October 11 2018: re-draw

Illustrated by one of that gentleman’s weekly masterpieces – around the 1961 Northumberland Senior Cup final between Ashington and Whitley Bay – yesterday’s blog recalled the cartoonist Dudley Hailwood and regretted that nothing could be found on the internet.

As several kind readers, one a censorious retired headmaster, pointed out, it would have helped had we spelled his name correctly. It was Hallwood.

Now we know that his work has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum and sold at leading auction houses and that after moving to Tyneside he also became a successful businessman – though his line’s still unknown.

His first book, Pen Splashes, appeared in 1926.  In 1929 he was Canterbury RFC’s first captain, the club’s principal sevens trophy still named in his memory. In World War II he was a lieutenant, still prolifically drawing his comrades – and sometimes the enemy, too.

Retired (Newcastle) Journal writer Tony Jones remembers interviewing Dudley when the cartoonist was in his 80s and living, he thinks, in Ryton. “He was a lovely man, his wonderful work still evident in clubhouses throughout the region but largely forgotten now.

“He subsequently sent a cartoon of myself which he’d drawn from memory. He was in his 80s by then but utterly brilliant and his talent undimmed.”

John Gibson, the (Newcastle) Evening Chronicle’s legendary man on the Magpies beat, also remembers Dudley. “His cartoons really were extra special. He did one of me running alongside Newcastle skipper Bob Moncur, pen and notebook at the ready.

“The only shame was that the pen was in my right hand, a natural assumption, and I’m left handed. Still, you can’t complain when it was the master.”

Long serving Whitley Bay secretary and Northern League management committee member Derek Breakwell also remembers Dudley from distant days when Derek was a hairdresser in Monkseaton and the artist would often look in for a short back.

Derek was a 13-year-old supporter at the time of the 1961 final, allowed to sit on the grass behind the Croft Park goal – “lots of pitch invasions when we scored” – but slightly puzzled by the cartoon’s suggestion that it was a replay. Rather it was the second round.

The clubs had also met in the previous season’s final, Ashington then top of the Midland League – what clubs like the Colliers were doing in the Midland League is for another day – and hot favourites to beat their “amateur” Northern League opponents.

At half-time, Whitley Bay led 4-2 in the teeth of an April/May blizzard. The angry Ashington manager demanded the game be abandoned; the referee refused. “There was an amazing row,” Derek recalls, and that’s doubtless the stooshie to which the cartoon refers.

Tony Jones, who emails from holiday in Budapest – what loyalty, thanks – also wrote Dudley’s obituary. When he gets home he’s promised to find it. There may be yet more before this all draws to a close.

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