Tyne & Wear
Little Moscow on the Derwent

Chopwell - Little Moscow on the Derwent

During the age of coal Chopwell was a thriving mining village. Small scale mining began in 1530 but the village grew with the development of the colliery by the Consett Iron Co. in 1896. After the Russian Revolution in 1917 many militant miners joined the fledgling Communist Party in Britain and Chopwell became a stronghold for the movement. The Chopwell miners remained solid throughout the great strike that began on 22nd June 1925 and lasted until December 1926. During the period of the General Strike in May 1926 the Union Jack was taken down from the council offices and replaced with the Soviet flag and it is said that the bible was removed from the church and replaced with the works of Karl Marx. Two terraces were named after Marx and Lenin and the village was soon dubbed "Little Moscow" in the locality.

The local pits were wound down in the 1950s and Chopwell Colliery finally closed in 1966. A local monument commemorates all those who worked there from 1896 to 1966. Now Chopwell is little more than a dormitory town for Gateshead but Marx Terrace and Lenin Terrace remain momentos of the village's epic past.