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Photo journal of my Trip to the British Isles in Search of my Heritage- the Russell Family of Coal Miners
Most photos taken by Robert Kramp in July 1996
 
 
Arrival at Claypath St Fig T-1. I took the train on a Brit Rail pass from Gatwick Airport to London and then on to Durham City. Here, I arrive at top of Claypath St. ready to crash into Bed and Breakfast- grateful to be relieved of my back pack. But wait! I will have to take several pounds of books and papers back to the states yet. By in large, I got around just fine on public transportation. The buses were a little more plentiful and a little more on schedule in Durham County than in Scotland.
Market Square, Durham Fig. T-2. Couldn't rest long at B&B, too much to discover. At the bottom of Claypath, I entered the old Market square. The Tourist office, Town Hall, Guildhall, Old Tavern, and St. Nicholas Church surround a square dominated by equestrian statue of the 3rd Marquis of Londonderry. I'm looking at many beautiful hanging baskets containing geraniums in several shades from red to purple. I sit on a bench and eat my first plate of fried Haddock and chips.


The Marquis of Londonderry (1778-1854) immigrated to northern England from Ireland and was present at the battle of Waterloo during the war with Napoleon. In Durham, he became a baron in the coal industry establishing the coal shipping port at Seaham Harbor on the North Sea. The Marquis was a controversial figure to the townspeople, many of whom were descended from pit men who worked in the coal mines. When the miners went on strike, the Marquis tried to influence the shop keepers and grocers not to sell their goods to the strikers in order to break them. The Marquis was a short man; so, when the town was erecting his statue, the former miners and their descendants jested, "Is that a horse he's riding, or maybe a pony, or perhaps some kind of dog".


 
Durham Cathedral from Millburngate Fig T-3. Durham Cathedral (far towers) and the castle (top, left) as viewed from Millburngate Bridge over the River Weir (rhymes with beer).  Castle is now used as dormitory for University of Durham. The Framwellgate bridge, in view, leads through the old town to Market Square.
 
 
Durham Castle from below Fig T-4. On Day 2, I took a guided, walking tour of the old City of Durham. Here, we stand on the left bank of the River Weir next to the corn mill, and admire the Cathedral towers above. Directly across from us is the 15th century fulling (textile) mill. Both mills were owned by the Priory of the Cathedral. The so-called Prince Bishops of Durham had commerce, money, power, and an army to keep the Scots at bay across the northern border.
Cow maiden and dunn cow Fig. T-5. Durham County is rich in folklore and history. This relief high up on outside walls of the Cathedral commemorates story of the maiden and the dunn (or brown) cow. Reportedly, the priests carrying around the coffin of St. Cuthbert asked such a maiden for directions. The coffin, which had been carried around for centuries, all of a sudden would not budge. The monks built a church on the spot which became known as Durham named after the dunn cow. Then there is the story of the Saxons in which Durham is named after a place they called "Dun Holm" meaning "hill island".  As a fellow genealogist, your know you can't believe everything written in stone.
 
 
plaque, John Washington Fig T-6. And on a wall on the inside of the Cathedral- a bit of American history. Plaque states, "Remember in these cloisters which were finished in his day, JOHN WASHINGTON, of Washington in this County, Prior of this Cathedral Church, 1416-1446, whose family has won an everlasting name in lands to him unknown." 

Yes, it refers to the ancestor of our own first president, George Washington.

Old postcard, Durham Cathedral Fig T-7. In 1997, I found this antique postcard in a New York shop, of all places, depicting Durham cathedral at a distance. It shows how the cathedral dominated the landscape for miles around. Inscription at bottom of card reads: "Durham from Pelaw Wood". One can not take too many photos of this landmark.
 
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