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Early Days

Cleveland Potash rises from the green and pleasant fields near Boulby. A scan of an original print, dated October 1969. Roy Jacklin tells us: “I was living in Liverton Mines and working at Skinningrove steel works when I learned that a Potash firm was to open at Boulby. I along with workmate Ken Rawson of Loftus made enquiries and learned that Monks were to prepare the groundworks. We got a job and along with Mr Murphy?, his sons Colin and Bernard of Boosebeck and another man were the first to start work on preparing the land for developement. Because the weather was unfit to begin work immediately we spent time in a tin shelter with only a small gas ring for heating and boiling a kettle. Water from the surrounding hillside poured through the hut. We did eventually get started preparing roadways, drainage etc. I was employed as tractor driver which had a hoist (handy for lowering the large drain segments!) and assisting the Thysen mechanics liting heavy engine parts in or out of the heavy earth movers. I didn’t remain at Boulby to see the sinking of the shafts as I went to Low Worsell Pumping Station with Monks. I later learned that one of the Murphy brothers, Colin perhaps went on to be head sinker with Thysens.”

Image courtesy of Alan Franks and thanks to Roy Jacklin for the update.

Skinningrove Works

Here’s a happy crew taking a tea-break in the sunshine. It’s Skinningrove works, but which part – and who were they and when!

Eric Trembath tells us:”This looks like the riggers gang. Two of my old work mates top row 2nd right Tony Prior (from Whitby). Bottom row 2nd right Dennis Theaker, sadly now deceased. Many happy years working with them both. I was the last of the ’Grove riggers and retired in 2008, the end of an era! Eric.”

Many thanks to Eric Trembath for that update.

More Early Days

An aerial image of the site with the ground cleared ready for construction.
Image courtesy of Alan Franks.

Last Tub of Stone Out, Loftus 1958

Men of the last shift at Loftus Mine pose with their handiwork.  The closing of the mines destabilised a lot of the local communities as people drifted away to find new jobs and eventually moved to be nearer their new place of work.

Back Row: Allan Creswick, Harold Found, Cyril Gibson (blacksmith’s striker), Walter Wilson, Bill Dawson, Don Breckon.

Front Row: Jim Tinkler, Walt Sayers (check weighman), George Adamson, Harold Ralph ‘Lal’ Gibson (blacksmith), Jim Easton (holder of the Daily Herald Award for Industrial Heroism for rescuing Jim Tinkler in an incident which witnessed the death of Jim Trousdale), Allan Readman. 

Thanks to Eric Johnson, Joanne Cooper and Cazzi Kerr for names.

Margrove Park Mine -1900

This is an early image of Margrove Park Mine or Magra as it is still known locally. In front of the wooden headgear over the downcast shaft you can see the top of the upcast shaft with the smoke coming from the fire at its base to induce ventilation in the mine. This shaft top was later heightened and a pulley wheel installed on the top; this is now the structure which still survives on the site. The mine closed about 1924; it stood on the site of the present day Caravan Park and connected to the Boosbeck to Middlesbrough railway via a single track which crossed the road from Charltons to Boosbeck with a gated crossing.  The village of Margrove Park; known as  Magra Park – after the deer park which was here originally – was built in a large rectangle, one side of which was the local shops – all of which were demolished due to mining subsidence (after the mine had closed and they fell into disuse).  The only remaining example of a shop (the Co-operative) is the pre-fab building on the opposite side of the road to the village garden. Bob Clements tells us: ”The railway crossing at Magra was a gated crossing. The gates were still there when I was a lad at Magra. That was in the 1940s. I can’t remember when they finally disappeared.” Helen commented: “I have just been walking around this area and found a cordoned off mine shafts in the woods behind the caravan park, but couldn’t tell my younger sister if it was a mine shaft or not!”

Thanks to Simon Chapman for comments and corrections, also Bob Clements for the update on the gates and Helen regarding the former shafts.

Just a Blip on the Horizon

You can hardly see the works, but they are here – early construction image.
Image courtesy of Alan Franks.

Blot on the Landscape?

Still very early days, but it’s beginning to take shape.
Image courtesy of A. Franks.

Loftus Railway Station, 1964

Once again, a rather grainy photograph – but one that was the end of an era – as  it shows the workmen dismantling the railway. Doctor Beeching is frequently blamed for closing many railways which he didn’t; he presented a report with recommendations! The Loftus to Whitby Railway closed in May 1958, Loftus Station closed to passengers in 1960; although goods deliveries continued until 1963. The image came from another Northern Echo newspaper cutting.

Many thanks to Simon Chapman for correcting our commentary.

Loftus Railway Station, Early 1900

Lovely clear shot of Loftus Station, the bank on the left would have taken us to Liverton Mines, clearly visible on the hill. Lynn Jones enquired of the Archive if it was possible to a train from Redcar to Skinningrove in 1900; the Archive has now explained the peculiarities of the ‘Skinningrove – Carlin How’ stations.

Loftus Railway Station – 1950’s

Must have been a very still day when this train pulled into the station as the smoke is going straight up. How I would love to be on that steam train now on the way to Whitby.