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West Hartlepool, Durham

Historical Description

Hartlepool, West, a seaport town and a municipal borough in Stranton parish, Durham. The town is practically a joint town with Hartlepool; is separated from it only by the harbour, and communicates with it both by railway and by ferry. It sprang from the modern revival of Hartlepool, is entirely a new place, and takes at once its form, its character, and its prosperity from the construction of extensive docks and railway connections. Its harbour works were commenced so late as 1844. The first coal dock was opened in 1847, and since that date four docks and timber ponds have been constructed and harbours enclosed. In 1869 the N.E.R. acquired the docks and the local railway, and in 1880, by the opening of the Central and Union Docks, extended the system to Hartlepool, making altogether 200 acres of docks at the two towns. The warehouses cover 4¼acres of ground. There are four graving-docks capable of accommodating vessels of any size, steam and hydraulic power, two sets of shears, and large slaughter-houses. The number of vessels belongmgtoWestHartlepoolinl894 was 275 (314, 000 tons). The entries and clearances average 3000 (900, 000 tons) per annum. The customs revenue in 1893 was £8150. The town carries on similar industries to Hartlepool, and has a head post office, a railway station, a market-house with shops and stalls opened every day, an Athenaeum and mechanics' institute, two theatres, one of which, enlarged and renovated in 1886, is capable of accommodating 2000 persons, Liberal and Conservative clubs, and a Young Men's Christian Association building erected in 1869, with gymnasium attached to it. It publishes a weekly and two daily newspapers. The municipal buildings, which are in the Queen Anne style, were opened by H.R.H. The late Duke of Clarence in 1889, and contain accommodation for the discharge of all borough business. Technical schools and a free library were erected in 1894. There is a pretty park, 17 acres in extent, known as the Ward-Jackson Memorial Park, the site of which was purchased by public subscription. It was opened in 1883. The old parish church is at Stranton, but there are in West Hartlepool four large churches, numerous Nonconformist chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a Jews' synagogue, a Catholic Apostolic church, and a mission church in Whitby Street. The livings of Stranton Church (All Saints'), West Hartlepool (Christ Church), St James', and St Paul's are vicarages in the diocese of Durham; gross value of All Saints', £26 2 with residence; net value of Christ Church, £380 with residence; gross value of St James',, £229; of St Paul's, £250. The living of St Aidan is a perpetual curacy. Patron, the Bishop of Durham.

The town was first governed by a board of Improvement Commissioners, established in 1854; in 1870, under the West Hartlepool Extension and Improvement Act, the boundaries were enlarged. In the jubilee year, 1887, a charter of incorporation was granted under the Municipal Act of 1882, and it is now governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors. The borough is divided into six wards, and has a population of 42, 710. The population of the ecclesiastical parishes is 42, 852.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for County Durham is available to browse.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering county Durham online: