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.