Murray Engine Works
The Round School
The DLI & Chester
Gt. North Road
The Great Flood
CAN YOU HELP?
Shrove Tuesday Football
Donald O Clarke
A Brief History
Murder at Mill
Vincent "Bush" Parker
The Cestrian Club
A Dastardly Deed
The Lumley Warriors
CLS Cricket Club
Meet the Members
WOOLWORTHS - End of an Era
NEWS & EVENTS
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
100 Years Ago
Links for Chester-le-Street Heritage Group
Would you like to see a Heritage Centre in Chester-le-Street
A Tribute to Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson or rather "Bob" to his friends, was born in Melville Street, Chester-le-Street on 8th September 1925. In 1939, as it was for many people of his age, schooling was interrupted with the outbreak of World War II.
Robert at the age of 14 started work in Chester-le-Street at the Hornerís Sweet Factory in Foundry Lane. He worked here until he was called up for National Service.
During his National Service, Bob was stationed at Dover and Salisbury.
After the War ended he applied to work in the Drawing Office at Clarke Chapman's in Gateshead. It was here that he met his future wife, Elizabeth Edna Baker. They were married at St Georges Church on Gateshead Fell on 9th February 1952.
Robert and Elizabeth then lived in Chester-le-Street before moving to Great Lumley in 1960.
Robert was now studying hard at Night Classes, eventually gaining Chartered Status in Mechanical Engineering. His opinions and advice were often sought in the North East Nuclear Industry. In the mid sixties he left Clarke Chapman's and moved over the Tyne to the Regional Health Authority at Walkergate Hospital. This involved him covering an area from Northallerton to Carlisle, Barrow to Berwick.
He had many stories to tell of his time at Walkergate, including one that took place at Stannington Psychiatric Hospital. One of the "long term patients" who was dressed in a very smart suit, told the driver of a very large tipper lorry to "dump" his load right in front of the boiler house door. This was done and fortunately Robert had just left the boiler house, but some people were trapped inside until help was summoned. Robert retired in 1987.
Bob was very much a family man. They had one daughter, Carole Elizabeth born in 1955 who married Eric Atkinson in 1977. Bob was very proud of his two grandsons, Mark and Andrew. Mark studied Mechanical Engineering and invited his Grandfather to see the Engineering Dept at Grey College at Durham University. Bob could not believe the changes since his day of pencils, slide rules and drawing boards. Computers and laptops had replaced all that he knew and although he found it fascinating he was not at all convinced that this was the way forward. Fortunately just before he died the family was able to tell him that after Graduation in the summer that Mark had secured a Mechanical Engineering and Design job with a leading company.
Andrew, his youngest grandson, managed to persuade his Granddad to take a ride in a Robinson 44, a four seater helicopter when Bob was 79 years old. Bob had never been in a helicopter before and although it was a short flight because of a sudden weather change, he did enjoy the experience. Andrew did comment that Granddad was very white and gripped the edge of the seat all the time!
Hobbies included gardening, bird watching and collecting old and rare books. Robert and Elizabeth loved to walk and in their younger days scaled most of the peaks in the Lake District. He was secretary of the Durham and Cleveland Allotments Association for many years and played an important role in the Garden Festival held at Gateshead in 1990. Bob had two allotments, and Bird Watching took him to the Fame Islands many times and the Isles off the West Coast of Scotland. One of his many passions was Local History and he was President of the Local History Society in the town.
Bob was very lucky with his health until about a year ago where his breathing was becoming a problem. He went for tests and x-rays only to be told that his heart was not in a very good condition. He decided to try for a Pacemaker to be fitted although this was not a "quick fix". This unfortunately did not work, but Bob and Elizabeth did manage to celebrate 55 years of marriage in the Freeman Hospital in February. He died very peacefully.
Sincere Condolences to Elizabeth, family and friends from the Members of Chester-le-Street Heritage Group.
|Happier times - Bob, with his wife Elizabeth.|
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