Current Activity Update

For youngsters (As noted on first page) go to my YouTube page at “Keith Gregson” and join in the fun. I have recently returned to work in schools from time to time in support of primary history. Two sessions seem to work ( both half a day – a.m. or p.m.). One is based on the history of Sunderland through songs written for youngsters – 2 x 45 minute sessions as assemblies – R/Y1/Y2 and Y3 -6 or similar. The other could be classroom or year group based and works on looking at how children’s lives were different in Sunderland in the past and is based on my ‘Children’s History of Sunderland’ book. Songs could be involved too if there is time.

For adults   Go to the The Ashbrooke Boys and Shetland pages for details of free copies of online books. The idea is that, after what may be considered tough times, people might enjoy the content but also make suggestions for improvement – which is possible with online publications. Just e-mail me and I will send copies of it/them as an attachment. My 150th anniversary history of Sunderland RFC’s first season  can be purchased via Ashbrooke Sports Club.

If interested in my ‘revived by coronavirus’ involvement with research into ‘music of the past’ (n.b. now frightened to use the words ‘folk’ or ‘traditional’), you will find references to work in this area – past and present – scattered across the web site. I had a major article in a the annual Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society ( Folk Music Journal) in 2021 and an article on sea shanty collection in north east England in a compilation released by Ballad Partners in October 2022 . I have also begun to contribute to FolkLife magazine on a regular basis. The latest – on a significant Wearside song – was published in February 2024.

Genealogy  Over the past few years I have acted as an expert (Social and Sporting Historian) in online and live Family History shows run by Family Tree magazine and The Genealogist. These shows have taken place in York, London, Bristol and Malvern.  The most recent was Malvern in March 2024. I took part in the online Family History Show in February and am booked to talk and give advice at the York and London Shows later in the year. I have also given online talks on Northern Ancestry to the Society of Genealogists, on internet genealogy to the Peak District U3A FHS and on Cumbrian ancestry to the Lake District U3A in Windermere.

https://thefamilyhistoryshow.com/york/ask-the-experts/

See https://thefamilyhistoryshow.com/york/ask-the-experts/

I have had major articles published in Family Tree magazine since 2019 and am due to do a zoom on maritime research for the magazine in September 2024. I also write on a regular basis for the online monthly and hard copy annual Discover Your Ancestors with three articles published already in 2023.  You can see these via the Genealogist web site. One article went in the November 2023 issue, another in during February 2024 and yet another in the annual year book for 2024. Articles have also been accepted for the 80th D Day celebration issue in June and for Remembrance Day in November .

Sporting History 

As noted in the introductory page I am still historian for Sunderland (Rugby) Football Club and also former archivist for the overarching Ashbrooke Sports Club. See for a summary of that archival work

 https://www.ashbrookesports.org/our-heritage

I have been working recently with historians in Bilbao on links between Sunderland AFC and the Athletic Club of Bilbao. This has led to the discovery of another link – between rugby union in North East England and Association football in Spain. I am also working on helping former rugby player Martin Whitcombe to list all those who have had North of England trials in rugby. In Sunderland I am helping the remodelled Vaux Brewery with the history of a couple of buildings with which the brewery is involved viz. the shelter near Roker Ravine and the former Bridge Hotel in High Street

Music Still composing and collating. I have now recorded professionally all my major pieces which are now available as two separate albums on YouTube (with notes).  Still performing from time to time. An afternoon concert on Sunderland songs took place at venue 1719 in Sunderland followed by a similar talk in the same venue at their Fayre in October. Also gave a talk on Sunderland songs to U3A to travel and tourism students at the local college . Last year I did a talk on Sunderland songs to 40 members of a local W.I. Currently working with others on developing some of my compositions. Barry Hyde of the Futureheads has also recorded an album containing some songs I wrote with Durham miner Jim Moreland in the 1970s and 1980s. The album was showcased at PopRecs in Sunderland on 01 September 2023 and I have recently completed an account concerning the creation of these songs. The band at Pop Recs was made up of members of the Futureheads, Field Music and Hyde and Beast. I am booked for a number of song based talks in 2024.

Christmas!

2023 Christmas ( see below) seems to have been successful and I hope to repeat all events in 2024. These were;

21nd December 19.00 An hour of Christmas songs with self and Barry Hyde after the Christmas Quiz at the Peacock and an hour of Christmas in Vinyl

23 December 12.00 – PopRecs High Street West -‘Christmas With Keith’ 12.00 – 14.00 – return of the annual family fun session – quiz, music and of course – the panto! N.B. Likely to be in Christmas Eve in 2024.

With this in mind – Congratulations also to super star Tom A Smith who has helped me out with Pop Recs Christmas since he was a youngster – and has gone on from Pop Recs to Glastonbury. Not a bad journey! Keep up the good work.