Helen McGuinness, a former childhood resident of Clara Vale, got in touch recently to shed some light on Stannar House, long since demolished, which was situated at the eastern edge of the village on what is now the Orchard:
‘I lived in Clara Vale in the mid 1950’s as a child with my siblings and parents (Syd and Grace Walker). My father worked in the pit. We lived in Stannar House (please note that is how we always knew it as, StannAR and not StannER). We moved out in 1964 shortly before it was demolished. It was a fantastic big old house. At the start of it’s life it was one large farmhouse but over time it was turned into two semi detached houses – each house was very large. We were lucky to have the barns at our side and as children we loved to play in them. We used to hang onto the mesh fence waving to the trains as they went past. I still have dreams about Stannar House. I often go back to have a look around Clara Vale but always hang around where Stannar House used to be. I have very many happy memories of there.’
Helen has kindly found some old photos that her father Sydney Walker took in the mid-50’s, reproduced with her kind permission below. And below that, are two map sections, the first is from the late 1800’s, showing ‘Stanner House’ was in place before the Maryside and Tyne View houses were built, and another section from 1962, just a few years before the pit closed and the house was demolished. It is also interesting to see the development of the pit and village in the mapping detail, over a period of around 60 years.
Click on any image to enlarge: