11:38am Monday 18th February 2013
By Chris Lloyd
THERE is so much under the ground in Eaglescliffe. Recent Memories have been delving into the Second World War reclamation yard at Urlay Nook in the hope of digging up Spitfire engines and Norton motorbikes.
Yet all the time, we should have been looking a little east at Teesside High School where one large wartime bunker has just been uncovered (Echo, February 8) and where four more are said to be waiting to be unearthed.
The school is on the site of one of the Tees Valley’s most extraordinary Victorian mansions: Woodside Hall. It was built in 1876 and appears to have had every conceivable architectural feature clagged onto it.
Its owner was Richard Henry Appleton, whose Cleveland Mills – known as “the Clevo” – once dominated the riverside in Stockton. He was mayor of the town in 1891.
After his death, Woodside Hall was owned by the Harrison family who tried to persuade the local council to take it on as a maternity hospital in the 1930s. Instead, it became the wartime headquarters of ICI, which built large huts in the garden where secretive operations were carried out – and which dug large air raid shelters in case those secretive operations ever came to the attention of the German bombers.
After the war, the hall became Cleveland School, a private establishment for girls.
In 1970, it joined with Queen Victoria High School to form Teesside High School, and the old hall was demolished.
ALSO under the ground at Eaglescliffe are the remains of the Stockton and Darlington Railway’s 1825 coal depot. JE Tyson has kindly sent in this photo, below, of the last signs of the depot which remained until recently behind the Cleveland Bay Hotel. Flats have been built on the depot.
“An attempt was made to preserve the drops but it failed,” says Mr Tyson, of Eaglescliffe.
“There has been little attempt to preserve any of our railway heritage. We’ve lost the old stables on Clarence Road and the railway houses that stood where the S&DR line turned near Eaglescliffe Hotel towards St John’s Crossing.”
IN Memories 111, the headline “A Confusion of Cowtons” was asking for trouble.
It is true that these villages to the south of Darlington are confusing. After all, St Mary’s Church in South Cowton still stands, although South Cowton village does not; whereas the St Mary’s Church near East Cowton does not still stand, although its village does.
We exacerbated the confusion, however, by describing the third Cowton – North Cowton – as “churchless”. As many people have pointed out, it has, in fact, two.
There’s a Wesleyan chapel, built in 1827 and restored in 1881, and there’s St Luke’s Anglican church.
St Luke’s was originally a tin tabernacle – a mission church – paid for in 1894 by public subscription. In 1968 it was rebuilt as a parish centre, incorporating a medieval arch from the church at East Cowton which was then being demolished (even though East Cowton’s was a 14th Century church, we are told that the rest of its sacred stone was used for road building).
In 1990, the parish centre was consecrated as a church, and the two village religious institutions are clearly much loved.
ANOTHER Cowton story worth mentioning concerns a headstone in the South Cowton churchyard. It commemorates the lives of two First World War brothers, the sons of Sarah Davison, of North Cowton, who both died in 1915.
The youngest, Private Frederick, of the Yorkshire Regiment, was aged 18 when he died locally, perhaps of wounds he received abroad.
The second was Private William who, the headstone says, was 22 when he died on December 27 aboard “HMS Acquitainia”. Possibly the monumental mason made a mistake and William died on the Cunard liner Aquitania, which was being used in the Dardenelles as a troop carrier in 1915.
The headstone says that the unfortunate William was buried at sea. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website has no record of him.
IN last week’s article on Richard III, we got most of the 15th Century dates correct but, ironically, made a mistake with the one 21st Century date.
Chris Lloyd’s talk to Croft Lecture Association is in fact this Wednesday, February 20.
The talk is about some of the stories to be found in Croft-on- Tees church which might have inspired the village’s most famous resident, Lewis Carroll.
It starts at 7.30pm in the church. Admission is £2 (to include a glass of wine). All are welcome, but please book on 01325-721050.
AN emailer signing herself “Ann Pedant”
points out that Richard III wasn’t buried under a car park. When he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth on August 22, 1485, cars hadn’t been invented – otherwise, says Ann, Shakespeare would have had him saying: “A Honda! A Honda! My kingdom for a Honda!”
Richard was hurriedly and clumsily buried without a coffin or a shroud in a grave beneath the church of Greyfriars, which was in the centre of Leicester. In the 16th Century, the church was demolished and over time the location of the grave was lost. It was only in the 20th Century, that a municipal car park was built over the grave.
Henry VII succeeded Richard III on the throne.
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