ARTICLES ABOUT HOUGHTON-LE-SPRING
This page serves as an index or contents page to the many articles written by Houghton Heritage Society Chairman, Paul Lanagan, about the history and heritage of Houghton-le-Spring.
Each button leads to a sub-section where you can access links to the printable articles.
Articles are added and updated frequently. The Society has many unpublished articles, as they are only placed online when sufficient photographs have been acquired to illustrate the text.
You can keep up to date with when new articles are posted by joining our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Bernard Gilpin is known as the Father of the Poor and the Apostle of the North. He was Rector of Houghton from 1558 until his death in 1583 when he was interred in St Michael's Church. Find our more below.
[BERNARD GILPIN ARTICLES]
There are many varied and interesting buildings in Houghton-le-Spring, ranging from historic mansion houses, Victorian farms, miners cottages, ugly 1960s structures and modern shockers.
[BUILDINGS IN HOUGHTON]
HOUGHTON STREET DIRECTORIES
House-by-House and Shop-by-Shop directories for all of Houghton's main streets, including: Newbottle Street; Sunderland Street; Church Street; Mautland Street; Nesham Place; Durham Road; and others.
[HOUSE BY HOUSE GUIDES]
THE PARISH CHURCH
St Michael & All Angels is the Church of England in Houghton-le-Spring. It has been a place of worship for around a thousand years, while the building is Grade I Listed and is at the centre of much of our heritage.
[HOUGHTON'S PARISH CHURCH]
METHODISM IN HOUGHTON
There have been three Methodist churches in Houghton-le-Spring - a Primitive, a United, and a Wesleyan. These occupied a variety of sites over the years, before being either demolished or amalgamated.
[METHODISM IN HOUGHTON]
ST MICHAEL'S RC CHURCH
St Michael's Roman Catholic Church opened on Durham Road on November 9th 1837 having been designed by Ignatius Bonomi, an architect who worked on Lambton Castle and many other well known local landmarks.
[CATHOLICISM IN HOUGHTON]
Houghton Feast is Houghton-le-Spring's ancient annual festival, held every October for over 800 years. These articles reveal the widely unknown history of the Feast as well as dispelling several myths.
[HISTORY OF HOUGHTON FEAST]
Houghton Pit was sunk between 1823 and 1827 and was in operation until its closure in September 1981. The Colliery buildings are long gone and two lonely concrete shaft caps remain on the site.
HOUGHTON AT WAR
Articles and resources about Houghton-le-Spring's role in the two World Wars, including photographs, War Graves, air raid shelters, fund raising, the Cenotaph and local War Memorials plus the Great War Centenary.
[HOUGHTON DURING THE WARS]
HOUGHTON HILLSIDE CEMETERY
The Old Cem, as it is affectionately now known, was consecrated on September 4th 1854 by the Bishop of Exeter in controversal circumstances - it was once a quarry and an outcry followed the proposals!
DURHAM ROAD CEMETERY
The municipal cemetery opened on Durham Road in 1892 in direct competition with the Church's Hillside Cemetery. It offered a modern and tidy alternative burial option but was not consecrated until 1907.
[DURHAM ROAD CEMETERY]
OTHER BURIAL GROUNDS
There are several other burial grounds in Houghton-le-Spring, including: St Michael & All Angels Parish Churchyard; St Michael's RC Church burial ground; and St Matthew's Churchyard, Newbottle village.
[OTHER BURIAL GROUNDS]
PUBS & CLUBS
At one time, Houghton had over fifty pubs and clubs. This series of articles includes a full list plus a closer look at a chosen selection of pubs, many of which have long since been demolished.
[PUBS & CLUBS]
RECTORY PARK & GROUNDS
The grounds of Houghton Rectory were turned over as a public park on April 9th 1949. The building was occupied by Houghton Urban District Council, where the oak pannelled Chamber remains to this day.
[HOUGHTON RECTORY PARK]
Pensher Monument, or the Earl of Durham Monument as it is officially known, stands on the top of Penshaw Hill. Inspired by the Theseion, Temple of Hephaestus, it was built in 1844 out of gritstone.
CURIOSITIES & ANTIQUITIES
Knick-knacks, curiosities, treasures, artefacts and collectible items relating to Houghton-le-Spring. These articles also look at the weird and wonderful side of Houghton-le-Spring's heritage.
[CURIOSITIES & ANTIQUITIES]
Ghost stories and reports by the Haunted Houghton team who have investigated many local hauntings in the Houghton area. Plus find out when the next Haunted Houghton Walk is.
[HAUNTED HOUGHTON] | [GHOST WALKS]
MURDER MOST HORRID
Grisly goings on in Houghton's past, including the Nylon Stocking Murder - the case of Houghton baker, Donald Davidson, who was accused of the murder and later committed suicide at Finchale Abbey.
[MURDERS IN HOUGHTON]
SCHOOLS & EDUCATION
A look at the Royal Kepier Grammar; National & Barrington School; Newbottle Street School; Newtown County Infants; Houghton Kepier; Houghton Grammar; Sancroft; Bernard Gilpin School; HCMS; and more!
Articles about the workplace, businesses and firms in Houghton can be found here, including: Houghton Tramways, the Colliery, Greenhow's Hardware Store, Sangsters fish shop and the gas works.
[WORKPLACES IN HOUGHTON]
The hardworking residents of Houghton needed places to relax and enjoy their precious free time at. Here we look at the many football teams, Houghton's boating lake, the theatres, jazz bands and leek shows.
Houghton Hall was built around 1575 and was home to the Huttons before being owned by Sir George Elliot. Read about its history as a social club and YMCA plus its secret underground tunnels!
[HOUGHTON HALL MANSION HOUSE]
THE URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL
HUDC was established in 1854 as a Local Board of Health and celebrated its centenary in 1954. 20 years later it ceased to exist when Houghton became part of the then Borough of Sunderland in 1974.
PEOPLE & CHARACTERS
Houghton is home to many renowned people and characters, including: Sir John Le Spring, Linden Travers, William Shanks, Joseph Bland Pearson, Margery Bellasis, and Sheila Quigley, to name but a few.
[PEOPLE & CHARACTERS]
A TASTE OF HOUGHTON
A Taste of Houghton is a collection of local recipes, shared by Houghtonians and accompanied by a local history photograph of some relevance. Download the recipes and give the dishes a try!
ICE CREAM SHOPS
We all have fond memories of Houghton's ice cream parlous, be it Riani's Gaiety Temperance Bar, Dimambro's on Durham Road or Jaconelli's Roma Cafe. These articles look at the history of the Italian families.
The Wheatley family and the Gibson family were well-known confectioners in Houghton-le-Spring. The Wheatley business was founded by George 'Sticky' Wheatley, a Crimean War veteran.
[SWEET SHOPS & FACTORIES]
Houghton-le-Spring Remembered is a collection of memories and is your chance to share your recollections and cherished memories of life in Houghton, be that the 1930s or the present. Submissions may be edited.
Houghton is awash with mysteries and the Society needs your help to solve them! One long-standing mystery relates to an unidentified local house which attracted 509 Facebook comments between 2009 and 2012!
This section of the Houghton Heritage Society website features old newspaper cuttings, plus clippings about our projects along with the newspaper articles by the Society's Chairman and local historian Paul Lanagan.
Following the recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, we look back at Houghton's previous parties and celebratory events, such as the Coronation in 1953, Silver Jubilee in 1977 and Golden Jubilee in 2002.
Christmas is a busy time of year for everybody and this section of the Heritage Society website aims to bring together a directory of all the events taking place throughout Houghton-le-Spring - plus special offers!
[CHRISTMAS IN HOUGHTON]
PRINT AT HOME BOOKS
Complete booklets and guides which you can print out at home for free! These downloadable books have been created by Houghton-le-Spring Heritage Society and look great if printed back-to-back.
[PRINT AT HOME BOOKS]
You can join Houghton Heritage Society by becoming a member on Facebook - or Fyass Byuk as we call it. We have over 5,300 members and the group is very popular with residents, descendants and ex-pats.
VIDEOS OF HOUGHTON
Houghton Heritage Society's YouTube Channel features exclusive videos of Houghton-le-Spring as well as footage from our heritage events throughout the year - and of course the ancient festival of Houghton Feast!
Houghton Heritage Society has over 5,000 images in its collections. Many can be found on our Flickr page while our Facebook group has thousands of exclusive photographs as uploaded by our many members.
[FLICKR] | [ARCHIVE CATALOGUE]