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Jubilee Hall Recollections Jennifer Guthrie

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Recollections: Jennifer Guthrie (née Houston)

Jennifer Guthrie (née Houston) was born in 1946 – the daughter of Eddie Houston and Minnie Lillie.

Here she recalls her association with the Jubilee Hall while growing up as a child in West Hedgeley.

Black and white photo of Jenny Guthrie aged 9 years in 1955
Jennifer (Houston) c. 1955, age 9 years [Ref: BVPC0489]

The Jubilee Hall was a big part of my life as I grew up. We lived at West Hedgeley Cottages, and my mother and father were caretakers of the hall. I remember often going with them to put out or clear up tables, sweep floors and clean.

Jubilee Hall caretakers Eddie Houston and Minnie Lillie on their wedding day 1936, outside their home, the Blacksmith’s Cottage, Powburn [Ref: BVPC0374]

There were whist drives most weeks and regular dances. There were probably in excess of twenty card tables. I know they took a lot of putting up and down. Eddie organised the whists, and Minnie the suppers. The Christmas whist was always a big event, with many popular prizes including all kinds of poultry, potatoes, logs – to name just a few – and sometimes even a sheep!

The dances were always popular. Again, Minnie was in the kitchen and my uncle Billy Houston was Master of Ceremonies. He would always wear shiny black dancing shoes. When I was about 13 or 14, I was allowed to go, as my parents were there, and dad and uncle Billy taught me to dance.

Santa has uncle Billy’s nose!

At Christmas, Branton school and Hedgeley estate held children’s parties, and Hedgeley Estate gave a Christmas party for estate workers. Billy Houston was always Santa and when I was very small, I apparently stopped in the middle of the hall and announced that Santa had uncle Billy’s nose!

Secret Santa – uncle Billy Houston [Ref: BVPC0381]

I can’t remember the exact year, but it must have been around the early 1960s that the committee decided to try to buy the Co-op store and make a new village hall. Dad was Secretary and Treasurer and very excited about this. It seemed that it was all that was talked about in the house. I can’t remember who was on the committee except Bessie Paxton who was regularly in our house having discussions. I can also remember dad telling mam the day that the sale went through. Then the planning started. Unfortunately, Eddie died suddenly in November 1963 and never saw his dream come true.

Jennifer Guthrie (October 2021)


NB: Dates in (brackets) indicate the year when the images were first shared with either the Breamish Valley Photographic Collection or the Breamish Hall Heritage Project and, therefore, the date when permission to use the images was granted.

  • Header image consists of: BVPC0343 (background) Sally Tait personal collection (2022) and BVPC00317 (Jennifer Houston) Sally Tait personal collection (2022)
  • BVPC0489: Jennifer Guthrie personal collection (2022)
  • BVPC0374: Jennifer Guthrie personal collection (2021)
  • BVPC0381: Jennifer Guthrie personal collection (2022)

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