Friday, 17 November 2017

Speedy business, 1825

A reminder of a slower time:-

Yorkshire Gazette, 3 September 1825
On Monday week, Mr John Langdale, of Menithorpe, near Malton, started from Easingwold at one o'clock, and rode to Thirsk, where he did business; thence he rode to Potto, making three calls on business; from Potto he proceeded to Hutton Rudby, Middleton, Hilton, and to Stockton, making eight other calls; from Stockton, by Seamer, to Hutton Rudby, all with six hours, being a distance of at least fifty miles.

Friday, 3 November 2017

The first Primitive Methodist Chapel in Hutton Rudby is opened, 1821

I was very pleased to find this report from a Leeds newspaper when I was searching the digitised newspapers available on

It's an account of the opening of the first Primitive Methodist chapel in Hutton Rudby.  As you can see, Primitive Methodism had become very popular and great numbers of people filled the street.  It will have been a scene filled with lively singing and huge enthusiasm:- 

Leeds Intelligencer, 3 September 1821
Ranters.– A neat and commodious chapel was opened at Hutton Rudby, on Sunday, the 5th instant, for the use of the ranters.  There were three public assemblages in the street at the same time that public worship was performed in the chapel; and the concourse of people was immense, and of all descriptions.  Since the Ranters have had reason to apprehend prosecutions for preaching in the open air, many landholders and farmers in the north riding of Yorkshire have accommodated that sect with the use of their barns and other outbuildings.  They continue to increase in numbers and zeal.
You can find more information on the arrival of the Primitive Methodists – often known at the time as Ranters because of their style of worship – here in Chapter 1. Hutton Rudby: a North Riding Township of my book, Remarkable, but Still True.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Linden Grange, Hutton Rudby

I've mentioned Linden Grange, Hutton Rudby, several times on this blog. 

It is included in Stately Homes of Hutton Rudby, and it's mentioned in the accounts of Miss Winifred Rachel Blair and her scrapbooks, in the story of George Young Blair & Drumrauch Hall, in various chapters of Remarkable, but still True and so on.

But I never dealt with the garden and the grounds in any detail.  However, there is a full and interesting account by Louise Wickham of the development of the gardens and parkland of the house on the website of the Yorkshire Gardens Trust.  Not to be missed.  You'll find it here.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Revd Henry Clarke of Guisborough (1813-61)

On 15 March 2013, I wrote a blogpost about John and William Richardson, doctors and brothers, who were the mayors of Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough in the 19th century and I illustrated it with photographs from old albums – a photograph of each brother, as I thought.

But I was wrong – or, to be more exact, it was probably my great-great-aunt who was wrong – in labelling a photograph "Dr William Richardson" when it was actually a picture of the Revd Henry Clarke of Guisborough (1813-61).  I know this because I've been contacted by his great-great-grandson, who has a framed photograph with an inscription on the back to prove it definitively!

So here is the Revd Henry Clarke, looking very relaxed:

Revd Henry Clarke of Guisborough (1813-61)

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Mystery stone structure in field near Crathorne

I was recently asked through the blog whether I had any information on a
"round stone structure that was in a field on the left hand side of the road to Crathorne" 
My correspondent Ian remembered seeing it as he cycled past in the 1970s and once running over the field to explore it – but it had no doors or windows, so it was impossible to tell what it was.

I remembered the structure – in fact, I remembered having a conversation with someone who explained it to me – but I couldn't remember the answer!

Luckily, Malcolm McPhie knew who to ask.  And here I think it's appropriate to remind everyone that his facebook page detailing the history of the Hutton Rudby Choral & Dramatic Society is definitely not to be missed!  It's filled with fascinating information and many videos of performances and of several Village Events and even includes such gems as this – a photograph of the mallet with which Mrs W L Johnson of Crathorne Grange laid a foundation stone of the Hutton Rudby Village Hall on 15 October 1927.

And so, thanks to Malcolm and with very many thanks to Maurice Atkinson, now 90 years of age, I have the explanation of the mystery stone structure.

It stood about half way between Hutton Rudby and Crathorne.  It was about 10 feet high and about 30 feet in diameter, but the outside walls were earthed up for about 3 feet so it may only have looked as thought it was 6 or 7 feet high.

It had been built for water storage, was fed from a windmill-driven pump and was located on raised ground to increase its pressure.

Its function was to supply water to Crathorne Hall and the village of Crathorne.

Maurice was related to the Atkinson family that had the mill at Crathorne and he remembers that they had piped water also fed from that tank.  He thinks its use was discontinued shortly after the Second World War when mains water arrived in the area.  It was demolished several years ago.

Maurice also reminded my friend that in the same field was a dummy WWII airfield, complete with its own entrance and a sign above it – it was called "Seldom Scene" airfield.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

What's On in Darlington, 22 April 1893

As we look forward to the opening of the newly-restored Darlington Hippodrome, the following newspaper clipping seems quite apt.

It doesn't actually feature that particular theatre, which dates from 1907.  It began its life as the Hippodrome, became the Civic Theatre, and is now resuming its original name.  Full details of its history can be found here.

This newspaper clipping features the Theatre Royal, which was in Northgate.  It closed in 1937 and the building was later the Regal Cinema; it is now the Odeon.

It is a report from the celebrated theatrical newspaper, The Era, and it comes from a section called Provincial Theatricals: From Our Own Correspondents:

The Era, 22 April 1893
THEATRE ROYAL.– Lessees, Messrs A and P Milton; Manager, Mr W E Potts.– Messrs Vaughan and Carlton's well-selected company occupy the boards with Fenton Mackay's new realistic drama entitled Spellbound, and are attracting large audiences.  Mr Harrington Reynolds makes an admirable George Westland, and Mr W J Vaughan does well as Count Santos.  Miss Helen McCulloch wins the sympathies of the audience as Helen Westland.  Mr Arthur Kingsley is capital as Mr Harry Melton, and the comedy element is safe in the hands of Mr George Sennett and Miss Mary Rivington.
LORD GEORGE SANGER pitched his enormous tent in Darlington on Wednesday, and gave two excellent performances.  The afternoon programme attracted a large audience and in the evening there were about 5,000 present to witness the doings of the various artists, all very clever.  
Though Spellbound is billed as "realistic", it nevertheless includes that reliable and not very realistic stock figure of the drama, the Adventuress.  This one, together with her brother Count Santos, wields a mysterious power over the unfortunate George Westland.

I don't know where the famous Lord George Sanger pitched his enormous circus tent, I'm afraid – but perhaps it was the Show Field in South Park.

George Sennett

Following up on George Sennett – in whose hands the comedy element of Spellbound had been safe – I found a sad but interesting story of the vicissitudes of stage life.

George had been in the news for rather less flattering reasons nearly 20 years earlier, when he was about 27 years old.

In November 1874, newspapers across the country carried the lively story of his argument with a fellow actor, J H Clynds.  They were performing together at the Grecian Theatre in City Road, London and were now appearing together in the magistrates' court.  Sennett was the complainant, alleging that Clynds had attacked him.

Clynds was the star, playing the juvenile leads, while Sennett specialised in the heavies and the villains.  Every night in their current piece, Sennett had to die and Clynds had told him that he should be doing it lower down the stage.

Sennett retorted that he had received his orders from the authors and he wouldn't be taught what to do by Clynds.  The argument in their dressing room grew very heated, Clynds telling Sennett that he used idiotic language and Sennett retorting that Clynds was a liar.

On cross-examination, Sennett said that he hadn't used a vulgar adjective as well as the word liar and that he wasn't in the habit of bullying and blustering in the theatre.  Witnesses who had heard the racket were divided, I think according to whose side they were taking – the manager and author of the piece, for example, said that he thought Sennett was a blackguard.

At the close of the performance, Clynds waited for Sennett outside the theatre and demanded an apology – when none was forthcoming, he hit Sennett on the head with a thin walking cane.  Sennett told the court that he couldn't explain how his own, heavier, stick came to be broken as well and that he didn't know if he had hit Clynds back.  He said he hadn't pushed Clynds and told him to go to a very warm place.

The magistrate said that Sennett ought to have accepted the apology that Clynds had written after receiving the court summons, and bound Clynds over to keep the peace.

By 1893, when Sennett was performing in Darlington, his career must already have been on the slide.  He had worked for a good many years at the Grecian Theatre in London, but now he was touring.  Seven years later, in 1900, things had got much worse.

Sennett was now 53 years old and the work had dried up.  He and his wife Ada, who had been on the stage herself as an actor and dancer, moved to Manchester.  They found employment for a time, George as an extra at the Theatre Royal and Ada in the wardrobe department of the Queen's Theatre, but by May they were both out of work and had become very depressed.  One Sunday afternoon, their landlady at 58 Cumberland Street found them both unconscious on the bed, with three empty laudanum bottles on the table.

George died, but Ada was taken to the Royal Infirmary and eventually recovered.  Unfortunately, her situation was still hopeless and six months later The Era reported that she was close to starvation and it was thought that "those who know her and knew her husband will not forget her in her time of need".

But this tactful little piece was not echoed by the report at the same time in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser.   On 5 December 1900 it gave details of Ada's appearance in the magistrates' court under the headline

One of Life's Wrecks
Ada Sennett "an old woman, of unkempt and emaciated appearance, and miserably clad, was charged with being drunk and incapable in Quay-street, on Monday afternoon ... she has been assisted at various times by prominent people in Manchester theatrical circles, but is still in a very poverty-stricken condition."  
She was discharged and advised to give up alcohol or she would find herself in gaol.  She objected strongly to the suggestion that she should go to the Workhouse.

Just before Christmas she was up in court again and, as she wouldn't promise to reform her ways, she was sent to gaol for 14 days.  The newspaper report stated that she was 70 years old, but she was actually only 57 when she died in the spring of 1901.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The murder of James Lyall in Venezuela, 1900

A sad and mysterious story:

Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough 31 March 1900

The Assassination of a Darlington Man in Venezuela
Mr E W Lyall, of Darlington, has received some further details concerning the death of his son, Mr James Lyall, who for some time, prior to his death at the hands of an assassin, was attached to the British Consulate, Cuidad Bolivar, Venezuela.   
It will be remembered that the circumstances of the murder were reported in the "Gazette" a few weeks ago.  Mr Lyall was leaving the Consulate, when he was followed by three men, one of whom stabbed him the side near the heart, and he fell to the ground.  Whilst Mr Lyall was lying there the man again stabbed him.   
The man is now in custody, and is a native of Colombia.  He is believed to be one of five conspirators, and has since confessed to the crime, and says he is but the tool of others.   
Mr Lyall left England in October 1893, and frequently acted as Consul during the absence of Mr C H de Lemos.  Deceased was 23 years of age, and had a most promising career before him.   
Mr E W Lyall has received a letter from another son who is an engineer at Demerara, and states what steps were being taken with regard to the death of his brother.  Mr C H de Lemos has also written to Mr Lyall, returning all the letters addressed to the deceased.  A temporary cross had been erected at the head of the grave of Mr Lyall, and Mr de Lemos and his wife had paid several visits to the grave, which had been planted with everlasting flowers.

Birmingham Daily Post, 3 April 1900

The Murder of the British Deputy Consul at Bolivar
A British Guiana correspondent states in reference to the assassination of Mr James Lyall, British Deputy Consul at Bolivar, Venezuela, on February 28, that Mr Lyall had just left his office when he was attacked by an assassin, who is stated to be a Colombian, and fatally stabbed.  Mr C H de Lemos, British Consul, was preparing to go on leave, and Mr Lyall was to have acted for him during his absence. 
Mr Lyall came out from England in 1898, and during his connection with the consulate he has been most energetic in attending to British interests in the district.  It is believed that the murder was committed at the instigation of a party of conspirators.  Writing to a brother of his in Georgetown, on February 13, Mr Lyall said a state of political anarchy prevailed in Bolivar, and that the inhabitants daily expected the town to be attacked by the rebels.
The father of the poor young man was Edward Whyte Lyall.  Born in Edinburgh, he was a civil engineer and surveyor.  He and his wife Ann came to Darlington from Scotland in the late 1860s.

They lived for a time at 13 Woodlands Terrace before moving to 4 Vane Terrace, which was their home for the rest of their lives.  Edward died there in 1922 at the age of 81.  The notice of his death in the Yorkshire Post records that he
had been in declining health lately, though he was out for a walk on Wednesday. Yesterday morning he was found dead in bed, having passed away in his sleep in the night. 
Mr Lyall was well known in his profession, being responsible, among other works, for a number of water supplies around Darlington.  He was for a long period hon. secretary of the Darlington Charity Organisation Society.
His wife Ann died in 1930.

The British consul named in the newspaper reports was Charles Hermann de Lemos (c1855-1928).  Born in Hamburg, he took British nationality at the age of 27 while living in Newcastle.  He was appointed H.M. Consul for "the States of Bolivar, Sucre, and Barcelona, to reside at Ciudad Bolivar" on 10 Mar 1899.  His wife, with whom he paid the visits to young Mr Lyall's grave, was Guillermina Dalton (1855-1943).