Derelict Bearpark Pavilion
Night Time Photography
The evening when my dad and I took ourselves off to get some star trails, drat the moon was mega bright, but had to give it ago any way. We did not want to venture to far away and the old pavilion was to be our choice. It was dark, apart from the super bright moon with the biggest halo ring I had ever seen. I tried to photograph it but a wide angle telephoto lens is not the job for that. Alas we decided to point the camera towards Lanchester, with Bearpark behind us. Lets use our menial torches and paint the LED light on to the derelict pavilion and hope for the best. A good 50 frames was to be had at 30 second exposure times. We watched planes fly over and how amazing even the odd satellite trail come in, but you can only see after editing. Bearpark is beneath the flight path for Newcastle Airport.
The Derelict Pavilion and a bit of jibber – jabber
It is a real shame. When I was growing up in this mining village, the pavilion was an active place. There were pitch perfect crown bowling greens. We even had a class competition once in the final year at our Junior School and the headmaster Mr Madgin took us there to have a go and experience the green as opposed to classroom carpet. A cricket pitch and a football pitch (soccer). During the summers of the late 1970’s and early 80’s, jazz bands were all the rage. Girls in their band uniforms with their drums, cymbals, brass, twiddling batons and majorette sticks came from other mining communities from around the region to compete; New Brancepeth always won. Buses lined the old pit road, the fields were full of corn which are now private housing estates. A real carnival atmosphere back in the day. Bearpark was a thriving village. 1980 was a particular year, I think it was Easter, leaving my cousins and brother behind as the bands were playing, I cycled off to go home for my afternoon Sunday tea only to find myself being put on the pavement told to stay there whilst watching this man (Derek) launching a motorbike into the corn field. The next thing I knew I was in the pavilion and Angela Jones was bandaging my head and went to get my mam and dad. Angela Jones was a member of the St John’s ambulance, and was a few years older than me; I was 8 years old. As it turned out two lads freewheeled into the back of my bicycle and I ended up with my head caught in the rear mud guard of the scrambler bike. Freewheeling is a term for riding a motorbike without the engine running, so I never heard them coming when I dodged a pothole by one of the buses. Memories, it took me a long time to remember the accident fully. I never heard the motorbike coming, however I feared the sound of them for quite sometime after. I never road my Raleigh 14 bicycle again after that, John the window cleaner got it for his grand-daughter.
The pavilion still stands with covered up vernacular and crudity – the non artistic graffiti which is tragic. It is a great shame when things come to pass, when there is a facility that still could be used by the community. No more cricket, no more bowls and no football, not even a play area for parents to bring their kids. Just a field for dog walkers. What a waste.
The demise of the colliery in 1984 at the start of the miner’s strike may well have taken some of the heart out of the community and put pay to some of the recreational activities of the miner’s of Bearpark at the pavilion (apart from the Working Man’s Club and the Dog and Gun, that goes without saying..!). The new housing estate that was built in the 1990’s on the corn fields and seem to be a separate entity from the original pit village, the village I grew up in. Yet this recreational area is right at their door step!!! I don’t understand why it is not used!!! The old pit heaps nearby have been converted to a wooded area of pine, with walks through it. When the village first came about when the manor house Beaurepaire was built in the 12th or 13th century and Edward’s I, II and III visited this little place with links to Durham Cathedral. Oh what a wonderful place Bearpark really is, even got a mention in the Doomsday Book and it seems to me that it could actually be a tourist spot. This village has a long history, please do something good about this neglected part of Bearpark.