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St Anthony’s RC Church, Brotton

This postcard view from the Phoenix Series (Brittain & Wright of Stockton) shows the High Street, Brotton and the Roman Catholic Church of St Anthony of Padua, to give it the full and correct title; dates from 1915. Described as ” a modest structure built at the start of the 20th century. The exterior is plain and simple and has not been enhanced by the rebuilding and enlargement of the western porch. The chief interest lies inside in what is a very elaborate decorative scheme for a small wayside church. The church was built in 1905 (foundation stone was laid on 16th August) to serve the local Catholic community and was officially opened in 1907. The decoration of the ceiling panels was carried out by a Belgian painter Felix Beryngier and his workmen, probably brought across by the first parish priest, Father Gryspeert, one of many French and Belgian priests who sought sanctuary in England in the wake of early 20th century anti-clerical legislation. According to Minskip, the paintings in the sanctuary and on the chancel arch were added later, possibly during the time of Father Patrick Macken (1916-27). The church was enlarged slightly in 1979 with the rebuilding of the western porch.”

Image courtesy of Julie Tyrka, additional information courtesy of “Taking Stock – Catholic Churches of England and Wales”


The Literary Institute on Skelton High Street

Originally known as the Skelton Literary Institute, this building stood on the corner across from what used to be Kingston’s Chemists and is the area currently being refurbished from the rough car park that has occupied the site for many years.  Opened on 4th November 1899; Bill Danby in ‘History of Skelton In Cleveland’ tells us: “The £2,000 cost was paid for by the Whartons of Skelton Castle.”; as well as much interesting information about the management committee and the control of the building. The building was demolished in January 1994. Judy Last tells us: “My grandfather, Albert Tuck, was Postmaster and ran the General Stores in Vaughan Street, North Skelton in the late 1890s after taking over the family business from his father, Edwin Tuck (who had been running the Grocers shop in Boosbeck since the late 1870s). At one time Albert was in partnership with his brother-in-law, John Thompson and the Stores was called Tuck & Thompson at that time. My father, Alexander Tuck, who was born above the Stores in 1897 often told me of watching the Magic Lantern slide shows at I believe the Institute in Skelton, and I would think that the Literary Institute would be the place he was talking about.”

Image courtesy of Julie Tyrka, additional information courtesy of Bill Danby and the Skelton In History Website. Thanks to Peter Appleton for the correct demolition date and to Judy Last for her update.