History Articles - Les Birkett's Memories

For six years I wrote a short history article in the monthly parish magazine, The Pelican.  One of the articles is shown in the column opposite.

Articles can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate title from the index below.

If anyone has any old photographs or parish information which they would like recorded (for present and future generations to share) then please get in touch with me.

    John Davison (Website Co-ordinator)
           Telephone: 01670 760609
      Email: jdavison26@btinternet.com

63   Dec 2011 We'll Weather the Weather
62   Nov 2011 Alan's Ackl'n Appearances
61   Oct 2011 Ackl'n Marriages 1913-14
60   Sep 2011 Old Photographs Required
59   Jul 2011 A Tower With A Tale To Tell
58   Jun 2011 A Well Kept Secret
57   May 2011 Fishy Business
56   Apr 2011 Acklington Warrior Stone
55   Mar 2011 The Church of St John
54   Feb 2011 Deep and Chrisp
53   Dec 2010 For Whom The Bell Tolls
52   Nov 2010 Which Village?
51   Oct 2010 A Pilot's Memories
50   Sep 2010 Acklington Black Poplar
49   Jul 2010 Street Names
48   Jun 2010 RAF Memorial
47   May 2010 Crowning Glory
46   Apr 2010 Badminton Club
45   Mar 2010 Murder On The Train
44   Feb 2010 Guyzance Tragedy
43   Dec 2009 Acklington Park
42   Nov 2009 Dye House (Part 2)
41   Sep 2009 Dye House (Part 1)
40   Jul 2009 History Making Heads
39   Jun 2009 Acklington Main Street
38   May 2009 James Raymond Smith
37   Apr 2009 The Age of Steam Trains
36   Mar 2009 Fred Wilson
35   Feb 2009 Guyzance School
34   Dec 2008 Acklington W.I.
33   Nov 2008 Lych Gate
32   Oct 2008 Village Hall Disaster
31   Sep 2008 Summer Crowds
30   Jul 2008 Spot The Differences
29   Jun 2008 Sunday School
28   May 2008 National Finalist
27   Apr 2008 What's in A Name
26   Mar 2008 Railway Inn
25   Feb 2008 Osprey
24   Dec 2007 The Guyzance 10
23   Nov 2007 Bowls Club
22   Oct 2007 Village Harvest
21   Sep 2007 Wedding Bliss
20   Jun 2007 The Other Acklington Artist
19   May 2007 The La'Well Tree
18   Apr 2007 The German Spy
17   Mar 2007 The Winter of 47
16   Feb 2007 Les Birkett's Memories
15   Jan 2007 Railway Station
14   Dec 2006 Jane Chapman
13   Nov 2006 Witches
12   Oct 2006 Jack Taylor
11   Sep 2006 Black Ralph
10   Aug 2006 School Photographs
09   Jul 2006 Pig Killings
08   Jun 2006 Village Hall Disaster
07   May 2006 Cricketers
06   Apr 2006 On Yer Bike
05   Apr 2006 Cricket
04   Mar 2006 Mailbag Robbery
03   Feb 2006 Storm of 1886
02   Jan 2006 Football
01   Dec 2005 Help Required

Acklington History Slot

I am pleased to say my article last month about ďa busy little station on the North East LineĒ stirred some memories and comment amongst a number of folk from within our parish and beyond.  Here are some childhood memories from Mr Les Birkett, of North Shields, who lived at Acklington Station in the early1930ís.

My father was a van driver, employed by the London & North Eastern Railway Company (LNER).  In 1931, when I was just six years of age, the LNER moved us to Acklington.  For the family it was a good move, as we had a nice semi-detached house adjacent to the station offices and Station Masterís house.  We were only 20 yards or so from the main Newcastle to Edinburgh railway line.  It was distinctly noisy when the steam trains, such as The Flying Scotsman, The Queen of Scots and the many 1,000 ton freight trains rattled through.  One does, of course, quickly become accustomed to noise and vibration and none of us were, in any way, conscious of the trains running through at speeds up to 100mph day and night.


It is worth pointing out that whilst we had a nice little house, with garden, and the whole area surrounded by fields and woods, idyllic for children, the facilities which nowadays we all take for granted were quite primitive.  Our water supply was from the rain-butt, which was obviously dependent upon rainfall.  Out toilet was a dry toilet at the end of the yard and it needed to be emptied frequently, a job for my father!  The contents were spread over our allotment, located by the side of the railway line, and, it has to be said, which nurtured high quality potatoes and vegetables.  Rabbits were a good source of food and we loved helping Dad winkle them out from the station yard buffers.


We children attended Acklington Village School, a walk of three quarters of a mile each way from home.  The headmaster was Mr Smith.  We didnít think that he had a Christian name, but he did have a car Ė rare for 1931.  Our teacher was Jean Thompson, a lovely lady.  Remarkably, Allison and I got in touch with her and visited her in Alnwick, some seventy years after I had left Acklington, and whilst she did not remember me personally, we were able to talk about the years 1931-34 and recall much of the school and its activities.  A wonderful and remarkable person!  We were very sad to learn of her recent death, aged 102 years.

John Davison  (Tel: 01670 760609)