March 20, 2009

North Tyne memories: Bellingham bairns - Reed's school kids

North Tyne memories: Bellingham bairns - Reed's school kids

By Dr Clive Dalton

These historic pictures of the kids at the Reed's school exist because in Bellingham, North Tyne, there was an early photographic pioneer called W.P Collier. He was a man who clearly had an eye for 'news', and could predict which photos would sell as postcards in his village shop in Lockup Lane. Today he would be called a 'photojournalist' who knew where to go for a good story, and then take pictures to tell it, without any words other than a caption.

To do this he traveled widely up the Tyne, the Rede and the Coquet valleys - and beyond on his motorbike over rough roads. The mahogany and brass cameras of the time were massive, and they used heavy glass plate negatives which needed a solid wooden tripod for stability. What a great effort that must have been. Imagine what he could have collected with a modern digital camera in his pocket. You can tell from the clarity of his photos that they were taken on very large negatives.

His photographs of farming and the railway are especially valuable,(now lodged in the Bellingham Heritage Centre) but he obviously was called in regularly by the headmaster at the Reed's School, and by the vicar at St Cuthbert's church next door to snap the infants' classes and the Sunday School.

These photos are wonderful records of history, and fortunately there are enough class members still alive with good memories to be able to put names to faces. All of us old Reed's School kids need to pay tribute to WPC. When I started Reed's School in 1939, Mr Collier must have retired as we never had our photos taken. In any case the war had started.

If you can name any of the unknown kids, or make any corrections, then let me know.

Reed's School 1935
Back row (L to R): Goodwin Armstrong, Jim Bell, Ian Scott, Fenwick Daley, Tommy Thompson, Doney Burns, Billy Lamb, Kenneth Shields, Clifford Charlton, Teacher (Miss Turnbull).

Middle row (L to R): Teacher seated (Mr Greener), Robert Hodgson, Billy Charlton, Geoffrey Dalton, Ivy Little, Lilly Burns, Robert Dunwoodie, Walter Smith.

Front row (L to R): Robert Richardson (kneeling), Joan Coulson, Betty Coulson, Reenie Little, Bryan Richardson, Betty Rome, Unknown??, Edith Turnbull, Walter Turnbull (kneeling).

Reed's School 1933
Back row (L to R): Teacher (Miss Turnbull), Eric Coulson, Ian Scott, Bobby Dodd, John Reed, Grace Catimole, Olive Lamb, Mary Dodd.

Middle row (L to R): Ada Burns, Joan Coulson, Evelyn Catimole, Lilly Burns, Mary Armstrong, Eileen Thompson, Betty Rome, Betty Armstrong, Violet Reed.

Front row (L to R): Billy Charlton, Walter Smith, Kenneth Shields, Unknown ??, Ian Scott, Doney Burns.

Reed's School 1934 ?

Teachers (L to R): Miss Turnbull & Mr Greener. Terrier's name unknown!

Back row (L to R): Edith Turnbull, Geoffrey Dalton, ?????, Fenwick Daley, Lily Burn, Robert Hodgings, Violet Reed, Tommy Thompson.

Middle row (L to R): Marnie Thompson, Tom Forster, Bill Forster, Lilie Coulson, Mary Coulson, Ken Shield, Winnie Hindmarsh, Brian Richardson, Betty Armstrong.

Front row kneeling (L to R): Jim Bell, Rene Little, Billy Lamb, Goodwin Armstrong, Walter Turnbull, Cliff Charlton, Betty Southern, Joan Coulson.

Reed's School, Sunday School - 1935?

Back row (L to R): Billy Lamb, Brian Richardson, Geoffrey Dalton, Robert Dunwoodie, Jimmie Beattie, Gordon Richardson, Marnie Thompson, Margie Burn, Rene Little, Betty Southern, Sheila Southern.

Middle row (L to R):
Three adults - Beth Telfer, Miss Fenwick, Jean Chilman.
Children: Mary Dodd, Olive Lamb, Doney Burn, Rosemary Howarth, Adult - Mona Lamb.

Front row (L to R):
Unknown ?, Winnie Hindmarsh, Willie Burn, John Howarth, Aynsley Glass, Betty Armstrong, Isobel Armstrong, Lily Burn, Rev W.J. Flower (called 'Daddy Flower' behind his back!).

If we showed good regular attendance at Sunday School, as well as the annual trip to Whitley Bay - which included the sins of the Spanish City, we all got a book of 'good literature'!

Thanks to Bill Charlton who got two of these photos from his cousin Eileen Thompson and who could provide the names of all the kids except two or three - 70+ years on. Thanks to Don Clegg and his wife Sylvia (nee Armstrong) for the other two.
Copies of these pictures will be available in the Bellingham Heritage Centre collection where WPCollier's old photographer's shop has been set up.

August 2014 from Frank Greener

Hi Clive,
Reference the 1934 Photograph on the above web-site.
The Border terrier's name is Flint.
The headmaster Mr Francis [ Frank ] Greener is my Father.
He was appointed Head in 1933 while only 25 and still a bachelor.
He married Mary Louise Stephenson [also a teacher] in Jesmond Parish Church in 1934.
Tragically she died soon after their first child was still-born in 1935.
My father subsequently moved away to Sleaford in Lincs, and re-married.
The attached photo [kindly supplied by the late Miss Jean Milburn ] is of my father and a group of Reed's School kids on an outing with Flint in 1920. 
I hope this is of interest to you.
Francis [ Frank ] Greener

1 comment:

  1. I was most interested in reading the Woolshed-as it reminded me of my childhood schooldays!I was Maimie Telford-who was born at percy street (I'm now Mrs.Maimie Atkinson) My youngest Son-Barry lives in Australia(Adelaide) & I keep in touch every week with Billy Charlton! So I find the internet very useful for this purpose! Thanks to all who created the Woolshed-I found it fascinating!