ON offer here is a fascinating compilation of extracts from the Journal of the Aln and Breamish Local History Society, from 1971 to 2012. The activities of the original society, under the chairmanship of Father W. J. Nicholson with Miss Mary Brown as secretary, came to an end in 1988 but the society was re-inaugurated in 2004 with Dr Tony Henfrey as president, George Winstanley as chairman, and Bridget Winstanley as secretary and editor of the new series of Records and Recollections.
Included are history, happenings and stories from Glanton, Whittingham, Callaly and Alnham; sections on farming, village policemen, tailors, blacksmiths and travelling traders. One craftsman singled out for attention is Tommy Darling, the last bootmaker to live and work in Whittingham. This well-known character had a false leg made from cork which squeaked when he walked, and which he often detached when embarking on one of his frequent heavy drinking periods – which often lasted for two months.
A sign that he was ‘on the mend’ was when he placed orders for tins of salmon from the village grocers. The tins had to be opened before delivery as Tommy did not own a tin opener.
Other records and recollections feature schooldays memories, churches in the valleys and the Alnwick to Cornhill railway.