Pegswood

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Coordinates: 55°10′47″N 1°38′39″W / 55.1798°N 1.6442°W / 55.1798; -1.6442

Pegswood
Pegswood is located in Northumberland
Pegswood
Pegswood
 Pegswood shown within Northumberland
Population 3,174 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid reference NZ226873
Unitary authority Northumberland
Ceremonial county Northumberland
Region North East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MORPETH
Postcode district NE61
Dialling code 01670
Police Northumbria
Fire Northumberland
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament Wansbeck
List of places
UK
England
Northumberland

Pegswood is a mining village in Northumberland, England, and the site of the former Pegswood colliery. Pegswood is two miles (3 km) east of Morpeth and three miles (5 km) west of Ashington, with a population of around 3260. Pegswood is on a small hill above the valley in which Morpeth is situated, close to the River Wansbeck and to the river Brocks Burn.

History[edit]

The name Pegswood derives from 'Peg's Worth', meaning an enclosure belonging to a man named Pecg. Pegswood started as a small farming settlement, yet with the discovery of coal and the opening of Pegswood colliery, the village expanded to accommodate miners in 1872. The colliery shut in 1969, however the village is still classed as a pit village. All that is left today are the Pit Heap, now a park, and the entrance to the mine shaft, now in the Bothal Court estate. Coinciding with the coal industry, there was also a brickworks in Pegswood, which has since closed down.

Though the original colliery closed, mining was practised until quite recently: as late as 1997, mining company The Banks Group opened up a 170-acre (0.69 km2) open-pit mine at Pegswood Moor, from which they extracted some 1.4 million tons of coal,[2] with the help of a 236-ton face shovel made by Orenstein & Koppel.[3] Also reaped was 84,000 tons of fire clay, a kind of high temperature resistant clay often found between coal layers. Mining there stopped in 2004, and the pit was converted into the Pegswood Community Park, which includes "a dedicated nature reserve, a new woodland and ponds." The second phase of the park's construction would also "provide a fishing lake, an amphitheatre sculpted out of the landform and a footpath link from Pegswood to Morpeth."[2] Extensive open-pit mining still takes place in the area,[2] but such operations remain controversial even when former sites are restored.[4]

Like many other "former pit villages," Pegswood has benefited from increased interest among especially young families,[5] who are attracted to such places for the countryside and the quality of education.[6] Since 1969, when the pit closed, the town has welcomed new development plans[7] and new housing estates have been built in an effort by Pegswood to "reinvent itself as a cheaper rural alternative to Morpeth and Newcastle."[8] More recent renewal efforts include plans for a facelift for its Welfare Centre and a £48,000 garden with the colliery as its theme.[9] Local services are also being improved.[10]

Pegswood colliery[edit]

The existence of coal is attested in documentation dating from 1754.[11] The Pegswood colliery was one of many in the north-east of England.[12] The colliery opened ca. 1872 and was in operation until 1969. Acquired by the S.H. Fraser company in the 1880s, in 1947 the National Coal Board took over, following the 1946 Coal Industry Nationalisation Act. Starting in 1914, fire clay began to be produced besides coal. The colliery never had more employees than in 1921, with 857 employed underground and 182 above. No mining disasters (more than five dead) have happened; an incomplete list of mining deaths lists 54 fatalities.[13][14]

Architecture[edit]

Some typical colliery-style houses from the late nineteenth century still exist in Pegswood however half of these have now been demolished to make way for new luxury housing near the local pit heap or Colliers Hill as it has now been dubbed.. Three noteworthy eighteenth-century houses remain, as well as a few remains from a fifteenth-century chapel. Also of note is a bridge spanning the River Wansbeck. Amendment: There is no bridge over the River Wansbeck in Pegswood. There is a bridge over the East Coast Mainline and a small footbridge off the back of the Pit Heap but the river Wansbeck is perhaps 1.5 miles (2.4 km) South of Pegswood, although in the nearby Hamlet of Bothal there is a footbridge (that is not for public access except when the river and nearby stepping stones are in flood and inaccessible) which does cross the River Wansbeck[15] In 2010 funded by Welbeck Estates, Fire was erected on the Bothal Roundabout. Dubbed Robin of Pegswood, a bronze figure standing near the top of a stainless steel girder. The girder juts from the ground at an angle and its tip is curved into the shape of a bow with the bronze figure firing a “shovelled” arrow from it. Northumberland County Council has now installed lighting to enhance its night time viewing

Religion[edit]

There is a single church in Pegswood, St. Margaret's. A former church has been converted into housing[citation needed]

Education[edit]

There is only one school in Pegswood, Pegswood First School. Secondary education is typically taken to either Ashington or Morpeth, the two closest towns.

Transport[edit]

Pegswood is served by Pegswood railway station on the East Coast Main Line; rail services link Pegswood to Morpeth, Cramlington and Newcastle. Arriva run bus services to Morpeth, Ashington, Alnwick and Newcastle.

Pegswood lies on the A197 road, at the same distance from Morpeth as from Ashington, and has recently had a £9 million bypass built to the south, removing about half of traffic through the village. The bypass also necessitated a bridge, which is made from "the same weathering steel as the Angel of the North".[16] Ironically, the man who fought for thirty years to have the bypass built, the then Parish Council chairman Jim Burley, was the first person to crash on it, in 2007; he was not seriously hurt.[17]

Notable residents[edit]

Television Filming[edit]

Some scenes on the 1996 TV Drama Our Friends in the North featuring the Metropolitan Police aggressively dealing with strikers during the UK miners' strike (1984–1985) were filmed in Pegswood. These can be seen in Episode 7 (set in 1984) at 21m 04s and 26m 26s.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Office for National Statistics: Neighbourhood Statistics
  2. ^ a b c "Community reaps its reward for the long years of noise". The Journal. 2004-10-09. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  3. ^ "O&K rationalises production lines". Construction News. 1997-07-03. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  4. ^ Gledhill, Vince (2005-03-23). "This could soon be an opencast site". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  5. ^ Garrard, Aranda (2008-07-05). "Up-and-coming area with good prospects". The Journal. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  6. ^ Liebman, Robert (2004-04-17). "Hot Spot: Morpeth, Northumberland". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  7. ^ "Room for Manoeuvre". The Journal. 2006-04-03. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  8. ^ Trollope, James (2007-02-10). "So what's the catch?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  9. ^ Smith, Anna (2009-06-06). "Putting pride back into Pegswood Welfare". Morpeth Herald. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  10. ^ Smith, Anna (2009-06-03). "A new blueprint for Pegswood". Morpeth Herald. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  11. ^ "Papers of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers". The National Archives. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  12. ^ Pope, Rex (1990). Atlas of British Social and Economic History Since C.1700. Routledge. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-0-203-20103-9. 
  13. ^ "Pegswood Colliery". Durham Mining Museum. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  14. ^ Some miscellaneous minor incidents, all but one involving explosives, are listed at "Pegswood Colliery: Miscellaneous Notes and Incidents". Durham Mining Museum. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  15. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; John Grundy; Ian Archibald Richmond; Grace McCombie; Humphrey Welfare; Peter Ryder; Stafford Linsley (1992). Northumberland. Yale University Press. p. 541. ISBN 978-0-300-09638-5. 
  16. ^ "Village welcomes new £9m bypass". BBC News. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  17. ^ "A Step Beyond: Built for the Crash". Independent Online. 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Pegswood at Wikimedia Commons