Report – Newcastle Courant – 11 Apr 1850

Document Type: Report
Date: 11 Apr 1850
Correspondent: Newcastle Courant
Archive Source: Misc Newspaper cutting
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      Wentworth Blackett Beaumont, Esq., of Bywell Hall in Norhumberland, and Bretton Park, in the county of York, attained his majority on Thursday the 11th of April, 1850, when great rejoicings took place in the mining districts belonging to that gentleman.  The extent of country over which the several mines and works are situated, and the number of workmen and boys employed approaching nearly to three thousand, prevented any dinner or other festivities being limited to one place, and arrangements were therefore made by Mr Sopwith, the chief mining agent, by which the celebration of this happy event was held in the three principal mining districts on three separate days, commencing in East Allendale, on Thursday the 11th, and being continued in West Allendale and Weardale in the two following days.  

      Excellent dinners were provided in such parts of the several dales, as best suited the convenience of the workmen residing in them, while tea and other refreshments were provided for the younger boys.  In East Allendale eight hundred and seventy miners and smelters dined; in West Allendale five hundred and six; and in Weardale twelve hundred and fifty five; being  in all two thousand six hundred and thirty-one workmen who dined.  The number of younger boys employed in the works, and of other young persons who were entertained, amounted to three hundred and three; making in the aggregate two thousand nine hundred and thirty-four persons who partook of Mr Beaumont's hospitality on this occasion.  In addition to substantial joints of meat, pies, and abundance of rich plum pudding, all which were served hot and in a manner reflecting the greatest credit on the several parties who prepared the dinners; each guest had an ample allowance of ale and hot punch, which afforded the means of hearty rejoicing, without trenching on the borders of that dissipation and excess which sometimes mar the pleasure of festivities on similar occasions.  It is gratifying to state that while this numerous body of workmen displayed the greatest enthusiasm, and entered most heartily into the various rejoicings, the utmost order prevailed, and the whole of the festivities passed off in a way which afforded satisfaction to all.

      Each of these three districts possesses an excellent band of music, formed entirely of miners, and their able and willing services added much to the liveliness of the proceedings.  In each dale also, a battery of twenty-one guns sent forth repeated salutes - a great number of flags and other decorations also imparted gaiety to the scene, and the weather fortunately proved highly favourable during the three days on which the rejoicings took place.

      At sunrise on the 11th, a royal salute was fired from the battery at Allenheads - the band having breakfasted at the residence of Mr. Sopwith, proceeded to the new school, founded by the late T. W. Beaumont, Esq. and maintained by his son the present lord of the manor, who has presented a field adjoining the school, as a playground for the use of the children to whom, after the usual morning prayers, followed by the national anthem, formal possession of this generous gift was given, and the children made hill and dale resound with hearty cheers in honour of the liberal donor.  The foundation of a new building intended to receive part of the hydraulic machinery, now in course of erection by Messrs W. G. Armstrong and Co, was laid by Mrs. Sopwith, amidst a large concourse of miners and other spectators, music and the firing of cannons during this and other proceedings of the day were accompanied by the most enthusiastic cheering.

      At each of the dinners, after a due observance of the accustomed loyal toasts, ‘Good health, long life, and happiness to Mr. Beaumont,’ was responded to with almost deafening cheers, as was also the health of Mrs Beaumont and family, and of J. G. Atkinson, Esq., Mr Sopwith and the local agents.

      At Allendale Town the workmen employed in the smelt mills walked in procession, and partook of a hearty dinner.   At night the whole town was brilliantly illuminated, the band paraded the streets, bonfires blazed from the neighbouring hills.  The new school at Allenheads was also illuminated, and dancing and other festivities were kept up to a late hour.

      In West Allendale on Friday morning, the local agents, with the resident clergymen and other friends, headed a procession of nearly 600 persons, consisting of the entire body of workmen, who met Mr Sopwith on the road from East Allendale, and accompanied him to the residence of Mr Nevin, where, having been drawn up in a body, Mr Sopwith addressed them at considerable length, and thanked them for the respectful compliment they had paid to their employer, in the person of his representative.   The orderly and respectable appearance of the workmen in this procession, who walked three abreast, and stretched nearly a quarter of a mile in length, headed by a band of music and flags, etc,presented a scene of no ordinary interest, and will, doubtless, long be remembered with the other festivities of the occasion.  Morning prayers at Carr Shield Chapel,were attended by a large number of the miners,and the local choir, who possess great ability in chanting, sung the national anthem, ‘God save the Queen.’   Dinners were given at Carr Shield, Coalcleugh and Ninebanks, and the utmost good feelings and enthusiasm were evinced by all present.  Dancing, bonfires, illuminations, and other rejoicings continued during the whole of the evening.

      Similar hospitalities and rejoice were resumed in Weardale, on the 13th; dinners were given at Newhouse, Short Thorns, Cornhill, St. John's Chapel, Westgate and Rookhope; the firing of cannons, music, and a procession of workmen, with various other manifestations of enthusiastic rejoicing afforded the numerous body of workmen employed by Mr Beaumont, an opportunity of showing their attachment; and it is only just to say of the entire body of miners, throughout the whole of the proceedings that they appreciated the high character, and generous disposition of the excellent young gentleman, whose majority they were met to celebrate, and to whom no greater compliment could have been paid, than by the good order, respectable appearance, and highly creditable proceedings of this large number of workmen.

      We understand the celebration of Mr Beaumont's majority by the tenantry of his landed estates, will take place on a future occasion, in the course of the summer, when it is expected he will himself be present.
from the Newcastle Courant issue of 19 April 1850

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The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467