History – Recent

Since the 1914-18 war Ebchester has continued to grow steadily. Homes were built for aged miners in 1914/15 and groups of council and private houses were built in the 1930s. Further council housing was built in the 1950s and small infill groups of private housing have been added over the years.

Until the 1940s the main employment in the area continued to be mining and with improved transport more people travelled to work at the nearby Consett steelworks. Since then there has been a steady decline in both industries. All mining has now ceased and Consett and Ebchester suffered the traumatic experience of the complete closure of the steelworks in 1980, with the consequent local male unemployment rate of over 25%. The area has slowly recovered from this setback and Ebchester is now a popular village with a well-mixed community, but with an increasing number of commuters.

The Post Office and general store remain in the centre of the village but several of the local businesses have now disappeared. The old Co-op store and the small general store at East Law have both now ceased operations, as have the Dodds & Bedford Abattoir, Armstrong’s Bus and Coach Garage, Sturdy Electric Company, Marley Tile Works and Bridge End Sawmill.

J Beveridge Nurseries, on Ebchester Hill, was established in 1910 and continues to provide a top quality service, attracting gardeners from a wide area. There are three farms within the village area while about one mile to the north of the village are the Broad Oak and Hollings Hill Quarries, both operated by Lafarge Tarmac, and both dependent on the large sand and gravel deposits to the north and east of the Heugh Wood.  Broad Oak Quarry is now almost completely restored and is gradually being handed over to the Northumberland Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve.

There remain three other small businesses just across the river in Northumberland. A cattery, and Alex Clark’s fine art and greetings card business are both at the former sawmill, where garden sheds used to be made. Over the road from them are James Anderson and his father Jimmy who weld and repair almost anything that can be welded and repaired. Jimmy is also the local poet and philosopher and his poetry readings are a feature of many social events in the area.