SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

1927 ~ 1931



Two early buses that would have been seen in Skelton at this time.
Both vehicles were owned by John Dobson of Charltons, N Yorks. Note the "Charltonian" name.
The one on the left, with an "Edmond" body, was new in 1928 and from Feb 1929 was granted a licence to ply the route Saltburn - Skelton - Lingdale - Castleton - Danby.
The bus on the right is a Chevrolet of May 1929 and was photographed in Saltburn ready for the same journey.
Permission to show these photographs has kindly been granted by John Dobson's grandson of the same name.
John, an old Skeltoner, who has contributed other valuable items to this site, published a book about the family firm in 2005.
Called the "Charltonian", it describes in great detail these early days of public transport.
The driver of the bus on the right is his Dad, Bill Dobson.

1927
25th January.
SKELTON COUNCIL APPOINT A SURVEYOR.
SANITARY INSPECTOR TO BE A SEPARATE APPOINTMENT.
A special meeting of the Skelton and Brotton UDC met to consider the question of replacing Mr R S Moon, who recently acquired a position with the Ministry of Transport.
Coun William Mott, Coun Robinson, Coun T Coatsworth were in favour of one man being appointed to do both jobs.
Coun E Hudson, Mr Chapman, Coun M Kirkbright, Coun W Frankland were for creating two jobs.
By a majority of 2 it was decided on separate appointments and Mr A R Cranmer was made the Surveyor.
Richard Barry was later appointed as Sanitary Inspector.

1st July.
RISE IN COST OF LIVING.
The Ministry of Labour Gazette stated that the cost of living was 66 per cent above that of the pre-war period. Recent 3% rise due to higher prices for potatoes and eggs.

2nd July.
IMPERIAL SERVICE MEDAL.
London Gazette. Whitehall, His Majesty The King has been pleased to award the Imperial Service Medal to the following officers:
Home Civil Service - Knaggs, Robert, Postman, Skelton in Cleveland, Sub-Office, Saltburn by the Sea.


29th July - Trades Disputes Act made General strikes illegal.

7th Sept.
ROADS LIKE RIVERS.
Considerable areas of low lying land in Cleveland are under water as the result of the heavy and prolonged downpour of rain yesterday.
Many of the roads in the area were transformed into streams through which the traffic made its way with difficulty.
During one period the Marske High Street was flooded to a depth of almost one foot and so much water raced down the Skelton Beck that in several places the banks were unable to hold it.
At Old Saltburn the water flowed over as well as under the bridge and made the road impassable. In Skelton Ellers the water gathered to a depth that prevented the passage of all but the largest vehicles.

This Photograph and newspaper extracts 1927 to 1938 were taken from a book of Cuttings that were collected at the time of publication by A R Cranmer, Skelton and Brotton UDC Surveyor [born 1887, died in 1953],
They have been kindly contributed in the year 2018 by Chris Twigg, website - Our Industrial Heartland:- Link here.

1928
2nd July - VOTES FOR WOMEN - EQUAL FRANCHISE ACT.
Women got the same voting rights as men.

14th August - BODY FOUND IN WOOD.
While strolling in the woods near Saltburn two boys found the dead body of Thomas Gatenby Boyes, of Harker-street, Skelton-in-Cleveland, who had been missing from home for a few days.

3rd September - PENNICILLIN.
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.

21 December.
CLEVELAND GAS.
London Gazette.
(Application for Special Order under Section 10 of the Gas Regulation Act 1920.) Notice is hereby given that application is intended to be made to the Board of Trade by the Cleveland Gas Company (hereinafter referred to as " the Company ") whose principal office is at Skinningrove, Carlin How, in the North Riding of the County of York for a Special Order (hereinafter referred to as " the Order ") under Section 10 of the Gas Regulation Act 1920 for all or some of the following purposes (that is to say):
1. To empower the Company to acquire the portion of the undertaking of the Brotton Gas Light and Coke Company Limited (hereinafter called " the Brotton Company ") within the part of the Parish of Brotton in the Urban District of Skelton and Brotton hereinafter described.....


North Skelton Cricket 1928 to 1929.


North Skelton St Peter's Church Football Team 1930/31.

1929
In the following fire report the wooden garage was where the bus conductress, Ethel Danby [nee Cook], my mother, is standing in the photograph above -
the old Institute in the background.
At that time the Fire Station was situated at the bottom of Green Road.
21st February.
BLAZING BUS DRAGGED INTO THE HIGH STREET.
Going into the garage of his motor bus just after it was put away about 11.30 at night, Mr Robert Barker, bus proprietor, of High St, Skelton was startled on seeing flames shooting up from beneath the driver's seat.
Within a few minutes the whole of the vehicle was enveloped in flame.
An alarm was raised and Skelton and Brotton Urban Council's fire brigade summoned.
On account of the snow and hard frozen streets difficulty was experienced in getting the hose pipes attached to the fire hydrants.
Meanwhile the bus blazed furiously and set fire to the wooden garage.
By the aid of chains that were attached, the firemen managed to drag the blazing vehicle from the garage into Skelton High Street and it virtually burnt itself out.
Having got the steam fire engine into operation the Brigade turned their attention to the saving, if possible, of the garage and adjoining property.
A large portion of the garage roof was burnt through and, with a crash, collapsed.
Eventually the flames were subdued and nearby houses saved from destruction.

26th February - CLEVELAND IRONSTONE.
As result the increased demand for Cleveland ironstone, Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan Co have engaged 50 extra workers at their North Skelton mine, where from now onwards full time will be worked.

29th May - NEW SKELTON PARACHUTIST KILLED.
Corporal Sidney Ronald Wilson, aged 25, single, whose home was at New Skelton, Cleveland, N Yorks was killed while practising parachute exercises at Andover Aerodrome, Hants. He was the first parachutist to lose his life there.
He was on 12 Squadron and was an aerial gunner. He crashed to his death on Monday night due to his not pulling the cord.
Flying Officer Frank Carpenter identifed the body and added that he was 40 yards away from where he fell to earth and he saw him leave the machine without the parachute opening.
Flying Officer Horace John White said he was piloting the machine in question and about 6.20 p.m. he took Wilson up to practise. He believed that he had not dropped before. At a height of 1,900 feet he throttled the engine down and the man to get out would have to climb down a ladder, which he did, jump first and then pull the rip cord ring which released the parachute.
He knew Wilson had his hand on the ring, but seemed a little tremulous.

30th May - GENERAL ELECTION.
With rising unemployment and memories of the General Strike of 1926, Labour under Ramsay Macdonald won most seats in the General Election even though they had less of the total national votes.
Labour 287,
Stanley Baldwin's Conservatives 260

Ramsay-MacDonald

Lloyd-George's Liberals 59
- resulting in a hung Parliament.
Skelton was part of the Cleveland constituency and here, contrary to expectations, a Labour candidate, William "Billie" Thomas Mansfield, the miners Trade Union leader, was elected.

October 24. WALL STREET CRASH in the USA, followed by world wide depression.

NORTH SKELTON CHURCH COMPLETED - Col Wharton gave the land and 1,100 toward the cost.
Prior to this services had been held in a corrugated iron building that stood opposite. This had been paid for by the Whartons and was afterwards used as a church hall. demolished in 1999.

7th December.
COUNCIL OFFICES NOT FIT FOR A DOG TO LIVE IN ? - SKELTON VICAR UPSET.
Dear Sir,
I was surprised to read in the Gazette last night an account given by Mr Chapman of a conversation that passed between Mr Chapman and myself.
In it Mr Chapman states as we were passing down Skelton High Street, I directed his attention to the Council Office and stated it was not fit for a dog to live in.
I have never passed down Skelton High St with Mr Chapman in my life, nor did I describe the Council office as stated.
In your report is a full account of our converstaion as related to you by Mr Chapman, then he must be afflicted with a bad memory.
The fact is I was introduced to Mr Chapman in a bus at Guisborough and on the way to Middlesbrough we conversed on, amongst other things 1. The Council Office. 2. the Superintendent's house at the Cemetery.
Of the Council Office, I said I felt sure no Inspector would sanction the staff working in such unhealthy conditions.
It was the house at the Cemetery that I stated was not fit for a dog to live in.
The internal condition is such that I am confident no medical man would approve as fit for residence and I challenge the Sanitary Inspector to report it to his Council as meeting the requirements of the Ministry of Health.
Mr Chapman is a member of the County Council and the Chairman of the Urban District Council, thereby occupying an important public position and I also hold a public position, but surely if he wished to quote publicly our private conversation he should in the first place ask permission to do so and then be assured that the going forth to the public is free from misrepresentation and inaccuracy.
Yours etc,
R W Wheatley,
The Rectory, Skelton.
DEAD CAT ON THE HIGHWAY FOR A WEEK.
When it was suggested at a meeting of the Skelton and Brotton UDC last night that instead of a special man for street cleaning the work might be carried out by road men in their spare time, a Member exclaimed -
"The road men have not time to remove a dead cat that lay on the roadside for a week".


1930

Valve Radio 1930.
VALVE RADIO.
Tuning in his wireless set for the latest news, 40 years later, Mr Jack Young of 4 East Tce, Skelton in Cleveland said:-
"In those days they made things to last."
His set runs as good as new and he pointed out - "It has only been repaired once and that was a lot of years ago."
The book of instructions, dated October 1930, says the wireless will operate for 18 hours on one unit of electricity. It cost 45, a lot of money then and bears the imposing title of "All electric 4 Valve screen grade receiver."
There are 3 knobs to control the set - tuner, range switch and dial switch, with the sound coming through a separate inductor type speaker.
Mr Young added - "I have one spare valve and I feel it might prove a little difficult now to obtain other valves of a similar make."
He can tune into Radio 2, 3 and 4. Luxemburg and most foreign stations.
He does not think there is any risk of anyone trying to steal it - its so heavy, it is an effort for a man to lift it.

DORMAN LONG BUY SOUTH SKELTON MINE.
South Skelton mine, known locally as 'Van's Pit' from Thomas Vaughan who started it, is bought by Dorman Long and Co and modernized.

UNEMPLOYMENT.
The government introduced a works programme to counteract economic hardship, but 2 million out of work by the end of the year.

WORLD CUP. For football started.

COUNTY COUNCIL. - James Howe was elected as County Councillor for Skelton South and served until 1931.

4th March. - DASHED 400 FEET TO DEATH.
Falling about 400 feet down the Cleveland (North Yorks.) ironstone mines belonging to Messrs Dorman, Long and Co, John Lusher, foreman bricklayer at the Mines, was instantly killed. He was 57 years of age and lived at Skelton, in Cleveland.
11th March - COUNTY ALDERMAN, EDWARD HAMILTON, AT WAR WITH SKELTON BURIAL BOARD.
To the Editor of the Northern Echo.
Sir,
A short while ago I had occasion to pay a visit to the Sexton for the Skelton Burial Board and was invited to look inside the house and note its condition.
I was shocked at the state the house was in.
I informed the Superintendent of the Cemetery of what I had seen at the Sexton's house and he promised to brng my views befhore his Burial Board.
Since then I have received a letter from the Clerk to the Burial Board to say that his Board had instructed him to write me that they considered it most improper for me to take upoin myself to discuss this matter with a servant of the Board.
In reply to this very rude letter, I wrote pointing out how I came by accident to see the Sexton's house and requested the Clerk to bring my letter before the board at their next meeting.
I received a letter in due course stating that his Board had passed a resolution "that my letter lie on the table".
I feel as a ratepayer in the Skelton Burial Board district that the way in which my complaint has been treated by the Board is most discourteous and unreasonable.
It was brought to the Board's notice through a proper channel, namely, their official, the superintendent of the Cemetery, and justified by the condition of a house belonging to the Burial Board and occupied by one of their employees.
Every ratepayer is entitled to bring any matter he considers requires attention to the notice of those he elects to represent him.
To be virtually told in the first instance when I wrote about this matter to mind my own business and then when in a very courteous letter I explained how I came to see the Sexton's house at all, to be informed that the Board had passed a resolution that the letter lie on the table is, I think, quite unique.
I may mention that I have had nearly 30 years experience on Local Government work, so my complaint in this matter is not made by one who has no knowledge of how similar questions are dealt with by other public bodies.
I leave this matter in the hands of my fellow ratepayers to decide on the facts that I have given, whether the Skelton Burial Board has acted in a way than can meet with their approval or not.
Yours etc.
E Hamilton,
Alderman North Riding County Council and Chairman of N Riding Health and Housing Committee.
Rigwood, Skelton in Cleveland.

1 April 1930 WORKHOUSE.
Poor Law Guardians abolished and functions transferred to County Councils.

1931


August - NATION CLOSE TO BANKRUPTCY.
The Bank of England warned Prime Minister, MacDonald of possible bankruptcy due to the rising cost of unemployment benefits.

5th August - DISOWNED BY PARENTS.
Prison for Girl who Victimised Landladies. Maud Pearson, aged 20, of Skelton-in-Cleveland, was sent to prison at Middlesbrough, to-day, for three months on 11 charges of larceny and false pretences.

24th August - NATIONAL GOVERNMENT FORMED.
The financial crisis grew worse and decisive government action was needed as the leaders of both the Conservative and Liberal Parties met with King George V, and MacDonald, at first to discuss support for the measures to be taken, but later to discuss the shape of the next government.

Petrol driven "Rail Trolley" manned by local employees of the North Eastern Railway Company, who looked after the line between Saltburn and Brotton. The only one identified is Thomas Rooks of New Skelton.[third from right in the back row] He was a platelayer and had served through the First War in the Northumberland Fusiliers. The photograph, which was taken some time in the 1930's, has been kindly contributed by Thomas' son, Owen Rooks.

The king played the central role in demanding a National government be formed.
MacDonald agreed and formed a National Government composed of men from all parties with the specific aim of balancing the Budget and restoring confidence.
The new Cabinet had four Labourites (now called "National Labour Party") who stood with MacDonald, plus four Conservatives (led by Baldwin, Chamberlain and Snowden) and two Liberals.
Labour unions were strongly opposed and the Labour Party officially repudiated the new National government.
It expelled MacDonald and made Henderson the leader of the main Labour party.
Henderson led it into the general election on 27 October against the three-party National coalition.
It was a disaster for Labour, which was reduced to a small minority of 52.
MacDonald won the largest landslide in British political history.

August - MEANS TEST.
Since 1911 Unemployment benefit had depended on the level of contributions to an insurance scheme.
Now this was replaced by a Government funded system, which paid out according to need.
However, qualification was subject to a strict Means Test, which involved inspection by Government officials of all personal circumstances and assets to ensure that there were no hidden other means of support. People were told to dispose of anything that could be seen as luxuries or surplus to requirements.
The process left bitter memories of humiliation.
False declarations could result in a jail sentence with hard labour.
The unemployment situation became worse until nation-wide 3 million were claiming and the Government was forced to cut benefits by ten percent.
No one starved to death, but families were given bare subsistence amounts and soup kitchens became a way of life.
A Government report showed that scurvy, rickets and tuberculosis increased as a result of child malnutrition.

19th September - BRITAIN ABANDONS THE POLICY OF THE POUND LINKED TO THE VALUE OF GOLD.
Speculative attacks on the Pound forced Britain to abandon the Gold Standard.
The British benefited from this departure, as they could now use monetary policy to stimulate the economy.

Robert Tatton-Bower.
Cleveland MP 1931 to 1945.

27th October - GENERAL ELECTION.
The Labour Party split over the issue of necessary budget reductions and an election was called.
The Coalition National Government won with a majority of Conservative MPs.
Stanley Baldwin's Conservatives 470.
Henderson's Labour 48.
Herbert Samuel's Liberals 32.
Simon's National Liberal's 35.
R MacDonalds National Labour 12.
The Labour MP for Cleveland, William Mansfield, lost his seat by a narrow margin and was replaced by the Conservative, Commander Robert Tatton-Bower, an ex Royal Navy boxing champion.

ELECTRICITY IN HOMES - COUNCIL MEETING
Local Electricity Companies had started just before the First World War. By this time in Britain as whole about a third of homes had it installed.
But relative to incomes Electricity cost 10 times more than it does today.
Mr M Kirkbright [Brotton] presided at the monthly meeting of the Skelton and Brotton UDC, held in the village Institute, North Skelton.
The Electrical Engineer, Mr R L Hewling, reported the number of consumers as 2,025 at the end of May as against 2,021.
A total of 579 lamps was authorised for public lighting and work in connection with the change of pressure scheme was proceeding satisfactorily.
No tenders had been received for the old steam roller and wagon and it was decided they should be retained for the present.
An offer was received from Mr G Hicks of Hollybush Farm to graze 6 bullocks in the Councils field at North Skelton at 2 shilling per week and decided Mr T Coatsworth and Mr Morrison, with the Surveyor should consult the gentleman on the matter.
NATIONAL CENSUS.
At the National Census of this year Skelton, [including Lingdale, Boosbeck, N Skelton] had 1830 inhabited houses.
[Old Skelton 689 and N Skelton 376].
The population was 7520 [Old Skelton 2629. N Skelton 1509] with 3837 males and 3683 females.

In the last ten years there had been hardly any change in the number of houses and the population had decreased by 1425.

RANTERS BACK IN METHODIST FOLD.
The Primitive and United Methodists are re-united with the Wesleyans to form the Methodists.

CASTLE COUNTY COUNCILLOR.
Margaret Ringrose Wharton was elected for Skelton North as North Riding of Yorks County Councillor and served until 1949.

LOCAL MINES SHORT OF WORK.
Boosbeck Rd, Skelton Green. Miners Hospital on the Left.

N Skelton and Park Pit were working, but South Skelton on stand by, due to lack of demand for iron ore.

HEARTBREAK HILL AND DARTMOOR.
About this time Major Perryman of Ormesby Hall rented three areas of land from Mr W H A Wharton of Skelton Castle with the aim of providing work for unemployed Ironstone Miners. Rather than individual allotments, which many families already worked, the idea was that the out-of-work men would combine in communal efforts to grow produce and keep pigs, hens etc.
In exchange for at least 3 hours daily work participants would share in the produce, rather than receiving cash payments, which would have resulted in the dreaded Means Test reducing any unemployment benefits.
Unfortunately the locations chosen were on ground that local farmers had ignored for centuries:-
1. Two plots off Jenny Fiske Lane at Lingdale, known as Busky Fields, after the gorse bushes that grew there.
2. An area of Moor above Margrove Park, which became known as "Dartmoor", from the stones that had to removed.
3. The bracken and bramble covered hillside on the Boosbeck side of Margrove Park, which earned the infamous name of "Heartbreak Hill".
About 60 miners joined the scheme, which was known as the Cleveland Unemployed Miners Association and went on from 1932 to 1938.
It is thought that Perryman's motives were sincere enough in trying to alleviate the desperate situation faced by the unemployed families of East Cleveland and he was urged on by Socialist sympathisers, including his wife.
However, the fact that the area had elected its first Labour MP could have had some bearing and the landed gentry had sniffed Socialist revolution in the General Strike of 1926.
More about Heartbreak Hill can be read - here.

Col W H A Wharton and foxhunt meet about this time at Skelton Castle. W H A Wharton, is shown in this beautiful sketch by Joseph Appleyard hunting in Apple Orchard Woods with the Cleveland pack. He would have been 73 years of age at this time.


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