12 galleries, made up from scanned pages from the original magazines. Original text and drawings are poorly printed by todays standards, but hopefully are still clear enough to read.
All provided courtesy of John Robinson, who patiently scanned and sent them all.

no images were found


A note from John about these magazines;

“It was very interesting reading through them as I could recognize most of the names, both adults and children. I was born in 1932 about the same time as the publication. We moved from the Colliery to the Village in July of 1933.

One of my sisters and three of my brothers transferred to the village school in 1933 (although none get a mention in the pages). I did not start until 1937. I have still not made any connection between the cartoonist J M Donnelly and my great grandmother Hannah Robinson. *see footnote.
Hannah (Lazonby) was born in the Village in 1841, daughter of a farmer and lived there all of her life (died 1934). About 12 of her children would have attended this school and a lot of her grandchildren including my father, his brother George and sister Hannah.
The seven children in my fathers family also attended this school each doing reasonably well academically ( one nurse, four engineers, one mechanic and one teacher).

The documents were from the estate of my maiden aunt Hannah Robinson who died in 1970. Each cover has her name penciled in the top left hand corner. My brother Billy the family historian had the foresight to collect old photographs documents from dying relatives but did nothing with them. He died in 2002 without writing anything down about family history, or what he had collected.
My interest was in photographs and on a visit to Trimdon, I scanned all of the old photographs. I also found an old tea tin from WW1 with documents on the Shorthouse family that are already included on the Trimdon Times website.

Billy’s wife Peggy died in March of 2017 (after collapsing in Trimdon Colliery post office). While clearing out the house, her daughter Anne found the TPS documents and other old photos etc and mailed them to my brother Paul in Durham. He mentioned them to me when we were talking by Skype and I asked him to mail them to me (I got them Tuesday 11th April 2017). He was just going to throw them out. I would
be interested to know if you would know anybody that would like to archive them.”


Hi Ken

I found the link, I am sure that you will appreciate the connection. I do remember a Gibson family living in Skerne Ave. in the 1940’s, their son Billy was a little older than me. Olive was probably his aunt?


The Joseph Michael Donnelly Archive of Cartoons and Correspondence
Chicago Times cartoonist 1876-1888

Joseph Donnelly was born in Sedgefield, County Durham, England on March 19th 1852. His parents moved the short distance to Trimdon in 1861 where they ran the local draper’s shop and young Joseph was educated at the Old School in the village.

In June of 1871, aged eighteen, Joseph emigrated to America, working his way from New York City to Chicago doing odd jobs along the way. He got steady work at a neighbourhood grocer’s store putting up orders and writing up the price cards. Answering a local ad, he was offered a job at the Chicago Times in 1873 where he started as assistant to the “cartoon writer”. Three years later he assumed charge of the fledgling Cartoon Department and during the following decade became the paper’s political cartoonist with editorial responsibility for all of its comic illustrations.

In 1888, aged thirty-five, he was stricken with partial paralysis which blinded him for nineteen months. He was unable to resume his work, never fully regaining his sight. Latterly he found employment as a manufacturer’s salesman selling hardware and farming equipment, finally retiring from this successful business in 1913. He died aged eighty-one on May 30th 1933.

Joseph Donnelly attributed his entire success to the education he received at that “Little Red Brick School in Trimdon” and he wrote: “It was here I laid the foundation stone that carried me through successfully”. It was during the height of his career with the Chicago Times that he contacted the school for a pen-pal to keep him in touch with the old village life. The head-master organised a competition and twelve-year-old Olive Gibson was the winner and a regular correspondence soon developed between them which was to last for twelve years. When he wrote to his “Little English Rose” he would often illustrate his letters and sometimes the envelopes as well. On many occasions he would send the original cartoons from the paper, once they had been published, to show Olive the vibrant political life that infused Chicago at the time. Hoover, Smith, Prohibition, politics, sports, crime and police corruption all featured and Donnelly’s sure-fire wit and alacrity with the artist’s pen were much in evidence. Most of his work is signed.

Chicago Police Captain to new recruit: “Do you know the distance from Chicago to New York?” New recruit: “I do know, and if you put me on that beat, I’m resigning now!”

A champion of the poor, Joseph Donnelly created the cartoon series “When a Feller Needs A Friend”, highlighting the woes of Chicago’s poor and immigrant community.

Olive Gibson saved 315 original cartoons (41 “When A Feller Needs A Friend”) and 105 letters, 75 with their original envelopes. 47 of these envelopes are illustrated with cartoons.

A further selection of original illustrations follows: