Wednesday, 28 May 2014

1914 - a year to remember

Later this year we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of our mineworkers’ homes in Marsden, South Shields by unveiling a special memorial stone.

The engraved stone, which is kindly being paid for by the East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum, will stand as a lasting reminder of the 67 bungalows built back in 1914.

Recently I attended a photo-call at the homes to announce the creation of the stone and I was immediately struck by the sheer history of the scheme.

Incredibly, we still have the blueprints of the original scheme and yes I can confirm they are most definitely still blue! I wonder if today’s architects still produce actual blueprints or do they just everything on a screen using computer generated images?

It was just as amazing to find in the old library room at Marsden Road a photograph of the DAMHA committee that was responsible for building the bungalows. I suspect in this regard, when it comes to planning and building new homes, nothing much has changed since then, although based on the photograph of the 1914 committee and with the very greatest respect to the current committee, they were all much smarter and better turned out back then!.

This year, of course, is also the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, and I can’t also help wonder whether anyone on that picture actually ended up going to fight for King and Country and never returned? Perhaps they were all considered too old by then? Also, did any miners who moved into the bungalows go too fight? Coal mining was listed as a reserve occupation in the War due to its importance on the War Effort, but did that prevent patriotic young men from joining up?

So, there is certainly so much history at Marsden Road, like in so many things connected with DAMHA and that is just one of the many reasons why I am proud to be its Chief Executive in 2014. I will be even prouder on 11th July when the memorial stone is unveiled!

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