Grandfather pens book about forgotten Northumberland community

Alex Krzyzanowski, 65, has written a book on Hartford Camp which was on Plessey Woods after the Second World War

Alex Krzyzanowski from Stakeford who has wrote a book about the Hartford Camps
Alex Krzyzanowski from Stakeford who has wrote a book about the Hartford Camps

All that remains of the site of his childhood home is an abandoned hut - but Alex Krzyzanowski wants to ensure this piece of history is never forgotten.

The 65-year-old grew up on Hartford Camp in Northumberland, a community housed on land which is now Plessey Woods Country Park.

And to ensure that the camp, which housed families from 1949 to 1958, is not forgotten, Alex has undertaken four years of research and produced a booklet about the largely forgotten community.

“I lived there and I have always been interested in local history,” said Alex, who lives in Stakeford, Northumberland.

“I was hoping one of the local writers would have done something on Hartford Camp but I couldn’t find anything.

“I kept thinking about it and I started getting told by people that I should do it, that was about four years ago and it went from there,” said the grandfather-of-two.

Looking at the archives at Woodhorn Museum and speaking to other former residents, Alex started putting pen to paper and has now produced his booklet on his former home, Hartford Camps Bedlingtonshire: A Forgotten Community 1949-1958.

“It’s been getting a good response so far, I have been giving some away and have given some to Plessey Woods so people know what was there before and also to the local libraries,” said Alex, who worked as a caretaker at Woodhorm Museum after spending 42 years as a coal mine electrician.

“I just want us to have more interest in that site.

“People are not aware there were huts on the site where the shop is. It was an army camp first and when the army moved out a lot of families moved in, they were classed as squatters.

“The council then started to improve the huts and people started to move in properly. It lasted nine years before it was closed down.There was a school on the site as there was about 200 children and I went to it for two years before moving on to the school in Bedlington.

“The last families moved out in 1958 and the site was demolished pretty much straight away. The only thing left is one army building.

“It was after the war that they transformed the place. I loved living there and I would love to go back, a lot of people I spoke to feel the same even though there was not a lot of money, the atmosphere was great.

“The advantage was having Plessey Woods right there on your doorstep. I was nine when we left and I can still remember a lot about it,” said Alex, who has a daughter Toni and son Mark.

He added: “I am part of the lost generation who will have the only memories of Hartford Camp so that’s why I have put pen to paper, it was not for financial gain.”

If you are interested in hearing more about the book produced by Alex contact the Chronicle on 0191 201 6273.


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