North runner’s treasured collection up for sale

COLLIERY worker William Mirley would finish nightshift at the pit and then immediately line up for a road race .

Elswick, Newcastle and Heaton Harriers memorabilia up for auction

COLLIERY worker William Mirley would finish nightshift at the pit and then immediately line up for a road race .

His passion for running saw him build up a time capsule of the sport in the first 30 years or so of the last century.

Today his collection will go for auction at the Newcastle salerooms of Anderson & Garland.

It includes seven of his annual membership booklets for Elswick Harriers in Newcastle, from 1912-13 to 1936-37.

Elswick Harriers were set up in 1889 and were based at the Black Bull pub in Barrack Road and had a ladies’ branch, founded in 1929, in Spital Tongues.

William was also a member of Heaton Harriers, and kept six annual booklets from 1905-06 to 1929-30.

The club was originally based in Chillingham Road but moved in 1924 to the Refreshment Rooms in Heaton Park. They proudly recorded winning The Journal Cup in 1893.

The collection also includes William’s 1905-06 booklet from Newcastle Harriers – founded in 1887 with the motto Forward, Aye Forward – when he lived in Woolsington Road, Gosforth.

As well as an array of medals, William’s collection includes a range of material from running events in which he almost certainly took part.

These include programmes from the Gateshead Congregational Harriers 1919 Boxing Day races, the Northern Cross Country Association championships in 1920 at Gosforth Park racecourse, South Shields Police sports day and the Ingham Infirmary sports event in the town both in 1930, and Newcastle Constabulary sports in 1914.

There is also a programme from an event held at the Oxford Galleries in Newcastle on September 20, 1932, to honour Elswick Harrier Alex Burns, who had taken part in the Los Angeles Olympics that summer.

William worked as a blacksmith at Weetslade Colliery and was later caretaker at St Cuthbert’s Grammar School in Newcastle. He served as an engineer with the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War – one of five brothers who took part in the conflict.

William, born in 1896, later moved to Whitley Bay and died in 1975. His grandson Michael Mirley, who lives at Ovingham in Northumberland, said: “All his life was about running. I can remember him still running in his 60s.”

The collection is valued at £100-£200.

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