SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

1927 ~ 1935



Two early buses that would have been seen in Skelton at this time.
Both vehicles were owned by John Dobson of Charltons, N Yorks. Note the "Charltonian" name.
The one on the left, with an "Edmond" body, was new in 1928 and from Feb 1929 was granted a licence to ply the route Saltburn - Skelton - Lingdale - Castleton - Danby.
The bus on the right is a Chevrolet of May 1929 and was photographed in Saltburn ready for the same journey.
Permission to show these photographs has kindly been granted by John Dobson's grandson of the same name.
John, an old Skeltoner, who has contributed other valuable items to this site, published a book about the family firm in 2005.
Called the "Charltonian", it describes in great detail these early days of public transport.
The driver of the bus on the right is his Dad, Bill Dobson.


1927 - Trades Disputes Act made General strikes illegal.

2nd July. London Gazette.
Whitehall, Imperial Service Medal.

Ramsay-MacDonald

His Majesty The King has been pleased to award the Imperial Service Medal to the following officers:
Home Civil Service - Knaggs, Robert, Postman, Skelton in Cleveland, Sub-Office, Saltburn by the Sea.

1928 - Women got the same voting rights as men.

Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.

14th August - BODY FOUND IN WOOD.
While strolling in the woods near Saltburn two boys found the dead body of Thomas Gatenby Boyes, of Harker-street, Skelton-in-Cleveland, who had been missing from home for a few days.

21 December. London Gazette.
CLEVELAND GAS.
(Application for Special Order under Section 10 of the Gas Regulation Act 1920.) Notice is hereby given that application is intended to be made to the Board

Petrol driven "Rail Trolley" manned by local employees of the North Eastern Railway Company, who looked after the line between Saltburn and Brotton. The only one identified is Thomas Rooks of New Skelton.[third from right in the back row] He was a platelayer and had served through the First War in the Northumberland Fusiliers. The photograph, which was taken some time in the 1930's, has been kindly contributed by Thomas' son, Owen Rooks.

of Trade by the Cleveland Gas Company (hereinafter referred to as " the Company ") whose principal office is at Skinningrove, Carlin How, in the North Riding of the County of York for a Special Order (hereinafter referred to as " the Order ") under Section 10 of the Gas Regulation Act 1920 for all or some of the following purposes (that is to say): 1. To empower the Company to acquire the portion of the undertaking of the Brotton Gas Light and Coke Company Limited (hereinafter called " the Brotton Company ") within the part of the Parish of Brotton in the Urban District of Skelton and Brotton hereinafter described.....

1929
26th February - CLEVELAND IRONSTONE.
As result the increased demand for Cleveland ironstone, Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan Co have engaged 50 extra workers at their North Skelton mine, where from now onwards full time will be worked.

29th May - NEW SKELTON PARACHUTIST KILLED.
Corporal Sidney Ronald Wilson, aged 25, single, whose home was at New Skelton, Cleveland, N Yorks was killed while practising parachute exercises at Andover Aerodrome, Hants. He was the first parachutist to lose his life there.
He was on 12 Squadron and was an aerial gunner. He crashed to his death on Monday night due to his not pulling the cord.


North Skelton Cricket 1928 to 1929.


North Skelton St Peter's Church Football Team 1930/31.

Flying Officer Frank Carpenter identifed the body and added that he was 40 yards away from where he fell to earth and he saw him leave the machine without the parachute opening.
Flying Officer Horace John White said he was piloting the machine in question and about 6.20 p.m. he took Wilson up to practise. He believed that he had not dropped before. At a height of 1,900 feet he throttled the engine down and the man to get out would have to climb down a ladder, which he did, jump first and then pull the rip cord ring which released the parachute.
He knew Wilson had his hand on the ring, but seemed a little tremulous.

30th May - GENERAL ELECTION.
With rising unemployment and memories of the General Strike of 1926, Labour under Ramsay Macdonald won most seats in the General Election even though they had less of the total national votes.
Labour 287, Stanley Baldwin's Conservatives - 260 and Lloyd-George's Liberals 59, resulting in a hung Parliament.
Skelton was part of the Cleveland constituency and here, contrary to expectations, a Labour candidate, William "Billie" Thomas Mansfield, the miners Trade Union leader, was elected.

October 24. Wall Street Crash in USA followed by world wide depression.


Col W H A Wharton and foxhunt meet about this time at Skelton Castle. W H A Wharton, is shown in this beautiful sketch by Joseph Appleyard hunting in Apple Orchard Woods with the Cleveland pack. He would have been 73 years of age at this time.

The church in North Skelton was completed. Col Wharton gave the land and 1,100 toward the cost.
Prior to this services had been held in a corrugated iron building that stood opposite. This had been paid for by the Whartons and was afterwards used as a church hall and was demolished in 1999.

Robert Tatton-Bower.
Cleveland MP 1931 to 1945.

South Skelton mine, known locally as 'Van's Pit' from Thomas Vaughan who started it, is bought by Dorman Long and Co and modernized.

1930 - The government introduced a works programme to counteract economic hardship but 2 million out of work by the end of the year.

Football, World Cup started.

James Howe was elected as County Councillor for Skelton South and served until 1931.

4th March. - DASHED 400 FEET TO DEATH.
Falling about 400 feet down the Cleveland (North Yorks.) ironstone mines belonging to Messrs Dorman, Long and Co, John Lusher, foreman bricklayer at the mines, was instantly killed. Ho was 57 years of age and lived at Skelton, in Cleveland.

1931 - Independence granted to Canada, S Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Grave economic problems. Bank of England warns of bankruptcy due to cost of unemployment benefits.

5th August - DISOWNED BY PARENTS.
Prison for Girl who Victimised Landladies. Maud Pearson, aged 20, of Skelton-in-Cleveland, was sent to prison at Middlesbrough, to-day, for three months on 11 charges of larceny and false pretences.

National coalition government formed under Ramsay Macdonald.

August 1931 - MEANS TEST. - Since 1911 Unemployment benefit had depended on the level of contributions to an insurance scheme.
Now this was replaced by a Government funded system, which paid out according to need.
However, qualification was subject to a strict Means Test, which involved inspection by Government officials of all personal circumstances and assets to ensure that there were no hidden other means of support.
People were told to dispose of anything that could be seen as luxuries or surplus to requirements.
The process left bitter memories of humiliation.
False declarations could result in a jail sentence with hard labour.
The unemployment situation became worse until nation-wide 3 million were claiming and the Government was forced to cut benefits by ten percent.
No one starved to death, but families were given bare subsistence amounts and soup kitchens became a way of life.
A Government report showed that scurvy, rickets and tuberculosis increased as a result of child malnutrition.

ELECTRICITY.
Local Electricity Companies had started just before the First World War and by this time in Britain as whole about a third of homes had it installed. But relative to incomes it cost ten times more than it does today. And in this area very few homes had much income.

27th October - GENERAL ELECTION.
The Labour Party split over the issue of budget reductions and an election was called.
The Coalition National Government won with a majority of Conservative MPs.

Stanley Baldwin's Conservatives 470. Henderson's Labour 48. Herbert Samuel's Liberals 32. Simon's National Liberal's 35. R MacDonalds National Labour 12.
The Labour MP for Cleveland, William Mansfield, lost his seat by a narrow margin and was replaced by the Conservative, Commander Robert Tatton-Bower, an ex Royal Navy boxing champion.

At the National Census of this year Skelton, [including Lingdale, Boosbeck, N Skelton] had 1830 inhabited houses. [Old Skelton 689 and N Skelton 376].

Boosbeck Rd, Skelton Green. Miners Hospital on the Left.

The population was 7520 [Old Skelton 2629. N Skelton 1509] with 3837 males and 3683 females.

In the last ten years there had been hardly any change in the number of houses and the population had decreased by 1425.

The Primitive and United Methodists are re-united with the Wesleyans to form the Methodists.

Margaret Ringrose Wharton was elected for Skelton North as North Riding of Yorks County Councillor and served until 1949.

N Skelton and Park Pit were working, but South Skelton on stand by, due to lack of demand for iron ore.

Heartbreak Hill and Dartmoor.
About this time Major Perryman of Ormesby Hall rented three areas of land from Mr W H A Wharton of Skelton Castle with the aim of providing work for unemployed Ironstone Miners.

Rather than individual allotments, which many families already worked, the idea was that the out-of-work men would combine in communal efforts to grow produce and keep pigs, hens etc.
In exchange for at least 3 hours daily work participants would share in the produce, rather than receiving cash payments, which would have resulted in the dreaded Means Test reducing any unemployment benefits.
Unfortunately the locations chosen were on ground that local farmers had ignored for centuries:-
1. Two plots off Jenny Fiske Lane at Lingdale, known as Busky Fields, after the gorse bushes that grew there.
2. An area of Moor above Margrove Park, which became known as "Dartmoor", from the stones that had to removed.
3. The bracken and bramble covered hillside on the Boosbeck side of Margrove Park, which earned the infamous name of "Heartbreak Hill".
About 60 miners joined the scheme, which was known as the Cleveland Unemployed Miners Association and went on from 1932 to 1938.
It is thought that Perryman's motives were sincere enough in trying to alleviate the desperate situation faced by the unemployed families of East Cleveland and he was urged on by Socialist sympathisers, including his wife.
However, the fact that the area had elected its first Labour MP could have had some bearing and the landed gentry had sniffed Socialist revolution in the General Strike of 1926.
More about Heartbreak Hill can be read - here.

1932 - The whipping of children under 14 is banned.

11 Jan 1932 SKELTON MEMORIAL A memorial window to Major E. Hamilton has been placed in the Parish Church Skelton-in-Cleveland. It was unveiled at morning service yesterday by Colonel W. H. A. Wharton, Skelton Castle.

The Cleveland Quarrymen and Miners Association was incorporated into the General and Municipal Workers Union.

1933 - Taking advantage of the fear of Communism and the economic depression Adolph Hitler came to power and was appointed Chancellor of Germany.



Germany left the League of Nations.

3rd January - Passenger train services ceased to North Skelton [Hollybush] Station.

In the Skelton area the proportion of the workforce the proportion of the workforce registered as unemployed under the National Insurance scheme reached 91 percent.

13th April - North Eastern Daily Gazette.
Heartbreak Hill - TRANSFORMATION. [see entry for the year 1931]
A year ago bare moorland giving perhaps a few days eatage to an occasional sheep, now some ten acres of productive market garden, sixty frames, six chicken houses, goat houses, pig sties, twenty beehives [all home made] and last but certainly not least, between sixty and seventy men hare at work.
Clearing the land has been a really tough job. It was all very rough and full of rocks, tree stumps, rushes, broom, bracken, heather and all kinds of troubles and it needed draining too.
[Visiting students, both English and German had helped in the clearance. A local story has it that among them was William Joyce, the infamous Lord Haw Haw, who broadcast scornful messages for Nazi Germany during the Second World War and was hanged for his treason.]

Nothing has been wasted the rocks have been spiit up and made into goat houses and roads and the bracken used for thatch.
There has been no immediate cash reward for this, but fortunately in each of the three branches of the Unemployed Cleveland Miners Association there have been men who resolved to see through the difficult time when membership was all work and very little for it.

On the 16th February HRH Prince George, who was later killed in a flying accident during the War, visited Heartbreak Hill.
Major Perryman the instigator of the scheme obtained a 21 year lease from Skelton Castle Estate for the three sites of production, Heartbreak Hill, Dartmoor and Busky Fields, but in the last years of the decade re-armament brought a new need for iron and steel and the men returned to work in the Mines.

25th December - The Golden Wedding of the last couple to be married in Skelton Old Church [reportedly].
Richard and Emma Thorpe [nee Leeks].
Their son Richard Matthew Thorpe had been killed in the First War on the 18th June 1918, aged 20.
Ten years later they were to die within hours of each other, Richard aged 82 and Emma 78. They had a "double funeral".
[Information and newspaper cutting kindly contributed by their Great Grand-daughter, Dorothy Harris of Saltburn by Sea, N Yorks.]

1934 - The Church organ in Skelton All Saints was rebuilt at a cost of 385 to commemorate the Jubilee of George V.

2nd May - APARTMENTS TO LET. Terms moderate; near sea and moor. Aply Watson. Gashouse, Clsphow, Skelton. Cleveland. Tel.- Skelton 10.

4th September - WANTED HOUSEKEEPER. Under a good cook; bachelor's house, housemaid kept. Apply to Rector, Skelton-ln-Cleveland.

1935 - Ramsay Macdonald resigned and Stanley Baldwin headed the National Coalition with a strong Conservative element.

6th May. Jubilee of George V. Street parties and celebrations were held all over Britain.
In Skelton locals performed a Pageant celebrating British History in the grounds of the Castle.


Pageant at Skelton Castle 1935 to celebrate George V Jubilee.

September - Prime minister, Baldwin, published a circular entitled Air Raid Precautions.
The Government clearly sensed a threat ahead, but at this stage local authorities were only asked to consider plans to protect their people in event of a war.

14th November - GENERAL ELECTION.
The National Government, now led by the Conservative, Stanley Baldwin, won with a large, but reduced, majority.
Conservative - 386. Clement Attlee's Labour - 154. The Liberals, who were now led by ex-Cleveland MP, Herbert Samuel continued their decline with just 21 seats held.
In Cleveland the Conservative, Robert Tatton-Bower retained his seat and as this was the last election until after the Second World War he remained the MP for Cleveland until Clement Atlee's Labour Government took over in 1945.


Skelton Cross Green about this time.


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