12th March - GERMANY INVADED AUSTRIA.
24th August - DEFENCE ACT.
In fear of Hitler's military build up the Defence Act was passed by Parliament enabling protective measures.
6th September - GAS MASKS ISSUED.
In response to the fear of poison gas attacks, Gas masks were issued to the public and law passed penalising failure to carry them with you.
By 1940 Air Raid Wardens were checking only that a person possessed one.
15th September - MINE DEATH
29th September - MUNICH PEACE AGREEMENT.
Hitler and Chamberlain signed the Munich agreement.
21st October. BANKRUPT.
Steele, Stanley, residing at 144, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough, in the county of York, Dock Foreman, formerly residing and carrying on business
Gas masks issued to everyone.
at the Duke William Inn, Skelton-in-Cleveland,
in the North Riding of the county of York. Innkeeper. Court—Middlesbrough.....
November - AIR RAID PRECAUTIONS - BOMB SHELTERS.
Sir John Anderson was put in charge of Air Raid Precautions.
Between now and the start of the War people could obtain an "Anderson" shelter, a six feet by four, steel plated box.
This was for home construction and used in the garden, covered with earth.
More substantial shelters were built of brick and covered with re-inforced concrete.
Stanghow Lane Secondary Modern School had one in each of the play-yards.
Also a Skelton Green Junior School pupil of the time remembers:-
"There were two long shelters at the bottom end of the
school in the girls’ playground.
We used to sit in them and tell stories, as we couldn't have a light on
It was gloomy and damp with the general smell of the great unwashed.
And of course those poor souls who couldn't get out to the toilet."
We had an Indoor Shelter at 153 High St, Skelton, example shown below.
[not the posh carpet in the photo though, just a clippy mat as a hearth rug, made from old clothes.]
I was just an infant during the War, but I remember splitting my head open on the corner of the metal top, which we used as a "dining" table. Never been the same since.
Many warning leaflets were issued in 1938/9.
Air Raid Precaution Warden with Gas Mask.
12th December - Death of William Henry Anthony Wharton, age 79 at Skelton Castle. He was buried in the
family plot near the old church.
He was succeeded by Margaret Winsome Wharton. She married Captain Christopher Hilyard Ringrose, who changed his name to Ringrose-Wharton in 1939 as a condition of Margaret inheriting the Estate.
Margaret Winsome Wharton of Skelton Castle.
Thomas E Slater.
Manager of Longacres and North Skelton Mines.
Thomas E Slater played a large part in the affairs of this area.
He was a native of Alnwick and did his mine training in the coal mines of Durham, before being appointed a Manager in South Wales and spending some time in Eire.
He was first the Mine Manager of Eston and in December 1933 was appointed at North Skelton.
He retired from North Skelton in December 1952 after nearly 40 years management.
He was a local Magistrate from 1943 and virtually died in that job. Shortly after taking his seat on Loftus Bench he complained of feeling ill and died a few minutes after arriving back at his home, The Anchorage, Port Mulgrave, Hinderwell.
Date of death not presently known.
He was responsible for introducing safety features at N Skelton and formed the Mines Ambulance Association. Under his guidance the Mine had 10 competitive ambulance teams and a fully trained team for every 72 men.
The under-manager at North Skelton was H Garbutt. There were only 82 miners below ground with 9 on the surface.
The managers of North Skelton mine were T E Slater and F Weels.
There were 541 men employed below and 110 on the surface.
In November - an explosion of gas at N Skelton mine caused the death of one man and injured four others.
It was closed down until the following March for testing and improvements to ventilation.
To see a video of what mechanised Ironstone mining was like and the closure of North Skelton Mine in January 1964
Click here and wait for it to load.
The under-manager at Skelton Park was M Readman and 172 men
were employed below with 69 on the surface.
The manager at South Skelton was J Clement. The under-manager was J
Crombie. 498 men worked below ground and 109 on the surface.
The closure of Skelton Park Mine and Skelton Shaft.
At the time of the closure the manager of both mines was J Clement.
The under-manager at Shaft was J Forbes and there were only 67 men
working underground and 14 on the surface.
Skelton Park Pit closed 1938.
Some of the leaflets issued to householders in 1938/9.