Our meetings are held at Grange Road Methodist Church Community Centre in Grange Road Hartlepool although the entrance to the centre is round the corner in Tankerville Street. The postcode if you have satnav is TS26 8DU.
We meet at 7pm on the third Thursday of the month. Please contact us if you would like email reminders!
Our next meetings are as follows:
Thurs Nov 16th Tim Brown ‘ The Great Flood of 1771 and the effect on the NE Coast’
NO MEETING DECEMBER
Thurs Jan 18th Ken Bousfield ‘Life in the 1960s’ Yes, this is family history now !!
Thurs Feb 15th Tony Nicholson ‘ Letters from the Attic Part 3’ (Tony will give a quick resume of parts 1 and 2 first)
Thursday March 15th Frances Wilson ‘Georgian Hartlepool and the Poor’
Thursday April 19th Jonathan Bush ‘ Local C19th Conflict Protestant v Catholic’
Our April speaker was Maeve Natrass and she was very entertaining indeed, coming dressed in role of a Victorian lady which apparently caused some consternation in Tankerville Street when she parked and got out of the car. Maeve is an enthusastic volunteer at Beamish and therefore is comfortable dressing and working in role.
She told us lots of interesting tales of life upstairs and downstairs in the houses of the Victorian and Edwardian rich, the heirarchy within a house and the amount they were paid. Most families today will have had a member in the past who worked ‘below stairs’ be it a lowly kitchen maid, the housekeeper or butler. More details about this meeting will appear in the Cleveland Family History Society Journal.
Alan Betteney was our May speaker and he has researched life in an area of our town that many have either forgotten or never knew about in the first place! In an area near to the sea, south of Seaton Carew, and close to where Hartlepool Power Station now stands, was a settlement called Seaton Snook.
In the early part of the 1900s, zinc works were built there and there were rail links to it, a jetty and of course a plentiful coal supply just to the north. Ore came for Australia and the works were built in the UK because labour was cheaper than in Australia! However, it was not a pleasant place to work, locals did not want to work there and from 1911 census we learn that most of the 202 people who lived in the Snook cottages were German, Russian, Belgian or Irish.
The community had a school, a shop and a mission. However, to reach Seaton Carew it could be quite hazardous often across boggy land. It was an isolated area, but many lived on the fruits of the sea and freshly caught rabbit!
Today there is no evidence at this once thriving multinational society.
In June John Oxley gave a great talk about the history of the Palladium Northgate Hartlepool. It was entitled ‘Ballet to Bingo’ This wonderfully researched talk gave a really interesting insight into the life of this theatre throughout the years. It did indeed begin as a very classical theatre which is quite hard to believe knowing the proximity to the docks! Then, like many other theatres of the time it became a variety venue and John entertained us with copies of theatre posters reminiscent of the Beatles song ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’. Cinema then took over and eventually as TV brought about dwindling audiences, Prize Bingo was the final and unsuccessful venture.
Our speaker in September was Gary Bankhead , a fireman and diver who has recently achieved a Master of Philosphy degree from Durham University. His talk ‘River Wear Assemblage’ was a really fascinating account of the 10,500 historical items which, with his brother, he has recovered from the River Wear at Durham over the past decade. These varied and remarkable items, many from the Middle Ages, give an amazing social history of the city.
More details about this meeting will appear in the Cleveland Family History Society Journal.