A Pictorial History of Embleton 1890 - 1950

A Pictorial History of Embleton 1890 - 1950

EMBLETON – A PICTORIAL HISTORY 1890 - 1950 Produced by Terry Howells and George Skipper 1 The idea for this book originated from the interest shown...

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Produced by Terry Howells and George Skipper

1 The idea for this book originated from the interest shown in the old pictures included in the Embleton Parish Heritage Trails booklet first published a few years ago. Embleton has been a holiday destination since before 1900 and literally hundreds of different postcards were printed before WW II showing the village, the surrounding countryside and Dunstanburgh Castle. It is quite common to find exactly the same picture on different manufacturers’ cards, sometimes produced at the same period and sometimes produced as much as twenty years apart. The British took to the postcard like a duck to water and even though scenic cards were not permitted until 1894, were sending more than 76 million cards a year in the early 1870s. By 1906 this figure had increased to a staggering 850 million cards a year. The very efficient postal service encouraged the use of this method of communication and with two, or even three, deliveries a day it is not unknown to find postcards saying ‘coming to tea this afternoon’ sent from one side of the town to another. As telephones became more common in private houses the use of postcards for urgent communication decreased and they were sent more to show the recipient that they had not been forgotten and that the sender had gone somewhere exciting. It is thus not difficult to understand why so many postcards still exist today and they represent the widest source of pictures of the area in earlier times. Private photographs from before WW I are less common in that cameras were owned only by the better off and photographs were often destroyed by following generations who did not recognise the events depicted, or the people shown in the photographs. In this book we have tried to include a mixture of postcards and photographs from about 1890 to 1950 and to cover subjects that will interest both visitors and local residents.



1890 – 1910 The Census carried out in 1901 showed 461 people to be living in Embleton. Their occupations included 3 Clergymen together with a postmistress, postman, police constable, physician/surgeon, school master and 4 school teachers, There were 5 hotels and public houses, 3 dressmakers and 3 carters, 2 butchers/shopkeepers and 2 carpenters/joiners plus one of each of the following :- blacksmith, boot & shoe maker, greengrocer, baker/grocer, draper, plumber, engineer (electrical), wheelwright, laundress, road contractor, dairy cow keeper, general contractor and a Registrar of Births & Deaths. In addition there were many people who worked in the quarry and on the four farms (North, South, East and Glebe) around the village. It is of interest to note that a detailed survey carried out in 2008 showed there to be 452 permanent residents in Embleton whilst the 1851 Census showed 491 residents


The earliest picture we have of Embleton. From about 1850 until 1870 there was a girls school held in the building in front of the church. At this time there were two rooms in the building but these were knocked together in the late 1930,s. The building is now known as the Parish Church Room. This photograph shows Mary Weatherly, the schoolmistress, with her pupils outside the south end of the school. The picture was probably taken towards the end of the school’s life before the building became a reading room.


An unattributed postcard sent to Miss Wade at the Beehive Stores in Embleton and postmarked Chathill August 1903. Message :- ‘One of the best views I have seen’. This picture was taken before 1897 when the school moved to its present premises. Although entitled ‘The old school’ this wasn’t the first school building. The school was founded in 1688 by the Reverend Vincent Edwards, vicar of Embleton 1680 – 1714. The original school building, on the site of the school house shown on page 44, lasted until 1825 when it was no longer fit for use and this ‘old school’ was built a little to the north on what was, before enclosure in 1730, the People’s Common and eventually became the quarry.


An unused unattributed postcard. Taken at the same time as the picture on the previous page, the headmaster was Joseph Carr who held this post from 1890 until 1925 and it was he who, in 1897, oversaw the move from this school into what is still the village school. In his will The Reverend Edwards had specified that ‘I would not have the number of children to be taught gratis on my account restrained to fewer that ten, nor to exceed the number of fourteen. He also specified ‘I do nominate, appoint and constitute the vicar of Embleton for the time being, overseer and visitor of said school, with full powers to nominate, and appoint, a master and to displace him upon neglect, or failure in his duty and office, but not until after two admonitions’. This latter led to much conflict in the mid nineteenth century. There are approximately 100 pupils in the photograph.


This photograph was taken about 1897. The Embleton Feast was held each year on the Sunday after Whitsuntide, known as Trinity Sunday. The sports were held on the following Monday and Tuesday and up until 1897 mainly took place on the Scathe Grounds situated on what is now the central part of the golf course near the clubhouse. After this date they moved up into the village taking place on an area which is now part of Greyfield Estate. The sports included putting the ball, running high leap, running pole leap, flat races, steeplechases and handicap races. The events were fiercely contested, especially as some races, such as the steeplechase for men, carried a first prize of fifteen shillings, more than a day labourer earned in a week and worth about 60 pints of beer.


The quarry opened in 1864 producing Whinstone setts (dressed blocks) and Whinstone chippings. Up until 1914 the quarry employed about 80 people including, it would appear from early pictures, some women and children. Due to mechanisation the number of employees dropped to about 40 in the 1930s. Many of the workforce were itinerant labourers and at the turn of the century Embleton was considered one of the roughest villages in Northumberland. This picture is thought to be from before 1900.


A photograph taken circa 1902 showing the cart of William McLaren Carrier Embleton outside ‘Sea View’ (opposite the Greys Inn). There is some mystery associated with this picture as from 1895 until at least 1911 the Embleton carriers business was, according to Kelly’s Directory, carried on by George McLaren. In the 1891 census the brothers William, George and John McLaren are listed as Road Contractors living on Quakers Row Embleton. By 1901 William had disappeared from the Census, perhaps dead, and John was now a labourer. George had prospered however and is listed as a farmer and road contractor. One of his sons, William, aged 17, is listed as a General Carrier so perhaps this photograph shows William with his own cart but still working for his father’s business.


An unattributed postcard postmarked February 1904. Message :- ‘Dear Sir. Please send on by Dixon’s van on Friday 1/2 st Marmalade oranges (best) 1 doz Lemons. Put price inside. Oblige. Yours Truly J S Stephenson’. Probably taken about 1900 the picture shows a fete on Front Street complete with travelling caravan, a roundabout and trestle tables. This could be around the time of the Embleton Feast held on Trinity Sunday. Stephenson’s shop (which was one of several shops in the village at this time) was in the white building on the right that still houses the village shop.


George and Ellen Short with family. George was one of the two village blacksmiths (the other being William Scott) and is shown working on page 30. This pre 1901 photograph was taken on Station Road, opposite the cottages shown on page 51, where they lived.


A 1902 photograph of Embleton Whinstone Rovers football team. The pitch was on the area where the Greyfield Estate now stands. The following players and supporters have been identified as per chart :1) A.McLaren 2) -------- 3) W.Wake 4) G.McLaren 5) Pete Watson 6) -------7) B.Cummings 8) B.Waterson 9) T.Watson 10) Mark Appleby Snr. 11) H.Bolton 12) H.Watson 13) Dr.Waterson 14) H.Penny 15) G. Pattison 16) H.Burgess 17) R.Redfern 18) J.Straughan 19) C.Varnham 20) J.Scott 21) M.Appleby Jnr 22) J.Bolton 23) A.Varnham 24) B.Green 25) J.Hogg 26) A.Smith 27) S.Whittaker 28) A.Barrs


An unattributed postcard sent to Mrs Oliphant in Carlisle, postmarked Christon Bank July 1906. Message :- ‘Have just had my first deal this week. The country is beautiful. Hope to here from you in the morning’.

13 This is Pitts Central Supply Stores at the top of Front Street from where it was reputed ‘you could buy anything’. Taken between 1900 and 1905 this picture probably shows Mrs Margaret Pitt in the doorway of the shop. The Pitts were shopkeepers in the village for many years, the 1841 Census showing a Pitt as having a bakers shop on the same site. The Pitts continued in business in Embleton until the early 1950s.

A postcard by J.B.B. Ltd No. 44 Printed in Berlin. This was sent to Miss Barnwell in Jesmond Newcastle, postmarked Embleton May 1906. Message :- ‘Hoping you are having a nice time. It is wet here today but it is getting fine now’.

14 A photograph from about 1904 showing the Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel. The hotel stands on the site of the Quaker Meeting House which was, by 1785, ‘very ruinous and windows all broken, many of the seats gone to decay and fit for no use without a great expense’. It was eventually sold for £30 and by 1828 the Fox and Hounds stood on the site

This photograph was taken by J.L. Pitt, a professional photographer working in Glanton. The photograph was taken about 1900 when Frances Pitt, a widow living on her own means, lived in Jubilee House with her daughter Martha and shopkeeper son Michael. The picture shows one of the three cottages that used to stand in ‘Pitt’s Yard’ in the grounds of Jubilee House. The family is probably that of William Humble who was a General Contractor. In 1922 Mark Appleby, the quarry owner, bought Jubilee House and in the

15 early 1930s he installed a new drive with the entrance on what is now W.T.Stead Road. To do this he had to demolish this cottage and at the same time he turned one of the others into a garage. Martha continued to live in the remaining cottage.

A photograph of the inside of Holy Trinity Church about 1905. Note the oil lamps. It seems probable that the earliest surviving parts of Embleton church (the lower stage of the tower and the nave arcades) date from around the end of the 12 th century. The first rector of whom there is any record is one Adam. Two upper stages of the tower were constructed in the 14th century; the four belfry windows and the parapet being of that date. The porch was probably built in the late 15th or early 16th century. There are three fine 13th century grave slabs set in the walls of the porch. A major ‘restoration’ of the church was carried

16 out in the mid 19th century by the Newcastle architect John Dobson. There are six bells in the belfry, cast in 1892 and re-hung in 1956.

An unused postcard by J.C.Ruddock of Alnwick. This photograph, taken about 1905, shows a rare picture of the Railway Inn with its name board under the eaves. The manager at this time was Treasure Harry Watson !!. Next door is Fred Gallon’s butchers shop with meat carcasses hanging outside. To the immediate left of this shop, between this building and the next, is an alleyway, which was used to lead animals to the butcher’s slaughter yard at the back of the shop. The large cauldron used for boiling up meat to make puddings etc. is still in situ. Pitt’s store is further to the left.


A postcard by J.C.Ruddock of Alnwick sent to Miss Elvira Truttmann in Jesmond Newcastle, postmarked Christon Bank August 1909. Message :- “Dear Vera. Ask Julia if she has been round to Miss Brazendale about Mothers’ blouse. Winnie Breet is staying at the Railway Inn with some other ladies. Mother is thinking of going to bed after tea, the weather is rotten. Your sister Vi.” Pictured about 1905 this is the ‘model’ lodging house which stood at the corner of Front Street and Quakers Row behind the single storey building on the extreme left. Writing with reference to the year 1919 Thomas Foggett said ‘The workhouse was occupied by thirty to forty Irishmen who had immigrated to working the quarry. The occupants slept on hessian bags filled with straw and paid 4 pence per night for board and lodgings. John Foggett, the quarry manager, used to inspect the lodgings weekly to ensure that it was scrubbed down and kept clean. The occupants were also regularly taken to a house where their clothes were deloused’. In 1861 the licensed lodging house was run by John Kelly, a licensed hawker from Ireland.


An unattributed postcard, from about 1900, sent to Miss Cleminson in Aspatria, Cumberland postmarked Christon Bank January 1906. Message :- ‘Front Street Embleton. Dear Annie I am sending you a view of the school in which I now teach. I have stds I, II and III in a classroom. There are about 50 of them. We have a very good piano. We are having a holiday on Wednesday on account of the elections. I hope you are well. I am yours sincerely Ema Armstrong’. On the front is written ‘This school has only been built about 10 yrs and is heated with hot air’. At this time the average attendance at the school was about 130.


Hilda and Eva McLaren outside the Blue Bell Inn in 1906. The licensee at this time was George McLaren (relationship unknown) who was also a farmer, road contractor and carrier. The building was once single storey as can be seen from marks on both end walls and across the front. It is not known when it was built, when it was extended upwards, or even if it was always an Inn. The first known record is in 1851 when it was listed as the Blue Bell Inn.


An unattributed postcard sent to Miss Duncan in Glanton with stamp but no postmark. Message:- ‘Will have to wait 2 hours in Alnwick Fenkle Street. Have you been for weekend to C yet am going on Saturday wish you had been coming did not know I could get till yesterday. With love from M’. On front further message ‘managed to meet here the other night and enjoyed it a treat. B………’ The Creighton Memorial Hall was opened in 1903 in memory of Mandell Creighton who was vicar of Embleton from 1875 until 1884. The money to build it was raised by donations sent to his widow. After leaving Embleton Mandell Creighton was elected Dixie Professor at Cambridge and later appointed Canon of Worcester, Canon of Windsor, Bishop of Peterborough and in 1897 Bishop of London. During his lifetime he published ‘The History of the Papacy’ and travelled to America and Russia.


A photograph from 1905 showing Edith and Mary Victoria Waterson outside Moot Hall. They were two of the daughters of Dr Waterson who was the village doctor for more than 50 years. Moot Hall was once the ‘Kings Court’ or manorial court. In 1532 Henry VIII spent 46 shillings repairing the house and the stables below it and in 1586 Queen Elizabeth paid £124 – 13 – 0 for major renovation work. In 1604 James I sold the house to Lord Tankerville but it continued to act as a court house. There is evidence that around 1730 the Hall ceased to be a public building and became a private residence.


A coloured postcard in the Auty series No.4508 sent to Master Alex White in Sunderland postmarked September 1907. Message :- ‘Dear Alex. Received your PC for which many thanks. This is a view of main street in E village. Show it to Bob & Granny and she will show you where they waited for me and I was at church. I am yours etc. Willi’. By 1847 the hotel had become known as the Horse and Hounds and by 1860 the Hare and Hounds. At this time it belonged to the Earl of Tankerville but was leased out. By 1879 the building had been extended, the tenant being Thomas Appleby whose brother Mark ran the Greys Inn and was leaseholder of the quarry.


A postcard by J.G. Ruddock of Alnwick sent to Mrs Forsyth in Maybole Ayrshire, postmarked Christon Bank September 1906. Message ;- ‘Dear Mrs Forsyth I send you P. Card this time hoping your well when do you think we are to see you hear with that dear girl of yours. I don’t know what your M intends but I am longing to see you all come. I know Macs seen your Mother this week. Bye yours Sincerely A’. A picture taken outside the Blue Bell Inn in about 1905 whilst George McLaren was publican. Note the grassy triangle in the road.


A Monarch (R Johnson & Son Gateshead) series postcard No. 7868 sent to Cyril Horrocks Esq. In London N.W.12 postmarked Embleton August 1928. Message :- ‘Wednesday. Thanks so much for your letters. This is just to catch the post. I’ll write a letter this evening. You can see what a gay place this is. We went to a village concert last night – it was amazing – fit for a London Pavilion Revue. It is so nice to hear all your news, it is like being on a desert island here. Love to you all T’. This picture was taken much earlier (probably about 1908) whilst the Railway Inn was still open. The Post Office can be seen on the left.


A postcard by J.C.Ruddock of Alnwick sent to Miss E Truttmann in Jesmond Newcastle postmarked Christon Bank 1909. Message :- ‘Another cold day. Haven’t bathed this week yet. Going to concert tonight and staying to dance for a short time. Seen the programme and it is very good, three professionals coming from Newcastle’. The vehicle registration letter X was introduced in 1903 and ran until 1921. The Alnwick Bakery van in the photograph was probably registered about 1907 and this photograph taken about 1909. The building with the boys in the doorway was, until about 1860, the Three Tuns Inn. Next to it is a butchers shop. It can be seen that the village pump is not on the village green at this time and that new rustic porches have been erected over the cottage doorways.


A postcard by T.S.Laidler of Craster sent to Miss Bowen in Pommern Germany postmarked Christon Bank August 1910. Message :- ‘Jubilee House Embleton. I am having an awfully good time here. The weather is ripping & it is frightfully hot. We live in the sea nearly all day. There is a good golf course on the sandhills and we golf a good deal. I do hope the good weather continues. Do write soon. Love Elsie’. A good view up Front Street to Pitts Central Stores taken around 1909. The rustic porches and gardens are fairly new.


A photograph entitled ‘Winner of Embleton Feast cup and supporters 1910’. The Embleton Feast in 1910 was held on May 22 nd and 23rd. It is unclear what the cup was awarded for but it was associated with the sports held on the 23 rd. In May 1875 Louise Creighton, the vicar’s wife wrote to her mother ‘Today and tomorrow are what is called the Embleton Feast. The people all have their friends to come and see them and on the Sunday they all walk about in new clothes. On Monday there are sports, races etc. for prizes and a ball in the evening. Booths are set up in the village, and I’m afraid a good deal of drinking and disorder accompanies the feast’.



1911 – 1920

PRIVATE G. BOWDEN 2nd Line 7th NF Embleton

PRIVATE G. CUTHBERTSON Army Service Corps Embleton

RIFLEMAN V. STEPHENSON SHOEING SMITH W.E. DODDS 21st King’s Royal Rifles Royal Field Artillery Embleton Embleton

DRIVER W. RICHARDSON Army Service Corps Embleton

PRIVATE P. MACDOUGAL 7th Northumberland Fusiliers Embleton

PRIVATE J. MACDOUGAL Tyneside Scottish Embleton (Died at Hull when serving his country, August 27th)

Seven men from Embleton who served in World War I during which 17 former pupils of Embleton school were killed.


An unused unattributed postcard showing a scene from about 1912. The cart parked outside the Blue Bell is from Reavells and advertises A T OILS Brightest and Best. The cart at the side is from T.Dixon and Sons Alnwick who were bakers in Alnwick with premises on Bondgate and Narrowgate. At this time the licensee of the Inn was William Armstrong who according to the board over the door offered ‘Porter and Tobacco – Good Stabling – Teas served.


An unused Lilywhite Laudler Series No. 14 postcard. The smithy was located on the southern side of the junction of Merton Cottages and Station Road. It was demolished in the late 1940s/early 1950s and a modern bungalow built on the site. In this photograph the blacksmith, George Short, is shown carrying on his trade in about 1910 when he would be about 65 years old. At this time he lived in one of the houses in the picture and a Miss Thompson lived in the other. Both were demolished in the early 1950s.


A postcard by J.C. Ruddock of Alnwick sent to Mrs Luke in Newcastle postmarked Embleton August 1914. Message :- ‘Dear T & M I hope you are sleeping well it is raining so heavy here today so we have to stay indoors. Granny is not well she has teethache very bad yesterday and today with love from all Alice’. A photograph from about 1911 looking down what is now Merton Cottages but was possibly still known then as Black Row. At the bottom of this lane, where it joins Station Road, was a pond known as the ‘Black Hole’. At the top of the lane, near where Bolton’s garage stood, was a pond called Trooper’s Pool.


An unattributed postcard sent to Miss Cuthbertson in Embleton postmarked Pocklington May 1913. Message :- ‘Dear Mother. A card in answer to yours. The back length of slip is 19in. Front 18 _ and from wrist to hem at side is 20 1/2 and neck 14. The blouse is very nice it is good stuff will write soon. This is the only card I have’. From Sarah. A photograph of Thompson and Son butchers shop on Front Street next to the building where the Three Tuns Inn traded until about 1860. At this time (about 1911) there were two butchers shops in the village the other being Gallons on Cheviot View. Thompson’s shop closed in 1918 when it was taken over by the Co-op.


The site of the ‘new’ Post Office near the Greys Inn photographed about 1912. Embleton Post Office first opened in October 1841 in part of what is now Morton House, situated behind the village shop. In 1847 John Morton was listed as postmaster and also as grocer and draper. In 1855 he advertised that ‘letters arrive from Alnwick at 12.30 noon and are dispatched thereto at 5.15 p.m’. He continued as postmaster until at least 1879 and in 1881 his widow Ann Morton aged 77, with her two daughters, was listed as a grocer.


A Lilywhite Laidler Series No. 18 postcard sent to Mrs Moore in Beeston Notts postmarked March 1913. Message:- ‘Embleton Wednesday. My dear wife and children. Just a line to let you know I have got back to the old spot. I have not heard from you since Monday, still you will know where to send to now. I am quite alright, but it looks as though we shall get plenty of work to do as usual. Hope all are well at home, will write a letter later Love Tom’. The picture dates from late 1912. W.T.Stead was born in the old Manse in 1849 during the time his father was minister of the Embleton Presbyterian Church (1843 to 1849). W.T.Stead was a social reformer and campaigning journalist who revolutionalised newspaper reporting. He had audiences with the Pope, Cecil Rhodes, Czar Nicholas II of Russia and Queen Victoria and Albert. He died on the Titanic in 1912.


An unattributed postcard sent to Miss Woolley in Newcastle postmarked Embleton 1915. Message :- ‘Having a fine time here, weather A1. Plenty of soldiers, 2 officers ahem. How are you getting on without the devil. Mother sent my bike through got it this morning, we were at Alnwick yesterday. Fine fun. Ta-Ta for the present Lily’. The ‘villas’ on the left of the picture were built in 1911 but here Sea Lane has not yet been surfaced showing this picture was most likely taken about 1913.


In this pre WW I photograph Mr Appleby, the quarry owner, (the land was leased from Samuel Eyres of Leeds and then, after 1919, from Sir Arthur Sutherland and a royalty paid based on output) is shown standing just in front of the engine in the foreground. The quarry originally transported its products by horse and cart to Craster harbour and later to the main line station at Christon Bank via a narrow gauge (2ft 9ins) line which followed a route slightly to the north of what is now Greyfield Estate, crossed the Embleton to Christon Bank road and then ran along the wide eastern verge to a yard at the station. The two Crenstein and Koppel engines were named Dunstanburgh and Fanny Grey and worked until about 1930.


Unattributed postcard sent to Mrs Leonard in Stamp Street, Stockton on Tees postmarked August 1916. Message :- ’26.8.1916 Dunstan Steads. Dear E. I just got Emma’s letter this morning. It rained here all day yesterday & is still raining. P seemed to have a good time at home. I’m sorry I don’t have a P.C. the same as I sent Emma. Was it one with a little bridge on Embleton Burn. I’ve forgotten which I sent. I think Ada has one like this. I wrote to Willie yesterday I write every week. Perhaps I may see Emma after all. We leave here Sept. 15 that is if her holiday is extended a little longer. Love Ethel’. This picture was probably taken about 1914 at the ford on the way down to Dunstan Steads which is now crossed by a bridge. It is thought to show John Bolton, the village shoe maker, using his trap as a ‘taxi’ perhaps taking clients to Christon Bank station.


A photograph of the ‘new’ Post Office in the snow. By 1882 the Embleton Post Office had become a money order and savings office and in 1897 it was further upgraded to become a telegraph office. Maps of mid 1890s show the Post Office to have moved from Morton House to this site, perhaps when John Morton died. The Post Office issue bicycles date from about 1910. The picture, which dates from about 1916, shows Violet Luke on the left, Isabel Luke (later Bowden) centre and possibly Ms Carss from Newton on the right. The mailman holding the horse collected the mail from the train at Alnmouth station for sorting at Lesbury. The post box at this time was still V.R. The Post Office moved to its current site in 1958.


A T.S. Laidler Craster, Lesbury Coastline series postcard sent to Mrs Innes in Gateshead postmarked Embleton August 1920. Message :- ‘Thanks for P.C.’s. Hope you had a good holiday. We are having a decent time up to present, just want sunshine’. Estimated as having been taken about 1915 this postcard shows that vegetation has grown up over the rustic porches of the cottages and the butchers shop has a name board over the window. The pump is now on the village green near the pant (fountain and trough) that was built by public subscription in 1913.


A photograph from about 1916 showing Dr. Waterston (centre) with a First Aid team. There are several well dressed young men in the picture but who they were or what they had to do with the team is unknown. The photograph may have been taken in the school playground.


A Laidler series ‘All British’ postcard used but with no postmark so presumably sent in an envelope. Message :- ‘Dear wife this place was where we found those 6 boys on the rocks poor men we buried them last Saturday hope you like the card xxxx’ The picture is of Whale’s Back or Saddle Rock in Embleton Bay. In March 1917 the Norwegian ship Pollux, out of Newcastle, was torpedoed some 60 miles off Aberdeen and lifeboats were launched. Several days later, in very bad weather, one was seen off Newton. It capsized off the rocks in Embleton Bay and six bodies were recovered. They were buried in Embleton Spitalford cemetery.


This photograph, taken early 1918, shows Miss Butterworth of the Women’s Legion picking up an officer from his billet in the Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel. The chain driven car/lorry X3568 would have been registered about 1916. The Women’s legion was founded by Lady Londonderry and recognised by the Army Council in 1916. Its volunteer recruits undertook tasks including cookery, driving and land work. In 1917 the Women’s Auxiliary Corps was established and the Women’s Legion was absorbed into the War Office under department AG 11.


Early 1918 with troops of the Amy Cyclist Corps on parade on what is now W.T.Stead Road (originally Hen Row Causeway) opposite the Creighton Hall. The troops were accommodated in tents on a field near the old vicarage. 2nd Lieutenant Smurthwaite is taking the parade assisted by Sergeant Hill. The territorial 8th (Cyclist) Battalion, The Northumberland Fusiliers later became the Northern Cyclist Battalion, an independent battalion without regimental affiliation. In 1915 the fourteen cyclist battalions in the U.K. formed the new Army Cyclist Corps. Most units of the Corps served out their time in the U.K., providing replacement drafts to infantry battalions.


A photograph of the school house about 1926. It was built in 1825 on the site of the original school/school house, which was founded in the late 17 th century, when a new school was built to the north in what is now the quarry. Traditionally the head of the Vincent Edwards Church of England school lived here and this continued until 1985 when the then headmistress wished to live elsewhere. The house was sold in 2000.


Embleton school Grade III class 1920. There were 31 pupils in this grade. The school had three classrooms, Mr J.Carr still being headmaster. In all there were approximately 100 children registered at the school. Children walked to school from what would now be considered long distances e.g. Brunton and Newton Barns, often leaving home before 8a.m. and not getting back until after 5 p.m. regardless of the weather. Wet clothes were dried around the large coke fired stove ready for the return walk. Writing about how the school was in the 1920s T.Foggett said ‘there was a lot of poverty and in some classes children came to school in bare feet.



1921 – 1930 The Embleton Co-op (opened 1918) was a branch of the Howick Co-op Society which was founded in 1895 by Lord Grey of Howick primarily to provide a service for the estate workers. Mr Ninian (Ned) Glendinning joined the Embleton Co-op in 1923 as Grocery Traveller and continued in this job for 21 years until he became Grocery Manager in 1944. The area covered by Embleton Co-op was roughly from Spitalford to Seahouses and inland taking in Ellingham, South Charlton and as far as Eglingham. As Traveller, Mr Glendinning covered his area by bicycle throughout this time, on a fortnightly round. In most cases, orders taken one day, were delivered next day by horse and cart, until a van was introduced about 1930. As a Traveller, Mr Glendinning worked a five and a half day week, and he estimated that he called on about 800 customers on his fortnightly round. In addition to normal grocery supplies he also took orders for hardware, carpets and furniture from a catalogue.


A postcard published by Alex Pitt Central Supply Stores Embleton sent to Miss L Winnington in Gateshead postmarked Embleton 1923. Message :- ‘My Dears. 12.15 Just getting ready for the charabang the first time I’ve been in one so I won’t be going down to the sands today. If you don’t come I’ll throw away the ham. I’m A1 Lily’. An early 1920s picture of the side entrance to the storage area of Pitt’s shop. It is interesting to note that he dealt in BP motor spirit even at this date.


An unused Monarch (R.Johnson & Son Gateshead) postcard No. 5414. The photograph is from about 1923. This links course was founded in 1900 by the Dunstanburgh Castle Estate. The Estate was purchased by Mr (later Sir) Arthur Munro Sutherland and a redesign of the course was carried out in 1920 by James Brand. In September 1900 The Alnwick & County Gazette carried the following notice ‘The Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel – Mr & Mrs Wood of Harrogate the newly appointed host and hostess have now entered upon their duties. A golf course in connection with the hotel, is in the course of formation and when finished, and in playing order, it will prove a great inducement to visitors to come to this rising health resort.


A picture of Reed’s garage, which was on the site of the current Grieves garage, taken about 1924. The ‘bus’ was operated by William (Willy) Reed in opposition to those of Bolton Brothers. Both firms also offered car hire plus petrol and tyre sales. By 1930 Boltons were operating eight buses and offered three cars for hire. In the picture, from left to right, are Jack Wade, George Jeffery, Theodore Humble, Willie Reed and Madeleine Paul who was the then vicar’s daughter.


An unused Monarch (R.Johnson and Sons Gateshead) series postcard No. 5417. A 1924 photograph looking east towards the sea. The cottages, being in a bad state of repair, were demolished in 1945 and replaced by semi detached houses. At this time wood was in short supply for building so several kipper sheds at Craster were demolished and the wood recycled into these houses.


A Monarch R.Johnson & Son Gateshead) series postcard No. 7866 sent to Cyril Horrocks Esq. In London N.W.11 postmarked Embleton August 1928. Message :- ‘Wednesday night, no Thursday. I’m even forgetting the day of the week in this place. We leave here Saturday or Sunday and will be home on Tuesday. Expect you will have the ……. I’m sending on the morning before this however. Thanks for your letter, I really have absolutely no news whatsoever. I have seen nothing and nobody. I am compelled to remain …… Lots of love I’ll write again tomorrow’. Two cottages on Station Road next door to Falloden Cottage about 1925. The cottages, described by a former resident as ‘hovels’, were demolished about 1950 but only the right hand one has been replaced by a house. One of the village blacksmiths, G.Short, lived in the left hand cottage at one time.


An unused Monarch (R.Johnson & Sons Gateshead) series postcard No. 6531 showing the rear of the school. This photograph was taken in about 1927 from North Heugh, above Quakes Row. The garage of William Reed can be seen next to the North Villas (Store Houses) that were built by the Co-op Society for their employees. The houses on Merton Cottages had not yet been started. The van in the photograph is about 15 years old being registered around 1912.


One of Bolton’s charabancs parked outside the Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel in 1925/26. The Ducros charabanc, with solid tyres and a fabric roof, would take about 25 passengers and offered full and half day tours within Northumberland to places such as Holy Island plus trips into Scotland. This was only for the well to do as a day out would cost 5 shillings or more per person which was more than a week’s rent for many families.


An unused Monarch (R.Johnson & Son Gateshead) series postcard No. 7292 from 1927. The Co-op opened its Embleton branch in 1918 firstly by taking over Thompson’s butchers shop (opposite the current village shop) and then expanded soon after by adding adjacent premises. The two shop windows and the doors to the storage area can be seen at the top left. The shop sold groceries and provisions, greengrocery, bakery products, meat, hardware, furniture, drapery, outfitting, boots and shoes. Its total staff, including a traveller and van drivers, was 15. The branch closed in 1968.


An unused Monarch (R.Johnson & Son Gateshead) series postcard No. 7288. Stephenson’s delivery van (TY 677) was registered in 1926 and this photograph was taken in 1927. It shows a good view of part of the Co-op stores – there being a second shop front just off picture to the right. The picture was probably taken on the same day as the one on the previous page when Mr Johnson, who used to holiday at Warkworth, was out and about taking a series of photographs in the area.


A Monarch (R.Johnson & Sons Gateshead Works) series postcard No. 7873 sent to Mr & Mrs Matthewson in Newcastle postmarked Embleton July 1930. Message :- ‘Having a grand time here weather good and dig tip top. Kiddies looking well hope you are all A!. Mr & Mrs P’. Taken after the building of the houses on Merton Cottages had commenced, but had not been completed, this photograph must have been taken about 1928. The houses were built starting at the school end of the road and finishing at Station Road.


Due to the considerable amount of handling involved with the quarry products when delivered by rail this method became uneconomical with the advent of mechanised road transport. During the 1920s two coal fired chain driven Sentinel road steam wagons were purchased and delivered stone as far as Newcastle. These were eventually replaced by four petrol driven Bedford lorries. This picture was taken near the Sentinel works in Shrewsbury when the second wagon (a DG6?) was being delivered about 1928.



1931 – 1940 In August 1931 nine boys from the 1st Embleton Scout Troop went away to camp at Bendibus Haugh beside the river Tweed. This was the first time the Embleton scouts had camped so far from home. The camp site was shared by a large group of the 18th, 19th and 24th Midlothian Girl Guides who camped 200 yards further up river. 25 year old Percy Adams was a lay preacher at Embleton church and founder and scoutmaster of the Embleton scout troop. H was in charge of the scout camp. Shortly after mid-day on August 6th the scouts were playing in the river and Percy was watching from a small boat. Suddenly 11 year old Albert Butters from Craster was swept away and his brother William, aged 14, tried to help him. Percy jumped into the river and grabbed the two boys but the boys went under dragging Percy with them and all three disappeared from view. Scouts ran to the Girl Guides’ camp and the guides came with a rope. One of the guides, Margaret Taylor, was tied to the rope and searched under the water whilst another, Miss Dalgetty, repeatedly dived into the river. Despite the fact the rope snapped Margaret went in time and time again after it was repaired but the scouts were not found. The police arrived and dragged the river but the bodies were not found until late afternoon by fishermen. All three were together so it appears that Percy held onto the boys to the end without thought of saving himself. For their attempt to save Albert, both Percy Adams and William Butters were awarded the Scouts highest award, the bronze cross. They also received a Carnegie Hero trust certificate plus an award of £50. Percy was buried in Tibshelf, Derbyshire, where he was born, and there are memorial plaques in both Embleton and Craster churches. The funeral of the two scouts took place at Embleton.


A Bolton Brothers Leyland Lion bus in its blue and cream livery bound for Newcastle in about 1932. The bus is parked outside Bolton’s garage next to the school. John Bolton, born in 1882, was a shoemaker in the village who graduated from a horse and trap ‘taxi’ to his first bus (with solid tyres) about 1923. This was soon replaced with a larger charabanc and a second was purchased shortly afterward. Apart from regular services to Newcastle they operated tours around Northumberland. In 1928 three new Leyland buses were purchased to run a regular service to Newcastle, the journey taking approximately two hours. Boltons was the first bus company to have a stand in the Haymarket Newcastle but were absorbed by United in 1936.


The Embleton Feast. ‘A brass band from Amble formed up at Sunny Brae and marched around the village’. Taken about 1932 the band is passing the side of the Blue Bell Inn and approaching the Greys. At this time there were stalls stretching from the schoolhouse to Sunny Brae selling homemade foodstuff and produce. The races, which included children from the school, were keenly competitive and were run round the village. The Feast continued to be held up until about 1940 and although it was revived after WW II it quickly died out.


An unused Monarch (R.Johnson & Sons Newcastle Works Gateshead) series postcard No. 9609. Bolton’s garage with petrol pumps can be seen beyond the three cottages (which now form one house) in this photograph taken about 1934. At this time the main entrance to the hotel was through the door on Front Street.


A 1935 pen and ink drawing by A.E. Macleod on a plain letter postcard sent to Mr Child in Ponteland Newcastle postmarked Embleton 1942. Message :- ‘Very sorry I cannot get to the 1937 club on March 20. It was jolly seeing Austin last week. Please thank him for his letter. All good wishes A.Macleod’. The ‘Turris de Emyldon’ is included in the 1415 census of fortified houses. It was probably intended as a ‘solar’ of a medieval dwelling rather than a pele tower. It was fortified around 1450 when the vicar was granted a license to crenelate and the ground floor was strengthened. In Tudor times mullioned windows were added in the north eastern elevation. The comparatively modern house to which the tower is attached, grew in several stages starting in the late 18th century. The most substantial part of the present house dates from 1828 and was designed by John Dobson the celebrated Newcastle architect. A fine conservatory was also added about this time. It is one of only three fortified vicarages in the county.


A card by E.T.W.Dennis & Sons Ltd London & Scarborough sent to Mr Keen in Whittingham with blurred postmark. Message :- ‘Well dad I arrived safe hope you are getting on alright hope to see you at Alnmouth. Love EK’.


An unattributed postcard sent to Mrs Smithson in Sunderland postmarked Alnwick August 1936. Message ‘c/o Mrs Scott North Villas Embleton. Dear Mother & T. Thanks so much for cards. We are pleased to hear Mother is getting on alright. We have been here three weeks, the weather has been glorious lately. Eileen & George are brown as berries. We are looking forward to seeing you soon. Love Fred & Hilda’. According to advertising copy of the day the Villas, built in 1911, were the beginning of a development overlooking the sea, the Golf Links and Embleton Bay. The first four houses were completed as part of a crescent but the scheme then stopped for some reason – possibly the start of the War. Each house was advertised as having a Drawing Room, Dining Room, Four Bedrooms, Child’s Room, Kitchen, Scullery, Larder, Outhouse, Bath Room and Garden. The picture is probably from about 1930.


The Stephenson family had a long connection as tradespeople in Embleton. In 1827 Andrew (shopkeeper) and John (tailor) were working in the village. Twenty years later Robert (aged 31) was a tailor and grocer whilst Peter (aged 53) and John (aged 25) were tailors. By 1861 only Robert and John are listed. In 1879 Robert is still listed as a tailor but John (aged 57) is now licensee at the Star Inn located close to the Greys Inn. In 1891 John (aged 21) was a grocer (but living in the Star Inn) and Robert (aged 28) a tailor. Ten years later Jane Stephenson (aged 70) was licensee of the Star whilst John (aged 31) is listed as grocer, tailor and shopkeeper. Finally in 1910 only John was still working in Embleton as a tailor and grocer. This photograph, taken in the late 1930’s shows another generation John Stephenson in his shop doorway.



1941 – 1950 During the war Embleton took in 75 evacuees. Mrs Bertram, who was 14 in 1939, remembers the arrival of evacuees from Tyneside. ‘Anyone who was prepared to house one had to meet at the school. My sister and I went out of curiosity, but we were late, all had been allocated except for two brothers aged 7 and 9 from Byker whom no-one wanted. Not surprising as they were badly dressed with worn out shirts, jumpers with holes and Wellington boots in the middle of a heat wave. We felt sorry for them and rushed home to beg our parents to take them in. They finally agreed, to their regret. The boys were undernourished, had lice and festering sores. The eldest boy had rickets and got bronchitis. Their worn clothes were replaced and shoes bought ready for school. As winter approached warm coats were bought. They were allowed home for Christmas, mother taking great pride in making them smart for their first visit home. They came back to Embleton looking exactly as when they arrived in the summer. Their mother had pawned their new clothes.’


Mrs Margaret Pitt outside the Central Stores in 1944. She kept the shop open during WW II whilst her husband William was serving as a Flight Sergeant in the RAF. In 1947 they opened the Empire cinema on Mount Pleasant in a building that had been used as a store room for the shop but was originally built as an entertainment hall complete with stage. Balcony seats in the cinema were 1 shilling and sixpence and stalls 9 pence. Unfortunately the cinema was short lived and closed about 1952. The Pitts also opened a fish and chip shop in Hill Cottage opposite the Central Stores.


The Embleton First Aid team formed in 1940 to provide a service in the event of war casualties. The calls on them were few but they attempted, unsuccessfully, to rescue a British pilot when his plane crashed behind the pub at Low Newton and later provided help after the bombing of Alnmouth when the Schooner Hotel and other buildings were hit, killing and injuring a number of people. In 1947 they were called out to help at the Goswick train crash when a large number of passengers was killed. Back Row:- NK, Charlie Varnham, Mrs Hall, Ted Taylor?, Gladys Hall Front Row:- NK, Ellen Luke, Dr Hall’s wife, Violet Grieves, Dorothy Bolton, Emmy Varnham


This Fordson tractor was used both as a bulldozer and to pull rail wagons of recently blasted whinstone. The quarry at its height was producing some 30,000 tons of Whinstone a year. Its setts were used to pave the Mersey tunnel and across the country for house building, kerbstones, paving etc. It was also one of the first Tarmac producers in the country operating from about 1919 until the mid 1950s. The picture was taken about 1945.


Embleton school band !! circa 1947. Identified :- Victor Thompson (far left) – Ann Armstrong (right hand girl) – Mary Laidler (left hand girl).


A Frith series postcard (E.T.N.11) sent to Mrs S Uglow in Launeston Cornwall postmarked Embleton 1951. Message :- ‘Dear Mother I thought this card would suit you I hope Caroline had a good laugh. Saturday we went to the Chapel garden party and made £168. I had one first prize and should have had another but Tom’s sister in law kept going before she beat me. Went to Chapel in the morning. In afternoon went to Scotland so far as Kelso 106 miles there and back very hot. Last night I tidied up the garden. Henry’. This photograph was probably taken in the late 1940s. It shows Pitt’s shop is now a cafe that also supplied the school dinners for a while. Lloyds bank operated a sub office in what is now Violet cottage on Front Street. It originally opened on a Tuesday but in October 1948 changed to a Friday from 9.30 until 11.00 a.m. All the rustic porches have been removed and the ivy cleared off he walls of the hotel.


An unattributed unused postcard. This photograph taken about 1950 shows Bolton’s garage, in the centre of the picture, about the time it was sold to Charlie Thompson, who was a coal merchant from Christon Bank, for garaging his lorries. The building was eventually sold to Grieves Garage and after a period of disuse was demolished and replaced by four terrace houses on what is now named Bolton Terrace.


Unused unattributed postcard. Greyfield Estate built on land previously owned by the Greys of Falloden. Building started in 1947 with six wooden houses given by Sweden to Alnwick District Council. This photograph was probably taken in the early 1950s.

Several people and organisations have contributed information and pictures to be used in this book and the authors would like to express their thanks to them. Special mention must be made of Denis Malthouse who, together with his wife Ros, organised the Embleton Local History Society for many years and was responsible for gathering much of the information contained herein. We would also like to thank Jose Grieves for her help in finding some of the pictures and identifying the people depicted. Finally a big thank you to Mary Kibble for sorting out the bits and pieces she was presented with into the book you see today. Some of the information on page 48 has been taken from Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course – a history by Peter F.C.Gilbert. In some cases it has proved very difficult to attribute an exact date as to when pictures were taken. The dates printed in the text are the result of examining features shown in the pictures, the date posted, postcard manufacturers’ data and local folklore etc. to produce a ‘best guess’. The information in this book is included in good faith and is believed to be correct. No responsibility is accepted by the authors or the Parish Council for any errors. This book is sold on behalf of Embleton Parish Council which will use any profit for the benefit of the village.

Printed by :- Azure Printing, Pegswood, Morpeth