Washington County Durham


Memories of an Usworth Family

The Richardsons of Railway Terrace  ( 2 of 2 )


Pictured during The General Strike, 1926.

Smith, Cook & Richardson
Herbert Smith, A. J. Cook and W. P. Richardson on their way to Downing Street, 26th August 1926.
During the 'Coal Lock-out'.

Herbert Smith: President of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain from 1922 to 1929.
Arthur James Cook: General Secretary of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain from 1924 until 1931.
William Pallister Richardson: Treasurer of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain from 1921 to 1930,
also General Secretary of Durham Miners' Association from 1924 to 1930.

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After the General Strike

Smith & Richardson
Herbert Smith and W. P. Richardson, 14th May 1926.

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[ Thanks again to grandson, W.P. 'Bill' Richardson. ]

Councillor, Mrs BELLA  P.  GAUNT

( née Isabella Pallister Richardson, Daughter of Robert & Margaret Richardson )

Bella Gaunt's Family
The Family of Leinan and Bella Gaunt c.1906

  • Leinan Gaunt:
  • Isabella P. Gaunt:
  • Margaret P. Gaunt:
  • John Gaunt:
  • Annie Gaunt:
  • Ada Gaunt:
  • Married Isabella Pallister Richardson in 1894.
  • Born 1869 - Married coal miner Leinan Gaunt in 1894 - Died 1944.
  • Born 1st April 1897 - Married George Davis in 1924 - Died 1962.
  • Born 2nd Quarter 1900 - Married Mary Newton in 1924 - Died March 1958.
  • Born 23rd March 1903 - Unmarried - Died 3rd May 2001.
  • A Third Daughter - Born 1911.


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Councillor Isabella P. Gaunt

Council Election Leaflet 1
Election Leaflet, 1926.

Council Election Leaflet 2

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Councillor Bella Gaunt, née Isabella Pallister Richardson

Bella Gaunt

Usworth Colliery Ward, Washington Urban District Council

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Bella's Obituary

Bella's Obituary
Durham Chronicle, 1st September 1944

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[ Thanks again to great-nephew, W.P. 'Bill' Richardson. ]


( Eldest Son of Robert & Margaret Richardson )

Thomas Richardson
(6th June 1868 - 22nd October 1928)


Tom was W.P. Richardson's elder brother and, at the age of eleven, worked as a Trapper Boy at Usworth Colliery. He was responsible for opening and closing pairs of ventilation doors in the correct manner - to assist the passage of miners, ponies, coal tubs etc., without causing disruption to the normal flow of the mine's ventilation system. On the day of the 1885 Usworth Colliery Disaster, which killed his father, Robert, and 41 other miners, Tom had taken the day off.

On 31st January 1888, Tom married Mary Ellener (Nellie) Purvis (1868-1947), the daughter of John Purvis, a farm hand. Tom and Nellie had ten children but, like his brother W.P. and wife Esther, Tom and Nellie had to suffer the loss of 4 children in infancy, and one as a young woman. Robert and Margaret Richardson's Family were all given a religious upbringing and Tom was a Primitive Methodist Preacher for many years.

He also involved himself in political and trade union work and joined the executive of the Durham Miners' Association (DMA) in 1897. In the early 1900s, he and his younger brother were founders of the local Independent Labour Party (ILP) at Usworth. Tom was elected to serve in a variety of political roles in the area e.g. The Washington School Board, Great & Little Usworth Parish Council, Chester-le-Street Rural District Council and Durham County Council.  [ See Thomas Richardson's Certificate of Appreciation on the next Tab. ]

Thomas Richardson contested the Whitehaven seat in the general election of December 1910, sponsored by the ILP - it was held by the Conservative Party. He won the seat and made his maiden speech in the House of Commons in March 1911, calling for an increase in the number of Mine Inspectors. He referred to Whitehaven's Wellington Pit Disaster of May 1910, when 136 men and boys had been killed by an underground explosion and subsequent fire. He made no mention of his father's death in similar circumstances at Usworth while he (Thomas), a fellow Usworth miner, was only 16 years of age.

Tom contested the Bosworth, Leicestershire seat in 1918 and was beaten by the Coalition Liberal candidate H.D. McLaren. McLaren had been awarded a CBE for his work at the Ministry of Munitions, while Richardson had taken a public anti-war stance.

He continued to work for the labour movement but by the late 1920s his health began to deteriorate. He died of heart failure at St. Thomas's Hospital, London, having been in hospital for several weeks with heart trouble. Thomas Richardson was buried in Streatham Vale cemetery.

Tom Richardson worked closely with a number of prominent men in the early labour movement. He was a close friend of Ramsey MacDonald, who gave an address at his funeral. The respect Tom Richardson had for these men is reflected in the names given to two of his sons, Thomas Hardy Richardson, born in 1905, and Robert MacDonald Richardson (known as Donald), born in 1910.

Funeral Notice


Service and Orbituary Notice

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[ Thanks again to great-nephew, W.P. 'Bill' Richardson, and to Hester Barron, for making the above information available on-line. ]


( Honoured by Great & Little Usworth, Chester-le-Street and Durham Councils )

Certificate of Appreciation, Respect and Esteem
( for Tom Richardson's Public Service, locally and elsewhere in County Durham )

Framed Certificate

[ Certificate image courtesy of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson. ]


( Tribute Published by the NMA )

( Includes Tribute by Ramsay MacDonald )

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[ N.M.A. Tribute images courtesy of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson. ]


Robert & Margaret Richardson's Family

Usworth Homes occupied by Robert & Margaret's Family

1. Margaret's husband, Robert, was the son of Thomas and Mary Richardson who lived in Inkerman Terrace.
2. Ex-miner Ralph Richardson had his Sweet Shop at 1, Monument Terrace - it later became Moran's Sweet Shop.
3. Pensher View, Cooperative Terrace, Richardson Terrace, Manor View, Wood Terrace and Elliot Terrace are still standing.

Moran's Shop - 1 Monument Terrace - at the top of Edith Avenue.
Previously, Ralph Richardson's Sweet Shop.
Before Moran's, it was John Carr's.

( Giulio Forte in the Foreground. )

Pensher View
Pensher View
( Looking towards St. Michael's Church. Corner with Railway Terrace. )

Railway Terrace
Railway Terrace
( Usworth Colliery in the Background )

[ Family information courtesy of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson. ]


When was it built?  Who was it named after?

( Manor Road )

Who Was It Named After?

"I began this article thinking Richardson Terrace was probably named in honour of W. P. Richardson,
It was obvious that it could have been his elder brother Tom, but unlikely to be anyone else."

W. P. Richardson

Consider these facts:
1. W.P. (as he was known) lived in Usworth and was a highly respected, God-fearing member of the tight-knit, local mining community.
2. A Pony Driver, Putter, then Hewer at Usworth Colliery, he was appointed Usworth Lodge Secretary, in 1898, while still a young man.
3. In 1912 he became a member of the Durham Miners’ Federation Board, and in 1915 became an agent of the Durham Miners’ Association.
4. In 1916, he was honoured for his services as Branch Secretary to Usworth Miners and was presented with a gold watch, chain and medal.
5. In July 1924, after the death of Mr. Thomas Cann, he was appointed General Secretary of the Durham Miners' Association.
6. For 15 years before he went to the Durham Miners’ offices, W.P. also served the community as Chairman of Usworth Parish Council.
7. W.P.'s father, Robert Richardson, was a casualty in the dreadful Usworth Colliery Disaster of 1885.
8. In Esther, William Pallister Richardson had the perfect wife. She assisted him with his Parish Council, Community and Church duties and gave him sterling support throughout their marriage. She was active, in her own right, within the local community and Labour movement.

Extract from the Minutes of Usworth Parish Council

It was resolved that it be recorded in the minutes that the Council highly appreciated the services that have been rendered as Chairman of the Council by Mr W. P. Richardson, and we offer him our best thanks and express the wish that he may be highly successful in the new sphere of work upon which he has entered.

Only his elder brother Thomas could compete with that.

Thomas Richardson

Tom Richardson's Certificate, on Tab 4, shows the high regard in which he was held in 1907 - before Richardson Terrace was built!
It also shows that he was a valued member of Chester-le-Street Rural District Council.

The 1911 census shows only 18 houses in Richardson Terrace, together with their occupants.
Davey Barron has seen the house deeds for no.19.  It was built in 1912.

House No. Residents
1 Dunn, J.
2 Marshall, E.
3 Tyson, J.
4 Clements, H.
5 Brown, T.
6 Williams, J. G.
7 Anderson, H.
8 Gaunt, L.
9 Devenport, W. J.
10 Robinson, S.
11 Wardle, A.
12 Stephenson, J.
13 Fullerton, W.
14 Wilson, F.
15 Nevins, W.
16 Hughes E.
17 Muncanton, G.
18 Affleck, J.

Note Leinan Gaunt - Bella's Husband.
[ Thanks to W.P. (Bill) Richardson ]


Crucial Piece of New Evidence

Extract from a Durham University, Master of Philosophy Thesis
Council House Building in County Durham, 1900-1939:
The Local Implementation of National Policy,
by Robert Ryder, 1979.

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Extract: W.P.'s Presentation Night in 1916.
( See Page 1,  Usworth Miners Honour W.P. )

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William Pallister Richardson was Chairman of Usworth Parish Council in 1904.
The Vice-Chairman of Chester-le-Street Council must have been Tom.
Therefore, according to Robert Ryder's Thesis / Research,

Richardson Terrace was probably named after Thomas Richardson M.P.

What do you think?

[ Thanks to Mr Ryder for making his Thesis available on-line. ]