Hanging onto an historic moment

Regulars at the Fishermans Arms with the hanged monkey.
Regulars at the Fishermans Arms with the hanged monkey.
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MONKEY hangers by name, monkey hangers by nature – well kind of!

Anybody who was walking on the Headland recently may have found their eyes drawn to a toy monkey hanged on Fish Sands, on the Headland.

That’s because a pub landlord and around a dozen regulars decided to mark 12 minutes past 12 on the 12th day of the 12th month of the 12th year by re-enacting the traditional folklore tale associated with Hartlepool – around 200 years after it supposedly happened.

A monkey costume was designed, a Mayor’s outfit was purchased – and the group at the Fisherman’s Arms, on the Headland, were all ready to go.

Landlord Steve Bell, 50, admitted the ‘hanging’ drew “quite a crowd” of people, eager to get a glimpse of what was going on on the beach.

“One of our regulars said it was 200 years since the infamous Hartlepool hanging of the monkey and the suggestion to do the re-enactment came from Kath Horsley, a regular here and members of one of our Sunday quiz teams,” said Steve, who runs the pub alongside his partner, Mandy Jackson, 49. mum of Emily Whitehead, 13.

“With it being the 12th of the 12th of the 12th we thought that was a great time to do it.”

Pub punter Margaret Heyman designed the monkey’s costume for the occasion and fellow regular Dave Bell took it upon himself to be the Mayor for the day, making the announcement on the beach to those gathered that the monkey was going to be hanged.

“Because it obviously definitely happened we tried to do the re-enactment as well as we could,” Steve laughed.

“We had a few onlookers and we ended up with quite a crowd by the end.

“We had a look to see if we could find the exact date anywhere but we couldn’t so it was decided we would do it on Wednesday.

“It was all good fun, other than the fact it was absolutely freezing.”

To watch a video of the hanging, filmed by Hartlepool photographer Mick Gant, go here