From Academic Kids

Borough of Hartlepool
Missing image

Status:Unitary, borough
Region:North East England
Ceremonial County:Durham
- Total
Ranked 251st
93.86 km²
Admin. HQ:Hartlepool
ONS code:00EB
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
Ranked 246th
961 / km²
Ethnicity:98.8% White
Hartlepool Borough Council
Leadership:Mayor & Cabinet
Mayor:Stuart Drummond
MP:Iain Wright

Hartlepool (pronounced HART-lee-pool) is a North Sea port in North East England. It is part of the traditional county of Durham, and, in 1974, formed part of the new metropolitan county of Cleveland. After the abolition of Cleveland, it was placed in the ceremonial county of Durham, but is governed by a unitary authority. It has a resident population of 90,161 (as of 2003) and is located at coordinates Template:Coor dm.



Hartlepool was founded as a village in the 7th century AD, springing up around a nearby convent founded in 640 on a headland overlooking a natural harbour. The convent became famous under Saint Hilda, who served as its abbess from 649-657, but it was destroyed by the Vikings in 800.

During the Middle Ages the village grew into an important (though still small) town, gaining a market and walls, and its harbour was improved to serve as the official port of the County palatine of Durham. Its harbour made it a convenient outlet for the coalfields of South Durham and in 1835 a railway was built to enable South Durham coal to be exported. A rival railway was built in 1847 and docks were established at its terminus, around which a new town, West Hartlepool, was founded.

The two communities grew very rapidly, from only a thousand at the start of the 19th century to a population of 64,000 in 1891. The modern town represents a joining together of "Old Hartlepool", locally known as the "headland", and West Hartlepool. What was West Hartlepool became the larger town and the town were formally joined in 1967. Today the term "West Hartlepool" is rarely heard outwith a sporting context, as a famous, but rather unsuccessful Rugby Union team bears the name.

The area became heavily industrialised with an ironworks (established 1838) and shipyards in the docks (established in the 1870s). By 1913, no fewer than 42 ship-owning companies were located in the town, responsible for 235 ships. This made it a key target for Germany in the First World War. The first German offensive against Britain was mounted at Hartlepool between 8.10 and 9.30 am on the morning of 16 December 1914, when units of the Imperial German Navy bombarded Hartlepool, West Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough with a total of 1150 shells, killing 137 people and wounding 592. Two coastal defence batteries at Hartlepool returned fire, firing 143 shells, damaging 3 German ships including the battlecruiser SMS Blucher. An attempt by the German High Command to repeat the attack a month later led to the Battle of Dogger Bank on 24 January 1915.

Hartlepool suffered badly in the Great Depression of the 1930s and suffered high unemployment until the start of the Second World War, during which its shipbuilding and steelmaking industries enjoyed a renaissance. After the war, both industries went into a severe decline. The last ship to be constructed in Hartlepool left the slips in 1961. There was a boost to the retail sector in 1968 when Middleton Grange Shopping Centre was opened by Princess Anne with over 140 new retail outlets including Marks & Spencer and Woolworths on the site of the old terraced streets which where bombed during the Second World War. By the 1980s the area was again severely affected by unemployment. A series of major investment projects in the 1990s revived the town centre with a new marina, rehabilitation of derelict land, the indoor conversion to modernise Middleton Grange Shopping Centre from the 1960's brutalist architecture and the construction of much new housing, which has led to the town becoming improbably chic in recent years. The town's Historic Quay is home to Britain's oldest warship still afloat, the frigate Trincomalee, built in Bombay 1817.

A nuclear power station of the advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) type was opened near Hartlepool in the 1980s and is scheduled for decommissioning by 2014. The plant operator British Energy has suggested that the site would be a good location for a replacement nuclear power station, though this is opposed by environmental groups such as Greenpeace


The Hartlepool constituency was represented in the House of Commons from 1929 until 1931 by the early feminist Doctor Marion Phillips who campaigned for safer family-friendly homes among other things and from 1992 until summer 2004 by Labour MP, Peter Mandelson.

Mr Mandelson resigned to take up a role in the European Commission. The by-election on September 30 was won by Labour's Iain Wright with a much reduced majority following an 18% swing to the Liberal Democrats. He retained the seat with a further reduced majority in the 2005 UK general election.

Monkey business

Hartlepool is famous for allegedly executing a monkey, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, during the Napoleonic Wars. Not knowing what a Frenchman looked like, and with the monkey unable to defend himself against accusations of spying, the townspeople supposedly hanged the monkey. The story is unconfirmed, but historians have pointed to the prior existence of a Scottish folk song called "And the Boddamers hung the Monkey-O". It describes how a monkey survived a shipwreck off the village of Boddam near Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. Because the villagers could only claim salvage rights if there were no survivors from the wreck, they allegedly hanged the monkey. A famous 19th century Geordie comic singer and songwriter named Ned Corvan is said to have been the first to mention the Hartlepool monkey story in his "Monkey Song"; it has been suggested that he adapted the Scottish folk song to give it a north-eastern English flavour. [1] (http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/story.jsp?story=643690)

"Monkey hangers" is a common term of (semi-friendly) abuse aimed at "Poolies", often from bitter footballing rivals Darlington. The mascot of Hartlepool United F.C. is H'Angus the monkey, real name Stuart Drummond. He stood for the post of Mayor in 2002, campaigning in the monkey suit on a platform which included free bananas for schoolchildren. To widespread surprise, he became the first directly-elected Mayor of Hartlepool, winning 7,400 votes with a 52% share of the vote and a turnout of 30%. He was re-elected by a landslide in 2005, winning 16,912 on a turnout of 51% – 10,000 votes more than his nearest rival, the Labour Party candidate.

In a curious postscript to the monkey story, in June 2005 a large bone from a gorilla was found washed ashore on Hartlepool beach. Police stated that they were baffled as to where it had come from.

External link

Districts of England - North East England Flag of England
Alnwick - Berwick-upon-Tweed - Blyth Valley - Castle Morpeth - Chester-le-Street - Darlington - Derwentside - Durham - Easington - Gateshead - Hartlepool - Middlesbrough - Newcastle upon Tyne - North Tyneside - Redcar and Cleveland - Sedgefield - South Tyneside - Stockton-on-Tees - Sunderland - Teesdale - Tynedale - Wansbeck - Wear Valley

1974 counties: Cleveland - County Durham - Northumberland - Tyne and Wear


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