ALL things heritage was on the agenda at a recent Memories of Morpeth event.
The town’s Antiquarian Society held two drop-in sessions at a building in Oldgate, previously The Grey Bull Inn and most recently a branch of Reeds Rains Estate & Letting Agents, to give people a chance to see some of the old photos and maps, documents and artefacts in its collection.
They could ask questions or help members to answer queries about Morpeth’s history and there was an unexpected bonus as a railway enthusiast brought along a name plate for a locomotive called Collingwood – named after one of Morpeth’s most famous residents.
Ideas were also welcome for potential heritage centre venues. The society is currently storing its items at a facility in Newbiggin.
Morpeth Antiquarian Kim Bibby-Wilson said: “We had a constant supply of people coming along and some of them brought their own items, for example, a shop photograph which had a connection to their family. To tie in with the festive period, we had some Christmas adverts from the Morpeth Herald many years ago on display and Doreen Wilson, the daughter of a former Morpeth Mayor, had the stills of Christmas cards that her family received – some were from notable Morpeth families.
“It was lovely to see the Collingwood name plate at the second session and hopefully it can go on display at the official unveiling of the Collingwood statue on March 7. We’re very grateful to the owners of the building for allowing us to use their empty premises for this event, as they did for the Heritage Open Days in September.
“As we move into 2013, we’re asking residents for any information they have about the life and times of Emily Davison and what life was like for women 100 years ago, as well as details on other notable women in Morpeth. We’re also looking for accounts from local people who fought in the First World War and their family members.”
She added that efforts are ongoing to find premises for a heritage centre, although members accept it is likely that such a venue would need to offer a combination of services for it to be given the go-ahead.
The name plate belongs to David Anderson, who bought it when the London, Midland and Scottish Railway engine was withdrawn from service in 1963 and he has restored it since then.
The locomotives were named after battleships, admirals and countries of the Commonwealth. Tyneside-born Admiral Lord (Cuthbert) Collingwood became the hero of Trafalgar after taking control when his friend Nelson was fatally wounded.
For the sake of the nation, he was persuaded to remain as Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy, but he was always eager to return to his Morpeth home in Oldgate.
Mr Anderson, who lives in Alnwick and is a technical writer for railway books and magazines, said: “When I moved to Northumberland I discovered that Lord Collingwood had a strong connection to the county, which made the name plate even more interesting.
“I actually went into the Town Hall to discuss what could be done with it and I then saw a flyer for the event, so I decided to take it there. Hopefully, the plate will go on display in March so more Morpeth residents can see it.”