Stokesley's Heritage Project - Workshop Meetings

At the first Workshop on Mon 21 Nov 2011, we agreed to continue with the third Monday in the Month, i.e. 16 Jan 2012, 20 Feb 2012, 19 March 2012, starting at 10 am and continuing to 12.30 pm with the option of leaving earlier if necessary. Following an initial session we will separate into three groups, each working on one of the topics for the Heritage leaflets:

  1. The influence of the Industrial Revolution on Stokesley, with the main theme being the story of the Levenside Flax Mill. Related topics are: why flax was important in the area, stages in the processing of flax, local production of linen, other manufacturing activities, the effect on how people lived. (Contact: Hugh Charman, tel 710507).
  2. The impact of the Manor of Stokesley on the development of the township over the centuries. In particular, what features of this impact are still visible in Stokesley today, e.g. Field systems and boundaries. Pathways. Town Hall. Shambles. Manorial land etc. Development of Manor house. (Contact: David Maudsley,tel 712760).
  3. Buildings and their occupants: for example, Oaklands was owned by John Pratt with his printing empire situated at the rear, employing many locals and producing many publications from bibles to novels. One of his employees, a nine year old boy, was flogged for stealing two penny’s worth of glue. Garth House, now owned by Dr Robin Kerr was the Head Quarters of The Yorkshire Rifles. The now dining room was the armoury with rifles placed in racks all around the room. The present owner says that 8 West Green was built 1826: the owner, a builder, then sold it and built 4, West Green. He also believes he can shed some light on what happened to No. 6 West Green, with evidence in the rear garden at No. 8. The railway also played a major role in Stokesley development which will also be included in this section. Frank has only mentioned three houses so far but thinks the scope is tremendous. (Contact: Frank Robinson tel 711356).

Please think about which group you would like to join ahead of the meeting: I have given contact tel numbers should you wish to find out more.

Initially we will focus on these topics in order to publish the three leaflets next Autumn. We will then move on to other topics for year 2 and 3 of the Project, providing the basis for a 4th leaflet, talks and guided walks. Should you wish to concentrate on other topics, eg the Work House, Oral History - WW2 at an earlier stage, would you let me know, and for a start still choose one of the groups. We will then consider how best to arrange things,when we know the nature of the topics and numbers involved.

Some of you were interested in trying the Lancashire Library site to check newspaper cuttings from 1640. It could be relevant to the above topics, eg on Mease, the owner the flax mill, the Lords of the manor (Forster, Peirson, Wilkinson, Hildyard, Wynne Finch, Gjers and Gloag, Alderson), house owners. Let me know if you are interested and we arrange it so that duplication is avoided.

Kev Cale has sent some web sites which should be useful:

At a meeting in the Library Chris Stuart and Chris Bainbridge gave a group us a useful introduction to the Local History Group files. There is a wealth of information which should be a great help for our work. Chris Stuart has kindly offered to provide another session which can be arranged in Jan.


I have arranged a training course on Oral History for Tues 24 Jan 2012, 10 am to 1pm. This will be given by Margaret Williamson, who has retired form Teesside University; Kev Cale speaks highly of her course. It will cover: What is oral history? How to set up an oral history project? How to interview? Interview skills and practice, Ethics of interviewing. This will be relevant to topics such as WW2, the Manor before it was changed following WW2, and memories of residents of the buildings including the yards which ceased to be used for housing in the 1950s. Please let me know if you are coming, so the course can be organised for the appropriate number.

Kevin Cale has arranged a visit to the county Records Office for Wed 18 Jan 2012, probably for 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm. We can discuss arrangements at the Jan workshop.

H B Charman