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Issue 31 - December 2001 (10th Anniversary Edition)

A Tribute to ‘THE KEY’

Celebrating the first ten years of The Key – and looking forward to its next ten years – is not just a simple straightforward birthday celebration, but a milestone that marks a remarkable triumph of local community spirit.

Back in the early 1970s, when I came back to East Cleveland from three years away at college, the experience of being away and seeing other places and other people meant that I saw things back at home with fresh eyes. I came back because I loved this area. Three years in London were certainly exciting years, but I had missed the sea and moors, the East Cleveland valleys and mining terraces, and most of all, the unique spirit and culture of our local communities. But looking around me, I saw these local communities going through difficult times. The mines had all closed – North Skelton was the last to stay open – and a mood of uncertainty hung over everything. At one point, my father and I were invited to a local conference on the future of the East Cleveland mining communities where many people wondered if there was any future at all for villages which had lost their essential economic purpose.

Well, as things have turned out, there was. The old mining villages have certainly changed. Most of them have become ‘dormitory settlements’ for Teesside, and the old mining terraces have been embroidered with new estates. But like all communities – in all places and at all times – these changes work hand in glove with continuities, traditions and cultures.

Every time I drive through North Skelton, I cannot help being struck by how well the village looks. Like all the other villages, it has undergone changes, but has also managed to preserve its essential character. This does not happen magically. It is the work of local people who care about their community and who work hard to enrich its environment, culture and spirit. People like Norma and friends who produce The Key. Local people who hold the world together.

Congratulations to everyone!

Tony Nicholson


Street Memories

I took a stroll down memory lane
And went to see our street again.
Where once stood houses in days of yore
With lighted windows and open door,
And street lamps glowed on a foggy night
As children played games beneath their light.

Where a bloke was lucky to have a job,
And suits were pawned for a couple of bob.
The women in shawls who every night
Would sit and chat ‘neath the street lamps’ light,
And boast of their kids, their Tommies and Janes,
Who’d be running around and playing their games

Of kicky-tin, spies and blind man’s bluff,
On pavements uneven and stones that were rough.
The games of football played in the dark,
That would have done credit to Ayresome Park,
Whilst the older boys and a junior miss
Chased each other to catch a kiss.

Though times were bad and work was scarce,
Without good neighbours it could have been worse.
There was always a loan of a couple of bob,
When the man of the family hadn’t a job,
Or a helping hand when someone was ill
And you couldn’t pay the ‘tick’ shop bill.

Though times were hard, with friends so true,
The skies that were grey soon turned blue.
But like the gang on the corner
Who sang “Heart Of My Heart”,
There came a time when we had to part.

And though we are scattered in towns far and near,
We occasionally meet and over a beer
We talk of our childhood, the bitter, the sweet,
And re-live the memories
Of our old street . . .


What Became of North Skelton's Chapel ?

North Skelton Methodist Chapel
( standing on the site of what is now Boocock's Country Store )

The chapel is now an outbuilding at Clitherbeck’s Farm, Danby

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North Skelton Railway Station 
- looking along the ‘down line’ towards the village (top right)


Photographed in 1929, this engine, 690, worked the Saltburn - Brotton line


Looking towards Hollybush bridge (still standing) as is the Station House (left)


This photo was taken in 1928 - they had travelled on a one day ticket from South Bank

Left: Mrs Chapman from Northampton & Mrs Perkins
The children are Hazel Perkins (aged 4)
and Norman Perkins (aged 8)


North Skelton Box with Priestcroft Spur on the right

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'North Skelton British Restaurant'

by Stuart McMillan

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A History of the East Cleveland Mines -
Lumpsey Pit, Brotton

by Stuart McMillan

Lumpsey Pit c. 1920


Lumpsey Pit ruins - 2001


Lumpsey Pit - Artist's Impression

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21 Years of Skelton Health Surgeries

by Dr Roger Neville-Smith

York House, Skelton
( Former home and surgery of Dr Stevenson )

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Photo Gallery


Langbaurgh Brass
( Based in North Skelton Village Hall )

Back Row L to R: Karen Oldroyd, Andrew Champion, Kirsty Barras, Gary Douglas

3rd Row: Nigel Barnes, Neil Colman, John Avery, Eileen Derring, Allison Martin, Ben Derring,
Jane Bateman, Josie Coupland, Dave Tray

2nd Row: Hannah Ross, Bill Adams, Clare Kirby, Dave Pickard, Chris Coupland

Front Row: Tim Hall, Rob Collins, Tim Oldroyd, Paul Derring, Trevor Bateman

( Missing from photo - Jacqui Wilson, Adrian Shelley, Craig Halsey, Phil Carter, Desmond Heaviside )


February: Durham League Contest - 1st place in Section B, promoted to Section A
March: Regional Contest - 2nd place in 3rd Section, qualified for National Finals in Preston in September,
promoted to 2nd Section 2002
May: Yorkshire & Humberside Contest, Scarborough - 1st in 3rd Section
September: National Finals, Preston - 4th in 3rd Section nationally (out of 16 bands)
October: Pontin’s Contest, Prestatyn, Wales - 1st in 3rd Section

( 19 bands in total from all parts of the country )

Brotton Recreational Football Team - Cleveland League Division 2 Winners, 1954

Back Row L to R: Fred Rowe, ‘Acorn’ Brown (in flat cap), Marshall Jackson, Geoff McLean,
Reg Dunning, John Dales, S Sykes, B Garbutt

Front Row: Alan Bringloe, Dennis Yates, Ron Scott, Brian Stonehouse, L Riddiough, Mick Conway

North Skelton FC Presentation Night - early 1970’s

L to R: Gerry Brown, Terry Pullen, Dave Biden, John Jackson, Cliff May, Tommy Foster, 
Jim Ramage, Monty Alexander, Tony Gordon, Fred Burluraux

Skelton Castle Junior XI - 1982

Back Row L to R: B Bloomfield (Coach), K Pigg, D Colman, L Douglass (Chairman) T Johnson,
P Briggs, L Allinson (Manager)

Front Row: R Stainthorpe, R Smith, A Breckon, M Balls, B Johnson (Captain, J May, N Allinson, D Allinson

Skelton FC - Teesside League 1966

Back Row L to R: Cliff Drinkhall (Manager), Eric ‘Tut’ Thompson, Steve Teasdale, Billy May,
Bill Fraser, Neil Harrison, Alan Prothero, Barry Bloomfield (Trainer)

Front Row: Terry Jones, Derek Harden, Frank Chapman, Glen Brooks, Dennis Thompson

Stanghow Lane School Football Team - 1949

Back Row L to R: A Tilley, A Calvert, B Ness, D Preston, B Bloomfield, D Hick, Mr Reed (teacher), H Breeze

Front Row: J Templeman, G Templeman, D Lowe, A Goslin, M Ferrer, B Addinson

Brotton County Modern School Netball Team - 1964-65

Back Row L to R: Miss Tasker, Brenda Blenkey, Janice Hobbs, Maureen Cook, Helen Myers

Front Row: Caroline Watts, Susan Armstrong, Sue Perrow, Heather Clements, Janice Green

In The Bull’s Head - c. 1960

Back L to R: -?- , Fred Hugill, Tom Templeman, Frank Winspear (part hidden), Dennis Todd,
‘Gosh’ Gordon (part hidden), Bob Bolton, Tom Jackson, Mr Price, Malcolm Wilcox

Front: -?- , Ben Howard, Margaret Metcalfe, Marriot Jackson

Kneeling: Jack Johnson

North Skelton Junior School

Back Row L to R: Godfrey Clayton, Sydney Alderson, Leslie Smith, Edward Wrigley, Andrew Smith, Mervyn Marley,
Robert Bramley, -?- , Raymond Redman, Robert Whiteley, Peter Garbutt

3rd Row: Tom Hayes, Penelope Proctor, Carol Pashley, Joan Robson, Jean Pratt, Christine Whitehead, Anne Ruddy, Jean Hill,
Ruth Garland, Anne Wilson, Brian Green

2nd Row: Ann Ridley , Moira Drinkhall, Felicity Carter, Doreen Antill, Annie Marshall, Irene Boyes,
Helen Johnson, Kathleen Berwick, Patricia Carter, Doreen Westbrook, Jennifer Pearson

Front Row: Geoff Laker, Bill Kime, Raymond Fowler

The ‘Last Shift’, North Skelton Pit, 17th January, 1964
the day the mine closed and the end of an era.

Above are drillers ‘Sacker’ Cole and ‘Niner’ Weston . . .

. . . and loader ‘Laffy’ Yates

Postcards of North Skelton

North Skelton Ironstone Mine (top left), Bolckow Street (top right),

North Skelton Railway Station (bottom left) and Vaughan Street (bottom right)


A larger view of Bolckow Street


Another postcard of North Skelton - stamp dated 18th August, 1908

The Station (top left), the Mine (top right), the old Chapel (bottom left) and the ‘Tute (bottom right)



Two more local postcards from the early 1900’s

Jim and Anne, Mam and Dad

Anne & Jim Ramage

L to R: Anne, Angela, Philip, Alan, Elaine and Jim

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We may go through the world , but it will be very slow
If we listen to all that is said as we go.
We’ll be worried and fretted and kept in a stew,
For meddlesome tongues must have something to do,
For people will talk.

If quiet and modest ’twill then be presumed
That your humble position is only assumed,
You’re a wolf in sheep's clothing, or else you're a fool,
But don’t get excited, keep perfectly cool,
For people will talk.

If generous and noble, they’ll vent out their spleen,
You’ll hear someone hint you are selfish and mean,
If upright and honest, and fair as the day,
They’ll call you a rogue in a sly sneaking way,
For people will talk.

If threadbare your coat and old-fashioned your dress,
Someone of course will take notice of this,
And hint rather close that you can’t pay your way,
But don’t get excited whatever they say,
For people will talk.

If you dress in the fashion, don’t think to escape,
They’ll criticise then in a far different shape,
You’re ahead of your means, or you’re bills are unpaid,
But mind your own business and keep straight ahead.
For people will talk.

They’ll talk fine before you, but then at your back:
Of venom and spite there is never a lack.
How kind and polite in all that they say,
But bitter as gall when you’re out of the way,
For people will talk.

Then if you show the least coldness of heart,
Or a slight inclination to take your own part.
They’ll call you an upstart, conceited and vain,
But keep straight ahead, don’t stop to explain,
For people will talk.

Good friend take advice, just do as you please,
And your mind (if you have one) will then be at ease.
Thro’ life you will meet with all sorts of abuse,
But don’t think to stop them, it is of no use,
For people will talk.

The Diary of James Allen Barrett

By Norman Sturman


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A Life on the Ocean Waves

By Captain Jim Elliott

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From Charlotte Street to ‘Rosemont’

L. to R: Wendy (daughter), Ray, Mathew (son born in Aussie), Sandra and Lee (son)

‘Rosemont’ - Ray & Sandi’s beautiful guesthouse

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