Great Tosson : In The 20th Century
During the last century Great Tosson witnessed profound social, economic and demographic changes in common with the other villages in the National Park. Two world wars left their mark on this part of Coquetdale in terms of the casualties amongst those who went off to fight. World War II also left a tangible reminder in the fabric of the locality in the shape of the concrete pillboxes built at Newtown and Ryehill as part of the Coquet Line of defence in 1940.
Agriculture now employs fewer people than in the past, but it remains a crucial element in the economy of the locality and the farms in the village continue to operate, having acquired the usual assortment of large modern shelter sheds and the like. However other local industries have also declined.
The limestone quarry has long since fallen into disuse, as lime is no longer such an important agricultural input, and the woollen mill which was still flourishing at the beginning of the century, when Dixon wrote (1903, 469-70), had already closed by the time volume XV of the County History, which dealt with Great Tosson, appeared in 1940 (NCH XV (1940), 397).
Leisure and tourism have assumed much greater importance following the creation of the Northumberland National Park in 1956 and the increasing recreational time and opportunities available to all sections of the population in the second half of the 20th century. Any negative aspects of the last century and its impact on the village must be balanced against the enormous improvement in living standards experienced by ordinary people over its course.
The houses and cottages in the village all now form comfortable homes with the full range of services - power, water and telephone - expected in the modern world. It is likely that this residential function - in providing homes for people who work elsewhere - will become increasingly important for Great Tosson as the current century progresses.
Pictures : Cottages at Tosson