Local Historical Stories

A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL ARTICLES THAT FIRST APPEARED IN THE ALSTON MOOR NEWSLETTER

Toggle for the "Back ground to the Stories"….
INTRODUCTION
Early in 1996 I was asked if I would write a couple of historical articles for the Alston Moor Newsletter. I thought I could manage three or four but in the event, over 20 years later, they’re still going. Once, and only once, I received an unsolicited article from an outside source, this was the reminiscence of a school for wartime evacuees at Nent Hall that came from Mr. Michael Dickinson and it was gratefully included in the series.

They’re a real mixed bag, too random to put into a book, but they’re still worth keeping in a more permanent form, so here they are.

Material for the articles came largely from local sources, from the Alston Moor Historical Society Archives, St. Augustine’s Church Records, Alston Library, the Cumbria County Records Office in Carlisle and the County Records Office Northumberland.

There has been editing in some cases that will be noted at the beginning of each item, otherwise the articles have been left as they were written, complete with occasional references to such things as cement lorries, the millennium, and foot and mouth disease, which are themselves now things of the past (?).
Read on …

Alastair Robertson

Alston Moor Story 1: An Incident on Alston Moor during the Civil War

Alston Moor - Letter from the English Civil War
Alston Moor does not figure prominently in the vicissitudes of the struggle between king and parliament in the middle of the seventeenth century, but, as an undated letter of 1642 shows, the war came at least once to the area..
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Alston Moor Story 2: History of the Tyne Bridge at Alston

Tyne Bridge Alston 1911
There have been bridges on the site of the present Tyne Bridge at Alston: A bridge built in the 1750s, a bridge built in the 1770s after the great flood, the present bridge completed at the second attempt in 1836. The picture above was taken in 1911.
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Alston Moor Story No 3: Strike a Light!– Alston's Gas Supply

Gas Light
It’s hard to credit that Alston’s streets have been lit longer by gas than by electricity - about fifty years longer, in fact; but, the gas was first lit in 1843, and even that was not the first time the town had had street lights.
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Alston Moor Story No 4: Emigrants From Alston Moor

Ship to Australia
Many thousands of people have left Alston Moor over the years, mainly due to recession and decline in the lead industry, and those who left in the early 1800’s must have been among the first to do so. In the archives of the Alston Moor Historical Society the fate of a few of these people can be traced.
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Story No 5: Walton's Alston Lime & Coal Company

Robin Walton
Photo: Robin Walton's drawing of a locomotive. He was approx 12 yrs old when he drew it. And thanks to him for providing most of the information in this story
A PROBLEM AND A SOLUTION

During the economic depression of the 1930s Alston was a particularly distressed area. The lead was almost completely worked out and there was no industry to replace it. Long queues of unemployed men waited outside the post office to receive their 17/- per week benefit from Bill Wilkinson, the Postmaster.
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Story No 6: The lost altar of Epiacum

Epiacum Alter
The rebuilding of the Roman fort of Epiacum was complete. The soldiers of the Sixth Legion with the Second Cohort of Nervians, the auxiliary troops who were to man the fort, were assembled ready for the ceremony of thanks and offerings to Hercules, the god of strength and defender against evil. A statue and an altar were to be dedicated in celebration of the completion of their work…………..
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Story No 7: Alston's Skating Rink

Stacks Image 308475
Looks like people who lived in Alston centuries ago had great fun in the winter…… Could we do the same?
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Story No 8: ..and soe to the fells

Stacks Image 308498
In the days before the fells were enclosed, which started about 120 years after the latest edition of the Drift Roll, a farmer’s grazing was as sacrosanct as it is today. To keep another man’s livestock off it without the aid of drystone walls was a difficult problem and one that required strict regulation.
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Story No 9: The Chemist's Conundrum

Red Cross Head Ointment
‘The Alston Drug Company’ Come and get your nit ointment from us. But then who were we? And where were we located?
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Story No 10: The Walton Memorial

Walton Memorial
How does a campaign or a movement start? Sometimes an individual has a bright idea that catches on and is an instant success, sweeping the nation overnight. At other times the idea is talked about and then dropped, to be talked about again and dropped, and so on until something has to be done. Such is the case with the Walton Memorial in Alston.
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Story No 11: The Alston with Garrigill Workshouse

Alston Workhouse
The Alston with Garrigill Workhouse. A place to house the elderly and poor and make the idle realise the error of their ways……… Established in 1739 by overseers of the Parish……..
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Story No 12: Lord Alston of Nenthead

Lord Alston
“Lord Alston of Nenthead in the County of Cumberland”, on account of family associations with Alston many years ago; and expressing the hope that his assumption of this title would be agreeable to the town of Alston.”
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About Us
Alston Moor Historical Society was founded in 1973 and, due to the nature of Alston Moor, it is a member of both the Northumberland Association of Local History Societies and the Cumbria Federation of Local History Societies.
Alston Moor Historical Society
LOCATION
Alston Moor, Cumbria
Alston Moor Historical Society - Alston Stories