Speaker – Hugh Charman “History of Stokesley – Part 2”
Hugh gave the second part of his copiously illustrated history covering the period from 1800 to 1950.
As he explained in the first part given in September 2010, the basic layout of the open spaces in the centre of
Stokesley had been fixed in the 12th &13th centuries & the general arrangements of the buildings decided in the
prosperous Georgian period. In the 19th & 20th centuries considerable social changes would occur. The railways,
ironstone mining, textiles, printing & publishing, would bring industry to the region. The birth of Middlesbrough
brought upheaval with the arrival of Irish „navvies‟. The courts in Stokesley bore the brunt of maintaining law &
order in the area.
The population in 1800 was about 1500, most of whom lived in yards behind the facade of houses facing the
high street. The manor house which had become dilapidated was bought by Mr Wilkinson, refurbished & sold on to
the Rev. Henry Hildyard in 1808 & remained in his family for many years. Farmhouses were still sited in Stokesley &
a granary was built in Levenside. In 1811 the National School was opened in College Square, with the residents being eager to finance education. In 1832 the Preston Grammar School followed. Also, in 1832 a flax mill was built on Levenside but the business failed owing to competition from Leeds & coal not being readily available by rail.
Stokesley station did not open until 1857. 1840 was a busy year, the first Post Office was opened, the Race Horse,
public house( now the White Swan ) was built & John Pratt, the printer & publisher moved into Oaklands, his new
house. In 1848 the new workhouse in Springfield provided for 130 inmates.
In 1853 the Town Hall was funded by the Hildyard family. In 1886 the chapel in the high street was built in
local brick but the Masonic Hall built 8 years later used bricks imported by rail. These building were the only major
Victorian additions in Stokesley, otherwise changes had been limited to adding additional storeys & replacing thatched roofing with tiles or slate. The population in 1891 was 1513, little changed from 1800, the major growth in the area was confined to Middlesbrough. Except for the National Westminster Bank(1938) little was added between 1900 & 1960. However, much was taken away; in 1954 the station closed, in 1955 the watermill was demolished, as were the sub-
The population in 1950 was 1871, grew to 2,000 by 1960 and is now about 5,000. Growth has returned. In 1971
Stokesley was designated a Conservation Area. Hugh also spoke about the imminent launch of the Stokesley Heritage Project which will collect artefacts,photographs & memorabilia connected with Stokesley.
A vote of thanks was proposed by David Houston.