These pages contain information culled from 68 issues of a weekly newspaper, the “Guisbro’ & Saltburn Herald”, covering the period 18 June 1887 to 27 October 1888. The imprint on the first 42 copies id “Published by H Hamilton, Milton-street, Saltbburn-by-the-Sea; and printed by JT Stokeld, 18 Fountain-street, Guisbro’.” This was changed on issue No 43 to “Printed for ‘The Guisborough and Saltburn Herald Limited’ by Joseph Thornes Stokeld of Chaloner-street, Guisbrough, and published by him at 18 Fountain-street, Guisbrough, in the County of York; and published also by Harry Hamilton, of 6 Eden-street, Saltbburn-by-the-Sea, at the Registered Office of the Company, 2 Amber-street, Saltburn-by-the-Sea”. The formation of a company resulted in a change of printers and No. 51 had the imprint of Jordison & Co, Ltd, of Middlesbrough.
This departure was referred to in the editorial of 2 June 1888: “There is only one source of regret to the proprietors in making this change … (increasing the local news and advts from 4 to 8 pages) … the paper has hitherto been printed by Mr JT Stokeld, who has always been most enthusiastic in the arduous work frequently thrown upon him. It is now necessary that the paper be printed in Middlesbrough”.
On 9 December 1887 the title was changed to the “Saltburn & Guisbro’ Herald” and carried a lengthy and lively report of a Local Government Inquiry concerning street improvements in Saltburn. Subsequent issues bore the customary title.
These newspapers contained national news, printed elsewhere, possibly by one of the national presses, then sent to a local printer who set up the local advertisements and news items and printed these on pages left blank for this purpose.
The collection is in the possession of Mr AO Stokeld, master printer, of 18 Fountain Street, Guisborough, to whom thanks are due for he opportunity of studying a very interesting record of local journalism and local craftsmanship.
WD Brelstaff, Guisborough, 1972
The Vigilant Herald
“I don’t know, Sir, what you would be at. Five or six shots of small arms in every newspaper … might I think satisfy you”. Boswell.
The outstanding feature of these old newspapers is the liveliness of the reporting and the frankness of the editorials. Sometimes it seems as though the reader is listening to a conversation. This is most apparent when reading a report of a meeting of the Board of Guardians.
The second issue of 25 June 1887 has an account of the local celebrations of the Queen’s fiftieth jubilee. Decorations adorned the market place and Westgate and mention was made that Mr William Campion had displayed a flag that had been used when the Queen’s accession was similarly celebrated in 1837. Refreshments were provided for 1909 children and 102 teachers at a cost of £53.16s. 5d.
These celebrations must have been a welcome diversion. The general picture revealed by these papers for the years 1887 and 1888 is sombre. Three months after the Jubilee there is this report: “It has been said that more than 700 working men and their families have left Cleveland during the last year … the mining industry is very weak”. In March 1888 mention is again made of the depression, one result of which was a larger number of untenanted houses. The one bright spot was the flourishing steel works at Guisborough. But this item of news was slanted. It was an election puff for a candidate in the local voting and he was connected with the management of the works.
The departure of miners from Cleveland created new problems. “The wholesale emigration of miners from the industrial centres of Cleveland to America and Australia is gradually draining away the very life blood from our district … at the present time there are dozens of families about Skelton, Lingdale and Marske containing 3, 7, and sometimes as many as 12 children, who are entirely destitute and dependent on the parish” (6 August 1887). These unfortunate mothers are referred to as “American Widows”. “Cases of this kind are constantly coming before the Guardians and members are in a quandary as to how to deal with them. They show an antipathy towards granting outdoor relief (as in the case of the four women who applied on Tuesday), but on the other hand they are morally bound to support them, and were they all to agree to enter the workhouse it is manifestly apparent that the building would have to be enlarged to double or treble its present state to accommodate them”. As evidence of the antipathy of the Guardians the “Herald” referred to the case of a “woman who produced a letter in support of her statement was told by one member, in a not very gentle voice, that ‘It served him right for leaving work at home to go there’.” The woman’s husband had written to say that he had been ill and out of work. It is possible that the unsympathetic Guardian was a farmer who had lost a labourer.
The Vicar of Saltburn, the Rev B Irwin, started a fund to assist intending emigrants, showing his awareness of the plight of many who lived outside his parish boundaries, although he may at first have been concerned with the families living in Marske.
Letters from the emigrants are among the more interesting items of news. One such letter came from Canada:
I was glad to hear that you are all well and that you were intending to come out here in the spring. Fetch all your feather beds, quilts and blankets, knives and forks and spoons. Fetch all the clothes you have got. If they want mending, why patch them up; an honest patch is no disgrace. You ought to see the pants I am wearing now. Don’t bring anything but what I have mentioned, as they will be more bother than they are worth. It will be all the trouble you can attend to to mind the children. Times are very dull this spring, but I think they will be better in the summer. I cannot help you a great deal till fall, but could give you five dollars and a cord of wood, which would be some help towards you getting along. Anyway, I will give you 45 dollars (£9) this fall, and two barrels of apples, if I have my health and don’t get hurt. I have hired o Mr Rogers for seven and a half months for 12 dollars a month. Well, try and get out if you can, as I think you can live there you can live here. Tell Mr Irwin I will write a long letter soon. From your loving son, JT Hodgson”. (3 April 1888)
More news about local emigrants was given by T Fowler who wrote: “We are a bout a mile or so from Hodgson. We often see him on Sundays when he is at church: he looks well, but Burton has gone to Toronto, so you will see we are not at the work you desired us to be at. Oliver is getting 27 dollars and I am getting 26 dollars per month, and I don’t see how so many young men stay in England when they are able to get on in the world out here. We attend he Methodist Church. We hear some very good preaching. Yours respectfully, T Fowler”. (This letter was addressed to the Editor of the Herald”).
Mr Philip Larkin of Guisborough had an advertisement in the “Herald”: as auctioneer and emigration agent he could auction all the unwanted household furniture and book the passage. In addition to “Furniture sold on special terms to intending emigrants” there was the inducement of travelling to America for £3.10s., to Canada for £3 and to Australia for £13.10s.
A letter from one resolute settler, sent to Mr Parkin, read: “It is about a year and eight months since you booked me and my family to Manitoba. All my family got situations within three days after arrival, with the exception of my two youngest boys. I got a situation at 15 dollars per month, with board for myself and two boys. Since then I have taken up a quarter section of land of 160 acres of the Dominion Government. I do not intend going into raising grain. I think stock of all kinds pays better. My son and daughter, whom you sent out about last March twelvemonths, are both doing well. My son is working on the CP Railway, about 400 miles from here, and my daughter is in a good situation at Winnipeg. I and my boys have had to work pretty hard since we came here, but I don’t think we are any worse for it. the blizzards have been very severe. The snow has been on he ground for five months, and today I when was getting some stove-wood home with an ox and sleigh I had to go through four feet of snow …” J Scaife.
A news item dated 18 June 1887 undoubtedly relieved the anxieties of the overseers of the Poor Law relief. A Guisborough contractor had successfully tendered for a section of he North Gare Breakwater which, it was estimated, would provide employment for 80 men for three or four years. In the words of the editor this was “a commendable action by the Tees Conservancy Commissioners in these depressed times.
Less positive hopes were raised later when there was an article suggesting the possibility of Guisborough becoming a “residential refuge from the close air and crowded streets of Middlesbrough … In its character for peacefulness and quiet Guisborough may be a distinguished place; there is no party feeling beyond the difference of political views. The mining population are exceedingly quiet and have always been so (1). We may hope for them, and consequently for the tradesmen, better times not far distant, for we fear in the past winter many a family was sorely pinched. A little more enterprise, it is sometimes said, might be shown by the various trades, and a willingness to forego for ready cash the old high prices. It is a short-sighted policy to charge several pence more for each small article than it can be purchased in a near town. The railway company have never much encouraged Guisborough. It ought now to be the centre place on the line in the distance between Newcastle and Scarbro’, with through trains constantly running”.
The local Co-operative Society, the Guisborough Provident Industrial Society, established in 1873, was not as yet a serious competitor of local trade. However its policy of paying a dividend on purchases (2/- in the £ in 1885) helped to reduce prices. Ten years later at least one private shopkeeper was advertising a comparable dividend of 2/6 in the £.
Unfortunately the effects of a similar depression had been felt a decade earlier. From another newspaper (2) we learn from the report of a gathering of Wesleyans “that the depressed state of Trade had taken something like 200 members connected with their body out of the district”. Also that at Guisborough “the Distress”£ was relieved by the opening of a soup kitchen and by the temporary employment of men on he estates of Admiral Chaloner and Mr JW Pease, MP. Others were engaged in breaking stone for the Union. This would be at the Workhouse. During this same depression the “Present high price of milk” was discussed at a public meeting when it was resolved to ask the farmers to reduce it to 3d a quart. The Guardians bought it at this price for the Workhouse. The current price was 6d in Guisborough and 4d in Middlesbrough. It was also decided to petition the Local Board not to vote money for the daily practice of ringing the church bell: this was not a call to worship, but to labour.
The local railways came in for comment and criticism in the columns of the “herald”. One sore point was the lack of a late train into Guisborough from Saltburn, particularly during the summer months. The reported who in June 1888 described Guisborough railway station as “a dingy, draughty little station” anticipated the comments of all who used it throughout the rest of its existence.
Saltburn must have been swamped on Whit-Monday 1888 if he report that 15,000 visitors were there on the occasion of the annual festival of he Primitive Methodists was correct. There were other attractions: “…the rackety folk sought the madding crowd at Cat Nab”.
A large gathering of a different nature was the Miners’ Demonstration held at Skelton in June 1888 when three Lodges from Guisborough and fourteen from other places assembled in a field and were addressed by Mr Rowland, the general secretary of he Miners’ Union. It is worth noting that had it not been through the support of Mr and Miss Emerson who granted the use of the field, the miners would have had to find another meeting place because “all other fields were closed against them” (3). The first resolution was that “This meeting being of the opinion that Trades Unions and Co-operation are the means by which the working classes must achieve their complete social and political emancipation, resolves to use all legitimate means to increase the membership of the Cleveland Miners’ Association, promote the interests of Trades Unionism generally and extend the principles of Co-operation”.
Nearer the bone was the warning given to the young miners: “If the young men who worked in the mines worked as they were at the present time, at 45 years they would be broken-down men, and then being unable to earn the district average they would be cast to one side without the slightest consideration”. A report from the office of the Miners’ Association had already stressed the connection between accidents and over-production. “The awful pressure of a grinding struggle for existence has made men extremely anxious to obtain as large an output as possible in the limited number of shifts they are allowed to work”. Mining injuries had disastrous consequences for some of he benefit societies, some becoming insolvent. At Marske the lodge refused to admit miners. This information concerns the Oddfellows’ Society at an earlier period. Fifteen years later there was a brighter picture presented inn the accounts of the Court of “Old Abbey” Foresters at Guisborough where the assets amounted to £5,071.
The several references of he local depression seem to have been based on a belief that the local mines were being worked out. Mining was said to be developing eastwards and there was no longer a demand for cottage property in Guisborough. “We cannot but think that the water power, which nature has brought into the valley, might be used for many an industry, and for food and work for the population when the declining days of the mining are at hand”. Th census return for 1881 showed a population of 6,616. That of 1891 the figure of 5,623, a drop of 993. At a meeting of he Highway Board on 5 May 1888 the surveyor reported that he had a good many men asking him for work in stone breaking and he asked for permission to order stone to give poor and needy men employment.
Despite all this there was a good deal of social enterprise. In a leader of 9 July 1888 “many improvement” are appraised: “The Miners’ Hospital, the Chaloner School, the Mechanics’ Institute, the improved condition of the Parish Church and the Wesleyan Chapel, the existence of flourishing contingents to the two regiments of volunteers in the district, all in a great degree owe heir present condition to Admiral Chaloner, whose widow, as witness her liberality in he Jubilee festival, seems desirous that he shall be as little missed as possible while she remains the owner an d occupier of Longhull … There is now but one of the hatched houses that once were so numerous, and the paving, lighting and draining, all of them comparatively recent works, have given the ancient place so far a modern character as we required”.
A very diffeent account had appeared in the “Herald” only four months earlier. The Medical Officer’s eport to the District Boards showed that the death-rate for Saltburn was 7 per 1000, “with an absolute immunity from the justly-dreaded diseases of small-pox, scarlet fever and enteric fever”. The figures for Guisbourough Urban District presented a startling contrast: the death-rate was 18 pr 1000, of which a large proportion consisted of children between one and five years. A still larger proportion – 28% – were of children under one year. Out of 51 deaths of children, 16 were ascribed to bronchitis and pneumonia. This was said to be due to the practice of taking young children to evening entertainments and religious services by parents who believed in infants being subjected to a “hardening process”. Such was the comment in the “Herald”. But the Medical Officer had a more serious complaint: “I continually insist upon the more frequent removal of all filth from receptacles near houses”. Dr Stainthorpe also stressed the necessity of complete isolation in all cases of infectious disease and the recurrence of epidemics of scarlet fever. The Board granted him permission of attend a course on practical bacteriology at Kings College, London. After unsuccessful attempts to establish a joint fever hospital for the districts of Saltburn, Redcar and Guisborough, a site was chosen near Sandy Lane, Marske, following a meeting between an inspector of the Local Government Board and the Rural Sanitary Authority.
It requires little imagination to understand the complaint made by miners about the night-soil deposited by the road leading from Marske to Upleatham.
Bank Street in Guisborough came under discussion at a meeting of the Local Board when the Medical Officer condemned the installation of a town water supply because the service pipe had been carried beneath the ashpits. These so-called ashpits were in reality middens and it is easy to understand the Medical Officer’s dread of the consequences arising from a broken lead pipe.
The Workhouse provided a source of news for the “Herald” in 1887 when one of he local Guardians alleged that children aged three to five years had their sleeves cut out at the shoulders and were “blue with cold”. The Local Government Inspector was equally observant and recommended that 23 boys and 27 girls residing there should have separate towels to prevent the spread of ophthalmia and other diseases. He also recommended that these fifty juveniles, whose ages ranged from five to sixteen years, should be given opportunities for religious instruction under the auspices of their own denomination.
These visits were followed up by an inquiry by a Local Government Inspector and resulted in the removal of the master and the matron. The appointment of a new master proved beneficial to the inmates. On his retirement nineteen years later he was described as an outstanding example of a workhouse master. Under his direction it had been “a model of what a well-regulated and ably managed workhouse should be”. In fact it was so good that newly-appointed masters and matrons from all parts of the country were sent to Guisborough by the Inspectors to observe an d copy the administration.
Even so, he had his troubles. A girl aged sixteen had proved incorrigible and was sent to another institution for correction, but her refractory conduct caused her to be sent back to Guisborough. On another occasion a vagrant assaulted a porter after refusing to pick oakum, which the Guardians ordered in half-ton loads. Could he have been an old seaman?
The Guardians were not immune from censure. Mr Knollys, a Local Government Board Inspector made a complaint to the Board about the discrepancy in the quantity of sugar consumed. Two pounds less sugar had been consumed at the workhouse in one particular week when there were ten more inmates than in another week. The Guardians atoned for this error by criticising a tradesman’s account for bacon, 9d per pound being considered excessive. For good measure the Inspector told them that it was illegal for vagrants to pound bones.
At a meeting of the Guardians in April 1888 the estimated expenditure for the ensuing half-year was stated as £9,698. A credit balance of £3,782 left £5,916 to be raised by two calls on the townships in the Union, equalling a rate of 7 in the pound. From the fortnightly returns made by the master of the Workhouse the number of inmates ranged from 117 to 152 during the years 1887 and 1888. For the vagrants the monthly figures varied between 20 and 83, more vagrants naturally being on the move during the summer months.
A reflection of he industrial depression within the township of Guisborough occurs in the rates levied for the two half-years of 1888. In May a district rate of 10d in the £ on mines and houses and 2½d on land as levied in September and the figures were 6d on mines and houses and 1½d on land. This was stated to be the lowest rate levied since 1884 when the rateable value was £34,147 as against £27,000 for 1888.
Of the news items of interest to the local historian is that of a provision for re-laying a small portion of the footway in Belmangate where the Black Bridge formerly stood (4).
The condition of the roads may be judged by the flowing items of news: in April 1888 the Surveyor obtained permission to order 100 tons of whinstone and to have it broken in readiness for the next season. In June of the same year a member of the Local Board suggested that women should pick stones off the road at a wage of one shilling a day. This was rejected with the satirical comment that the old men be allowed to continue to rake off the bulk of stones and leave straggling pieces here and there for people to fall over. The editor capped that with “They cannot be expected to stoop to do that”. About the same time the Churchwardens removed some cobbles and laid an asphalt footway leading to the church. The surveyor asked for instructions as to the disposal of the cobbles. Mr Joseph Wright “asked if it were not a question of taking away Church property, but Mr Whittaker thought that they could take away the Church itself if the Churchwardens left it lying on the road”.
The impending County Council Bill, together with an alteration in the method of voting, received publicity in the “Herald”: “Some very fantastic tricks have been played at election times, and in some cases the race has been, if not to the swift, but to the audacious. Names have been signed, initials have been added, papers have been altered in many elections, in various places, by others than the electing parties, and on such voting papers men have triumphantly ridden to victory”. At an election for the Normanby Local Board, “Mr Seymour, returning officer, said that a man came to his house to complain that while he was at work and his wife ill in bed, one of the candidates entered his house, filled up his voting paper and got his little daughter to sign it. That man was victorious”. The editorial comment on this election was that many women were diffident about completing ballot papers and entertained fears of some new taxation.
About the same time, Mr Whittaker, a member of the Guisborough Local Board, said that complaints had been made to him about the non-collection of voting papers from some houses. “People who had paid their rates ought at least to have the opportunity of casting their vote”. The official reply was that every house was visited, but people were not always at home when the collector called and in any case voters had the option of handing them in to the proper authority.
The new “Provided” schools, Northgate and Providence, had been in existence since 1879-81 and in the issue of 4 February 1888 figures were given for the average attendance over a period of three weeks:
Northgate School Providence SchoolThere are references to the remission of school fees and to prosecutions for non-attendance. In two cases fines of 2/6 and 5/- were imposed. An assistant master was appointed at Northgate School at a salary of £50 per annum.
Boys 133 out of 152 Boys 229 out of 257
Girls 129 149 Girls 142 178
Infants 96 115 Infants 130 171
In the autumn of 1887 extensive alterations were made at the Grammar School and a report in the “Herald” of 14 October mentions the discovery of old carved stonework when the ancient almshouses were demolished: “Mr John Cook, the Clerk of Works, had the best of these built into the foundations of the new buildings, so as to preserve them for the benefit of antiquarians of a future date”. In a cavity under the foundation stone a bottle was placed containing Jubilee coins and a copy of the “Herald”.
There is only one mention of a private school in these papers, “Miss terry’s School”, but it is know than there were others.
Many interesting comparisons could be made with present day affairs. The Cleveland Chamber of Agriculture met in April 1888 and passed a resolution in favour of a tax: “That this Chamber approves generally of the budget proposals of Mr Goschen and strongly approves the Wheel Tax as recognising the principle that those who use the roads should contribute to their maintenance”. They did not include horses.
Of the many voluntary associations in Guisborough the Temperance Society had its fair share of publicity. A society had been formed in 1860 and was only saved from an untimely end bu a publican who found them a room as a meeting place. The landlord of the Cock Inn let them have a room at a charge of 2/6 per meeting with fire and light thrown in. It is not known what effect the venue had on the members but they survived to enjoy the benefits of the Temperance Hall erected in Chaloner Street in 1871 (5).
But life was not entirely gloomy and it is possible that there were similar incidents to one reported in the “Darlington and Stockton Times” some years later. A report headed “Victims of the Wheel” concerned a “Scorcher” who was fined 17/- for flying through Guisborough market place at a speed estimated by the constable of between 16 and 20 miles per hour. Lorry swinging likewise brought pleasure and punishment.
Local entertainments in the 1880s included one Professor Harte, a thought-reader and conjuror, who gave a display of his powers in the Temperance Hall and also advertised his accomplishments when he discovered a pin which had been previously secreted in the ivy-covered wall of the Workhouse. The report does not state where the professor’s magnetic personality led him before he found the proverbial pin.
The lighter side of country life was reported by “Paul Pry” in the “Herald”. One incident was that of a fox seen entering the Rector’s garden. Mr John Walton dashed home, returning with his two terriers and capturing the fox.
One week later the Cleveland Hounds met at Guisborough Park and a chase to Chaloner Pit ended in Redcar Road where the fox took refuge in Mr Harrison’s workshop, scattering tins of paint about. Mr Langbburn caught the fox and carried it to the end of Church Street where he released it. A final chase ended at Chaloner Pit and the head and brush were afterwards presented to Mrs Harrison. Paul pry had a giber at Mr Langburn saying that he fox “ fell an easy prey to an individual who never can be induced to mind his own business and respect the freedom of other people”. Mr Langburn’s reply was to the effect that the nature of his business – a debt collector – may have prompted Paul Pry’s paragraph. People who did not attend to their own business caused him much activity and he suggested that Paul Pry might know something of this.
The published fixtures of three football clubs, the cricket club and rhe existence of two bands indicate much lively activity. Mention if made of Mr Michael Calvert’s celebrated Quadrille Band entertaining . a “large and appreciative” audience in the market place and also Mr Frankland’s String Band. A comment on the defection of the Rifle Volunteers at Skelton attributed their absence on several pubic occasions to the Guisborough Corps of the Salvation Army who had borrowed the big drum belonging to G Co. of the Volunteers and failed to return it. The Army Band had taken it with them to Clapton when General Booth’s daughter was married.
Other aspects of communal life occur in the reports of the Guisborough Fine Art and Industrial Society Exhibition – a three-day event – in 1888. The K Co. of the Guisborough Rifle Volunteers had a full programme in the summer months. There was a dog show for the fancier and for the studious classes in science at the Mechanics’ Institute.
At Saltburn Mr Charles Dickens, son of he novelist, gave readings: “Mr Dickens has not a powerful voice, but he knows how to use it and in some parts he was exceedingly effective”.
In politics the Liberals had the most support and the despondent comment of a chairman presiding at a meeting of the Cleveland Primrose League was that “he wished that the room had been filled with miners”. (Readers of Sir Alfred Pease’s book “Elections and Recollections” will recall his account of how the Guisborough miners bespattered the Tories with rotten eggs, yellow ochre and bags of soot.)
While addressing a meeting on the provision of allotments under the Allotments Act the secretary of the Cleveland Miners’ Association made a jocular reference to the Guisborough Local Board. This caused the Chairman of the Board to describe him as “a paid agitator and servant of he Union”, a statement he later withdrew.
Nothing escaped the “Herald”. The correspondence columns reveals requests for a surpliced choir in the Parish Church and for the removal of the choir to the chancel, also for less noise from the congregation. A lengthy and appreciative review of Rector Morgan’s novel, “The Prior of Gysburne” appeared in January 1888.
On the last day of March 1888 the weather was described “not as a lion, but as a beast”, and the late snowstorm cost the Guisborough Parish an additional outlay of £20 for shifting snow. At North Ormesby the dead body of a labourer’s wife was found in a snowdrift.
Wages offered at the hirings of the May Fair in 1888 were: Young girls £5 to £8. Women £10 to £12. Young lads £3 to £5. plough boys £8 to £12. Men £14 to £18.
In October 1887 a Middlesbrough firm of grocers advertised the following provisions in the “Herald”: Flour 1/2 per st. Danish butter 1/3 per 1lb. Bacon 4½d to 6½ per lb. Sugar-cured hams 7d per lb. “Butterine” 6d per lb. 3lb tin of pineapples 9d. Rice 1d per lb. Oatmeal 1½d per lb.
The hazards of copywriting occur in an advertisement offering bargains in footwear: as an inducement to purchase the firm state “10,000 footballs to be given away to every customer spending 10/-!
Some explanation is necessary concerning the word “Butterine” in a preceding paragraph. Apparently there was a reluctance to abandon the name on the passing of the Margarine Act: “This is a strange name to have fixed for that curious compound previously known as ‘Butterine’. Stockton had he doubtful distinction of providing the first case under the new Act, the offended being find 10/-.
At the Guisborough Police Court, judgement on a different offence, appears on the meagre facts, somewhat severe. A local coal-dealer who had stolen some hay, the property of a doctor, was fined £2, the hay being valued at 9.
Despite the depression there was a building society paying 5% to its members and the sum of £1045 had been raised by voluntary efforts towards the renovation of the Wesleyan Chapel.
During the summer the “Herald” devoted five or six columns o to the visitors (and their servants) arriving at Saltburn and Marske, gratifying the distinguished holiday-makers who headed the list and also the proprietors of the hotels and boarding-houses.
Other miscellaneous items of interest are:
The privately-owned Guisborough Gas Co. charged consumers 4/6 per 1000 cubic feet in 1887.
The LNER ran 14 trains out of Guisborough on weekdays.
The Guisborough Post Office was open on weekdays from 7am to 8pm and there were 7 despatches and 3 deliveries of mail. Deliveries were at 7-45am, 1pm, 5-10pm. The office was open on Sundays from 8 to 10am and there was a delivery of mail at 9‑30am.
Among the many advertisements in the “Herald” one or two are worthy of note: The Proprietors of the Guisbro’ Marquees catered for the hire of marquees ranging from 40ft to 500ft. There were two “hotels” which have vanished: the Station Hotel in Chaloner Street and the George and Dragon in the Market Place. Jackson Hugill & Son had a Steam Flour Mill in Mill Street. Charles Chapman was a manufacturer of Aerated Waters. Mrs Easton ran a Carrier’s service to Stockton on Wednesdays. JT Stokeld from his Gas Printing Works offered 24 Christmas cards for 6d. Charles Fordham gave tuition on the Piano, Violin and Organ and also sold pianos on “the3 years system, 20/- per month”. Edwin Gill, a Stationer, Newsagent and Hairdresser had a Circulating Library with books from Mudies. A Richardson the Ironmonger advertised Bassinette Perambulators with 4 bicycle wheels at 30/- and I Armstrong All-wool Suits at £2/2/-. The Haddon House Hydropathic Establishment and Boarding House at 34 Redcar Road offered Vapour Baths at 1/6; Board, Lodging and Attendance 25/- to 30/-. “Sure cure for colds, rheumatism and other diseases.
Within Guisborough there were plenty of “characters” and John Buckworth was a would-be innovator who came in for some unkind criticism from Paul Pry: “I notice that Guisbro’s fanatic, John Buckworth, is to the fore again, and informs the nobility, clergy and inhabitants of Guisbro’ that he will address a meeting from the Market Cross on Friday fore the purpose of erecting an illuminated four-dial-clock – as usual he wanders off into poetry and inflicts four verses on the suffering reader – all on different subjects and equally incoherent and meaningless. To see John Buckworth, rigged out in a white waistcoat and high-crowned hat and wearing a large pair of spectacles with one glass, addressing a meeting from the Market Cross is a sight worth remembering. Instead of sympathy and support from the nobility and clergy, however, I fear his usual fate is rotten eggs and decaying onions”.
Paul Pry served a useful purpose: eccentricities were noted and printed; local “characters” got the publicity they sought, and readers of the “herald” were entertained.
Finally it is fitting that a tribute should be paid to the printers of the “Herald”. As a former compositor the writer of these notes is aware of the skill involved in setting up solid matter in cold type and also of he equally arduous task of “dissing” (6) the type in preparation for the next batch of copy. While it is true that the pressman had the aid of an erratic gas-engine and was relieved of turning the press by hand, he still had to handle weighty formes of type and heavy loads of paper.
(1) The editor was apparently unaware of the criticism made by Mr Walter White in his book “A Month in Yorkshire” published in 1858. Of Guisborough he wrote: “Having refreshed myself at The Buck I took an evening stroll, not a little surprised at the changes which the place had undergone since I once saw it. Then it had the aspect of a lonely village and scarce a sound would you hear after nine at night in its long wide street; now at both ends new houses intrude on the fields and hedgerows, the side lanes have grown into streets lit by gas and watched by policemen. Tippling irondiggers disturb the night with noisy shouts when sober folk are abed and the old honest look has disappeared for ever. In the olden time it was said ‘The inhabitants of this place are observed by travellers to be very civil and well-bred, cleanly in dressing their diet and very decent in their houses’.”
(2) “The Middlesbrough News and Cleveland Advertiser”.
(3) Research Dept., National Union of General and Municipal Workers, London.
(4) See “Gazetteer of Cleveland Ironstone Mines” – SK Chapman.
(5) Local newspapers: Middlesbrough Reference Library.
(6) In the trade “dissing” is short for distribution, when the compositor deftly distributes each letter to its own compartment in the type case.