Towns and Villages of Ancient Cleveland in old picture postcards

Towns and Villages of Ancient Cleveland in old picture postcards

:   Robin Cook
:   Cleveland
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3376-0
:   144
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Ancient Cleveland - not to be confused with the modern County of Cleveland - was usuatly defined as the large area of North-East Yorkshire formerly known as the East and West Divisions of the Wapentake of Langbaurgh, which in turn must not be confused with the modern Borough of Langbaurgh. It stretched approximately from Whitby along the coast to the mouth of the River Tees, and also embraced the ironstone mining villages of what is still historically referred to as East Cleveland; it included the valley of the River Esk and much of the wide moorlands on both sides; and it also occupied a western area which embraeed Middlesbrough, Yarm, Guisborough, Great Ayton, Stokesley and the smaller villages down to the vicinity of the junction of the A19 and the Al72 roads at the Cleveland Tontine Inn.

Cleveland as defined above has had a long and colourful history , linked to the sea with fishing, shipbuilding, exploration, smuggling and shipwrecks; and to the land, with farming, sheep grazing, grouse rearing and ironstone mining. Remains from the Bronze Age and Iron Age periods of Man have been excavated on the moors and towards the coast, and clear traces of Roman signal stations have been found in several places. The remains of a number of mediaeval castles can still be seen - Whorlton (Swainby), Danby, Mulgrave, and Kilton, for example. The natural history of the area has been the subject of much work in the past by people like Canon J. C. Atkinson, Thomas Nelson, Frank Elgee and later writers. Over the centuries the earth has yielded the fossils of many pre-historie sea creatures,

jet for jeweIlery, alum for fixing dyes, ironstone, moorland coal, salt and now potash.

The area of Cleveland, with its variety of scenery, its natural beauty - a significant part of it lies within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park - and its rural communities and traditions, creates strong feelings of affection amongst those who live in it and those who visit it. Michael Heavisides' very quaint 'Rambles in Cleveland', originally published in 1901, is fuIl of such enthusiasm, and he quotes an artiele about Middlesbrough from a copy of the prestigious national weekly magazine - 'The Graphic' - published on 8 October 1881: Of all the lovely spots in England, sure the district of Cleveland might hold pre-eminence.

The standard histories of Cleveland are 'The History and Antiquities of Cleveland', written by the Reverend John Graves, Curate of Yarm-on-Tees and Master of Yarm Grammar School, and published in 1808; "The History and Antiquities of Cleveland, comprising the Wapentake of East and West Langbaurgh', written by John Walker Ord of Guisborough, and published as a complete volume in 1846; and the incomplete 'History of Cleveland, Ancient and Modern', written by the Reverend John Christopher Atkinson, Vicar of Danby, in the 1870s, and publishedlike Ord's original version - in part form, between 1872 and 1877. No other writers have achieved histories of the Cleveland district on such a grand scale, although some, like George Markham Tweddell, had intentions which were never fulfilled. Many of the towns and villages included here have, however, had their own local history

books or pamphlets published at some stage in the past two hundred years. In certain cases - eg Guisborough and Great Ayton - such books have appeared in relatively recent years, and have included a number of good early postcards and photographs, so that I have tended not to concentrate on such communities in making a final choiee of material.

It has been partieularly difficult to make this selection of early postcards and photographs of Old Cleveland, because I have had to omit so many excellent examples in order to stay within the total of 140, and also to achieve a balance of interests. I have again been greatly helped - as with my 'Middlesbrough' and 'Stockton' books in this series - by a number of local collectors, whose names are listed elsewhere, and to whom I am extremely grateful. I have tried to balance coast and countryside, people, events and buildings, and have always sought to select scenes which could no longer look the same today. There is no point in reproducing postcards of old churches, for example , where the building looks just the same now as it did eighty years ago, unless of course the main feature in such a postcard is a group of people in the foreground whose appearance alone can soon take us back to a by-gone age.

I have exercised a small element of discretion in not confining myself literally to the exact boundaries of the oid Wapentake of Langbaurgh, because the term 'Cleveland' (recorded in Camderi's 'Britannia' of 1586 as already in existence and evidentIy meaning 'land of cliffs') of ten referred simply to a broad area of North-East Yorkshire

whieh was never a formal concept or an administrative unit of local government, and also because I happened to have some postcard views of villages at the fringe whieh were too excellent to omit from the current selection ! I am sorry, however, that many villages - and even slightly larger cornmunities - do not appear at all. The reason is almost always that few or no postcard views of those villages from the period of about 1900 to 1935 are known to me or my collector friends, or that such postcards which are known are very ordinary in composition or have been published previously.

In conclusion, I would like to dedieate this volume to the memory of my late mother and father, who had the good sense to bring me into this world at Whitby, and who developed in me a love of the beautiful North Riding - including Oid Cleveland - from a very early age.


I have used a number of items from my own collection, but partieularly wish to thank the following for the loan of additional items: John Armstrong, Mrs. Ethel Cornforth, Jeanne Dobson, Peter and Barbara Fletcher, Fred Gilbert, John Gregory, Joan Hartley, Jean and Stewart Moralee, Jack Stasiak, Howcroft Walton, Brian and Sandra Welford, Len Whitehouse and Reverend Bill Wright.

I would also like to thank Peter Dobing again for his photographie assistance, and Sue Mahoney for typing the complete text.

1. A most unusual Middlesbrough postcard, showing a funeral procession taking place about 1904, which includes at least twelve horse-drawn carriages. The cobbled street is the bottom section of Linthorpe Road, looking from the Corporation Road end towards Wilson Street and the Railway Station. The street is now a traffic-free precinct, but was clearly not so on the above occasion. The identity of the deceased has unfortunately not been reliably established.

The PRINCE OF WALES at the Britannia Steel Works of Dorman, Long & Co., Middlesbrough. Hoods

2. One of a series of postcards taken during the occasion of a visit by the Prince of Walesbriefly King Edward VIII and later the Duke of Windsor - to Middlesbrough in 1930. The main purpose of the visit was to open the Constantine College, but previous Royal visits to Teesside had also included tours of the traditional heavy industry of the district. The Prince is on the left, apparently raising his hat to the photographer.

Newpon r;Olllng MUIS. MIOOlesorougn

3. Posted in 1916, this Valentine's postcard of part of the Newport Iron Works, near to the more modern Newport Lifting Bridge in Middlesbrough, shows one of the once familiar slag heaps in the left background. Several rail wagons can be seen, and the chimneys carry special dampers at the top for controlling the puddling furnaces.

4. A portrait of the famous Father Burn of All Saints Church, Middlesbrough. Born John Stote Lotherington Burn in 1853, he was ordained in 1876 and moved from Scarborough to become Vicar of All Saints in 1884, where he remained until his death in 1925. The introduetion of a succession of High Church practices, including the use of incense, led in 1900 to a ban on Bishops visiting the church, and on the holding of confirmation services. This was not lifted until 1924. Nevertheless, Father Burn was very popular locally for his unstinting work for the poor and needy in the community.

5. A big day for the village of Stainton-in-Cleveland, just south of Middlesbrough, as they celebrated the 1911 Coronation of King George V. All the local notables were evidently present at the commemorative tree-planting, undertaken by Mrs. Watson of the nearby Maltby House. A couple of fine beards can be seen on theright of the group, one belonging to alocal blacksmith, George Haykin. Two trees were planted, and both are now fully mature. A plaque recording the occasion can still be seen today, mounted on a large boulder at the foot of the tree in the picture.

6. The loca1 postman on his rounds, in the village of Newby, just south of Middlesbrough. ltis thought that he operated from nearby Stainton. The photograph was taken about 1905. The house in the picture can still be identified in the village. Quite a contrast with the Post Office vans which usually do the same job now!

7. Two nursing sisters pose in 1908 outside the old Miners' Hospital at Eston, near Middlesbrough. Built by Bolckow and Vaughan in 1884, originally to provide a medical service for their ironstone miners and iron workers, the hospital served the Eston area until as recently as 1980, and the building was sadly demolished in 1981. A book about the history ofthe hospital has recently been published by DL Geoffrey Stout and a colleague.

8. A memory of the ironstone mining past of Eston, with a rake of loaded rail wagons adjacent to the High Street. Piles of pit props lie along the railway, and the Eston Institute stands to the rear of the railway. This particular branch line ran from this point down to Grangetown. Across the road - the tallest building - stands, appropriately enough, the Miners' Arms. The landlord in 1909 was Charles Henry Kay. A few doors beyond is the Talbot Hotel.

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