Herald provides vital link in family’s search for its heritage

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THE Morpeth Herald provided the vital link in a Yorkshire family’s search into their roots.

Castleford couple Keith and Amanda Fletcher were looking into Amanda’s family tree and were keen to find information about her great, great grandfather, who was thought to be manager of Morpeth’s long gone gasworks.

Mr Fletcher went online to try to find out more about the character and a search took him to the Herald’s website, which featured an article about Northern Gas Networks’ Press Officer Keith Newman, of Ulgham, who had been given a book about the gasworks as a Father’s Day gift.

The book, The History of the Morpeth Gas Company 1833-1933, was published to celebrate 100 years of gas in Morpeth, giving a fascinating insight into life in the town almost 200 years ago.

The Fletchers were able to contact Mr Newman through Northern Gas Networks and he discovered that their relative, a Mr Airth, was mentioned in the book when he retired in 1904.

It described: “The Directors being asked to sanction the payment of a small retiring allowance in recognition of his long and faithful service.”

And the couple couldn’t be happier with the discovery.

Mr Fletcher said: “The power of the internet is amazing. This has helped fill a gap in the family tree and we are very grateful to Northern Gas Networks for their help.”

Mr Newman, who was delighted to help, says the gas network has changed a great deal since Mr Airth’s era.

“The Chairman stated in 1931 that if anyone found their gas lighting unsatisfactory or had a problem with a cooker or gas fire not working correctly, all they had to do was send a postcard to a Mr Lockey who would send a fitter to remedy it,” he said.

“Now of course, if anyone has a problem with their gas supply, or if they smell gas, all they have to do is dial the freephone number, 0800 111999, and an engineer will be there within an hour.

“Times really have changed.”