The County Durham coast starts at the mouth of the River Tees, where there is a National Nature Reserve. The reserve stretches as far as the southern edge of the small resort of Seaton Carew and its Golf Club. The A178 follows the shore from here to the larger town of Hartlepool.
Hartlepool once had a thriving shipbuilding industry, and the docks where this industry took place are now an attraction called Historic Quay, which is a reproduction of an 18th century seaport whose attractions include The HMS Trincomalee, Britain’s oldest floating warship. A museum tells the story of Harlepool from Saxon times. The Quay is also home to shops and restaurants. The Headland Museum in Northgate is an interactive science and technology museum. Nearby is the 12th century church of St Hilda, Abbess of Hartlepool. St Hilda came to Hartlepool around 648 AD and later moved on to Whitby. Hartlepool has an Art Gallery housed in a 100-foot high clock tower offering views over the town along with the artworks.
The importance of Hartlepool as a shipbuilding center unfortunately made the town a target during the First World War, and during a raid on the towns of Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough on the morning of 16 December 1914, 117 people were killed in the town when it was hit by 1150 shells. The town hit back, damaging three German ships. Between the wars, Hartlepool suffered badly during the Great Depression, but the town’s shipbuilding and steelmaking industries gained a new lease of life during the Second World War, the downside being that German bombers raided the town 43 times. The last ship to be constructed in Hartlepool, the Blanchland, was launched in 1961.
For a list of events in Hartlepool, see here.
Map of the area.
© 2006 Steve Daniels, via Wikimedia Commons
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