- Robert Whitfield Falconer (1885 – 1916)
- Fred Gee of Gosforth
- Newcastle Guild of Cordwainers
- Dr Gibb of Sandford Park
Our story begins on Regent Farm estate, 2020, in Gosforth, Newcastle; in a house that stands on the site of the old Prince Regent Pit. We travel back one hundred and sixty-nine years to a very different era and location, and find the family origins in 1790’s London.
Prince Regent Pit
The Prince Regent Pit was part of Coxlodge colliery, and coals from Coxlodge commanded a high price while mining was viable. The mine stopped working in 1894, and local miners found work in other pits in the region.
Spoil heaps remained on the site until used and recycled in the construction of a runway for Newcastle Airport. For years after the closure of the pit, its presence and memories were felt strongly in the community.
On one occasion on Friday, April 5, 1912, the Newcastle Daily Chronicle reported under the heading
Local Miners Sports:
“Yesterday afternoon in a field at the Regent Pit, the officials of the colliery, with the assistance of some of their workmen, held pit pony races. A large number of workmen and their families attended.”
Patricia Slinger was born in March 1930 she was the daughter of Robert William Kidd and Mary Constance Leathard. Her parents’ families were both involved with the mining industry. When she was nine years old, Paricia lived with her parents in Broomhill Northumberland, close to the North Sea.
Northumberland Family History
Robert William Kidd
At this time (1939) her father Robert William Kidd worked as a foreman colliery fitter. Robert was also involved with the industrial fire service perhaps in a voluntary capacity as a result of World War Two. During the war, and keeping a coastal location the family lived at the School House in Hauxley. Robert kept a gun with bullets fearing a German invasion, and also retained maps of the location of the mines along the coast.
Robert never used the gun, but Hauxley did have its share of wartime action.
A news article in The Morpeth Herald on Friday, October 6, 1944, reported that two Hauxley fishermen were returning from the fishing grounds when they saw an airman parachuting into the sea. Several planes were circling nearby.
“The airman was rapidly being carried out to sea and though their boat was much too small to be expected out [at] sea the men turned to where the airman was dropping and managed to pull him aboard. The airman, suffering from a fractured arm and shock, was taken to hospital.”
When Robert retired from the National Coal Board in 1965, he received a very appreciative; letter from Mr C Bewick of the North Northumberland Area of the NCB. After a working life that involved several changes of address, Robert retired to live in Kendar Grove Morpeth he passed away in 1975.
Luke Kidd 1872 – 1952
Robert’s father was a man called Luke Kidd; who was born on November 30 1872. Luke was the eldest child of Robert and Isabella Shotton Kidd (nee Gibson). As a child, Luke lived with his family in colliery housing at Bedlington (1881) and Sleekburn (1891), in Northumberland. In 1898 Luke married Hannah Isabella Elliott and settled at Sleekburn Colliery where he was employed as a colliery fitter. A fitter was engaged at a colliery on the installation, maintenance and repair of the colliery’s mechanical apparatus.
The couple had three children Margaret Isabella (born 1899), Robert William (born November 7 1900) and Gladys (born 1909).
By 1911 the family were living in the mining village of Bomarsund, Northumberland, with Luke employed as a colliery enginewright. The 1939 register – a record made to register the entire adult population for registration cards in advance of World War Two – records Luke and Hannah living at 41 West Terrace, Stakeford, Northumberland, with Luke employed as a colliery engine fitter. We believe that Luke Kidd died in Newcastle in 1952.
Robert Kidd 1845 -1910
Robert Kidd, Patricia’s great grandfather was the last of five children of Luke and Elizabeth Kidd was born at East Sleekburn, Bedlington, Northumberland, in 1845.
In 1851 the family were living at West Sleekburn in the house of Robert’s uncle, John Hoy. By 1861 the household, again headed by John Hoy, was residing at Barrington Colliery. Robert, then aged 15, is recorded as a joiner’s apprentice. Barrington Colliery opened in 1821. By 1871 Robert, an unmarried enginewright was head of a household that he shared with his parents at Barrington Colliery.
Marriage Warkworth Northumberland
On April 6, 1871, Robert married Isabella Shotton Gibson at the Northumberland coastal village of Warkworth. The couple went on to have ten children, two of whom, Thomas (born 1873 – died 1875) and George William (born 1885 – died 1886) died in infancy. The surviving children were Luke (born November 30 1872); Barbara Gibson (born 1875); John Thomas (born 1877); James Robert (born 1879); Elizabeth Mary (born 1882); Anna Isabella (born 1884); William (born 1888) and Christopher Septimus (born 1891).
In 1881 the family were living at Bedlington Colliery – Robert was employed as a colliery enginewright. Ten years later, in 1891, the family had moved to Sleekburn Colliery – Robert was again working as a colliery enginewright.
West Sleekburn Colliery
A little note reminds us just how dangerous occupations in mining could be at this time. Between 1893 and 1901 there were six fatal accidents at Sleekburn Colliery. Durham Mining Museum records include the death of fourteen-year-old John Moore.
“He had neglected to put in the third sprag in the set, or failed to do so owing to the tubs going too fast, and, the pony falling at the bottom of the bank, he was thrown against the side ”
The Kidd family remained at Sleekburn in 1901. Robert Kidd passed away in 1910.
Luke Mason Kidd (circa 1797-1882)
In 1797 we meet Patricia’s great-great-grandfather Luke Mason Kidd. Luke Mason was born about 1797 in London. By 1831 he was married to Elizabeth Hoy and had his first child, a daughter called Elizabeth. The family were living in the Bedlington area of Northumberland at this time. Luke and Elizabeth went on to have a further four children John (born 1833); Mary born at Bedlington in 1836; Thomas born at Bedlington in 1841 and Robert, also born in Bedlington in 1845.
The 1841 census revealed the family living at East Sleekburn, Northumberland, and noted Luke Kidd’s occupation as a flax dresser. A flax dresser worked with an instrument called a hackle which was used to separate the coarse part of the flax plant in readiness for spinning in the linen industry.
By 1851 the family were living in the household of John Hoy, brother of Elizabeth Kidd, at West Sleekburn. Luke is noted as a former flax dresser, now labourer. The 1861 census records Luke Kidd, a storekeeper at Barrington Colliery, as residing in the property of his son in law, Robert Parsons, a coal miner and husband of his daughter Mary, at Bedlington Colliery. Luke was likely visiting the family on census night. Luke’s wife Elizabeth and the rest of his family were residing with John Hoy at Barrington Colliery.
Luke Mason Kidd died at Barrington on November 13, 1882, aged 85. Elizabeth passed away on September 29, 1885, aged 79 years. The couple were buried in Choppington churchyard along with other family members. They are remembered on a gravestone in the churchyard.
In memory of Patricia Slinger (nee Kidd) 4/3/1930 – 25/4/2020
We hope you enjoyed this trip into the past through the Kidd family line. If we can help in any way with your own family history we will be happy to talk to you. Our Family Folios create a deeply personal and visual connection to your ancestors.