– Mr H.Taylor, pork butcher, High Street, Berwick.

Fruit, Flowers, and Vegetables– Mr Renton, High Street; Miss Alder, A Friend, Mr W. S.Dods, Mrs Roper, Mrs Comfort, Mrs Skelly, Mrs T.C. Smith, A Friend.

wwi-rations resized

World War One rations, 1915

Motor Drives– Mrs Campbell Renton, Capt. Herriot.

Chocolates– Capt. Mackay, Lieut. Wolfe, 2nd Lieuts. Blair, D. F. McLaren Grant, 2/10th Royal Scots.

Cigarettes, Smokes, etc– Miss Rita Blackney, Garage; Unionist Club, A Friend, Mrs Campbell Renton, Mrs Bell, Peelwalls; Masters Jack Grahame Stoddart.

Illustrated Papers, Books, etc– Miss Caverhill, Mrs Campbell Renton, Miss Purves, Mrs Gemmell, Mr H. R. Smail, Master Wright, butler at Mordington House, Mrs Kennedy, 23 Tweed Street; Mrs Scott, Mr A.Darling, Mrs Watson. Miss Dudgeon, A Friend.

Stationary– Mr H R Smail, Mr Martin, Victoria Buildings; Mrs Patterson.

Use of Marquee– Mr Renton, High Street.

Aerated Waters– Messrs Johnston and Darling.

Gramophone– Miss Herriot. Mr R R Riddell.

Records – 2nd Lieutenant Robertson, 2/10th Royal Scots.

Linen– Mrs Jackson.

Northumberland’s Very Own War Horse Story.

Richard Wilkinson was born in 1890 and worked as a Composite Miner at Linton Colliery, living in Ashington, Northumberland. At the age of 26 he received his call up notice to join the Royal Field Artillery and had to leave his wife Evelyn and their children, Lillian 3 and James 1.richard wilkinson

It was sometime around July 1916 and having completed his basic training, Dick was posted to Ireland to a town called Ballincollig, County Cork.


It was not a pleasant posting, as English Tommie’s were not welcome in Ireland at this time. Surprisingly now after 100 years, the buildings in Main Street look the same; although obviously the shop fronts & pavements have been modernised.

The barracks still exist; although these were remodelled in 1944, but part of the original Guard House entrance remains.


 After they completed their spell of duty in Ireland, Dick and his comrades were shipped out to France landing at Le Havre before arriving in the trenches. The R.F.A. had large ordnance, which were pulled by a team of horses to get them into the right position and part of Dick’s duties was to care for one particular horse and they became quite attached.

The battle of Passchendaele lasted from July to November 1917 and it was during this fighting, Dick was badly wounded in one leg. He lay for some time in “No Man’s Land” before being taken to a Dressing Station and eventually being transported back to ‘Blighty’.He was taken to Queen Mary’s Hospital in Walley, Lancashire where the skill of the surgeons and the nursing staff saved his leg from amputation; although it would always be half the size of the other one. Unfortunately, the hospital no longer exists – it’s now a housing estate, but the entrance into the estate still bears the original stone gate posts of the hospital. Dick was to remain in the hospital for a year before finally returning home in 1919. A second son, Robert was born in 1920.


Not long after returning to Ashington Dick was invalided out of the Army with a 10/-d per week pension which he drew right up to his death in November 1952. One morning Dick heard the Co-op Milk Cart turn into the street and to his surprise, the horse pulling the cart was his horse from the trenches and they both recognised each other. Now what odds do you think Ladbrokes would quote for that happening? Needless to say that horse got titbits every morning,

Dick returned to Composite Mining at Linton though as the years passed, due partly to his war injury and partly to accidents that occurred underground, he had to take on easier shift work, working in the area at the bottom of the shaft.

A third son, Richard, was born in 1925, and dear readers – I married him!

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Jean Wilkinson in supplying this article for the Northumberland At War Project.

Memories of Stannington

The records of Stannington Sanatorium came to Northumberland Archives in the 1980s and at this point a former patient who was in the sanatorium from 1930-1936 wrote to the then Deputy County Archivist sharing his memories of his time in Stannington:


Dear Sir

What a joy and lovely surprise to receive your letter & brochure about Stannington Sanatorium!  I was overcome and close to tears, as having spent nearly 5 ½ years there as a child, & in my formative years Stannington has meant so much to me.  I had a TB knee my parents took me to my Dr. who confirmed it & sent me to Newcastle Infirmary for treatment.  Leg put in Paris of Plaster, did no good to my leg, so I was sent to Stannington feeling terribly homesick & cried every night to go home, however I settled down to a long sojourn & treatment.

Visiting day was once every two months!  My mother, a lovely soul, used to send me books & comics every week.  The Magnet, The Gem, Adventure & Hotspur etc.  How I looked forward to receiving them and a five shilling postal order to buy things at the tuck shop.  Those were the days of hospitals with matrons, sisters, ward sisters, a lady almoner, no unions, but very dedicated nurses and staff, people who loved what they were doing.  Oh yes ward maids who loved us children, the matron was strict but understanding & a comfort too, the nurses used to cuddle us and show us a lot of affection.  I loved it all!



I received good food, had a spoonful of Virol and Numol twice a day, Christmas was special, artists from the Newcastle Empire & Palace came to entertain us, nurses sang carols.  I feel sure we became their children to love and care for I received many kisses from them, the nearness of them as they carried us off to the bathroom was sweet & to a child they became our mothers bless them.  Yes I owe Stannington a lot for my education & way of life because remember it was the thirties & people were hungry and home, no work for men and lots of pawn shops open.  But there was no violence, or muggings as they call it and we could walk the streets at without fear & folk were caring and kind, what a sad state of affairs today Sir.

I was born and bred in Wallsend served my apprenticeship as a joiner at Swan Hunters very strict too.  I had a happy time as a youth, used to dance at the Oxford Galleries, drink at the Pineapple Grill & go every Saturday to the Empire to see visiting bands such as Roy Fox, Harry Roy, Lew Stone etc. and also to a 4 hour show at the Paramount Cinema complete with organ and stage show all for half a crown.  Oh happy days!

I am returning in three weeks’ time I remember a lot of my little friends who died in Stannington while I have been blessed with a good working life, a family & good health.  I am a true Geordie in my nature and spirit I am full of nostalgia for Stannington and Newcastle and those people who were true and dedicated to their work who gave a little boy from Wallsend on Tyne lots of love and care and put me on my feet again.  I have worked out since, in my memory summers were long, people were nice and one never grew old.

Thank you


This Week in World War One, 18 June 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915





Lady Allendale has received numerous postcards and letters from prisoners interned in Germany, acknowledging parcels sent to them, for which they are most grateful.

One prisoner, writing from Munster, Westphalia, asks for cocoa, sugar, milk, Golden Syrup, Hovis bread, Woodbines, and soap. He says he is only allowed to write two letters a month, so, if this regulation applies to other prisoners, this will account for parcels not being acknowledged regularly.

Lady Allendale understands that at some of the prisons luxuries are not allowed. Therefore, it is advisable only to send such articles of food as bread (brown is best), biscuits, butter, dripping, cocoa, and milk. Anything in the way of luxuries, such as sweets, chocolate, and cakes, are liable to be confiscated.


Poster National Egg Collection for the wounded

Poster National Egg Collection for the wounded




FOR WOUNDED SOLDIERS: On Sunday afternoon last a united missionary and egg service was held in the Archbold Hall at which there was a good attendance. The Rev. H. Proctor gave an interesting address on mission work in West Africa where he had laboured for some years. All were invited to bring fresh eggs to be sent to the British Red Cross Society for our wounded soldiers and sailors. A collection was also taken in aid of missionary work. The Rev. N. Reid was chairman. At the united service on Sunday in the Archbold Hall, nearly 500 eggs were collected for the wounded soldiers and sailors, and over £3 was taken for the Missionary cause.


A Splendid Acquisition to the Town


The outcome of the enterprise and labour of a number of the working men in Berwick was witnessed at the Old Bowling Green, Ravesdowne, on Monday evening, when the Mayor (Mr Thomas Wilson) opened the Berwick Public Bowling Green. The mayor was accompanied by the Sheriff (Mr E. W. Stiles), Mr D.H.W. Askew, Castle Hills, Mr H. G. McCreath, Mr J. Elder, Dr C. L. Fraser, Rev. R. C. Inglis and the Secretary of the Club, Mr A. Carstairs. There was a large attendance to witness the opening ceremony.

Area marked as Former Tennis Court, Ravensdowne, Berwick-upon-Tweed. 1900's

Area marked as Former Tennis Court, Ravensdowne, Berwick-upon-Tweed. 1900’s

The proposal to have a public Bowling Green in Berwick has been afoot for some time and to expedite the matter a public meeting was called in the Town Hall where it was decided to canvas the town for subscriptions. A good sum of money was obtained but not of a sufficient amount to enable a green to be laid out, for the outbreak of war in a great measure stopped the flow of subscriptions. A splendid opportunity was afforded the Committee when the old bowling green behind the barracks was advertised to be let, and the Committee have entered into a five years lease. This green was where the Berwick Bowling Club first started and it was vacant for some time after that club laid out their green at the Stanks. Later it was occupied for bowls by the officers of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, but latterly the ground has been utilised for playing of tennis. The turf is in a good state of preservation, and with a little care and attention the surface will soon be made quite suitable for playing. Its condition on Monday evening was excellent considering the short time spent in improving it.


Mr Jos. Seals, in calling upon the Mayor to declare the green open, said: – The origin of this movement took place some few months ago. Berwick Town Council was approached with a view to providing as they do in other towns, a public bowling green to be within the financial reach of the working classes. Owing to their having so much in hand they found it impossible to carry out what was required. The Mayor kindly suggested that a public meeting be called, and from that meeting we have this green. We commenced to canvas the town for subscriptions to assist financially and as far as we went the town responded right nobly, but owing to the war we had necessity to cease asking for subscriptions owing to the very large number of necessities that had arisen from the war. The matter then lay for some time until it was seen in the papers that the green was to be let. A committee meeting was called and without hesitation it was decoded to take the green and bring the matter to a successful issue to the best of our ability. We still have a need for more financial support but we have sufficient confidence in the public spirit of the Borough to know that that need will be supplied. We propose in some way to make arrangements for allowing the different bodies of soldiers in the town to play on the green. We should like to let them play free but as that would be killing the goose which lays the golden egg, we will meet them in the best way we can.  I have great pleasure in calling upon the Mayor to open this green, and I may add that we have had assistance from the beginning and our success in a very large measure is due to him. (Applause)


The Mayor said: let me congratulate this Committee of Berwick Public Green for having done such a great work as this. I have much pleasure in declaring the green open and I hope it will be taken advantage of by the working class. (Loud applause)

The Mayor, thereafter played the first bowl and was followed by the Sheriff, Mr Askew, and  Mr. McCreath.

Play was free to visitors for the evening and a most enjoyable game was played.





Royal Scots…………………..1                                  Berwick Rovers…………………..0

Without doubt a larger crowd has never gathered at the Stanks, Berwick, than that which viewed the match on Thursday evening between the 2/10th Royal Scots, and Berwick Rovers, at which a collection was taken in aid of the funds of the Berwick Queen’s Nurses. By kind permission of Colonel Peterkin, the Royal Scots Piper Band paraded the principal street before the match, and drew large

The Stanks, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland.  Grazing sheep, 1900s. Ref: BRO 2103-6-32

The Stanks, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland. Grazing sheep, 1900s Ref: BRO 2103-6-32

crowds to the venue of play. Collectors were busy amongst the crowd during the match, and the excellent sum of £8 10s was realised. The arrangements for the match were in the hands of Mr. A. A. Crisp, High Street, Berwick. The teams chosen were: Royal Scots-Corpl. Hill ( Queensferry St Andrew’s); Lance Corpl. Hay (Wemyss Athletic) and Pte.Trupe ( Juvenile); Corpl. Anderson ( Juvenile), Pte.Valentine ( Bathgate Primrose), and Pte.Preston ( Bathgate), Sergt. Brown (Armadale Rangers), Corpl. Jameison (Vale of Grange), Pte. McIver (Juvenile), and Pte. Middleton (Linlithgow Rose.) Berwick Rovers- W. Ferguson; R.T. Tait and E.N.Fenby; D.Redfearn, H. Burgon, J.Paul; J. Weatherburn, C. Barth, A. Weatherburn, G. Mofatt, and J. Scobie.

Miliary TB

Miliary spread is a pathological process involving the widespread dissemination of the tubercle bacilli but the manifestations of this can vary widely depending on factors such as the speed of the spread and the individual’s ability to inhibit further multiplication of the organisms in other areas of the body.  Miliary tuberculosis is recognised clinically in patients where there is radiographic evidence of tuberculous lesions of the same age distributed evenly throughout all areas of the lung.  This process is most likely to occur soon after the initial infection and is also more common in children under 5 than it is in older children.


It is not uncommon to see miliary tuberculosis develop further into tuberculous meningitis.  Whilst on the whole the death rate in Stannington was relatively low, in the pre-antibiotic era (pre-1947) it is noticeable that a significant number of fatalities are as a result of either miliary TB or TB meningitis.  The introduction of effective drug therapies altered this situation greatly and the prospects for these patients after this point improved significantly.


Patient 3/1947 was a 12 year old boy from Lemington-on-Tyne who was admitted to Stannington in January 1947 diagnosed with miliary tuberculosis.  A report on x-ray films taken in December 1946 prior to his admission describes extensive mottled shadowing across both lungs with hilar shadows much enlarged.  The Northumberland County medical officer of health that refers the boy to Stannington gives the following report:

‘States no cough.  Mother says he thinks he gets a bit short of breath at times, and that he has definitely lost weight.  On examination, slight cyanotic tinge; afebrile, pulse 108.  General condition satisfactory (amazing in view of films).  Little made out in chest apart from slight impairment of the air entry at both bases.  Mass of glands at right side of neck.’


Figure 1 is a chest x-ray taken the day after his admission and the report on it simply reads, ‘extensive bilateral miliary spread’.  The extensive mottled ‘snowstorm’ effect is indicative of miliary TB.  Strict bed rest is ordered and at this point he also has an enlarged gland at the angle of the jaw on the right side for which UV light treatment is prescribed.  Over the coming months the abscess on the jaw is described as discharging freely with brownish pus aspirated from it in June 1947.

Figure 1 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_84

Figure 1 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_84
09 Jan 1947

Figure 2 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_05

Figure 2 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_05
17 Sept 1947














In September 1947 the patient’s doctor suggests that he would be a suitable candidate for streptomycin treatment, which had only recently been introduced at this point.  However, having discussed the case further it was decided that he was not suitable as at this point in time streptomycin was being used for very early cases only and patient 3/1947 by now had a long history of TB and was doing very well without it.  Figure 2, is an x-ray taken around the time streptomycin treatment was being discussed and the report reads, ‘X-ray shows a little improvement.  Each individual lesion is smaller.’


Two months later in November 1947 his condition deteriorates a little and he begins to lose weight and so is again put forward for streptomycin ‘if any available.’  Whilst the attending doctor continues to push for streptomycin over the coming months it is not until November 1948 that the patient receives any.  There are continuing disputes as to whether he is a suitable candidate.  During this time his general condition fluctuates with periods of weight gain and weight loss and x-rays from April and June 1948 show some improvements, figures 3 and 4 respectively.

Figure 3 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_09

Figure 3 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_09
13 April 1948
‘Amazing improvement since last x-ray 3 months ago. The military lesions now appear to be resolving: the apices are almost clear. There is now a more homogenous opacity in the left lower lobe.’

Figure 4 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_10

Figure 4 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_10
04 June 1948
‘still some mottling at the bases, the apices are clear. The more homogenous density at the L base is getting smaller. Azygos lobe on right side.’

















Ultimately the catalyst leading to the decision being made for streptomycin treatment to be commenced appears to be the fact that in June 1948 a swelling over the lower dorsal spine is identified and it is apparent that the tuberculous infection has spread further.  It is clear from radiographic evidence in 1948 that there are three spinal lesions: one in the 5th and 6th dorsal vertebrae causing some kyphosis; another affecting the 1st and 3rd lumbar vertebrae causing some deformity; and a final one in the inferior and anterior part of the body of the 5th lumbar vertebrae with some destruction.


All streptomycin treatment is discontinued by May 1949 when significant improvements in his chest are seen and treatment of the spinal lesions is continued with braces and plaster casts.  He is eventually discharged in July 1950 wearing a spinal brace and continues to be seen by the out-patients’ service until April 1954 when an abscess in the left iliac fossa leads to him being considered for admission to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Figure 5 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_18

Figure 5 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_18
Spinal X-ray, 17 Jan 1950, calcifications in the lungs also evident.

Figure 6 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_85

Figure 6 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_85
Spinal X-ray, 10 July 1950, 4 days before discharge

Figure 7 - HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_14 Chest X-ray, 17 Feb 1950, also showing calcifications in neck glands.

Figure 7 – HOSP/STAN/7/1/2/1371_14
Chest X-ray, 17 Feb 1950, also showing calcifications in neck glands.













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

This Week in World War One, 11 June 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915






Proposed Benefit Race to help Patriotic Funds


A special general meeting of the members of the Berwick Amateur Athletic Club was held in the Red Lion Hotel on Friday evening to decide whether or not sports should be held this year, also to discuss the amount of subscriptions to be collected, and for any other competent business.

Councillor Darling presided, and it was explained at the outset that there had been no sports meeting held this season anywhere except in London and Manchester, and these were conducted by the military.

The Chairman said he did not think it was at all possible this year to hold sports. The only thing they could do as a club was to follow the example of other centres, and get up some kind of a meeting for the soldiers, such as a harriers’ race. He moved that they do not hold sports this year.


Berwick Advertiser 11 June 1915, Dunlop Advert.

Berwick Advertiser 11 June 1915, Dunlop Advert.





Writing to his brother in Newcastle, Corporal C. N. Noble, 7th N.F., sends the following interesting communications from the Front:-

“Many days have passed since we received our baptism of fire. It took place when we passed through at midnight a certain village which has been famous in this war. The shells were flying round us, and I may say we felt a bit queer. It was a weird and uncanny experience passing through this dead city which had been incessantly bombarded night after night for weeks by the Germans. Our first engagement took place the next morning and lasted for about half the day, when we had a few killed and wounded. The following day we took part in a big engagement. We received a great deal of praise for our conduct that day. It was a terrible experience going through the hail of maxim bullets and “Johnsons,” but the Battalion displayed remarkable steadiness.

7th Northumberland Fusiliers. BRO 2098-001

7th Northumberland Fusiliers at Greystoke Camp.
Ref: BRO 2098-001

I received your letter of the 25th April. I replied before this, but it was too much for the Censor. We were never down at that place where the imposing sights are, but, as you will know, we have had it hot – aye, too hot. We were addressed by the famous warrior, Sir John French, the other morning. He spoke in terms of the highest praise for the important part we took in the recent big engagement. I met J. Dixon (Rangers) and Borthwick of the Royal Engineers (once with Caverhill, blacksmith), and a few others whom you know well.

Some days have passed since I wrote to you. We are now under covering fire, and fraternising with some —–, a battalion of which has come amongst us. The guns are fairly speaking but we are now quite accustomed to these noisy instruments of war. We are having a fine time and enjoying the experience immensely. You might let me know how the war is getting on, and be sure to mention the result of the cup final.

By the way, while passing through England, I was much impressed with the beautiful city of Lincoln. Our young friend, Harry Mangham should feel proud of his native-place. The cathedral is a fine building.

Berwick Advertiser 11 June 1915 Advert- Your Country Needs You

Berwick Advertiser 11 June 1915 . To Assist in raising further men for the 7th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers

May 20th. –

In due course I received the parcel of clothing all right, and your letter of the 10th. Many thanks. You were mentioning about Alick. I am grieved to say that he has been missing since our big engagement on the Monday. I would have informed you sooner, but we are not allowed to mention anything until the lapse of so many days. I had hopes that he might write from some hospital if he had been wounded. However, I would not give up hope, because if the worst had happened his identification disc and pay-book would have come in. Stragglers are still coming in who lost the battlion (sic) that day, and have been with other regiments in the interval. So I am still living in hope that he may return any day. I would have replied sooner, but we went up into the trenches for three days immediately after I received your communique. We were just about washed out with the rain the first day, but it turned out fine afterwards, and the sun shone resplendent over the beautiful landscape. The heat was intense in more ways than one. Give my regards to all my Newcastle friends.




An interesting story of a lost photograph comes from “somewhere in France.” A local hero serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers had the misfortune to lose on the field of battle in Flanders, a photograph of a lady friend. This was found by another Newcastle soldier, who enclosed it when writing home to his parents. They, in return, recognising the photograph, forwarded it to the relatives of the owner, who resides in Newcastle.

Patient 133/1959 – A Case of Fibrocystic Disease

The radiographs held within the Stannington Sanatorium Collection date between 1936 and 1953 and are specific to the period when the sanatorium was used as a hospital for tuberculous children. However, through the process of listing the patient files for Stannington, which continue up until 1966, well into its use as a general children’s hospital, we have uncovered a set of radiographs for one other patient, a 6 year old boy who was admitted to Stannington on 15th June 1959: Patient 133/1959.

Patient 133/1959 was diagnosed with Fibrocystic Disease of the Pancreas, a generalised hereditary condition amongst children which, despite its name, can affect not only the pancreas but also the liver, lungs and sweat glands and was considered to be the most common cause of chronic non-tuberculous lung disease in children during the 1950s.

This patient was admitted to Stannington with widespread cystic change in both lungs, retarded growth and signs of chronically infected bronchiectasis. His medical notes also refer to ‘finger clubbing’, which involves changes to the areas of soft tissue under and surrounding the finger nails but may also involve the nails themselves. At this stage in his treatment the patient was prescribed penicillin, monitored for changes in weight and subjected to postural drainage.

By September 1959, the boy’s medical notes read:

‘No gain in weight and very little sputum but he has many loud râles in both sides of chest and a loose cough.’


At this time it is also noted that he has been prescribed pancreatin, a drug to help treat the symptoms of cystic fibrosis and to aid with digestion of fat, starch and protein. His lack of weight gain was considered to be associated with problems in the colon and as such his stools were also monitored regularly.

Little change is seen in the notes for the following year, weight gain is still elusive and the patient is often referred to as being small, with râles in the chest and having shortness of breath. However, in October 1960 the severity of this patient’s condition becomes clear as the attending physician writes:

‘Very poor appetite and very difficult.

I do not understand how this problem can be solved.’

However, from May 1961, this boy began to show slow improvements especially within regards to the colon and weight gain is evident with a total gain of 8lbs since admittance. Râles are still noted in the left side of the chest, see lung x-ray in Figure 1.


Figure 1 – HOSP-STAN-07-01-02-2243-02

In addition to his medical problems this boy also had learning difficulties according to notes from the hospital school teacher stating he was:

‘very much retarded and would need more individual help and attention ….

He is slow to complete written assignments but makes a good effort. His reading and arithmetic are well below average for his age but he has made satisfactory progress in both within his limited ability.’

As a result the doctors approached the subject of finding this boy a long term residential school for handicapped children to be transferred to following his discharge.

Patient 133/1959, remained in Stannington until 1962, where he continued to make improvements regarding his weight and height and the râles in his chest diminished significantly. In March 1962, he contracted German measles and then later chicken pox in June 1962. Despite these short term illnesses, this patient was discharged home in August 1962, having secured a place at the Windlestone Hall residential school near Ferryhill, County Durham, to begin in September 1962.



di Sant’agnese, Paul. A (1955). The Pulmonary Manifestations of Fibrocystic Disease of the Pancreas. Chest. 27(6):654-667

Medline Plus (2015). Clubbing of the Fingers and Toes.

Patient (2015). Pancreatin.

This Week in World War One, 4 June 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915







At a meeting of the Berwick Town Council on Tuesday evening, the Mayor stated that he had received intimation from the Rev. Robt. Leggatt, Bankhill Church, that there was to be a memorial service held on Sunday evening first for those brave local soldiers who had fallen in France. Two or three of these were members of Mr Leggatt’s Church, and he asked if the Mayor and Town Council might perhaps countenance the service. There would be no procession from the Town Hall. He (the Mayor) hoped that as many of the Council as possible would see their way to accompany him in the Church. By doing so they would be paying the last rites to the brave young men belonging to the town who had fought their battles. The service began at six o’clock pm.

The Zion Presbyterian Chapel (Bankhill Church), Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland. Ref: BRO 1613-44

The Zion Presbyterian Chapel (Bankhill Church), Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland. Ref: BRO 1613-44



Berwick Fair was observed on Friday and was opened in the time honoured fashion by the Mayor, Sheriff, and Corporation marching in procession round the grounds, and formally declaring it open. There was a large influx of country visitors, and during the day the streets presented a busy and animated appearance. The customary stalls were erected in the High Street, and the majority of these vended china and dishes, while there were also a few hardware booths.

Berwick-upon-Tweed May Fair, 1968. Ref No. BRO 2103-1-624

Berwick-upon-Tweed May Fair, 1968.
Ref No. BRO 2103-1-624

The town bells at intervals rung out merry peals and, with the hoisting of the flags, the streets had a holiday aspect. The fair was duly opened at mid-day, when the Mayor, Sheriff, and officials, headed by the Chief Constable, members of the Burgh Police, and the Sergeants-at-Mace, marched through the fair grounds and formally declared proceedings open. The progress of the civic pageant was a subject of much interest to the assembled crowds. On returning to the Town Hall refreshments were served, the toast of “The King” being honoured.

At The Parade a number of merry-go-rounds and fair booths were erected, and these did a good trade throughout the day and evening. Notwithstanding the large influx of visitors the proceedings connected with it, the Fair fortunately passed off with out any untoward incident or serious crime. The stalls in the High Street remained open till Wednesday evening and continued to do good business.

On Saturday there was again a large influx of visitors into the town, although not so large as on previous Fair Saturdays, consequent upon the abandonment of the Horse Procession this year. Rain fell heavily in the morning, but as the day advanced it cleared up. A cold north wind however, prevailed the whole of the day and towards evening had quite a mid-winter feeling rather than the genial warmth of mid-summer.

Berwick Advertiser 4 June 1915 Hall's Wine

Berwick Advertiser 4 June 1915 Hall’s Wine


Advert for T. H. Lawsons. Berwick Advertiser 4 June 1915





Owing to the war, it was this year decided not to hold the annual fair Horse Procession, but the annual competition for the Sanderson Challenge Shield for the best kept horse during the year was held. This year there were three competitors. The judging took place in Sandgate and was undertaken by Mr P. Edgar, Camphill, assisted by the Secretary, Mr Ralph, Bradford, Tweedmouth. Mr J. Bryson, Tweedmouth, who has won the Shield on two previous occasions, won it this year again, and it now becomes his property. Hugh Fisackerly took second prize and R. Swinney third. In presenting the shield to the winner, Mrs Wilsden congratulated him on the beautiful condition of his horse and for the care and attention he had bestowed upon it.

Mary Ann Fulcher – School Headmistress

There were many individuals that contributed to the successful running of Stannington Sanatorium and helped to make it the thriving institution that it was.  This week we will have a look at the role of one of these individuals, Mary Ann Fulcher, headmistress of the Sanatorium School.


Mary Ann Fulcher served as the headmistress of Stannington Sanatorium School for over 32 years from 1st February 1921 up to her retirement on 18th December 1953.  During her time as headmistress she presided over the school’s transition to state control and away from the management of the Poor Children’s Holiday Association following the passing of the National Health Act as well as witnessing the effects of WWII with the bombing of the sanatorium and its temporary relocation to Hexham.


In the annual report of 1938 Miss Fulcher details the work of the sanatorium school and the effect of illness upon the children:

‘Every other Friday a fresh group of children enters the Sanatorium School.  behind each lies a little tragedy; weeks of ill-health followed by a visit to a doctor, then another consultation, and finally a parting from the old, familiar, well-loved things to enter a strange new world, and in the midst of the newness and strangeness they meet with a school and they all know something about schools, even if it is not quite the same as those they have known.  About the school they are critical for they have a standard by which to judge.  This big fellow says firmly, “I have left school,” and infers that he has put away with such childish things.  The secondary school girl, until her health gave way, had had dreams of examination successes and is a little superior in her manner.  Ill-health seems to her such an unfair handicap, and she half resentfully wonders what this school has to offer her … 

Different in all, save that they are infected with tuberculosis, they come into the melting pot of school and it is the aim of the school, not so much to teach this fact or that, as it is to help all to face life with courage and to demonstrate that in spite of an early introduction to ill-health and suffering, the world is full of beauty and joy. …

The Sanatorium does not only attend to the children’s physical ills but adjusts their mental outlook … From time to time we hear of their achievements in the great outside world and are content.’ [HOSP/STAN/1/3/5]


Open Air School.  Class II Writing Lesson. [HOSP/STAN/11/1/27]

Open Air School. Class II Writing Lesson. [HOSP/STAN/11/1/27]

As a school attached to a hospital the challenges met by Fulcher were much more varied than those faced by many other head teachers.  Looking through the school log books for the period (CES/243/2/1-2) we see that certain restrictions were placed on the children’s activities by the medical staff including insisting on outdoor teaching in good weather, strict periods of rest and the facilitating of summer sun treatment.  In addition children could be absent from school for long periods owing to illness and having to be confined to the sanatorium, although in later years teaching was also conducted on the wards.


Miss Fulcher’s work was recognised in the 1951 New Year’s Honours List when she was awarded an MBE for her service to the school.  In the same year the school inspector’s report, recorded in the log book, gives a glowing report of her work and reads as such:

‘The Head Mistress, who has almost completed her thirtieth year of devoted service to the school, has never allowed the isolation of the premises or the specialised character of her work to cut her off from the main stream of educational interests.  She shows close acquaintance with modern school practices & recent literature.  She is a capable organiser in a complex field, maintains a good sense of proportion, leads her staff well, & imbues them with her inflexible regard for good standards of work.  Her relations with the children are good, & she has equal regard for the needs of the youngest & the oldest.  Her personal integrity, courage & humanity are pillars of support to the school.’

NRO 10321-3 [MAG P4]

NRO 10321-3 – 14 year old boy’s account of schooling in the sanatorium, 1931