SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY


1904

Membership Card for the Children's Union, signed by Mrs E.S.M Wharton [wife of W H A Wharton of Skelton Castle.]

1904 - January. WAIFS AND STRAYS. Parish Magazine - Waifs and Strays Society. Miss Wharton wishes to thank the members of the Skelton Branch of the Northern Children's Union of the Waifs and Strays Society, who have sent gifts of needlework and toys. Also those who have collected money for the Home for Crippled Children.

PRIVATE SCHOOL - A small Sale of Work has been arranged by the Misses Barrie and the pupils attending their School [private school on the Hills] in aid of a Child's Cot in the North Ormesby Hospital.

13th January - CHURCH LADS' BRIGADE "At Home". Arranged by Mrs Herring and her Teachers, together with the Officers of the Church Lads' Brigade, it was held in the Church Rooms to raise funds for the CLB.

22nd January - FANCIERS SOCIETY.
On Monday night at the Royal George Hotel, Skelton, the annual general meeting of the Skelton Fanciers Society was held, a large number of members being present.
8th February - INFANTS CONCERT - A Concert was given by the children attending Skelton Infants School, the proceeds being devoted to the Band of Hope.
Miss Jessie Kingston contributed two pianoforte solos and Mr Fred Bell's Band also kindly gave their services.

26th February - MINES AMBULANCE COMPETITION.
The annual ambulance competition for the challenge trophy in connection with Messrs Bell Brothers Ironstone Mines was held in the Assembly Hall, Saltburn on Saturday, when 5 mines competed.
Results - 1. Lumpsey 90 out of 100. 2. Skelton Shaft, 60. 3. Park Pit, Skelton, 75. 4. Carlin How, 70. 5. Huntcliffe, 70.

20th Feb - RUSHPOOL HALL BURNT DOWN.




Front of Rushpool before the Fire.


Rushpool Hall on Fire.

Rushpool Hall had been built in 1863 to 1865, at a cost of 100,000 by the late John Bell, who with his brother Sir Lothian Bell [Bell Brothers] was one of the founders of the Cleveland Iron Industry and the first to work ironstone in Skelton.
A maid was blamed for having a candle too close to the curtains and leaving it unattended in the servants quarters in the West end of the buildings.
The fire started while Mrs Bell and her daughter Sybil, aged 20, were having dinner.

Shell of Rushpool Hall after the Fire.

A maid heard a crackling noise and efforts were made with buckets of water but with so much flammable material the fire was soon beyond control.
News of the fire reached the neighbouring residence of Rigwood, the home of Mr E Hamilton and from there aid was summoned by telephone.
The Hall bell was rung vigorously and the conflagration had already been spotted from the Halfpenny Bridge.
The Saltburn Fire Brigade was called on and the Captain Mr John Metcalfe and Sergeant Haw quickly attended.
The flames meantime had forced their way through the roof and it was too evident that the Hall was doomed.
The main consideration now, therefore was the safety of the inmates of the Hall and happily this was ensured.
Mrs Margaret Bell, an invalid, the 61 year old widow of John Bell, was wrapped in blankets, placed in a bath-chair and wheeled to Rigwood.
The Saltburn Brigade, assisted by a hundred willing workers, managed to attach a hose to the only hydrant available, but the appliance was incapable of subduing the flames.

Interior damage..


Skelton's Steam fire engine hosing down next day.

The efforts of the workers and the Hall servants were directed to saving as much of the valuable movable effects as possible and this they were successful, though the operations were conducted under circumstances of great peril.
A member of the Saltburn Brigade, William Spragg, a lifeboatman, had a very narrow escape. He was assisting to life a heavy carpet, when a charred beam from the roof fell upon his back and for a time he was incapacitated. He would not go home and pluckily returned to helf his colleagues.
The horse-drawn fire brigades from Redcar, Brotton, Middlesbrough and Skelton attended and did all they could to prevent the fire spreading.
When the fire was at its height, during the midnight hours it could be seen for miles around and many hundreds of people from all parts of the district flocked to the Hall grounds to witness a sight such as had not before been seen in Cleveland.
The Hall was turned into a furnace which burned fiercely until 6 o'clock next morning and practically smouldered the rest of the day.
The roof of the main building collapsed and damage was estimated at 25,000. [1.5 million in 2000]

Rushpool Hall. Original built 1863 to 65. Restored 1905.


Most fire engines still drawn by horses.


Rear of Rushpool Hall after the fire with juvenile spectators.


Rushpool after the fire. In the middle distance is Longacre Ironstone Mine and in the far distance North Skelton Mine.


Skelton Park Pit in January 1904.

The 1901 census gives the household servants as:-

Arthur Jennings of Sutton on Forest, the Butler, aged 28.
Catharine Williamson of Durham,the Cook, aged 38,
Eleanor Swalwell of Darlington, a maid, aged 30.
Elizabeth Porritt of Skelton,a housemaid, aged 24.
Annie Pattinson of Shipley, a maid, aged 22.
Evelyn Robinson of Skelton,a kitchenmaid, aged 18.

It is said that there was no Insurance on the building and Mrs Bell and her daughter moved to the South of England.

21st April- MINE DEATH.
Skelton Park Pit.
Thomas Elcoate, a filler aged 38 died of injuries received on 8 January.
"He was filling a tub of ironstone when a small piece burst suddenly off side and caused a slight wound on his head; little was thought of it, but he died on April 21st."


This smallholding was situated on the bank just below Skelton Green.
Old Park Street can be seen in the background.
Folk memory says it was called "Rotherham" "Castle" or- "Farm" .


Back of the Postcard dated 1904.


A later photograph of further weather wear.


Arthur J Balfour.
Prime Minister 1902 to 1905.


Advertisement in the Cleveland Methodist Magazine
about this time, the last years of
dependency on the horse

Whit Sunday - VOLUNTEERS PARADE.
Parish Magazine - Our local company of the Princess of Wales' Own Regiment, Volunteer Brigade held their annual Church Parade.

27th April - CHURCH LADS' BRIGADE CONCERT.
The Church Lads Brigade held a concert in the Drill Hall.
The piece de resistance came in the form of a Christy Minstrel performances by the Skelton CLB Nigger Minstrels, whose dark disguise effectually concealed the identity of Sgt Craven, Lance Sgt Gibson, Corporal Dawson, Lance Cpl Rooks, Privates Wood, Catton, Turnbull and Morgan. The accompaniments were played by Band Sgt Bell.
Their second performance concluded the concert with an amusing farce entitled "De Haunted Hen Coop".

6th June - MINE DEATH.
North Skelton Mine. George Ward, a driver aged 14, was killed when he fell before a set of full tubs which he was leading.
He had his leg cut off.

19th July - MINE DEATH.
South Skelton Mine. George Spurgeon, died as a result of injuries received on 30th June.
"Head and back injured and thigh fractured;
He had fired a shot, and on going back found some bad top stone.
He was taking this down when some more fell and caught him."
George was aged 40 at the 1901 census and lived at 52 Harker St, Skelton Green with his wife Sabrina.
They had no children and had both been born in Suffolk.

26th August - NEW RECHABITES AT NORTH SKELTON.
A new Juvenile Tent of the Independent Order of Rechabites was instituted on Saturday afternoon in the Primitive Methodist Chapel at North Skelton.
The new Tent was named "Prosperity" and commences with over 50 members. [The Order of Rechabites were a Friendly Society, the members of which swore to abstain from alcohol in any form. Groups of them were called "Tents" as the Lord supposedly commanded the sons of the Biblical figure Rechab to live in tents and drink no wine..]

26th October - MINE DEATH.
Longacres Mine. John Ingleden, a miner aged 53 was killed, "He was drilling a hole when a large piece of stone suddenly burst away off the corner of his place and killed him instantly."


Skelton West End in 1904. The message on the back is - "What a tale this street could tell !".

25th December - MERRY CHRISTMAS KICKS
James Armstrong was charged with being drunk and disorderly at North Skelton and assaulting PC Stainthorpe.
PC Stainthorpe gave evidence that Armstrong was heard near Wharton Street using bad language.
He was extremely inebriated and on seeing the police went into a house. He came out again and used more bad language.
After PC Stainthorpe warned him to stop, he took a running kick at him and caught him on the shin. The Constable attempted to arrest him, but Armstrong dragged him into a yard and continued to resist.
PC Hutchings joined the struggle and eventually the defendant was brought to Skelton Police Station.
PC Hutchings gave evidence to the same effect and both policemen said that PC Stainthorpe did not use his Truncheon.
Armstrong denied the charge and alleged that it was the police who were the aggressors.
He had previous convictions in 1888 and 1900 as recorded in this website.
The Bench convicted him and he was sent to Northallerton Gaol for a month with hard labour, which at that time was the Treadmill.

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