A Tea Set’s Journey

Richard Skinner from Allenheads was stimulated by my musings on crockery in an earlier diary piece, to pursue a developing story that began for him when he and Barbara met Dick and Hilary Dorward during a holiday last year in New Zealand. Thanks Richard — it’s a brilliant story, not least because of the serendipity of the encounter!

Hilary and Dick Dorward in front of Allendale Tea Rooms earlier this year

Dick Dorward writes: ‘I have managed to find out a bit more about my mother’s evacuation to Allendale, so how does this sound?’

“A tea set has been donated to The Tea Rooms in Allendale recently which was a wedding gift made to John and Kathleen Dorward in 1952. John and Kathleen had many happy visits to Allendale over the years due in the main to Kathleen having been moved to the town by her father Arnold Pyle after the outbreak of World War II, along with her mother, Nellie Pyle, sister Maureen and two brothers, Leo and Anthony. Living in Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Arnold was concerned about the German Luftwaffe bombing Newcastle so took up the offer of a family friend, Kathleen Angus, for the family to move into the house next door which had belonged to her mother.

The family had many happy times in Allendale and apparently would walk to Haydon Bridge every Sunday to attend mass at St John of Beverley church. Coincidentally the eldest son, Leo, became Parish Priest at that very same church in 1997 until he retired in 2018. The tea set was gifted to The Tea Rooms by John and Kathleen’s three sons who say they feel it has gone back home, such was the love of Allendale by their parents which continues through their sons. ”

“Dick follows up with some extra information: My mother would have been 88 this year so was 8 when war broke out. Her older sister was Maureen who would have been 92 this year and was 12 when the family moved to Allendale. The brothers were Leo who was 6 and Anthony 4. Apparently, the husband of family friend Kathleen Angus, was a police detective in Newcastle, which might ring a bell or two with your readers! Interestingly, in an interview in the Hexham Courant (19/12/18) when he retired last year, my uncle made reference to the family walking to Haydon Bridge during their stay in Allendale. I’m hoping that there maybe someone who remembers them staying as my mam went to the village school.”

During a lovely chat with Richard the other day, he related the follow-up part of the story: Hilary and Dick recently made the journey to Allendale themselves to visit the Tea Rooms and present the tea set to Jane Stollery, thereby making something of a complete circle of this odyssey.

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