Alston Moor Historical Society

Alston Town Hall -
Archives Office

Alston Town Hall Archives
Open: 10.30 on Sat 30th Sept.
Full opening times to follow.
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New Home for the Alston Moor Archives

The Archives have a new home and a new enthusiastic group of people developing and digitalising them. They are still in the Town Hall but now have their own office!

Look out for more information on this development here soon.

If you are interested in helping please get in touch.
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Volunteers working on Alston Moor Archives

Making a start - Sheila and Simon
doing a reccy of the archives

Volunteers working on Alston Moor Archives 2
For the past few weeks, the Archives of Alston Moor Historical Society have been open on Saturdays from 10.30 to 2.30, upstairs at Alston Town Hall on Front Street. They’ll continue to be open until Saturday 2nd December, after which they’ll be closed for the rest of the month until a date yet to be arranged in January.

For general interest there are many old photographs, old postcards and old maps of the district; and for the researcher there are lots of local records on many subjects, such as lead mining, education, local family names, churches and chapels, local government, agriculture, etc. We can offer help with family history investigation by arrangement with St. Augustine’s Church. Pride of the archives are sets of first and second edition O.S. maps of the area that show how Alston Moor has changed – or not – over the last 160 years. If you have a particular topic of interest then the volunteer archivists will help you to find the information you need. But look at our catalogue on the Alston Moor Historical Society website to find out exactly what is available.

Around the walls of the Archive room are photo’s of the old town, with a brief guide as to the stories they tell. Several photograph and postcard albums are permanently available to look at, in which the photo’s go back to the 1870’s, when Richard Von Dix first set up shop here as a ‘Photographic Artist,’ while postcards date back to the reign of Edward VII in the early 1900’s.

We also organise small temporary displays of local interest. This month’s display is about Epiacum, our local Roman fort where there’s usually something going on - digging, surveying, walks and other events. Look on the Epiacum Heritage website for news.

Alston Moor Historical Society with its Archive is run not so much on a financial shoestring as on a financial thread. We need support, not just moral support and your presence as a visitor, but also your financial support. We need to buy archival quality storage files, boxes, wrapping paper, plastic envelopes for photo’s and archival quality cabinets, not to mention the need to raise funds towards the running costs of the office, which will help the upkeep of the Town Hall itself.

There is a bowl beside the Visitor’s Book for donations – please give generously.

Some of our progress with digitalising the archives……..

Thanks to Simon Danby

Alston Moor Historical Society was founded in 1973 and, due to the geographical situation of Alston Moor, it is a member of both the Northumberland Association of Local History Societies and the Cumbria Federation of Local History Societies.

After many years of talks, outings and occasional exhibitions, declining membership led to the Society being ‘mothballed’ in 2015. Then, with the prospect of the 120th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Vieille Montagne Zinc Company of Belgium to commemorate in 2016*, the Society has been revitalised, and, by way of a new venture, it looks forward to collaborating with other historical groups ‘on the Moor’ in a loose association of mutual interests and shared activities.
In the meantime, we are working on digitalising the Alston Archives and putting interesting local stories on the website. There is a new story every few days, so plenty to read and come back for!
Alston Moor is full of things historical and there are several organisations that cater for some of them. They are:
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The Society

Alston Moor is very fortunate among local history societies to have its own archive.

A group of volunteers is in the process of organising all of the Society's historical records so that they can be more readily available for research.

Archives in the Town Hall Library

Alston Library in the Town Hall also houses a good selection of local history reference books and items to view on microfiche. See the Archives page for the list of contents.
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'Alston Remembers'

'Alston Remembers' is an exhibition currently on display in the Town Hall. It tells the story of local men who gave their lives for freedom in the First World War.

Vieille Montagne Zinc Company Archives

Vieille Montagne Insignia
In 1896 The Vieille Montagne brought the outside world to this distant part of Cumbria, or Cumberland as it then was, turning it into a focus of international attention, which is hard to believe nowadays when one looks at the village. The company brought huge financial investment, new revolutionary technology, and a foreign workforce from places that locals had only seen in a school atlas.
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Alston Cemetery

Alston Cemetery Group that was recently given a Green Award for its work. The cemetery is full of interesting people and, like most cemeteries, it is a miniature nature reserve.

Killhope Lead Mine

Killhope Lead Mining Museum is just over the boundary into County Durham. The award-winning museum introduces visitors to the science of lead mining and the lives of the miners and their families.
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The Hub Museum

The Hub Museum is housed in the old Newcastle and Carlisle Railway goods shed in Alston. If you like old road transport and home life nostalgia this is the place to go.

Epiacum Heritage - Roman Fort

Epiacum Heritage Ltd. Situated at Castle Nook Farm, two miles from Alston into Northumberland, the group is developing our local Roman fort into a visitor attraction.
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Nenthead Chapel Project

Nenthead Chapel Project aims to develop the former Wesleyan Chapel in the heart of the village into a visitor centre with a strong focus on the history of Nenthead and family history research.

Nenthead Mines Conservation Society

Nenthead Mines Conservation Society is run by volunteers who manage the huge lead mining site at the head of the Nent Valley and organise trips into the mines. The society has its own small museum.
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The South Tynedale Railway

The South Tynedale Railway will soon be running trains to Slaggyford in Northumberland. The railway has its own 'Discovery Centre' in the old station goods yard.

Hundy Publications

Hundy Publications is Alastair Robertson. He has lived on Alston Moor since 1991. Soon after moving here he became fascinated by this unusual place. He went to the library to find a book that would tell him all about it - there was no such book. So began his quest in libraries, records offices and archives, collecting scraps of information that culminated in an enthusiastic desire to share with the world the results of his research.
The History of Alston Moor

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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
Alston Moor, Cumbria
Alston Moor Historical Society