Celebrating Hartlepool’s ship building heritage

An aerial view of Hartlepool Docks dating back to July 1986. At the top right of the picture restoration work was nearing completion on HMS Warrior.'The Richardsons and Westgarths site can be seen at the top left of the picture opposite some of the many thousands of cars that were imported into Hartlepool over the years. Can anyone remember the names of the ships berthed together that were in Hartlepool for many years above them is the three masted boat the Regina Caelis which was another long term resident in the dock.

An aerial view of Hartlepool Docks dating back to July 1986. At the top right of the picture restoration work was nearing completion on HMS Warrior.'The Richardsons and Westgarths site can be seen at the top left of the picture opposite some of the many thousands of cars that were imported into Hartlepool over the years. Can anyone remember the names of the ships berthed together that were in Hartlepool for many years above them is the three masted boat the Regina Caelis which was another long term resident in the dock.

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HISTORY buffs can learn more about famous Hartlepool shipbuilding dynasty the Gray family and the ships they built.

To mark 50 years since the closure of the Gray’s shipyards, Central Library, in York Road, is exploring the ships and the people who built them in an exhibition of photographs and other memorabilia until Thursday, June 6.

The exhibition is open from 10am to 6pm. Entry is free.

Also, people who have memories of, or memorabilia from, Gray’s Hartlepool shipyards are invited to share them for posterity at a roadshow on Thursday, June 6 onboard the paddle steamer Wingfield Castle at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience from 10am to 2pm.

Any photographs, documents or other memorabilia which people bring along will be copied for inclusion on the ‘Hartlepool History - Then and Now’ website - a community archive building a personal record of the life and times of the town and its people over the decades.

In its heyday, the Gray empire won the famed Blue Riband Prize for the highest output of a shipyard in Britain an unbeaten six times between 1878 and 1900.

Diane Marlborough, Hartlepool Libraries’ Reference and information manager, said: “The role played by the Gray shipbuilding dynasty in Hartlepool life was impressive and extensive and we are inviting people to join us in celebrating those achievements at these special events.”