Hartlepool is a town on the North Sea coast ofNorth East England, 7.5 miles (12 km) north of Middlesbrough and 17 miles (27 km) south of Sunderland. Historically a part of County Durham and laterCleveland, the town is now a unitary authority: the Borough of Hartlepool, which includes outlying suburban villages including Seaton Carew,Greatham and Elwick. Ceremonially the town remains a part of County Durham, but has strong cultural and economic links to the Teesside or Tees Valley area, with which it shares a number of provisions including the TS postcode, Cleveland Fire Brigade, and Cleveland Police.
It was founded in the 7th century AD, around the Northumbrian monastery ofHartlepool Abbey. The village grew during the Middle Ages and developed a harbour which served as the official port of the County Palatine of Durham. A railway link from the north was established from the South Durham coal fields to the historic town. An additional link from the south, in 1835, together with a new port, resulted in further expansion, with the establishing of the new town of West Hartlepool. Industrialisation and the formation of a shipbuilding industry during the later part of the 19th century caused Hartlepool to be a target for the German Navy at the beginning of the First World War. A bombardment of 1150 shells on 16 December 1914 resulted in the death of 117 people. A severe decline in heavy industries and shipbuilding following the Second World War caused periods of high unemployment until the 1990s when major investment projects and the redevelopment of the docks area into a marina have seen a rise in the town's prospects.
After the Romans left England, the east coast began to be raided by Anglo-Saxons. They then settled in the area, creating what is today Northumbria. Hartlepool began as an Anglian settlement, but was founded as a village in the 7th century AD, springing up around Hartlepool Abbey, founded in CE 640 on a headland overlooking a natural harbour. Founded by St Aidan, the monastery became famous under St Hilda, who served as its abbess from 649–657. But it fell into decline and was probably destroyed by the Vikings in the 9th century. In March 2000, the archaeological investigation television programme Time Team located a lost Anglo-Saxon monastery in the grounds of St Hilda's Church.
After the Norman conquest of 1066, the De Brus family gained ownership of the lands surrounding Hartlepool. William the Conqueror built Durham Castle and brought stability to the area, and the villages were first mentioned in records in 1153 when Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale became Lord of Hartness. The town's first charter was received before 1185, for which it gained its first mayor, an annual two-week fair and a weekly market. By the later Middle Ages, Hartlepool had grown into an important (though still small) market town. A major part of the reason for growth was that its harbour was improved to serve as the official port of the County Palatine of Durham. The main trade developed as fishing, making Hartlepool one of the major ports on the east coast of the UK. In 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland, and became the last Lord of Hartness. Angered, King Edward I confiscated the title to Hartlepool, and began to improve the town's defences. But in 1315, before they were completed, the Scots under Sir James Douglas attacked and sacked the town. The town recovered, with a pier being built in the late 15th century. Occupied by Scots who supported theroundheads during the English Civil War, they were replaced by English troops after 18 months.
Hartlepool established gun emplacements and defences in 1795 to repel a possible French invasion. The later Crimean Warrevived the idea of protection from seaborne attack, and two batteries were built close together: the lighthouse battery in 1855 and the Heugh Battery in 1859. The town had medicinal springs, particularly the chalybeate spa near the Westgate.Thomas Gray the famous poet ('Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard') visited in July 1765 to take the waters, and wrote to his friend Dr Wharton:
|“||I have been for two days to taste the water, and do assure you that nothing could be salter and bitterer and nastier and better for you... I am delighted with the place; there are the finest walks and rocks and caverns.||”|
A few weeks later, he wrote in greater detail:
|“||The rocks, the sea and the weather there more than made up to me the want of bread and the want of water, two capital defects, but of which I learned from the inhabitants not to be sensible. They live on the refuse of their own fish-market, with a few potatoes, and a reasonable quantity of Geneva [gin] six days in the week, and I have nowhere seen a taller, more robust or healthy race: every house full of ruddy broad-faced children. Nobody dies but of drowning or old-age: nobody poor but from drunkenness or mere laziness.|
Hartlepool has five secondary schools:
The town had planned to receive funding from central government to improve school buildings and facilities as a part of theBuilding Schools for the Future programme, but this was cancelled because of government spending cuts.
There is currently another secondary school being built on the site of Manor College of Technology, which will become the new school. It is scheduled to be completed mid-April 2016.
Hartlepool College of Further Education is an educational establishment located in the centre of the town, and existed in various forms for well over a century. The recently demolished campus was built in the 1960s. The new £52million custom-designed building was approved in principle July 2008, and construction was complete for September 2011.
Hartlepool also has its own specialist sixth form college, Hartlepool Sixth Form College. A former grammar and comprehensive school, the college provides a number of AS and A2 Level courses for students across the town. TheEnglish Martyrs School and Sixth Form College also offers AS, A2 and other BTEC qualification to 16–18-year olds from Hartlepool and beyond.
A campus of Cleveland College of Art & Design, the only remaining specialist art and design college in the North East that teaches Higher Education, is located in Hartlepool, alongside the Art Gallery in Church Square. The College has a further site in Middlesbrough that facilitates Further Education.
Hartlepool's economy has historically been linked with the maritime industry, something which is still at the heart of local business. Hartlepool Dock is owned and run by PD Ports. Engineering related jobs employ around 1700 people, with companies such as Heerema employing around 400 people. Tata Steel Europe employ around 350 people in the manufacture of steel tubes, predominantly for the oil industry. Within the greater docks development, Able UK are a leading maritime recycler, which in the Teesside Environmental Reclamation and Recycling Centre (TERRC), owns and operates the largest purpose-designed facility for recycling redundant marine structures. TERRC dismantled 13 formerUS Naval Ghost fleet vessels in 2003, and in February 2009, decommissioned the French Navy aircraft carrierClemenceau. Able UK run the largest dry dock in Europe just outside the town.
Hartlepool nuclear power station is an advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) type nuclear power plant opened near Hartlepool in the 1980s. It is the single largest employer in the town, employing 1 per cent of the town's working age people. If it is agreed to build a new plant on the site, it is forecast that 12,000 construction jobs, 5,000 operational jobs, and 1,000 manufacturing jobs would be created.
The chemicals industry is important to the local economy. Companies include Huntsman Corporation, who produce titanium dioxide for use in paints, Omya, Baker Hughes and Frutarom.
Tourism was worth £48 million to the town in 2009; this figure excludes the impact of the Tall Ships 2010. Hartlepool's historic links to the maritime industry are centred on the Maritime Experience, and the supporting exhibits PS Wingfield Castle and HMS Trincomalee.
Camerons Brewery was founded in 1852 and currently employs around 85 people. It is one of the largest breweries in the UK. Following a series of take-overs, it came under the control of the Castle Eden Brewery in 2001 who merged the two breweries, closing down the Castle Eden plant. It brews a range of cask and bottled beers, most famously Strongarm, a 4% abv bitter. The brewery is heavily engaged in contract brewing such beers as Kronenbourg 1664, John Smith's andFoster's.
Orchid Drinks of Hartlepool were formed in 1992 after a management buy out of the soft drinks arm of Camerons. They manufactured Purdey's and Amé. Following a £67 million takeover by Britvic, the site was closed down in 2009.
Middleton Grange Shopping Centre is the main shopping location. 2800 people are employed in retail. The ten major retail companies in the town are Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, B&Q, Next, Argos, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Boots and Matalan. Aside from the local sports clubs, other local entertainment venues include a VUE Cinema, Mecca Bingo and UK Super Bowl.
Companies that have moved operations to the town for the offshore wind farm include Siemens and Van Oord.
Hartlepool is served by two primary routes which are the A179 road and the A689 road, both linking the town to the A19 road. The A179 road is the main road to the north-west which leads to the A19 road, Durham and Tyneside. The A689 roadis the main road to the south-west towards the A19 & Billingham, Stockton, Middlesbrough and York. The A178 road leads south to Seaton Carew, Graythorp, Seal Sands, Port Clarence and Middlesbrough via the Transporter bridge. The A1086 road leads north to Crimdon, Blackhall, Horden, Peterlee and Easington.
Hartlepool is served by Hartlepool and Seaton Carew railway stations, both of which lie on the Durham Coast Line with hourly services to Sunderland, Newcastle andMiddlesbrough, which are operated by Northern Rail. A service to London fromSunderland, operated by Grand Central that uses Class 43 and Class 180 trains capable of 125 miles per hour (201 km/h) operates from the former of the two stations. The service marks the first time since the 1980s that Hartlepool has had a direct rail link with London which takes around three and a half hours.
Local bus services are provided around the town mainly by Stagecoach.
The Stagecoach Group operate service 36 from Hartlepool to Billingham, Stockton and Middlesbrough. Other services are provided by Arriva and Go North East from Hartlepool to Peterlee, Durham, Seaham, Hetton-le-Hole, Houghton-le-Springand Sunderland.
Hartlepool has been a major seaport virtually since it was founded, and has a long fishing heritage. During the industrial revolution massive new docks were created on the southern side of the channel running below the Headland, which gave rise to the town of West Hartlepool.
Now owned by PD Ports, the docks are still in use today and still capable of handling large vessels. However, a large portion of the former dockland was converted into marina, capable of berthing 500 vessels. Hartlepool Marina is home to a wide variety of pleasure and working craft, with passage to and from the sea through a lock.