Village Hall on Ormesby Bank

The Village Hall on Ormesby Bank looks a little worse for wear, with all its windows filled in.

The hall stoods almost alone on the 1953 map, with just a few properties of the subsequent housing estates on Ormesby Bank in place.

It does seem to still be in use as a boxing club with the photo below showing the semi-circular window seen from outside.

Skinningrove Co-Op

Only a couple of tiny fragments of Skinningrove Co-Op now remain, a tiled doorstep and the very edge of the facade.

Skinningrove Co-op
Tiled doorstep
Skinningrove Co-op
Edge of window arch and tiles wall

It appears the shop was built in 1900 if this news report from the Northern Echo as this news report must refer to them :-

Historic photo of the building from East Cleveland Image Archive

The site stood derelict for over 15 years and was subject to legal dispute with an absentee landlord, falling into disrepair until it was finally demolished in 2015.

Site in disrepair in 2011
A brick with what appears to be an 1897 inscription was recovered from the demolition, this seems to predate the 1900 date of opening, but the build may have taken some time ?

Guisborough Primitive Methodist Chapel

The Primitive Methodist Chapel was built on Chapel Street in 1860 at a cost of £425, the plaque now worn flat and painted blue presumably once carried the name and date.

Guisborough Cons Club - Ex Methodist Chapel
Guisborough Cons Club 2019

In 1907 they relocated to much larger premises on Westgate at a cost of £4000, which is still a Methodist church. The site is now the Guisborough Cons Club .

Loftus Primitive Methodists






Skelton History Group Walk -Skelton – 900 years of history

Wednesday 20th November – (01) Skelton – 900 years of history

Distance: 1½ miles; Ascent 120ft; Duration: 2-2½ hours

Meet at 10:30am outside the Wharton Arms on the High Street. This walk will be based around the Mosaic Trail which runs through the village. The walk’s full title is “900 years of history in 900 yards”

A charge of £2 per person will be made on each walk to offset the costs of Insurance. Please wear appropriate footwear and have clothing suitable for the likely weather conditions on that day. On the longer walks, it is suggested that you bring food and drink as we usually stop between midday and 1:00pm for a lunch break.

Further details can be had from: skeltonhistorygroup@gmail.com or by contacting Peter Appleton (Tel: 01287 281752)



Empire Theatre, Loftus

The Empire Palace of Varieties first opened in 1911.

The original building seen in 1932

In 1937 it was rebuilt as the Empire Theatre, which was open until 1959

Photo of the interior from Cinema Theatre Association Archive

It returned as a bingo hall for several years and then reopened as a cinema in 1977 until a final closure in 1983.

Empire Theatre, Loftus
The remains of the site today

The site on Deepdale Road is currently derelict with planning permission for flats.

Skelton History Group Walk – Biggles and the Zeppelins

Tuesday 15th October – (10) Biggles and the Zeppelins

Distance: 3 miles; Ascent 65ft; Duration: about 2-2½ hours

Meet at 10:30am in the Stray car park near Green Lane, Redcar (NZ 624 237). This easy-paced walk takes place on mostly level ground. There are two ladder styles to negotiate to cross the rail line. The heritage interest includes: the 1913 summer camp of the Northumberland & Durham Brigade of the Territorial Force, the WW1 RFC/RAF airfield, and the Sound Mirror for detecting incoming Zeppelins.

A charge of £2 per person will be made on each walk to offset the costs of Insurance. Please wear appropriate footwear and have clothing suitable for the likely weather conditions on that day. On the longer walks, it is suggested that you bring food and drink as we usually stop between midday and 1:00pm for a lunch break.

Further details can be had from: skeltonhistorygroup@gmail.com or by contacting Peter Appleton (Tel: 01287 281752)



Tees Scoria Brick Company – Wharton Arms Skelton

Blue tinged Scoria blocks are still a fairly common sight in the gutters around Cleveland as they were manufactured from molten blast furnace slag, a waste product that was available in huge quantities in our area.

Tees Scoria Brick Company - Patent - Skelton

Joseph Woodward first took out a patent in the mid 1870s for a machine for making blocks from molten blast furnace slag.

The Wharton Arms was built in 1878 so the bricks in the yard behind could be original examples from this early phase. Nearly all the blocks carry the name “Tees Scoria Company – Patent” where most examples in Cleveland are just plain.

Later 1877 US Patent

In 1893 the Institution of Mechanical Engineers visited the Tees Scoria Brick Co. at Cargo Fleet Iron Works and described a more advanced process :

The manufacture carried on at these works is that of slag blocks for paving. The plant comprises one rotating wheel, fitted with 140 moulds; and also eighteen kilns, each capable of holding 1,000 blocks. From twenty to thirty different sizes of blocks are made. By arrangement with the Cargo Fleet Iron Co. these works are carried on at U, Plate 55, within the boundary of the Cargo Fleet Iron Works.

1894 map showing kilns adjacent to blast furnaces.

The blocks were also manufactured at Skinningrove up until the 1950s.

Gisburne Bible

The Gisburne Bible was donated to Gisborough Priory in 1333 after a fire in 1289 had destroyed many of their books. It stayed there until the Dissolution of the Monasteries around 1540.

It subsequently passed through many hands before going to St John’s College Cambridge in 1635, where it has been kept ever since.

It can be viewed in Guisborough Library between September 26 and October 29 as part of the 900th Anniversary of Guisborough Priory events being organised by https://gisboroughprioryproject.org.uk