SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY


1873.

Building of Council offices near the present fire station.

6th January - WESLEYAN CHAPEL ENLARGED.
The Chapel which is to be opened this month will hold over 600 people, or 350 more than before the enlargement, which will cost 450. The pointing, painting and finishing will be left for spring or summer.

17th February - NEW SKELTON CEMETERY ACQUIRED FOR ONLY 5 SHILLINGS.
The Skelton Burial Board comprised John Wharton Esq, Rev Gardiner, Thomas Taylor, Isaac Scarth, John Bell, D Petch, Alex Ellis, John Wood and EB Hamilton. Some time ago they appointed a committee to select a piece of land for a new cemetery at Skelton, the members being Mr Petch, Thomas Shepherd, Martin Robinson, B Broadbent, L Wilkinson and Mr Bearpark.
On Friday last a public meeting was held in the School room to receive their report. Some Glebe land [Church owned] was offered at the West End by the Rev Gardiner at 300 per acre, including minerals.
This was rejected and Mr Wharton came out right nobly, offering a piece of land at the East End, which up to that time had been farmed by Mr John Wood of Trout Hall Farm.
It was well situated for the purpose, and would cost only 5 shillings. This proposal was unanimously accepted.

31st March. - MINERS DISPUTE.
Letter to the Gazette. The Editor of the Northern Echo says in his leader of the 29th of this month that "Mr Kettle's award, on the whole, is satisfactory, as it has disposed of several fallacies.
I can assure you, Sir, and your numerous readers, that Mr Kettle's award is exceedingly unsatisfactory.
There is not a single miner in Cleveland who is satisfied and scarcely anybody else, except the Editor of the Echo and the class of men he represents.
It is all very well for the Editor of the Echo to fiddle on the string of satisfaction. He can sit at ease and eat, drink and be merry, but if he had to go dowon into the deep, dark, dangerous mines and breathe an unhealthy atmosphere every day, and be reduced to hunger and starvation prices, as the tonnage price is now reduced to, I am certain he would soon alter his tale.
Yours truly, Mr Joseph Toyn, Skelton. Agent Cleveland Miners' Association.


Frank Wild.

10th April. - BIRTH OF A HERO.
Birth in Skelton of one of the heroes of Antarctic Exploration, John Robert Francis Wild, better known as Frank.
He was the eldest son of Benjamin and Mary Wild, who had 8 sons and 3 daughters.
Like Cook he joined the Merchant Navy as a young lad and later transferred to the Royal Navy.
In 1901 he was a member of Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole.
In 1911 he was a member of Mawson's "Aurora" expedition.
In 1914 was second in command of Ernest Shackleton's "Endurance" and played an heroic part in the great real-life adventure that ensued.
He served in the RN in the First War and returned to the Antarctic once again in 1921 with Shackleton.
He was awarded the CBE and Silver Polar Medal with three clasps. The only man to achieve this.
Afterwards his fortunes sadly took a downturn with failed business ventures in South Africa and he died there at Klerksdorp on the 19th of August 1939.
To read a great deal more about his exploits Click here
6th May - DRUNKENNESS.
Thomas Johnson of Skelton Green, a beerhouse keeper, was fined 2 and costs for permitting drunkenness on his premises.

19th May - TROUBLE AT T'MINE.
For some time past the ironstone miners of Cleveland have been agitating for an increase of 2 pence per ton in the price paid for working ironstone.
In consequence the mine owners formed themselves into an association and shortly afterwards they met a deputation of 6 representatives of the miners and positively declined to give the advance asked for.
The reaction of the miners was to restrict the output, to compel the masters to give the desired advance and during the whole of last week the output of nearly all, if not the whole of the mines in the district, had been reduced, the men in some cases sending a nominal quantity of stone to bank.
The owners responded by saying that they would not submit to this tactic and would rather put out the blast furnaces.
On Friday the manager of the Skelton Shaft mine, belonging to Bell Bros, informed the miners that if they did not fill 3 tons per man that day there would be no tubs supplied on Saturday. The men did not fill the stipulated quantity and on Saturday morning the manager carried out his threat and the miners went home again.
The same day the miners who are living in the houses of Bell Bros received 14 days notice to quit.
Similar events occurred in the other mines of Cleveland and the struggle is, therefore, certainly commenced.

30th May - NEW CEMETERY DONATIONS.
Messrs Pease and Co have given 100 for the proposed cemetery at Skelton and Messrs T Vaughan and Co 50 and it is hoped it will be proceeded with at once.

3rd June - WHITSUNTIDE BEACH RACE.
Admirers of horse racing had the opportunity afforded of watching a race - not on the turf, but on the briny shore - from Redcar to Saltburn, a distance of four and a half miles, for 100 a side, between Lady Don, owned by Mr Devereux of Stockton on Tees and Sky Scraper, owned by Mr Benjamin Shutt of Skelton.
Lady Don was too many for Sky Scraper and she won by at least 300 yards, much to the gratification of her backers and equally to the disgust of the backers of Mr Shutt's cob.

4th June - POKER - DRUNK.
Sgt Haw charged John Atkinson, a miner of Skelton, with being drunk on the 24th.

Defendant, who did not appear, had carried a poker about the streets, but did not use it. Fined 10s and costs.

5th June - ILLICIT BEER RACKETS RIFE.
At the Guisborough Sessions the police by dressing as navvies and keeping watch on a house witnessed a quart of beer being sold for sixpence. On searching the house they discovered an 18 gallon cask hidden in a closet under the stairs. Only those who had been granted a license at the Brewster Sessions were allowed to sell alcohol. The Bench inflicted a heavy, but still termed "mitigated", penalty of 10, which was paid at once. The magistrates said that there were no doubt hundreds of gallons sold without license at Lofthouse, Liverton, North Skelton and Boosbeck, but that it was impossible to catch any one in the act.

11th June - BAD SANITATION.
At a meeting of the Guisborough Rural Sanitary Authority, Mr D T Petch in the chair, a call on the Overseers at one halfpenny in the pound was ordered. Mr Dickinson, Inspector of Nuisances called attention to the state of the slaughter houses in the district, which he reported as being badly constructed and kept in an improper state.
At South Skelton Mines 16 wood huts, the drainage was very bad and the huts not fit for dwellings.

13th June - MINERS MEETING AT SKELTON.
A meeting of the miners of Skelton took place in the Freehold Quarry on the evening of Tuesday. Mr Thomas Green was unanimously called to the chair and introduced Mr Shepherd, the Secretary of the Miners Union.
Mr Shepherd commenced by stating that after the agitation that had been going on in Cleveland, they had all got comfortably to work again, but affairs were not quite settled yet and that owing to the illness of Mr Robert Kettle, the appointed arbitrator, a meeting could not take place until the 23rd of the present month, on which day the arbitration would be opened at Saltburn.
It had been a matter of discussion whether the late events were a strike or lock-out.
The men would not have it a strike and the masters would not have it a lock-out, so the matter was compromised by calling it a "difficulty", but it was one in which the masters had never been placed so awkwardly and he believed they were more alarmed than the men.
Mr J Shepherd, late Secretary, attended to defend himself against a report of misappropriating money of the union during the the time he held the office of secretary.
His explanation was accepted and showed the falsety of the report.

20th June - MINE DEATH.
On Thursday, Richard Barker, aged 47, a breaker-up and filler at Skelton Shaft Mines was killed.
At the inquest his son, John, said he was the miner and worked with his father in the same board.
"We had fired a shot that day about 10 a.m. At this time there was a piece of stone in the face of the working and about the top of the drift, which is about 12 or 14 feet high.
It had been loosened the day before and they could not get it down. After firing the shot they tried for three quarters of an hour to dislodge it and gave up.
About noon, I sent him for a candle, whilst I was drilling in the face of the work and at the back of the stone in order to bring it down.
Whilst I was so engaged the stone suddenly fell. On calling for assistance, and getting a light, [mine having been put out] I found my father partly under the stone.
He only drew 2 or 3 breaths and then died. I was not aware that he had returned. I could have put in a prop, but did not think it necessary. I had told the deceased not to work near the place, till I had drilled the hole, lest it fell."
"The poor fellow, who was severely smashed died almost instantly. The deceased was got out of the mine and taken home, a distance of two miles in a cart, in charge of a number of his fellow workmen. The melancholy cortege caused quite a sensation in passing down the street at Guisborough. His family are, we believe, grown up and not dependent upon him.
Mr Willis the Government inspector said there was a sufficiency of timber at the place and had no other enquiries to make. Such accidents were very common in ironstone mines.

8th July - BEER THREATS.
John Ainsworth, a miner of Skelton, was summoned for using threats towards a man at Skelton on the 28th June. Complainant had been suspected of giving information regarding a house where drink was sold without a license.
Defendant with others followed him into a Skelton beerhouse and said:- "This is him who split about the beer. I will kill him if I am hung for him." Ordered to give 10 surety for keeping the peace for 3 months.
John Coates, a miner of Skelton, was summoned by PC Boanus for selling drink without a license on the 24th June.
In mitigation it was said that he served William Ellerby 3 pints because he was his friend and was tired after going to Loftus band contest. Fined 25 and warned it would be more next time.

8th July - TOKENS ON TUBS FRAUD.
Joseph Leach and Thomas Leach, both miners of Skelton, were charged before Mr W S Ayrton at Guisbrough Town Hall with obtaining, by false pretences, the sum of 1s 4d, belonging to James Bews.
All the men involved were employed at the Park Pit, Skelton and on the 4th July Bews sent 2 tubs of iron ore to the bottom of the pit with his "token" to identify it as his.
Shortly after Joseph Leach was observed by a man named Ashworth, who is also employed in the mines, amongs the waggons at the pit bottom. Ashworth told him that if he saw him there any more, he would thrash him.
He then got a torch and examined the tubs. Out of 4 tubs there were 2 numbered 24 and one numbered 2. The third tub should have been numbered 7 but that token was lying on the floor. No 2 is the number of Leach's token.
The numbers indicate who filled the tubs and the banksman reports to the weighman and by that means the men get paid for the work that they have done.
A horse driver named John Thomas Dixon also deposed to seeing Leach amongst the tubs and he had no business there.
Richard Kitson, the cashier for Bell Bros at the mine stated that when he paid Thomas Leach he would not take the money that was in dispute.
The Bench dismissed the case on the ground that there was not sufficient evidence to convict.

28 July. - DRUNK AND RIOTOUS.
Frederick Chamberlain admitted being drunk and riotous at Skelton at 10 o'clock in the evening on the 28th. In default of 16s 6d to be imprisoned for 14 days.
PC Boanes charged Henry Ward, hair dresser, with being drunk at Skelton on the 22nd. Defendant, who intimated his intention of joining the teetotallers, was fined 5s and costs.
Thomas Hindson, contractor, Skelton did not answer the summons of PC Brough for being in a beastly state of drunkenness on the 21st. Defendant had been drunk for about 3 weeks. Fined 5s and costs.

31st July - BEEF ON THE SPREE.
At the York Assizes George Ord, aged 46, was indicted for having on the 18th July obtained by false pretences from Robert Wilkinson, butcher, four and a half pounds of beef at Skelton.
The prisoner said he had intended to pay for the meat, but forgot to do so, as he got "on the spree" and used another man's name in mistake. [Laughter in court.]
The Officer in charge of the case offered to produce the meat, but to this the Court, amidst some merriment, objected as it might offend the nostrils of those present. The prisoner, having practically no defence, was found guilty, but was recommended to mercy. Two month's imprisonment.

12th August - MODERN AMENITIES - SKELTON WATER SUPPLY.
Letter to the Northern Echo. Dear Sir,
Some time ago I was induced by the representations given in the prospectus of the Cleveland Water Company to have water laid on to my premises, thinking thereby that I should have a plentiful supply of pure water in all weathers. I have waited 2 years in hopes of this expectation being realised, but my patience having become entirely exhausted, I have determined to find an outlet through the medium of your columns.
The fact is, that during the past 3 months the supply of water has been anything but satisfactory - in short a complete delusion.
We find the water turned off during the whole day - without any notice - and turned on for a short time in the evening. This might be endured if, when we did get a supply, it was fit for use, but it is totally unfit for any domestic purpose, and little better than clay puddle from a brickyard.
I need scarcely say that this is a very unsatisfactory state of things, especially during the summer season, at a time when all our springs round about are dried up.
As the Company, according to their last half year's report, is in a highly prosperous condition, no doubt gratifying to the shareholders, perhaps they will not consider me too selfish in asking for a little more consideration on behalf of the consumer.
Could they not send a bellman round stating what time the water would be turned off, and when we might expect to have a clear supply. Our wives would then have a chance of getting the kettle filled for breakfast.
I am sorry we have to pay in advance, but have great hopes, taking in consideration their past delinquencies, that the Water Company will never attempt to collect the rates for the next quarter.
from, yours respectfully,
AQUA, Skelton in Cleveland.

13th August - DRUNK AND RIOTOUS.
Sergeant Haw charged John Melvin with being drunk and riotous at Skelton on the 8th. Fined 10s and costs or 14 days hard labour.

20th August - RABBIT MEAT DAMAGE.
Robert P Petch summoned Thomas Green, a miner of Lingdale Lane, Skelton for wilfully damaging beans in his field at Skelton on the 17th. Defendant was found in the field searching for rabbit meat. To pay 6d damage and 6d fine and costs.

22nd August - FIRE AT SKELTON PARK PIT.
On Friday night one of the Engineers, Mr D Thompson, at Park Pit, Skelton, happened to look out from the Engine room to get a mouthful of fresh air, when he noticed that Mr Brown, the horsekeeper's hut was on fire. He immediately gave the alarm and stopped the engines. Mr Brown and his family had a very narrow escape for their lives, for as soon as the front door was opened the flames spread and came rushing out in a dreadful manner. By persevering effort part of the bedding was saved, but with this exception all the furniture and clothing was burnt. Mr Brown's watch was later picked up, burnt to cinder. The hut, being built of wood, the flames spread with inconceivable rapitidy and those who would readily have helped could not approach withing about 20 yards of the hut on account of the intense heat. The family escaped as the saying is, only by the skin of their teeth.

26th August. - SUICIDE OF A YOUNG LADY AT SKELTON.
Yesterday a distressing suicide was committed at Skelton. A young lady named Hannah Mary Barker, daughter of Mr William Barker, Veterinary Surgeon. went upstairs at ten o'clock, as was her custom, to make the beds.
She had not come down at dinner time, so her brother went upstairs to seek her. A most appalling spectacle greeted his eyes.
He found her lying in the garret with her throat cut in a horrible manner and a carving knife, by which she had done the deed, by her side.
She was quite cold and stiff. She must have cut her throat immediately with great determination after going upstairs as her windpipe was completely severed.
It is reported that the deceased had been courted by a gentleman, who recently married and that this circumstance preyed upon her mind.

3rd September - DRUNKS, ILLEGAL BEER.
The unpopular 1872 Licensing Act among other provisions had ordered public houses in country areas to close at 11 p.m.
At the Guisborough Brewster sessions the police Superintendent reported another 200 arrests in the area for drunkenness over the previous year and that because the population had increased so rapidly and there were not enough licensed houses drink was being sold illegally in "Carling Howe", Liverton, Skinningrove, Whitecliffe Houses, New Lofthouse, North Skelton and Kilton.

6th September - MINE DEATH.
Skelton Park Pit. Thomas Maddocks, a miner aged about 45, was killed.
He was working with a man named Samuel Gatehouse "driving a headway". Two other men "way fired" as shot blowing down the partition that separated them. The stone was sent right into the place where Maddock and his mate were working. Maddock was killed instantly and Gatehouse severely injured. The deceased leaves a widow and family.

23rd September - VOLUNTEERS.
Some 700 men of the 1st Battalion of the North Yorkshire Volunteers gathered from across the North Riding and were reviewed at Redcar. They were put through various maneouvres and inspected.
The Skelton Corps were represented by Lieut Pearson, 1 officer, 4 Sergeants, 2 Buglers, 1 Sgt Instructor and 43 men.

24th September - DRUNKS.
Robert Jones, miner of Skelton, did not appear to the summons of Inspector Dove, who charged him with being drunk and riotous at Guisborough on the 13th September. Fined 5s and 9s 6d costs or 14 days hard labour.
PC Brough charged Thomas Cowl, wheelwright, of Marske, with being drunk at Skelton on the 14th. Fined 5s and costs.

8th October. - INDIFFERENT BLACK AND WHITE MINSTRELS.
Hoffman's Christy Minstrels visited Skelton on Friday last and had a crowded audience, but the performance was but indifferent as a whole.
The Programme was observed by the omissions of nearly the whole of it and the substitution with one exception was but moderate, especially as reference to the bill's show the Company has been before Royalty.

8th October - BUILDING PLANS.
Skelton Local Board met with Mr J T Wharton in the chair and D T Petch, W Gowland, N Stonehouse, J Leng, S Emmerson, J Tyreman and M Marley present.
The tender of 195 for the drainage of Skelton was accepted. Messrs Bell Bros were instructed to cover the ashpits of their houses in Park Street or the Board would do the work and charge them.
The Cleveland Water Board were ordered to repair the road at Leylands Beck or the Board would do it at their cost.
Plans were approved for a house at East Skelton belonging top Mr Rayson; a house and butchers shop for Mr R Wilkinson;
house and druggist's shop for Mr A Ellis; these buildings will form handsome termini to a new row of buildings erecting in the higher part of Skelton High Street.

8th October - MINERS DEMONSTRATION.
Over a thousand miners assembled at Skelton in one of Mr Emmerson's fields for a demonstration. They presented a testimonial to Mr Emmerson of Hollybush Farm consisting of a handsome electro silver plated tea and coffee service for his many acts of kindness, especially in throwing open his fields for mass meetings.

20th October - DRUNK AND RIOTOUS.
George Brown of North Skelton did not answer the summons brought by PC Boanes for being drunk and riotous at Boosbeck on the 20 October. He had been very violent and was fined 20s and costs or 1 month's hard labour.

22nd October - DRUNK AND RIOTOUS.
George Meed, a painter of Skelton did not appear to a charge of being drunk and riotous at Skelton on the 8th. Fined 5s, 8s costs or 14 days hard labour.

5th November - FRUIT BANQUET.
The Good Intent Lodge of the order of Rechabites has been established here about 18 months with 84 members. The entertainment was recitations, readings and singing chiefly by the I.O.G.T. of Middlesbrough.

5th November - CHILD KILLED.
An inquest was held on the body of a three year old, the son of J Priestman, coal leader of Skelton. The little fellow must have been playing with some part of the harness left on an upturned cart and brought the vehicle upon himself with death resulting in about three quarters of an hour.

5th November - NIGHT POACHING. John Julyan, keeper to Mr J T Wharton, charged John Taylor with having about midnight captured a rabbit on the farm occupied by Martin Farndale, at Skelton.
He saw a lurcher dog running about and saw it kill a rabbit which defendant picked up. Committed to prison for 7 days and to give security of 10 and 2 sureties of 5 for good behaviour in next 6 months.

5th November - BASTARDY.
Mary Bell of Skelton summoned Robert T Young, farm servant of Upleatham, and charged him with being the father of her daughter, born in July last.
Martin Farndale said that he was in service with Mr Rigg of Brotton last year at the same time as the above two and they were always together.
The complainant was unable to give the Bench any information about the alleged intimacy, but she again summoned Young on the 19th when he appeared for the prosecution. An order was made for 2s per week with 1 19s 6d costs.

5th November - POACHER.
William Young did not appear to answer a charge brought under the Night Poaching Prevention Act that he was in pursuit of game when passing along the high road between Skelton and Upleatham. Fined 40s and costs or 2 month's hard labour and the nets to be forfeited.

5th November - WHERE TO PUT THE DEAD.
The old cemetery round the old church had become 'insanitary' and could not cope with the increase in population.
The approval of the Secretary of State of the East end of Skelton as a suitable site for a cemetery has been received.
But Mr John Dixon moved to rescind the decision as the site was adopted contrary to the wishes of a town's meeting.
It is high time that the matter was settled for the strife about the East and West sites has brought the year almost to a close, when the old churchyard, according to the order of the Secretary of State will have to be closed and nothing has yet been definitely done to provide a substitute.
[4 acres of land were given by Skelton Castle estate for a cemetery at New Skelton with two mortuary chapels, at a cost of 3,200.]

The Skelton Co-operative Society opened in Skelton High St.

24th December - PC ASSAULT.
PC Boanes charged Joseph Shackleton with assaulting him at Skelton on the 22nd. Defendant had been locked up the previous evening and asked a remand to procure legal assistance. Fined 10s and costs.

31st December - BIG FIRE AT LONGACRES.
Either by accident or arson, the wooden framework at the pithead and a storehouse was destroyed by fire.
Thomas Lee, mine manager for Bolckow, Vaughan and Co, charged John Wood, night watchman with breach of contract on the 13th.
The firm were the proprietors of an ironstone royalty and were at present sinking a shaft at Longacres for the purpose of working the stone.


A 1930/40's photograph of the "double bridge", which was demolished in 1968. The brickwork shows that the lower span was added at a later date for strengthening.
[Kindly contributed by Owen Rooks.]


Map showing the development of Railways around Skelton.
The bridge closest to the camera was the first to be built to carry the line that opened in 1865 from Middlesbrough to Whitby.
In 1872 the line from Middlesbrough via Saltburn was opened. The far single bridge in the photograph was built for the Priestcroft Loop which opened in 1873.

Defendant was engaged as a tipper, being subsequently promoted to a "waiter on" and his wages raised in proportion. It was the duty of the night waiter to remain on Saturday and watch the works from taking fire.
The men left work at 5 p.m. and the master sinker cautioned Wood not to neglect his duty. Between 11 and midnight the men were returning home by train and while passing over the Viaduct saw a glare of fire at Longacres.
On returning they called out, but there was no response and on going to the cabin found the defendant putting on his boots.
There was no possibility of putting the fire out and damage to the extent of over 2,000 was done.
Defendant said that the store cabin containing gunpowder was not in a safe position being within a short distance of the pit fire. Between 10 and 11 and explosion occurred in the store and he did not think it desirable to go inside.
The Bench decided that he had neglected his duty and fined him 5. He was unable to pay and was sent to prison for 1 month.

25 houses were built in Dixon Street.


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