Archive for July 2016

This Week in World War One, 28 July 1916

Berwick Advertiser title 1915






We have pleasure in publishing today a most interesting group photo of four generations of an old Berwick family. The subject of our sketch is Mrs Jane Heslop, widow of the late Mr Thomas Heslop, who, although she has reached the 100th milestone in her life’s journey retains a mind alert and keen, though time has brought with its march bodily frailty. On Thursday she received the congratulations of a large number of friends and relatives who were mostly present in person to celebrate the unique event. We trust that Mrs Heslop will yet have years granted to her in the pleasant company of her own kith and kin.

Berwick Advertiser 28 July 1916 100 Not Out Berwick Lady's Record prt1 RESIZED

Mrs Jane Heslop, who resides with her daughter, Mrs Chambers, 47 West Percy Street, North Shields, was widowed some 30 years ago. Her husband was Thomas Heslop, at one time employed by Messrs Cowe, grocers, High Street, Berwick, and later with the Berwick Salmon Fisheries Company, under the late Mr George Paulin. Mrs Heslop, who is now mostly confined to bed, still evinces a great interest in the progress of the war, and up to a year ago she was able to do a considerable amount of light housework. Having lived in the time of Waterloo she often speaks of the prices to which foodstuffs rose and compares the rises with those of the present time. She left Berwick about twelve years ago, going to reside wither daughter, who has given her every care and attention, and prior to her leaving the Border town she lived for many years at Well Close Square. She was the oldest member of the United Free Church, Berwick, and we understand that her minister, Rev. R. C. Inglis (who was a trusted friend of the old lady), had signified his intention of being present at the interesting celebration on Thursday. Illness was recently the misfortune of the old dame, but we are glad to learn she has now quite recovered. Mrs Heslop is a member of an old Border family of name Burns (who are believed to be of descent from Scotland’s bard), and time has proved the family to be a long lived race. Two of her nephews were well known on the Borders – Ex Provost Burns, Coldstream, and Mr Burns, Tweedmouth formerly of Greenlawalls. Her sister resides in South Shields, and is now 98 years of age. Six of a family were born to Mrs Heslop, two of whom died young. Two daughters and one son still survive, but the other, Mr Edward Heslop, a genial and respected townsman, died some six years ago.

The photo, which we publish, has the subject of our sketch as the central figure, with her daughter, Mrs Chambers, on the left, and her granddaughter, Mrs Scott, and her little great-grandson on the right.




Tweedmouth Feast – The anniversary of Tweedmouth Feast was celebrated on Sunday and Monday, which in ordinary times is the great day of the year. It is the time of the year when Tweedsiders from the busy hives of industry on Tyneside and Wearside, and indeed throughout the country, re-visit their old homes and have their annual re-unions. But the war has made a great change in this annual event. There has been no sports or regattas held these past two years. But for a few shows and roundabouts on the Green at Tweedmouth West End this year, no one would really know that a great anniversary was being celebrated. The holiday was observed, the shops closing at 1 o’clock, although there seemed to be a doubt whether business was to be suspended or not. The Banks did not observe the half-holiday. The weather was of a delightful character throughout.


Brilliant Success of a Spittal Schoolboy – The report of the results of the recent Scholarship Examination for the County of Northumberland sates that 1196 candidates were examined from 192 schools. The names of the first ten successful pupils are arranged in order of merit. We congratulate John Cringle, of Spittal Council School, whose name stands third on the list. Such a high position out of nearly twelve hundred candidates reflects great credit on the Borough. Mr T. W. G. Borthwick, the headmaster, has good reason to feel proud of Spittal Council School, and the brilliant success of his pupil. Last year Spittal school took first, second, and fifth places in order of merit among the local candidates.

Children line up in the school playground of Spittal School in the early 1900s, with the headmaster and civic party. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 1887-50-3.

Children line up in the school playground of Spittal School in the early 1900s, with the Headmaster and Civic Party. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 1887-50-3.





A severe thunderstorm, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning, passed over Berwick on Thursday evening. At the back of six o’clock the storm seemed to be at its height and at 6.20 the thunder and lightning were particularly impressive and awesome. A ball of fire exploded, accompanied with a deafening report, at this time, the lightning striking a chimney top of the tenement in the High Street occupied by Messrs John Stodart, grocers and wine merchants. The top of the chimney top was completely shattered, the debris flying over the roof of the adjacent higher tenement which enters Golden Square. Torrential rain afterwards fell, and the storm seemed to gradually moderate.

John Stoddart, Grocers, Wines & Spirits premises in Golden Square which was struck by lightning, is shown in this early 1900s photograph. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 1506-010.

John Stoddart, Grocers, Wines & Spirits premises in Golden Square which was struck by lightning, is shown in this early 1900s photograph. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 1506-010.

Life in the County Lunatic Asylum

The Northumberland County Pauper Lunatic Asylum opened on 16 March 1859. Lunatic Asylums were managed by committees of visitors appointed by the Quarter Sessions under the Lunacy Act 1845 and were subject to visits by the Commissioners in Lunacy. Situated in Cottingwood, Morpeth, the asylum was a magnificent Victorian building built in the Italian style of red brick with stone dressings. Designed by Henry Welsh, it was originally built to accommodate about 200 male and female patients. In 1890 the asylum was renamed the County Mental Hospital then in 1937 the name was changed to St. George’s Hospital. In 2006 St Georges Park, a purpose built mental health hospital was built on the old St. George’s site.


Site of County Lunatic Asylum

Site of County Lunatic Asylum


The plan below was drawn by the architect John Cresswell and  gives a 3 dimensional view of the asylum and its grounds. The apartments on the west side were for female inmates while males were situated on the east. Surrounding the buildings were pleasure and kitchen gardens as well as a stone chapel and brewery. The Superintendent was the principal officer of the asylum and was required to be a medical practitioner and legally qualified. The Matron was responsible for all female attendants, servants and female patients and the Clerk/Steward for male patients and male staff.


Birds eye view of Asylum 1901

Birds eye view of Asylum


Early records for the asylum show it to be professionally managed.  All male and female patients had to be kept in separate wards.  No male attendant, servant or patient could enter the female wards, nor any female enter the male wards except in cases where the Superintendent deemed it advisable. The Asylum Rule Book stated the following:

“There be at least one attendant for every ward and that there be not less than one attendant for every 25 patients who are tranquil or convalescent and not less than one attendant for every 12 patients who are dirty, violent, refractory or dangerous to themselves or others. No ward shall be left at any time without an attendant being there and that the attendant be so distributed that in case of need they may readily assist each other.”


Reasons for admissions in 1861

Reasons for admissions in 1861


A booklet entitled Rules of Government for the Pauper Lunatic Asylum 1860 stated that dormitories had to contain more than 3 beds and had to have a space of at least 2 feet and six inches between them. An attendant had to sleep in an adjoining room and a light was kept on through the night. No patient was to be struck or kept in perpetual restraint or seclusion. If a patient needed to be restrained, it had to be reported to the Superintendent as soon as possible and documented in the Day Book. Visitors were permitted to the asylum once a fortnight. Every visit made by a male relation or friend to a female patient had to have the Matron or female attendant present throughout the entire visit. The booklet also stated that in relation to the death of a patient, the passing had to be firstly reported to the parish officer. The House Steward would then inform one of the nearest relations of the deceased and the body would be delivered to them if requested. If the body was not taken by the fourth day, it was buried under the direction of the Superintendent.

During the day patients of both sexes were employed. Men worked in the garden and were taught trades by Shoemakers, Tailors, Plumbers and Painters. The women worked in the laundry and kitchen and also undertook sewing, knitting and mending work. Reading was encouraged and an ample supply of books and publications of a moral and cheerful nature had to be made available. This was in addition to the bible and prayer books.


Job opportunities in the asylum

Job opportunities in the asylum


The Superintendent issued a yearly report commenting on admissions, discharges and deaths. Recommendations were made for improvements to the building and patient care but events and observations were also recorded. The report for 1868 stated that when one woman was admitted she was searched and was found to have on her person money and bankers receipts of upwards of £500. The sum was unknown to her husband or family and was shrouded in mystery. It was noted that every Wednesday evening there was a dance interspersed with songs and on two occasions a conjuring entertainment was kindly provided by Mr Shute the Assistant Surgeon. In the summer months the men played cricket, bowls, quoits and football while the women played croquet. The patients also enjoyed picnics at the seaside.

The Commissioners in Lunacy also visited the asylum and issued a yearly report. The report for 1867 claimed that the state of the inmates was satisfactory, their person and clothing were very clean and in general their conduct was orderly with nobody in seclusion. On the day of the visit dinner consisted of baked meat, potatoes, bread and beer. The wards were clean and properly ventilated but were said to have a bare appearance. It was noted that a good deal of painting, colouring and papering was required and it was hoped that the most cheerful, light and pleasing colours would be chosen. Space was a major concern and the day rooms were classed as being seriously overcrowded. The report for 1873 commented upon the death of a male patient who had died due to a blow to the head but who was also found to have his breast bone and five ribs fractured. It was never discovered how these injuries were inflicted. A female patient was also mentioned as when out walking with a party of other females she committed suicide by jumping in the river. Due to this incident walks outside of the asylum had been terminated.


QAL 17 copy

“This Week in World War One, 14 July 1916

Berwick Advertiser title 1915





No Change in Foreign Secretaryship


Sir Edward Grey © No known rights on publication. Wikimedia Commons.

Sir Edward Grey © No known rights on publication. Wikimedia Commons.


We are in receipt the following telegram from the Official Press Bureau :-

The King has been pleased to confer the dignity of an Earldom of the United Kingdom on the Right Hon. Sir Edward Grey, Bart., K.G., M.P.

The King has been pleased to approve of the appointment of the Right Hon. Lloyd George, M.P., to be Secretary of State for War.

In consequence of Sir E. Grey’s elevation to the Peerage, not more than four of the five Secretaries of State will have seats in the House of Commons.


It is stated that Sir Edward Grey will on his elevation to the peerage take the title of earl Grey of Falloden, which will sufficiently distinguish him from other “Greys” in the peerage – Earl Grey, Lord Grey de Ruthyn, and Viscount Grey de Wilton. Foreign affairs in the Commons will now be in the exclusive charge of Lord Robert Cecil, and the Government is fortunate in having an Under-Secretary in that office who not only commands the confidence of the House and impresses all at Westminster by his knowledge, ability, and efficiency, but who from the fact that he is a member of the Cabinet will be able to speak authoritatively upon foreign questions. The arrangement therefore is highly convenirnt alike for the Commons and the Government, although sincere regret is expressed at the departure of Sir Edward from an Assembly in which he has sat for over thirty years. Sir Edward’s indifferent health, however, has been a cause of anxiety to his friends. His eyes still trouble him, and it is hoped that with less exacting Parliamentary duties the change will prove physically beneficial to him.




New Teacher for National School. – At a meeting of managers of Berwick Boys’ National School, held on Tuesday, to consider the appointment of a certificated assistant, in room of Mr Thos. Lindsay, who retired lately, it was unanimously agreed to appoint Miss Dover to the vacant post. The new teacher is a daughter of Mr Dover, King’s Arms, Berwick.

Derelict Salmon Cobles. – Two fishing cobles, painted black with blue, gunwales each 15 feet long, have been washed up on the foreshore one mile north of Goswick Railway Station. They have been placed in safety, and are now in custody of the Receiver of Wreck. These boats probably came down the Tweed with the heavy floods of last week-end.

weed Salmon Coble. © Berwick Record Office. BRO 1944-1-1936-9.

Tweed Salmon Coble. © Berwick Record Office. BRO 1944-1-1936-9.


Herring Fishing Report, Berwick, 12th July. – The herring fishing for the past week was light in the northern ports of the district, and of a total for the week of 5481 crans less than 1000 were landed at theses ports, the remainder being landed at North Shields. The principal fishing grounds have been south of the Farne Islands, the usual grounds off this coast having yielded very poor results so far. With the exception of Friday night, which was very foggy, the weather was favourable for fishing. A break in the fishing was also caused by the news of 8 herring boats having been sunk on Thursday night by a German submarine. Only a few crews proceeded to sea on the following night, and otherwise many boats did not go the usual distance off shore. Several crews are adding small boats as parts of their outfits, in case of eventualities. The total catch to 8th inst. is now 21,654 crans, as compared with 2115 crans in 1915, and 69,437 in 1914. The quality was but fair, and prices mostly 50s to 70s per cran. At North Shields averages of 17 and 25 crans have been landed this week, and 7 and 12 at Eyemouth, Berwick lightly fished. Today 8 boats averaged 7 crans, highest shot 16 crans.

Herring boats© Berwick Record Office. BRO 1887-25-4.

Herring boats© Berwick Record Office. BRO 1887-25-4.




On Wednesday last about 12.30 p.m. a very lamentable accident befell two army aviators while flying on the East Coast, the observer being killed and the pilot badly injured. The machine was first observed by farm workers on an outlying farm, to be approaching rather low and evidently having engine trouble. The intention apparently was to land, but the spectators were horrified to see the craft suddenly nose-dive. Hurrying to the spot it was found the observer (Mr Barrie) had almost ceased to breathe, while the pilot (Mr Hambly) was also suffering from injuries of a severe nature. All that was possible was done for the unfortunate men, Mr Barrie, however, only surviving a few moments. The other occupant, we are glad to learn, is doing as well as can be expected. The remains of the deceased officer were removed for internment during Friday. The machine was destroyed.




A meeting of the Northumberland Licensing Committee, sitting as the Compensation Authority, was held at the Moot Hall, Newcastle, on Monday. Mr G. D. Atkinson Clark presiding, to consider the question of compensation in respect of four Berwick licenses, the licenses of which had been taken away. The houses were the Coble Inn, Low Greens (of which the registered owners are the Tweed Brewery), the Pack Horse Inn, Church Street, the White Swan Inn, Castlegate, and the Railway Inn, Main Street, Tweedmouth, of which the Border Brewery were the registered owners. Mr W. Weatherhead (Berwick) appeared for the owners in each case. A claim for £590 was put in with respect to the Coble Inn. The Bench offered £510, and that sum was accepted. The tenant’s compensation was put at £50. The other three houses were sent to the Inland Revenue for settlement. The compensation claimed in respect of the three houses was – Pack Horse, £3,733; White Swan, 32,909, Railway Inn, £4,233.



John Pattison Gibson

The Gibson Collection was deposited with Northumberland Archives in 1979.  The work represented within the Collection is that of John Pattison Gibson, his son John Gibson, and another photographer, Edgar G. Lee.  The collection comprises cameras, certificates, framed photographs, sepia prints and glass plate negatives, as well as family artefacts and papers.  As Robin Gard, former Northumberland County Archivist, wrote in 1982, the collection is a ‘unique visual historical record of prime value to scholars in several disciplines as well as to local historians.’


Proctor Steads c.1900

Proctor Steads c.1900


J.P. Gibson was born on 4th January 1838 in Hexham, the son of W.W. Gibson.  He was educated at Hexham Grammar School, and later Newcastle Grammar School, before following his father into the family business as a chemist within the families’ pharmacy in Hexham.  As well as being an athlete and boxer in his youth, Gibson was also a keen shot.  He was interested in military history, and served in the Hexham Rifle Corps from 1859, retiring in 1892 with the rank of Major.  At the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Gibson visited the battle sites, and was present in Paris during the Commune of 1871.

Much of Gibson’s work is focused on archaeological sites and excavations, showing his deep interest in archaeology.  His first notable find occurred in the summer of 1891, when he came across a rabbit hole on the Nicks of Thirlwall.  This led to his discovery of Mucklebank Wall turret, which was then excavated in 1892.  He was involved in excavations at Housesteads and Gilsland, and was also the official photographer for the ‘Corstopitum’ excavations of Corbridge, from 1906 until his death in 1912.  This combined his love of archaeology with his photography.  He produced mainly glass plate negatives from these excavations.  Postcards were also produced and sold to raise funds for the excavations.


Cawfields Milecastle on the Roman Wall c.1900

Cawfields Milecastle on the Roman Wall c.1900


Gibson joined the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1883, and due to his skill and interest in architectural history, he was chosen by the Society as a leader and guide for some excursions.  He was also a prominent lecturer, using his glass slides to illustrate and educate his audience.


Gibson describing the remains of the Roman Camp at Walwick c.1900

Gibson describing the remains of the Roman Camp at Walwick c.1900


He later became Vice President of the Society, and wrote many articles for Archaeologia Aeliana.  He was also a member of the Durham and Northumberland Architectural and Archaeological Society, the Royal Photographic Society, and in 1911 was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.  In 1908 Gibson was granted honorary membership of the Glasgow Archaeological Society.

During his career, Gibson won many medals, diplomas and certificates.  He was presented with a diploma at the Universal Exposition of Paris in 1889.  This was a World Fair held from 6th May to 31st October, during the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, and was the Fair for which the Eiffel Tower was completed, functioning as the entrance arch.  Gibson was awarded this diploma of the silver medal for “landscape photographs of Northumbrian river scenery”, which was exhibited in Group II, Class 12.


South Tyne River c.1900

South Tyne River c.1900


The style of photography adopted by Gibson resulted in his photographs having the appearance of paintings.  This style was developed around 1889 as the result of the furore that arose when artists complained that photography could not be an art form.  Gibson’s photographs are works of art, and his techniques show how much thought and time went into their production.  He used different cloud formations and skies to alter his works, and these were taken from separate cloud negatives that still exist in the collection.  This was primarily done because the emulsions for the negatives were not able to capture the various extremes of light at the time.

After Gibson’s death in 1912, the family shop continued to trade.  It was originally opened in 1834 in 16-20 Fore Street, Hexham, by J.P. Gibson’s father, William Wilson Gibson.


NRO 1876-F-2706 copy


The Arms of the City of London were a feature of the shop front, after J.P. Gibson’s son, John, was admitted to the Freedom of the City of London in 1908 as a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.

The ornate carving above the door of the shop was executed by a Belgian refugee (one of around 400 in Hexham during World War One) as an expression of gratitude to the Gibson family.  The family had provided meeting rooms and a library of French and Flemish books for the refugees in the town.  The left shield bears the letters JPG around the sun, necessary for photography, while the right shield shows JG around an eye, representing an optician.

The shop closed in 1978 and was threatened with demolition.  The Science Museum in London stepped in and bought the fittings and shop front, showing how well-known and well-regarded Gibson was.  The shop front and most of the contents are now on display in the fourth floor gallery of the Museum entitled, ‘Glimpses of Medical History’.

Lieutenant Walter Lamb

Walter Lamb was born in Christon Bank, Alnwick, Northumberland on 15 February 1890, son of Mr James William (A Brewer in Brewery Lane Warkworth) and & Mrs Minnie Lamb of Hotspur House, Warkworth. He had five brothers – Henry, Thomas, James W, John, Cyril and two sisters – Elinor Elizabeth (who died in New Jersey, USA) and Minnie Florence. His brother John served with the Royal Navy during the First World War and survived. Walter was educated at the Dukes School, Alnwick, leaving school in 1906.

He was living in Newcastle in the 1911 census at 41 North Terrace, Wallsend as a boarder, his occupation was Engineers Pattern Maker with the North Eastern Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. Walter was 5ft 7½ inches tall with black hair and brown eyes. He was 24 years and 7 months of age when he enlisted into the Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry as a Private on the 18th September 1914 signing an agreement to serve for four years or the duration of the war. He only spent three months with the Northumberland Hussars before receiving a commission and joining ‘I’ company 22nd (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (3rd Tyneside Scottish) as Second Lieutenant.

His cousin 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Lamb was killed when instructing his men in hand grenade, throwing. An article appeared in the Newcastle Journal on 11th July 1916 with the heading:-

“Warkworth officer Killed in Action”

News was received yesterday by Councillor J.W. Lamb of Warkworth, that one of his sons, Lieutenant Walter Lamb had been killed in action in France. The deceased enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers and was connected with the machine gun section. At the meeting of Alnwick Rural Council, yesterday, Councillor J.H. Mansfield Chairman, referred to the loss sustained by one of their members, Councillor James W. Lamb, through the death of his third son Lieutenant W. Lamb who had been killed in action in France and also of his nephew 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Lamb, who had been killed in a bomb accident at Chipchase Camp. The deaths of these 2 young officers would be a great trial to Councillor J. W. Lamb and his sister Miss Elizabeth Lamb, also a member.

The War diaries for the 22nd Battalion show that they were in their billets on 24 June at Bresle and they were preparing for the attack to begin. On 25 June the companies/platoons began moving to the Usna-Tara Line and the Sunken Garden, Albert. On 29 June a bombing party consisting of 2 Officers and 20 men processed towards the enemy lines with a view of raiding them. This party returned to our lines early, due to enemy fire, without suffering any casualties.

The Battalion remained in position in their line on 30 June, supporting the 21st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. The 20th & 23rd Battalions were in position on the left. By 22.30hours all the companies were in their assembly trenches awaiting the attack.The position of assembly points on the 30 June was as follows:

1st Line – along Dundee Avenue, left resting on point where Mercier Street joins.

2nd Line – Alnwick Street

3rd Line – along Dundee Avenue, with right resting on point where Mercier Street joins.

4th Line – were in the newly dug trench from junction of Buddon Street and Dundee Avenue.

At eight minutes before zero hour a ‘Hurricane Bombardment’ opened, then with two minutes before zero hour, two lines of the 2nd Tyneside Scottish advanced over the parapet and the 3rd Tyneside Scottish followed, occupying the trenches vacated by them. A Regiment Aid Post was established at the junction of Gowrie Street and Methuen Street. The wounded were to be evacuated by Gowrie Street and Perth Avenue to A.D.S of Kinfauns Street – Perth Avenue.

The attack began at 0730 hours and by 1245hours their strength was only 7 Officers and 200 Other Ranks, made up of a mixture of the 22nd & 21st Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers, under the command of Major Acklom. At 2215hours a patrol got in touch with other troops, who had taken shelter in the ‘New Crater’ which had been caused by our mines 100 yards beyond our right flank. By 2 July all ranks were greatly in need of water and were very fatigued, consolidation of the position continues, slowly. By 0330 hours the Cheshire’s arrived in our lines ready for a further advance. Orders were received at 1440hours to hold our position at ‘ALL COSTS’.

More troops arrived in our lines – Lincolns and Royal Welsh Fusiliers. In the next few hours the Battalion received two Lewis Guns, three Vickers Guns and two Stokes guns with a plentiful supply of water and rations The men were in good spirits and our position was secure. By midnight on 2/3 July the Battalion strength was 5 Officers and 155 NCO’s and men. Walter was one of the seven Officers killed in the attack on 1 July.

Walter died 1 July 1916, aged just 26 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10 B 11 B and 12 B.


War Memorial

War Memorial

Opening up the patient files and our new Flickr collection

We our happy to now announce at just past our halfway point in our repackaging and digitisation project of the 1944-1966 patient files we are launching a new collection of Flickr sets of some of the files. Our hope in this is that we can showcase some of the types of documents for those wishing to study the files.

We hold the patient files covering the period 1937 to 1966. The first files are pre-printed sheets, which were sorted and bound into books after the patient’s discharge. These give the medical and family history of the patient, the tests done, temperature charts and diagrams of the front and back of the torso to record observations on the chest. Additional sheets of temperature charts and diagrams could be pasted in once the first sets were used. The project’s first phase looked a lot at these and there is much about them in previous posts. We have chosen one as an example, which you can see here. In 1943 the staff transitioned to using files, which were also filed by the date of discharge until 1946.

first page in the discharge book for HOSP/STAN/07/01/01/476

The first page in the discharge book for patient HOSP/STAN/07/01/01/476

We don’t find the same documents within each file, but wanted to show a range of what we commonly find, and have divided these into what we have described as ‘core’ and ‘non-core’. The core documents give an overview of each case and are appended to our online catalogue, available to search here. Non-core documents include temperature charts, correspondence and less common documents; these cannot be viewed via our catalogue. Our new Flickr page will give a glimpse of how the whole files and their associated radiographs look.

However, choosing which files to use has been difficult, as the cases and the contents of the files themselves are so varied. We have chosen two files from each of the three types of disease identified by the patient files – pulmonary (in a blue file), bones and joints (in a green file) and cases of Tuberculosis where tissues were affected (in a pink file). For each type we have shown an earlier case, around 1946-1948, and another from after the introduction of streptomycin and similar antibiotics at Stannington, around 1949-1953. After 1953 we have fewer radiographs, and we wanted to ensure these were included too. Each file has been redacted to remove the names and personal details of each patient, leaving details of treatment, condition and other aspects of their stay at Stannington. We have left out long runs of temperature charts, superfluous backs of documents, and included only a few of the radiographs where they are taken repeatedly over months and years. However we can always be contacted by emailing if you have any further questions.

Rather than taking you through each file here when they can be explored fully on Flickr, we will look instead at some of the types of documents that are included in the files. We have divided the non-core documents into those we commonly find which are present in some combination in most files, and those we find less regularly, even rarely, in some of the files.

Treatment card from file HOSP/STAN/07/01/01/2654, showing stars indicating all three antibiotics were used.

Treatment card from file HOSP/STAN/07/01/01/2654, showing stars indicating all three antibiotics were used.

Core documents:

  • The file – gives the patient’s name, address, date of birth, sex, age, local authority, religion, admission and discharge dates, whether notification was given before or after admission, when immunised for diphtheria, if permission was given for dental treatment and anaesthetic, diagnosis and result of treatment. On the inside of the file was recorded the patient’s family history, results of tests, sputum reports, other pathological reports and X-ray reports (which were later recorded on the X-ray card).
  • Patient history – a short summary of the patient’s family history and general condition on arrival, followed by details of their progress at Stannington, often quite similar to the treatment card.
  • Treatment card – written up by the doctors with changes in condition and treatment. Like the above image, later examples are often quite colourful, with streptomycin and other drugs written in red and a different coloured star given to show which drug a patient was given, as shown in the above example. Red stars were for streptomycin, blue for para-aminosalicylic acid (PAS) and green for isonicotinic acid hydrazide (INH). The three were often used together, forming an effective combination treatment.
  • Discharge report – written summary of the patient’s progress while at Stannington, and their condition on discharge. A copy would often be sent to their local doctor, clinic or the hospital that referred the patient to Stannington.
  • X-ray card – listing dates, serial numbers, locations and settings of X-rays.


Bacteriological report from file HOSP/STAN/07/01/012654, showing the results of a sputum test.

Bacteriological report from file HOSP/STAN/07/01/012654, showing the results of a sputum test.

Commonly occurring Non-core documents:

  • Medical report to institution (from local authority or other source) – a short report of a patient’s condition before coming to Stannington. Pre-NHS (and for a short while afterwards) local authorities would ‘sponsor’ a bed for a patient from their area, and the appearance of the form differs depending on the area.
  • Permissions and medical history form – this appears in the late 1940s and alters very little over the years. It asks parents and guardians to give details of childhood illnesses, immunisations and permission for dental treatment and anaesthetic. We also find permissions slips for specific operations, vaguely for ‘an operation’, and other instances, such as day trips.
  • Bacteriological reports – reports from a bacteriological laboratory showing the results of tests from samples, for example samples of pus being checked for tubercle bacilli. These change through time and are found in two types, a small sheet that would be stuck to the file, document or separate sheet of paper, or a longer thin sheet. In earliest files these may be pathologist’s reports.
  • Dental card – showing condition of teeth and any treatment during the patient’s time at Stannington. Also sometimes optical or dermatological cards and check-ups.
  • Correspondence with other hospitals and doctors – from before admission, during their stay and after the patient’s discharge from the Sanatorium. Communication from before a child entered Stannington usually arranged their admission. During their stay correspondence may have arranged a transfer for procedures at another hospital. Any correspondence after a child left Stannington was often with local authorities or the doctor or clinic providing follow up care.
  • Temperature charts – most patients had their temperature taken twice a day throughout their stay and recorded on a chart, and bowel movements noted. On occasions a 4 hourly chart was used when a child was suffering from a high temperature.
  • Correspondence with parents and family – includes letters arranging visits and interviews with doctors about the patient’s condition, and the child’s discharge home. These letters sometimes give an insight into home and family conditions.
  • Out patients review reports – after discharge some patients, usually orthopaedic cases, might be reviewed to monitor progress, often on a three monthly or six monthly basis until the disease was quiescent.


Permissions slip for 'any operation necessary' from file HOSP/STAN/07/01/01/2558.

Permissions slip for ‘any operation necessary’ from file HOSP/STAN/07/01/01/2558.

Some of the other non-core documents that we sometimes find:

  • Transfer documentation, notes and charts from other hospitals – often enclosed in the file that was used at the other hospital.
  • Things written or drawn by the children – very occasionally the patients seem to have got a hold of their file and written or drawn on them. On other occasions little drawings or letters have ended up in the file. As can be seen in the Flickr set, the patient in file HOSP/STAN/07/01/01/2697 was an amateur fortune teller!
  • Newspaper cuttings – of stories about patients may later be put in the files, such as when patients later married etc.
  • Permissions forms – in addition to the general Permissions and medical form given on arrival we also find permissions slips for specific operations, vaguely for ‘an operation’ like the example above, and other instances, such as day trips.
  • Removal without medical consent slip – signed by a parent on removing their child from the sanatorium, either pre-typed or handwritten.
  • Sputum charts – recorded the amount and colour of sputum produced on each day, and found in the latter end of the period our files cover. These long thin coloured graphs could almost be works of art.
  • Artificial pneumothorax card – like an X-ray card, showing when an artificial pneumothorax was performed. This procedure collapses a lung, allowing it to rest and heal.
  • Drug charts – occasionally we see charts detailing the time and date drugs like streptomycin and PAS were given.
  • Diabetic charts – though these are a drug chart in that they record insulin intake, they also record sugar and keytones present in urine.
  • Diet menus and instructions – for some patients with specific requirements we might find a typewritten sheet giving instructions of what the patient should and shouldn’t eat, or menus for a diet.

We are hoping that making some of the patient files accessible will give an idea of the contents of the collection as a whole. The collection has great potential for academic study of the radiographs and treatments that were used during a time of great development in treating tuberculosis, but also gives a valuable insight into the life of a sanatorium and its patients, and the perception of tuberculosis in wider society. You can view the whole Flickr collection here, and search the online catalogue here through our website. We hope you find the files as interesting as we do, and that they give a little insight into life at the sanatorium.

This Week in World War One, 30 June 1916

Berwick Advertiser title 1915






In many parts of the country there appears to exist a suspicion that, if women register their names for farm work, they may be subjected to some form of compulsory service.

The War Office and the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries desire to assure all women who

Women's Land Army. © Henry George Gawthorn (1879-1941), UK government, in the public domain.

© Henry George Gawthorn (1879-1941)

are engaged in work on the land, or who may be willing to undertake such work, that the registration of their names for that purpose will in no way be used to compel them to undertake either agricultural or any other form of work. Such work is entirely voluntary. In no case will they be expected to work on farms outside their own neighbourhood unless they are willing to do so. But it is necessary, in order that the most sufficient use may be made of their services, to have a list of the names and addresses of women who are prepared in the national emergency to undertake work in the place of the men who are fighting in the trenches. As there is a great need for the services of patriotic women who are willing to assist in the home production of food, it is hoped that all women who can see their way to offer their services, either whole or part time, will at once have their names registered at the Local Labour Exchange or by the village Registrar.

Board of Agriculture and Fisheries,

4, Whitehall Place, S.W.

23rd June, 1916



 A Big Smash. – On Monday afternoon a number of army motor vans were going through Bridge Street, one of the tyres of a van skidded, precipitating the vehicle through the plate glass windows of Mr Thomson, baker. The large front glass window as well as the side window were smashed.

Accident. – On Tuesday afternoon a woman named Swinney, 176 Main Street, Tweedmouth, slipped while taking clothes off a rope in a back yard, fracturing her left ankle. Nurse Davidson was called, and the woman was removed to the Infirmary.

Midsummer Holiday. – Tuesday was observed in Berwick as the annual Midsummer holiday, when all places of business were closed. Like its predecessor of 1915, the war put a damper on the usual observances – no railway facilities in the way of cheap, excursions being offered. That being so, far distance travelling was out of the question to the vast majority.

Old photograph of salmon fishermen below Chain Bride, near Horncliffe, Berwick-upon-Tweed. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 426 1125.

Old photograph of salmon fishermen below Chain Bride, near Horncliffe, Berwick-upon-Tweed. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 426 1125.

Notwithstanding these drawbacks the general public made the best of the circumstances – some went boating, some went fishing, some went cycling, others went in either for bowling or golf, while a goodly number made the Chain Bridge their rendezvous – where the Berwick Boy Scouts were having a picnic. There was quite a number of parties squatting here and there on the green sward. With their attendant fires to boil the kettle for tea and notwithstanding the cheerlessness of the day seemed to be enjoying themselves. The weather throughout the day was dull and scarcely in keeping with the leafy month of June. All are looking forward with eager anticipation to next midsummer holiday, when it is hoped the war clouds will have rolled away and everything back to usual conditions.




Now that summer has come, and readers of the “Advertiser” will be planning their outings on Thursday afternoons, as well as for longer periods, a word as to Holy Island will not come amiss. Comparatively few of the inhabitants of Berwick and neighbourhood have visited this most interesting place; in many cases because they do not know how to make their visit suit the tides, going and returning. A safe rule is to cross on an ebbing tide in preference to a flowing one. If going by train leaving for Beal after 1.10 p.m. (from July 1st onwards), and returning by last train Spring tides (high water at from 1 to 4 p.m.), should be avoided, and a day chosen when the tide is full about 10 to 12 o’clock.

Early 20th century photograph showing the crossing of the sands at Holy Island. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 426 1059.

Early 20th century photograph showing the crossing of the sands at Holy Island. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 426 1059.


If going by either of the morning trains, and returning by last train, high water any time between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. will suit.

Holy Island conveyances meet the 7.40 a.m. or the 1.10 p.m. trains, from Berwick, single fare 1s each, or for four persons or upwards conveyances will be sent to meet any train at the same fare. Conveyances can be ordered from any of the following :- Mr R. Bell, Post Office, Holy Island; Mr James Brigham, Holy Island; Mr Geo. Wilson, Northumberland Arms, Holy Island; Mr Thomas Fender, Holy Island.