Building work uncovers history treasure trove

Morpeth Harriers FC 1886
Morpeth Harriers FC 1886
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A TREASURE trove of Morpeth history has been found during work to the former Herald offices.

The Grade II-listed Old Herald Office in Bridge Street is still owned by the Mackay family who set up the newspaper and ran it for generations.

In preparation for having a new roof fitted to the building, an upper storage room was cleared and hundreds of old books, papers, documents and photographs were uncovered that have lain untouched for decades.

Among the fascinating finds was the contract for the first telephone in Morpeth, dated 1892, militia rolls for 1762 and a photograph of the famous 1886 Morpeth Harriers football team.

The picture was taken to commemorate the team sharing the Northumberland Football Association Challenge Cup after what was one of the most unusual footballing situations ever seen.

The Harriers first met Shankhouse Black Watch in the semi-final, but it ended in a draw so the teams played again, and again.

When neither side could beat the other they played the other semi-finalists, only for the Morpeth and Shankhouse teams to meet again in the final.

They drew again and after five replays the last game saw three sessions of extra time added.

The match lasted almost four hours, but still there was no winner, and with exhausted players and crowd a decision was taken for the teams to share the cup, each having it for six months.

A report in the Herald gave the Morpeth line-up as J. Oliver (goal), T. Bowman and J. Dick (backs), R. Manners, W. Donaldson and M. Manners (half-backs), H. Jobling and J. Waterson (right wing), T. Smailes and M. Miller (left wing) and T. Manners (centre).

The Mackay family has kept some of the documents and books that were re-discovered, and others will be offered to the County Archive.

However, many of the items will go to auction at Louis Johnson’s Sale Rooms in Bridge Street on Saturday, August 4.

The auction also includes a large selection of sporting memorabilia, including Newcastle United items.

Public viewing will be on August 2 and 3.