Hartlepool (pronounced HART-le-pool) is a town and North Sea port in North East England.
It is part of the traditional county of Durham, and, in 1974, formed part of the new 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 had a resident population of 90,161 in 2003, and is located at coordinates 54°31' N 1°13' W.
Facts at a glance
Status: Unitary, borough
Region: North East England
Ceremonial County: Durham
Area: 93.86 kmē
Administration HQ: Hartlepool
ONS code: 00EB
Population: 90,161 - (2003 est.)
Hartlepool Borough Council
Hartlepool was founded as a village in the 7th century AD, springing up around a convent founded in 640 on a headland overlooking a natural harbour.
The convent became famous under St 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
"Monkey hanger" is a common term of (semi-friendly) abuse aimed at "Poolies", often from bitter footballing rivals Darlington.
In June 2005 a large bone was found washed ashore on Hartlepool beach, which initially was taken as giving credence to the monkey legend.
Analysis revealed the bone to be that of a red deer which had died 6,000 years ago.
For a more information about Hartlepool see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartlepool) November 2005
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in November 2005. E. & O.E.
Sarolta and I visited this place during our trip around the British Isles in 1978.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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