April 11, 2019

Northumberland history. Association Football. North Tyne Charity Cup 1949-50

North Tyne Charity Cup 1949-50
By Clive Dalton

 ‘Association Football’ was the main sport in the North Tyne from at least the 1800s for working class folk, as the rules were simple, little equipment was needed, and the game was easy to organise.  Supporting the big national teams such as Newcastle United and Sunderland, where players like Jackie Milburn (Wor Jackie) were cult figures, maintained interest and ambitions for the local lads. 

Different villages that could muster enough young men to take the sport seriously were keen to compete in the competition for The North Tyne Charity Cup.  These were Associated Football Clubs (AFC) from Kielder (Kielder Hearts), Falstone, Tarset, Bellingham, Wark, Barrasford, Simonburn and Acomb.  Humsaugh didn’t field a team so the village lads played for other village teams, which was a common practice.

 There’s little record of the competition’s history, or where the actual cup is now and the photo below of the 1949-50 final may be one of few survivors of those times.  Graham Batey now aged 90, is the only surviving member of the young men in the photograph he proudly framed and kept over the years. 

Graham said he didn’t play in the first losing match of the season, when Bellingham were beaten 10-0 by Barrasford, but he did play at Inside Left then Outside Left after returning from National Service in the RAF in Hong Kong. Bellingham won the cup by beating Barrasford 2-1. The village GP Dr Kirk presented the cup and he would have brought many of the players (including Graham) into the world.

Graham joined the family building firm with his father and Uncle Arthur, founded by his grandfather Joseph Batey.  They built and repaired many of the houses in Bellingham and the North Tyne valley over a very long period.

Jim Irwin holding the cup in the photo was the captain. The team didn’t have an official coach, although Graham says Matt Sisterson, a village notable, gave him some personal coaching.

The older men in the photo were ‘the committee’. Ernie Scott, who ran a grocer’s shop in the village as well as a van to extend the business was secretary, and Jack Maughan, chief cashier of Lloyds Bank was treasurer.  Graham remembers Jack being very proud of the 50 pounds Sterling he banked from one notable match.  Entry was sixpence for an adult and children were free- so they’d had a great turnout with a crowd of 2000!

Bellingham played on the Show Field where the roadside shed could be used for changing if needed, and for spectators to file through to pay.  And there was the enormous advantage of the grandstand for a good view and shelter.

The committee used to have a weekly meeting during the season in the Black Bull hotel, even though some were staunch Methodists like Graham’s father George and uncle Arthur Batey, with alcohol not on their menu.  Graham reckons it would be the only time his father went into a pub in the village, where there was plenty of choice among the four pubs to support! The framed photo hung in the Black Bull to be admired for many years Graham said.

Graham can’t remember the Cup being sponsored by any one source, but the Club must have raised enough funds (probably mainly from gate takings) to provide the jerseys, shorts (called knickers) and boots for the players.  Travel to other venues was provided by local bus.  Bellingham played in black and yellow shirts.

The ball in those days unlike today’s light plastic valve-inflated balls was made of strong leather sections stitched together.  Inside was a rubber bladder, which after blowing up through a tube was tied off and folded back inside the ball. A lace then kept this in place across the entrance like lacing up a boot, which was memorable whenever you headed the ball which ended up being very heavy, especially when wet!  So putting more air into the ball was always a mission.

Graham cannot remember who took the team photograph, which is interesting as it would have needed a camera with large film or more likely a glass plate. Certainly the standard Kodak Box Brownie of the time would not have coped. The only person around at the time with the appropriate equipment would have to be the noted professional village photographer Frank Collier who had his shop, studio and darkroom in Lockup lane in the village. But the caption on the photo is not his familiar backhand style, but could have been done by an assistant.

Newcastle United
'Wor Jackie' was the player everybody knew, and John McPhail, who I sat beside in primary school and we both failed our 11+ exam on the same day, had gone to a match (Newcastle United versus Arsenal) in London in 1954 while doing his National Service.  He actually got Wor Jackie's autograph on the back of an envelope, but had it stolen years later while in the Merchant Navy.  Note there are no  African names in the teams.

Special thanks to Graham Batey of Lynn View, Fountain Terrace, Bellingham for the photograph and information.  Thanks also to John McPhail for the programme copy.  April 2019

July 26, 2018

Micoplasma bovis. Disease spread from selling calves at saleyards

D C Dalton and R Dawick

Reasons for concern
1.     There could be a rapid increase in M. bovis when Bulk Milk Testing (BMT) of dairy herds resumes in November 2018, and which could then require drastic action by MPI and the livestock industry.
2.     MPI and the industry need a protocol for WHEN and not IF other exotic disease may enter New Zealand such as Foot and Mouth disease (FMD).
3.     Comments in memo apply whether M. bovis is eliminated, or is accepted as endemic in New Zealand.
4.     Comments refer to very young calves from 4-7 days old, but can also apply to ‘dairy weaner’ calves offered for sale in October/November this year.

1.     In attempts to control exotic disease, the gathering of animals at provincial saleyards is a high-risk practice. So restricting this method of sale is an important weapon to prevent contact and disease spread between animals, and subsequently to farms over a wide area.
2.     There are many other reasons why young calves, with low immune development, should not be put through the stress and distress or travel to and from the yards, and standing all day on cold wet concrete from late winter sales to early spring.  Young calves have already been offered for sale at Frankton and Tuakau for the last 4-5 weeks.
3.     MPI have rightly been advising calf buyers to avoid saleyards and buy direct from vendors, but has not given any details of how this could be done, and especially how vendors could be paid. 

Suggestions for sale of very young calves (4-7 days old) currently sold mainly at provincial auctions, or a few by companies on-line.

1.     The role of the Stock and Station Companies is critical because of their experience in the financial and legal aspects of livestock trading.

2.     In each province, a company (or combined companies) would use a database to list weekly their clients with young calves for sale.

3.     A company agent would visit each vendor to inspect the calves. A company Eartag would be inserted to identify calves eligible for sale.

4.     All relevant data would be collected by the agent including farm ID, NAIT number, breed, colour, and health status.  Calves would be weighed and given a grade based on ‘overall visual quality’.   

5.     Acceptable purchasing lots along with ‘set standard’ photographs or video would be taken to enable purchasers to compare calves against other lots in the live on-line auction sale.

6.     Upon entering these calves into the on-line auction, eligible vendors would abide by the terms and conditions set out in the Conditions of Sale’. All collected data and information would then be listed on the company’s/companies’ live auction database, 1-2 days before the live on-line auction along with vendors’ base reserve.

7.     Buyers would search the database for what animals were on offer and if interested, register as an intending purchaser. In doing so the purchaser would be legally bound to all auction and payment conditions set out in the ‘Conditions of Sale’. 

8.     On completion of the on-line auction the sale would be immediately ‘prompted’ for immediate payment by the purchaser to the vendor’s company before uplifting the calves.

9.     Upon receipt of payment by the purchaser, the vendor would be advised that delivery could take place. Payment to the vendor (less commission) would also be given upon receiving payment from the purchaser.

10.  Delivery arrangements for moving the calves are the purchaser’s sole responsibility. Large trucks may not always be needed, cutting out the need for excess cleaning and disinfection.

Possible malpractice
Some buyers may think that they could avoid sales commission (6%) after the first sale contact with the vendor, by dealing privately. The ‘Conditions of Sale’ should include a malpractice prevention clause.

However with vendors being paid out within two to three days rather that the standard industry practice of 14 days, and being advised all approved purchasers had been credit checked, and in the unlikely event of defaulting, the company would still pay out and pursue the purchaser for payment.

It’s unlikely that vendors will want to stray from this security.  As for livestock movement we suggest this may not be a major problem as NAIT records would catch up with them.

About the authors
Clive Dalton did research at the MAF Whatawhata Hill Country Research Station, and then worked in Information-Extension at Ruakura, before tutoring in animal production at the Waikato Polytechnic before retirement.

Ric Dawick now retired provided 46 years service to the Stock & Station Industry mainly specialising in dairying where his major contribution was as architect of today’s ‘Sale & Purchase of Dairy Cattle Agreement’ and introducing searchable livestock website technology to the Stock & Station industry.


April 22, 2018

Northumberland farming history - The hirings

By Clive Dalton

The days of the horseman have long gone

When we were young ‘daft laddies’ on farms in the North Tyne and Rede valley, the ‘old codgers’ who kept a close eye on us (so we did 'nowt daft') would often tell stories about ‘the hirings’, or the ritual of farmers hiring staff in their days around the13th of May (called ‘the term’) and then in 13 November each year.  These days were also called the ‘flitting days’ when folk moved from job to job.

It certainly seemed like a well-run ritual where farm workers with different skills would stand around in Bellingham village waiting to be approached with an offer for work. There was no need for a printed CV and most prospective employers would know their previous employer if they were local.

It seemed to be much more convenient than advertising in the newspapers, which many folk on 'outbye' farms would not have got in any case.

There was an annual  hiring at Alwinton Show which is still held in the first weeks of October.  It would be a great opportunity to recruit new labour when so many farm folk were together.  As my old North Tyne mate Clive Davidson says - Imagine having a few drinks at the show, seeing the industrial tent and a few games of quoits, then trekking to some farm at the top of the Couqet knowing only too well that you would see precious little daylight or home comforts before you heard the first cookoo next spring!  Hopefully the farm or the nearby one would would have hired a bonny servant lass that could have helped you through the winter.

Different jobs
Shepherds wore a bit of wool in their lapel, and on many farms they and their demands had the top status, in the eyes of the boss.  Maybe this was because sheep were the main enterprise on most farms, and certainly on the hill farms where the sheep were ‘hefted’ and were never moved off that farm.  You took the sheep over with the farm.

Horsemen work a leather lace in their lapels but there was no mention of how general workers (referred to as loose men) identified themselves.

Job descriptions

This was the 'general hand' or the farm who had the skills to do all the jobs required.

Hired to look after the horses on the farm and do all the work that required horse power.

·      Lambing man.  Hired just for the lambing starting in March on an ‘inbye’ flock, finishing in time to do a ‘hill lambing’ starting in April.  There was no indoor early lambing in those early days which can now start in February.
·      Hay man.  Hired mainly to help with hay followed by corn harvest.  Before any hay was cut there would be work helping the general farm hind to hoe turnips and pull weeds in any other arable crop like potatoes. But the main work was to harvest the hay and corn (oats and barley).  An ability to build outside stacks and thatch them was an essential skill needed.  This work ended before the November term and could include helping with threshing some of the stacked corn, and maybe helping lifting the potatoes in October.
·      Byreman or cowman.  Hired in November for when cattle came indoors for winter.  It would include cutting kale left growing in the field, and feeding hay from the hayshed or stack outside and carried to the housed stock.  Cleaning ('muckin oot') byres, hemmels and loose boxes was a big part of the job and dealing the product into middens at various places as the muck increased over winter.  Spreading it on hay fields was a part of this responsibility – which meant horse and cart work before tractors and mechanical muck spreaders arrived in the 1950s.

 Employment conditions
There was certainly no Farm Workers’ Union to specify working conditions or wages, and even in later decades, farm workers were never keen to join unions like in other industries.  So there would be no written contract listing any conditions of employment.

It would be a case of bargaining between both parties, if either was in a bargaining position!  Farm workers were noted for their regular moving from farm to farm, as there was (and still is today) plenty of reasons why things don’t work out between parties.  One of the main ones is that workers live with or beside their employers and so do their families where problems often arise with the many people involved.

I remember Harry Thompson who drove a wagon for Hugh Thompson in Bellingham saying that he had shifted one farm worker every year for so many years, that he knew where every box went on the deck of this wagon.

It was only from the 1940s that road transport was available to move people and for decades before that it would be horse and cart moving.

The bargaining would have been interesting to hear.  The accommodation offered for farm laddies was often in the hay loft above the stable where the horses would have provided so element of warmth, along with aromas.  Other farm lads would have lived in the house with the farmer.

There was often a dedicated ‘shepherd’s cottage’ on a farm and a pair of cottages on larger farms for permanent staff such as the hinds.  Seasonal workers often lodged with these staff or in a shed or ‘bothie’.

Enticements by employers to get staff to stay on would be very limited.  My father who worked on a farm on the Chesters estate at Humshaugh told the tale of the boss offering the horseman a set of bright hames for the horse’s collar if he stayed on.  The standard ones were unpolished rusty metal.

A friend I worked for during weekends and school holidays told me that when he left school at 14 and went for a farm job, one of the questions he was asked was whether he ate much!

Women workers
I can’t remember hearing that women like ‘servant lasses’ or housekeepers were hired like the men, and would be employed  more by word of mouth or recommended by friends and relatives.  But any shepherdesses or 'landgirls' (who would be single) would presumably be hired like men.  There would be no specialist dairy maids on North Tyne farms as there would only be at most a couple of cows on each farm.

Wages were never paid weekly.  Board and lodging would be provided and any cottages would be rent-free.  Wages would be paid on a monthly basis at best, but more likely at the end of the job. There would be no advance payment unless the worker came with no money to buy basic essentials like clothes or boots which were very expensive. Even in my Daft Laddie days, hobnail boots were a week’s wages.

The wages at best would be a few shillings per week, and we think not as high as five shillings.  Out of this the worker would have to buy his tobacco as most smoked a pipe, and any liquid refreshment when they did get to the nearest pub.  There would be little chance of saving.

There were many tales of farm workers taking off to town at the end of their time and blowing large parts of their wages in the nearest pub.

There would certainly be no signed contract - the best would be a hand shake and maybe a drink at the bar of the Railway hotel, Black Bull or Rose and Crown in the village.

Clive Davison tells this story.
I remember being told of one old lag that after getting his pay and going to the pub. Whiskey was apparently sold in 3-gill (852ml) bottles but not with a screw cap and must have been the ones where you needed a bottle opener. This old boy didn't go in for any finesse and didn’t have time to waste. So he knocked the top off on a stone 'cape' on the wall, and got stuck in. The broken edges cut his mouth and lips and blood poured down his chin. After finishing that he no doubt went back to be hired again! 

December 8, 2017

English: As spoken in New Zealand

By Clive Dalton 

The English language is constantly changing, which is good, as it helps to cope with how the world is changing.  But it doesn't make it easy for anyone having to learn the language in different parts of the 'English-speaking' parts of the world.

The English spoken in New Zealand has changed greatly in the last 50 years from what was called 'BBC' or 'Queen's English'.  The main change in New Zealand in recent years has been a massive 'vowel shift' which is now very well established, much to the annoyance and disgust of the older generations who were taught by teachers who were sticklers for the Queen's English.

TV and radio have always been the gold standard, and have (or used to have) people to oversee grammar and pronunciation.   Many of us are wondering where they have gone! 

So anyone coming to New Zealand from overseas to learn English, to work or to study regularly have problems initially with the language.

The influence of American English
This is having a big influence on world English, and it's probably not a bad thing because of the massive variation in regional English in the UK, where some dialects are a complete mystery to those who live 100km away.

Voice Tone
Female Kiwi English speakers on TV and radio have become very nasal and with a grating tone, especially when they increase the volume. There seems to be no effort in recruitment to see this as an issue which is standard with American female speakers.

Here's a list from listening to TV and radio announcers, journalists and broadcasters over a period of a few weeks.  The first column is what was heard, and the second is what was meant. 

New Zealand English as heard from TV and radio announcers, and English spelling and meaning

Kiwi as heard
English spelling/meaning

women (singular)
woman for plural (not ‘wimmen’)