I found your Web site on Wheatley Hill and a picture of my uncle (Fred
Simpson) at his retirement party. I am the daughter (born in 1938) of his
sister Hilda Simpson. From about the age of 9 to the age of about 14 I used
to go from London (where we lived) on the train to Durham and Uncle Fred and
his sister Ella would pick me up there and I would spend 4-6 glorious weeks
with them in my school summer holidays. I was known to them as the "bonnie
For a Londoner, their house at the end of the village and opposite the pit was
heaven: I got wonderfully dirty, which my mother would never let me do, I fed
the chickens and the pig Alfie in the neighboring field (then we ate him the
following year!), I played with their dog Peter for hours on end, I forced
Uncle Fred to play endless card games with me, I played in the big garden,
walked to a nearby farm to feed the calves, and ate my Aunt Ella's delicious
custard tarts and bacon and egg pie.
I can still envision the house with its washhouse where my grandfather and
uncle would peel off their pit clothes for my aunt to wash using a washboard
and a mangle. There was a long garden at the back (which they called the
front) where they grew flowers and vegetables, and a big open field next to
Another uncle, Uncle Jack Hodgson, had a newsagents shop in the village. I
used to go there to play with his grandson Barry. So when I was there, I knew
a lot of people and went in and out of people's houses. It was a grand time.
Now I am 66 and have been living in New York City since 1967 with my husband
and 2 daughters.
Is the Simpsons' house still there? Do you have a picture of it?
Best wishes for your web site. It was so much fun to browse through it.
Ann (formerly Ann Pope)
Professor, English Department
Hunter College, City University of New York