Welcome to ANLHS

This is our new website and is still  being developed so please be patient if everything doesn’t work quite as it should!

To find out more about ANLHS please click on ‘About ANLHS’ at the top of the page.

The first meeting in the spring will be our annual Members Meeting on 28th February. A discussion session on topics of interest or concern to member societies and individual members will follow our speaker Dr Liz O’Donnell who will be talking about her recent oral history project ‘Voices of Stannington Sanatorium’.

The talk is about the history of the first purpose-built children’s sanatorium in the country which opened in 1907, based on the records held at Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn and a series of oral history interviews with former patients and members of staff. Their stories provide a vivid insight into the treatment of tuberculosis both before and after the introduction of antibiotics, and about the impact it had on the lives of the young patients.

For further details on this and all our events please click on ‘Events’ at the top of the page.


The latest edition of our annual journal Tyne & Tweed, Volume 68 is now available price £5. It makes an ideal Christmas present for Northumbrians living outside the region – particularly those abroad! Click on ‘Tyne & Tweed Journal’ at the top of the page to find a list of its contents and how to order.

Another ideal Christmas present is Joan Wright’s book Eleanor’s Diary. Joan discovered the diary of Eleanor Weatherly some years ago. Eleanor was a ‘feisty 20year old daughter of a widowed gentleman farmer’ who lived near Belford in the north of Eleanor's DiaryNorthumberland. The diary was written in 1804-5 just before the novels of Jane Austen were published. Joan spoke on the diary at the ‘Round the County Day’ hosted by Belford LHS in 2008 and wrote an article on it in Tyne & Tweed, Vol.63. Both her talk and the article were enjoyed so much that she was persuaded to publish the diary, and her notes on the Weatherley family, and bring a previously undiscovered piece of social history to a wider audience. Copies can be obtained from mail@anlhs.org.uk – price £9 inclusive of postage & packing.

SPEAKERS LIST – Help please!

ANLHS issues a ‘List of Speakers’ to all Member Societies/Groups. It is to be updated ready for issue in 2015. In the past Societies have advised the names and addresses of new speakers and the information has been used to increase the number of speakers available for other Societies.

If you know of any speakers who may not be currently included on the list please let us know their name and address so that we can contact them direct to see if they would be willing to have their details included for future reference.

Please send the information to: M Thompson, 21 Melrose Avenue, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, NE25 0JR or email: mikeevelyn@o2.co.uk .

Volunteer Opportunities with Northumberland Archives

Northumberland Archives is working with The National Archives to create an up-to-date web-based searchable database of extant manorial records for the pre-1974 county of Northumberland. The project began in April 2014 and is expected to continue through to December 2016. During this time they will be looking at catalogued and uncatalogued collections held by Northumberland Archives at Berwick-upon-Tweed and Woodhorn as well as Northumberland material held in both UK and international repositories. The project will also identify and record Northumberland manorial records retained privately. The project has been made possible by grant funding provided by The National Archives and The Federation of Family History Societies.

They are looking to recruit four volunteers with research experience to work with the Archives to prepare Manor Authority files – brief histories of each of the Northumberland manors. The work involves looking at printed secondary sources and preparing a chronology of the descent of the manor. This work can be undertaken remotely from home and full training will be provided. For an informal discussion please contact Andrea Cameron by telephone on 01670 624487 or by email at acameron@woodhorn.org.uk

King of the north

The autumn has been busy so far:

There was a good attendance at the first ‘Dr Constance Fraser Memorial Lecture’ on Saturday 20th September when Max Adams spoke on ‘King Oswald’s Northumbria’. Max is a locally based archaeologist and writer who is seeking to re-establish Oswald’s place in our country’s history. Max is also the author of The King of the North published in hardback in 2013 and recently in paperback. Available from all good booksellers!

Leaflets containing a tribute to Constance, written by Colm O’Brien, were distributed  at the lecture.  To read the tribute click here.

We also took a stall at the Northumberland Local History Fair at Woodhorn Museum and Archives on Sunday 26th October to promote ANLHS and to give our smaller member HPIM4394 (2)societies/groups some space to promote their societies and/or sell their publications. Blyth LHS and Felton & Swarland LHS availed themselves of the opportunity.

The general theme of the fair was WW1 and there were a number of groups present who are commemorating some of the events of the 1914-18 period in various ways.  One group, TYneside Comm pubthe ‘Tyneside WW1 Commemoration Project’ (already well known to ANLHS members who attended our Spring 2013 Members’ Meeting and heard Alan Fidler talking about the project), was also selling its recent publication The Response: The North East and The Great War 1914-1918 - an excellent book  based on the results of its research and only £5! There is more information about the book and the project on www.tynemouthworldwarone.org.

The final event in our 2014 calendar was our AGM on Saturday 8th November at theThomas Spence Newbiggin Maritime Centre, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. A talk by  Dr Keith Armstrong on Thomas Spence (1750-1814); The Poor Man’s Revolutionary’ was followed by the AGM business. To see the minutes of the meeting and the reports given by affiliated societies click on ‘AGM 2014′ at the top of the page.



What historical event would you like to commemorate or celebrate in 2015?

Next year is the anniversary of Magna Carta (1215), the battles of Agincourt (1415) and Waterloo (1815)as well as the centenary of a more peaceful event – the birth of the Women’s Institute. Are any Local History Societies planning any joint work with their local WI to celebrate this milestone? If so we would like to hear about it. Email us on mail@anlhs.org.uk.

More locally George Stephenson presented his miner’s safety light to the Literary & Philosophical Society of Newcastle in December 1815, a month after Davy presented his paper to a meeting of the Royal Society in Newcastle, but two months after Stephenson started trials of his lamp! The debate about who invented the miners’ safety lamp will therefore be 200 years old next year.



We have been contacted by ‘The Friends of the Union Chain Bridge’, an organisation launched in June 2014, and asked to bring their campaign to the notice of our website readers. They are campaigning for the full restoration of this grade I listed structure for its bicentenary in 2020. They tell us that:

The Bridge, which spans the Tweed between Horncliffe in England and Fishwick in Scotland, was the first large-scale suspension bridge in the world and has global significance in the history of engineering, as well as being a magnificent feature in the Border landscape.  However, after almost 200 years of wear and corrosion, the old structure, which last saw major repair works in 1977, urgently needs major restoration. The estimated cost of the necessary work is about £5 million. Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council share responsibility for the structure and each are expected to earmark £500,000 towards the restoration costs, with bids being prepared for additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and Historic Scotland.

‘The Friends’ organisation, established to show community support for the project and to submit bids for grants that are unavailable to public authorities, now has about 250 members from the immediate area, throughout the UK and further afield.

You can find out more by visiting their website https://www.facebook.com/unionbridgefriends. You can join ‘the Friends’ through the website or at Chain Bridge Honey Farm or Paxton House.


We have also been contacted by Amberley Publishing who are looking for an author to help them publish a local history book on Ashington. The book could be produced in one of several formats which Amberley Publishing have used in the past to publish books on other towns and places other places.

One is their flagship ‘Through Time’ series which is a full-colour book of then and now photographs of a town with a short accompanying caption of the changes.

Another is the ‘From Old Photographs’ series, which takes old images of a place, each with a short caption describing the photograph, and perhaps any significant changes that have occurred since This format contains either 128 pages of black-and-white photographs (240 images) or 96 pages if there are more colour photographs. The word count should be around 10,000 to 15,000 words.

A third series is ‘The Postcard Collection’. This is a 96-page format, with at least 50% colour and a maximum of 25% black-and-white photographs. The word count should be between 10,000 and 15,000 words.

They also have a ‘Secret’ series which covers anecdotes and quirky events and facts about a town.

They would like authors to supply both the text and the photographs or postcards for the book although their past authors have worked in collaboration with photographers if they are not keen on taking the photographs. If you, or your society, would be interested in producing such a book – or have any other projects in mind – please get in touch with Amberley Publishing by emailing t.poad@amberley-books.com.