Tees Valley Curiosities by Robert Woodhouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Factual – Travel – History
📖 I was unsure whether to write this review or not but I really enjoyed reading this book and thought I should share that. I love to learn about local histories. I do this a lot when I travel so when I came across this little book I was quite excited to see what was around the Tees Valley area.
👓 This book focuses more on the interesting objects to be found in the region instead of places themselves. The book is really interestingly laid out. Each object has a history about it, details on how to access it, brilliant photographs and then snippets of stories of it appearing in the press or writings (often historical articles).
✍️ There are so many great objects but here are a few of my favourites:
• Darlington yards and wynds – All these wynds have interesting names but there is one with a bull carving. This is said to be linked to the Bulmer family, who at one time owned the nearby Bull Inn. The hostelry was probably named after the mighty beast known as the Ketton (or Durham) Ox that was bred by the Colling brothers at the nearby hamlets of Ketton and Barmpton.
o Reading this story made me want to find out more about the Ketton Ox. The ox was bred in 1802 by Charles Colling of Ketton, near Darlington.
o The beast, weighing 34cwt and 11ft around the girth, was taken around the country and exhibited at fairs.
• The Hitching stone – A former editor of the Northern Echo, W.T.Stead, often used it to tether his pony after travelling to his nearby office from the family home at Grainey Hill Cottage, Hummersknott. In 1880, Mr Stead moved to London to become editor of the Pall Mall Gazette and was drowned in the Titanic disaster of 1912.
o Stead is such an interesting character, he was the first editor to employ women journalists, he campaigned to get the age of consent raised from 13 to 16, he was imprisoned and of course, as listed above, he died on the Titanic.
o There is an interesting article on him here – https://web.archive.org/web/201204131…
👫 I think the thing that I enjoyed most about this book is that it prompted me to want to know more and more (as can be seen in the two examples above).
🗺 Are there any curios in your town? If so, I’d love to hear about them. 😊
💭 Overall View: A brilliant little book with a fantastic collection of interesting tales.
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