Residents gather to celebrate East Durham village's history and back plans for war memorial

The history of an East Durham village has been celebrated as a group campaigns for a war memorial to be erected.

Monday, 5th September 2016, 4:50 pm
Updated Monday, 5th September 2016, 5:51 pm
Residents of Hesleden looking a a collection of then and now photographs of the village from the Blackhalls Local History Group at Heseldon Methodist School Room. Pictured from left to right are Sheila Brison, Marlene Margison and Dennis Lowe.

Residents of Hesleden gathered at Hesleden Methodist School Room, in Front Street, to see a display of about 200 photographs.

The photographs looked back at how the village has changed since the 1800s, with many then and now pictures pored over by those who attended.

One of a collection of photographs of Hesleden exhibition

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The event was organised by Blackhalls Local History Group, and about 150 people attended.

Their opinions on the possible future erection of a war memorial in the village were also canvassed, and an overwhelmingly positive response was received to the idea.

Stan Gray, the treasurer of the group, said: “We had a very good day.

“We had about 200 photographs of Hesleden, showing what it was like as far back as the 1800s compared to now, and it was great to see how much interest there was.

One of a collection of photographs of Hesleden exhibition

“As well as residents from the village, there were also lots of others who came along who might have had a connection with Hesleden and were clearly very interested in the display.

“It eneded up being almost like a general meeting of the village.”

One of the main motivations of the display was to get people together and discuss their views on the potential of a war memorial.

After receiving a good response, the group plans to meet the “powers that be” later this week in a bid to progress the process, in the hope an agreement will soon be made for it to be built in Hesleden.

Mr Gray added: “There was a good interest in the subject of the war memorial, so we’re going to have a meeting with the powers that be at our meeting on Thursday.

“That will let allow us to decide our next movement and where we’re going to go.

“About 60 people filled in a questionnaire asking them whether they felt there should be a war memorial built, and 95.5% of them were in favour.

“Hesleden has not had a war memorial, and this process has been going on for about two years.

“This allowed us to see the depth of feeling that there is regarding the war memorial.

“A lot of people put a sticker on the map to say where they think the war memorial should go, and most of them went for the same place.

“The most popular suggestion was opposite the church on the green, next to where the Christmas tree usually goes.”

“We will have another meeting with residents to inform them about the progress.”