Club Night, " Morpeth, Now and Then " - Tuesday 16th January 2018.

On Tuesday 16th January 2018, Morpeth Camera Club member Davy Bolam gave a presentation entitled ‘Now and Then’,
where he projected contrasting images of scanned slides and prints, some up to 100 years old, showing Morpeth as it was,
with up to date versions of some of the same scenes today. Davy invited the audience to participate with any recollections
and nostalgic memories of their own that the images may provoke.

                                               

Aerial shots from the late 1920's to 1932 showed scenes of Morpeth`s working quarry, the police station, court house and
prison, the Morpeth Town gasworks, waterworks at low stanners and the mart next to the Coliseum cinema. From a closer
perspective we saw that the town used to be very compact, densely housed with many alleyways. More aerial views followed
of the old workhouse above the stepping stones, a shot of the Old Grammar School and the nurseries around De Merley Road,
and of St George’s Hospital which was like a town in its own right and was, at the time, the town’s biggest employer. The Old
Co-op on Newgate Street which is now Econofreeze, brought back memories of big sacks of flour and sugar, loose goods and
brown paper bags, a sign at the entrance of St James’ Church which read ‘Help us build St Aidan’s’, and a pictorial history of
the buildings around the nearby Morpeth Motor Parts shop with images of Bowman's Tv and Radio repairs, Eyers the Jewelers,
Bowman the Tailors and Fishers General Dealers.

On Manchester Street, the old Simpsons Sweet Shop which has been owned by the same family for over 100 years, this was
formerly The Baby Wear Shop and before that Simpsons Bakery. Images of The Wesleyan Chapel, terraced houses, and the
Masons Arms contrasted with an image of the modern apartments and shops of today. Winter images of Newgate Street, A.
Woods Fruit and Veg shop where Appleby’s now stands; The Wool Shop, large advertising hoardings in the area which is now
Mains Place; Noble & Daglish's shop and down to the timber framed Grey Nags Head. In recent times the Craft Studio,
Garry's television repair shop and Stoker & Sons butchers were all remembered.

Moving down to the Clock Tower, images of civic parades included Charles Berryman, Bobby Rutherford, and Miss Smails with
the Cavalier Restaurant, now an Indian restaurant in the background. Memories of buying penny chews at Micah Elliott’s sweet
shop, now Micah’s tearoom, was followed by photographs of the single lane Meccano bridge, before the current Oldgate bridge,
with tales of people stopping to wash their cars in the River Wansbeck whilst crossing the ford. Before and after shots of the
construction of Curly Kews in the 1950's, to the cold, fume filled new market bus station where the job centre now stands;
then down to Baysland with washing lines and external steps leading up to the first floor flats which were modernised in 1984.

On the site of the current Factory Shop in the Market place images showed it was M & S Simply Food, Iceland, Wm. Lowes,
Laws Stores and the Playhouse Cinema. Rare night views looking down bridge street from the clock tower led to a great shot of Rutherford's with a walk around arcade, and later photographs of the demolition and reconstruction of the Sanderson Arcade
which used to house Storeys Electrical shop and the Co-op with the old bus station at the rear. A 1985 photograph of Northern
Rock Building Society with a display of prints taken by members of Morpeth YMCA Photographic Society, now Morpeth Camera
Club followed. Davy documented the changing face of Bridge Street where Currys, Freeman Hardy Willis, Home Charm, Medi
Care & Shoppers Paradise used to be along with Maynards sweet shop, Howard-Laburnum, Martins newsagents and Farmway,
which all made way for the street as we see it today.

          

Morpeth events also featured, a dramatic scene of a lorry which had crashed into Walter Wilsons store on Newgate Street, the
Morpeth Pipe Band, a visit of Princess Anne, the New Years Day road race, riding the bounds and a rare shot of the Rendezvous
fish and chip café in castle square were all included. Old fire engines attending the Smails fire in 1969 and blazing flame filled
shots of Olivers Mill fire in 1995 contrasted with an up to date view of the mill rebuilt as flats. The Round Table Regatta in the
1970’s with crazy rafts, jousting and flour bombing were included with shots of the floods from 1963, 1968, 2008 and 2012.

Steam trains at Morpeth railway station, the Wansbeck Piper, the last train to run on the Wannie Line; historical shots of Dark
Lane and surrounding area with the lovely old vets house "the Retreat" and the Red Bull public house. Changes all over the town
had been recorded, from Swinney's Engineering, Jennings Garage, Boutflours Smithy to Presto, Safeway then Morrisons; images
of the old YMCA and the United bus garage showed an area now filled with apartments, and a final shot taken in 1898 at the
memorial ceremony of Morpeth Congregational Church, now New Life Centre on Dacre Street. With many other images too
numerous to mention and with an enthusiastic audience, this was a riveting evening which took us all down memory lane.
                                                                                                                                                                              Steph.