Remembering a girl called Annie…
August 22, 2021
A refurbished Cramlington play area is to be named in honour of a child who died during a national epidemic in the 1930s.
Cramlington Town Councillor for the South East ward, Paul Ezhilchelvan, explains: “Annie Green grew up among the coal heaps of West Cramlington, an area that has been transformed into the area known today as Alexandra Park.”
“Her life was tragically cut short when she died during a national outbreak of rheumatic fever – I’m sure we all recognise the echo of what happened then with what is happening now.”
“Within Alexandra Park is a play area that Cramlington Town Council has recently spent £100,000 refurbishing to create an exciting, colourful and safe area for local children to enjoy.”
“The naming of this play area will be a memorial to Annie Green and all the young people who died during the outbreak. It will also remind us to be grateful for the beautiful green space that we are able to enjoy today.”
It is thanks to the work of the U3A Cramlington Local History Group, historian Barry Stewart and Annie’s nephew Brian Green that Annie’s story can now be told.
She lived her life in the boundaries of what was then West Cramlington Colliery.
Born June the 20th 1923 she was the daughter of Elizabeth and William Green.
As a shipyard labourer, William would be employed on a day-to-day basis – a precarious way to earn a living, but two brothers followed Annie and her father began working in the coal mine.
But tragedy was to strike the family as an epidemic of rheumatic fever gripped the country.
Today a course of antibiotics would tackle the bacterial infection but in the 1930s it was a different story.
Poor housing conditions such as overcrowding and inferior sanitation resulted in rapid transmission of the disease and the more susceptible were those aged between 5 and 15 years old. Girls suffered the most fatalities with 60% succumbing to heart failure.
Annie died on 11th of January 1936 at 1 Cross Road West Cramlington.
Her death was registered as heart failure brought about by rheumatic fever.
She was 12 years old.
Cramlington Town Council is currently making preparations for a naming ceremony – more information will follow at a later date.