Tanfield Railway is closed to control Covid-19.   Please donate to our GoFundMe appeal.

Search all posts in this blog

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Some Hartlepool History

Continuing to look at old footage, this silent film turned up about the attack on the NE coast by the German Navy early in WWI.
(still from film - Yorkshire Film Archive)

Hartlepool had a naval gun battery on the Headland which was targeted, & the town was a considerable port, industrial & railway centre at the time.   The bombardment continued to the undefended fishing ports of Whitby & Scarborough.   The film shows the aftermath which could be made public without affecting wartime secrecy & security, while increasing anti German feeling.

The shipyard complex of William Gray could have been a key target.   This was established 50 years earlier, & in some years had had the highest output of any British shipyard.   An excellent short history of Grays is available on Hartlepool Then & Now.
The first oil tanker was built on the Tyne, but Grays were close behind.   The SS Murex
was built by Grays in 1892, & was the first tanker through the Suez Canal under new regulations.

(picture - Shell)
Hartlepool Jackson dock looking seaward showing part of Grays yards, probably post WWII
(photo - Hartlepool Museums & Libraries)
(map - NLS)
OS map c1900 showing the integration of railways, docks, warehousing, timber ponds, shipyards, engine works, coal drops, fish quays & housing - Jackson dock at lower left, Gray's Central Engine Works middle right.

See the original OS Maps at the National Library of Scotland to zoom in for detail, plus more industry & steelworks to the south, with the WD Headland Battery not shown to the east.   Use the slider near bottom left to superimpose the current Google Earth view.

During the 1930s depression Grays built paddle ferries for the Humber.    One of these is preserved at the Hartlepool's town & Royal Navy Museum at Jackson Dock, the other is now a restaurant on the Thames.   These paddlers were covered in a blog post on 27 July 2014.

For those with a general interest in Hartlepool history, there is a film about the town, its people, port & industry in 1951, made to celebrate 750 years since its royal charter of 1201.

No comments: