Families who settled in Seaton Snook area

The Central Zinc Company whose Seaton Snook works was part of the Hartlepool skyline.
The Central Zinc Company whose Seaton Snook works was part of the Hartlepool skyline.

THERE were the Greaves, the McGraws, the Twilers and Grocotts.

The Bryans, the Lawsons, Melvins and Huttons were all neighbours as well.

There were the Crilleys, the Quines, Raschers and Hoppens too.

They were part of a whole community which sprouted on the coastline near Seaton Carew around 150 years ago.

Thanks to Sandra McKay, the reference services officer at the Hartlepool Reference Library, in York Road, we can spotlight some of the people whose arrival in a new community helped shape local family trees.

Sandra described how all of these people were residents of an area known as Seaton Snook, where people made a living from cockling, fishing and wildfowling.

But then came the rapid expansion of industry on Teesside and the rise of commerce on the River Tees. It included the arrival of a zinc works at Seaton Snook.

“Things were about to change and rapidly,” said Sandra.

As factories sprang up, the river developed to cope with the shipping. That meant dredging and preparing the nearby shorelines.

Mud flats and estuaries were reclaimed. The North Gare breakwater was built but to do it, a workforce was needed. Soon after, eight cottages were erected at the “snook end” of Seaton.

The workforce who built them called the area Pity Me, yet mystery surrounds whether it had any connection to the tiny community of the same name in County Durham.

And with the arrival of cottages came the arrival of people. Records show the Greaves family were caretakers by trade while the McGraws were of Irish and Australian descent and lived with them. The Twilers were weighmen and the Grocotts were labourers and potters.

And what of the Crilleys, Quines, Raschers and Hoppens? More of that next week.