The year Hartlepool lost every match

A busy scene in Church Street as onlookers watch the blaze.
A busy scene in Church Street as onlookers watch the blaze.

Despite the fact that it was 59 years ago lots of people still talk about the Match Factory fire as they watched it from the West Hartlepool railway station platform, from Newburn Bridge or from the dock area itself.

Yes the famous saying “the year Hartlepool lost every match” is also mentioned when people start to talk about the huge blaze that engulfed the British Transport Commission building, destroying the factory and warehouse of the North of England Match Company on August 30, 1954.

Official estimates at the time put the total damage at half a million pounds.

Reserve ships-or Mothball Fleet ships-moored close to the match factory were made ready to be moved should the fire have escalated.

According to the Northern Daily Mail report at the time, each ship was worth around £350,000 but fortunately only a few of the ships were damaged with embers from the fire,

Despite a factory official saying at the time that they would probably keep their staff on the payroll until the end of that week around 100 workers lost their jobs, mostly young women.

As always if you have any memories or photographs of events in and around Hartlepool please contact Tom Collins at the Hartlepool Mail. Email