History Articles - A Tower With A Tale To Tell

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

In last month’s Acklington History Slot I wrote about undoubtedly one of the prettiest buildings in the parish (The Old Vicarage). This month, by way of contrast, I have chosen to write about possibly the ugliest.

Acklington Gun Tower (a war time concrete pillbox with a turret on the top) may not be the finest or most glamorous structure in the world, but never-the-less it played its part in our history and like so many disused buildings and structures associated with both world wars, it is now considered to be of real archaeological interest.

The tower was built during World War II as part of a small number of anti-aircraft artillery sites around the perimeter of the then airfield known as RAF Acklington. The tower still survives, looking much as it always has done, but of course the gun which was mounted on the top of the tower has long gone.

If only that tower could reveal its memories and feelings. This once proud defender of airfield, airmen and country must have felt totally abandoned when it witnessed the closure of the airfield. It would look on in dismay when it saw the prestigious base being converted into a prison. And then it suffered the indignity of seeing the runways being savagely ripped up and the land opencasted for coal…. with all the noise, dust, grime and vibration that entailed. Then many years later, when the surrounding landscape was restored to gentle rolling hills, clumps of woodland and tranquil agricultural fields, the gun tower must have felt completely isolated and abandoned. A sorry, lonely, derelict and forgotten structure with only a few sheep for company and the occasional stunning sunset over the Simonside Hills to help raise morale.

Imagine, then, its complete surprise when it was descended upon by a group of visitors during a weekend in June. Imagine its pure pleasure and pride when it was decorated with flags and colourful bunting and became the centre-piece for a Poppy Party to raise funds for the Royal British Legion. No longer a tower feeling worthless and alone but, alas, standing tall and proud once more. A tower which again felt useful, valued and loved.  A tower with a tale to tell.

                     John Davison
                     Tel: 01670 760609
                      Email: jdavison@btinternet.com