Tag Archives: Middle Street

Blackhall Library

Thank you so much to Carol who runs Blackhall Library for allowing me to show some of the photographs that I have taken in Blackhall.  It was such an honour and a pleasure.  And the best bit about it was having some of the people that I’d taken photographs of come along.  It was so nice to see them and that made my day.  It was a bit of a whirlwind getting them ready for exhibition as I only had two weeks but I got there in the end.   And even thought it was for just one night I am hoping to have them on display again soon so that more people can see them.  It was a very proud moment and I hope that if my Dad was looking down he’d feel proud of me.

Blackhall Library Exhibition

Blackhall Library Exhibition

Blackhall Bound

little cutie dog

Finally got out and about in Blackhall even though it wasn’t for long.  Had a lovely walk around.  Didn’t get no photos but it was nice to walk the streets again and see a familiar place.  The last few months have been very hectic, work, life, everything seems to get in the way of taking photos at the moment.  And the weather, hate it when its cold and wet, just want to hibernate away until Spring.  I’m still posting photos on the Blackhall History facebook page so that people know who I am and what I’m doing.  I’m hoping that people will trust me to come and take some photos in their homes.  That’s what I’d like to do next, get to see family life.  I’ve made a few more contacts, met some lovely people at the WI.  Its been a long progress and I’m not the most disciplined of people but I’m sure I’ll get there in the end.  What’s important I think is the enjoyment that both myself and the people whom I involve get out of it.  And I’m sure my Dad would have been proud of me too.  I always feel a connection to him whilst I’m in Blackhall and that’s what this project is all about, exploring that connection and exploring the streets and haunts that my Dad would have walked along or visited.

What I do love about Blackhall too is the vibrancy that you get when you walk along Middle Street.  This is what makes Blackhall unique, and is what possibly keeps it alive.  I know I’ve spoken about this before but at lot of pit villages died when the pits were closed but Blackhall hangs in there.

Stand in Middle Street and see the lovely people going about their business, the footfall, the traffic, its the hub and its busy.  A lot of people choose to look at the downside of many places, how people are alienated, how desperate lives have become, how people are struggling to survive.  It might go against the grain but I want to show the positive side of a place like Blackhall.

 

Something to Smile About

A couple of weeks ago I came across a page on Facebook, The History of Blackhall Colliery in Images.  And I joined and what a fab page it is.  I’ve posted some of my black and white images of Blackhall on it and I have had nothing but good reactions.  And the best bit is the memories it has invoked in people.  And the recognition.  How nice to have the people in the photos recognised by their friends and family.  One lovely lady even asked if she could share one of the photos of her uncle who sadly has recently had a stroke.  She loved the photo and wanted to share it with her aunt as he is one of her favourite uncles.

I am hoping to that by posting some of these photos more people might want to get involved as I really want to see family life in Blackhall.

My next step is getting some posters made, around five in total, and put them up in shop windows along Middle Street so that everyone can see what I have been doing.  It will help me immensely with approaching people too as I still feel slightly nervous when wanting to take photos in the street.  My lovely friend Brenda has given me lots of tips on how to get candid photos which I have ingrained in my memory.

So fingers crossed by December I will have at least five posters up along Middle Street and if I get a good response I may put some more up.

Oh and I’m putting together a little magazine too.  Not sure whether I will sell it or use it as a portfolio to show people but its all rather exciting.

Little Gems amongst the Coal Dust

bijou eight

bijou four

bijou one

bijou three

bijou two

bijour five

Meaning of the word persistent…………..

  1. Continuing firmly or obstinately in an opinion or action in spite of difficulty or opposition
  2. Continuing to exist or occur over a prolonged period

Whichever meaning you pick, as I think both are equally suitable, persistent is certainly a good word to describe Blackhall.

It was a word used by Ruth, proprietor of Bijou, as we chatted about the village.  And Blackhall is a survivor.  It seems that whatever has been thrown at it over the years it picks itself up, dusts itself down and gets on with it.

And its lifeline, or beating heart, is Middle Street.  It has an eclectic mix of shops running along it.  Some have been around for a lot of years too.  And Bijou is one of them, its name the perfect accompaniment to the tiny shop.  As I mentioned earlier Ruth is its proprietor.   She rents the shop off Anne, owner of Snipz, the hairdressers, next door.  Ruth has been running her shop for 13 years.  An unlucky number for some but not for Blackhall.  Ruth was born in Peterlee but has lived in Blackhall for most of her life.  Some of the community spirit has gone, she told me, due to the terraced houses being used mainly for rental but she enjoys living there.

And her shop is fabulous. The walls are lined with books of all descriptions.  Fiction galore, all arranged in their relevant genres.   Non-fiction delights can be found on the shelves too.  There are toys, children’s clothes, 45’s, LP’s, glass display cabinets with lots of lovely glassware in them.  There’s not a lot of room to manoeuvre but it’s a great place to explore.

I even bagged a lovely little book whilst I was there too, Turner’s Visions of Rome. Printed in 1925 it has some lovely plates of Turner’s work from his tour in Italy.

Even though my dad died long before the shop opened he would have loved it.  He was an avid reader, he loved his books (most of which now sit on my bookshelf at home)   I can just see him diligently scanning all the books, looking for a good thriller to read.

I will be going back soon, to rummage amongst the 45’s (I already have my eye on some Dave Clark Five singles), and to take more photographs.