Old street is given Victorian spruce-up

Neighbourhood development officer Irene Cross (left) with (from left) Irene and Mick Campion, Irene Braithwaite, June Lahney and Sylvia Musgrave
Neighbourhood development officer Irene Cross (left) with (from left) Irene and Mick Campion, Irene Braithwaite, June Lahney and Sylvia Musgrave

MEMORIES of a historic Hartlepool community are being preserved thanks to a special project.

The project, developed by Hartlepool Borough Council officials and Groundwork North-East in partnership with local residents, recognises the significance of Edgar Street as one of the last remaining streets that made up the old Belle Vue/Wagga area of the town.

The street’s appearance has been improved through the introduction of Victorian-style lamp columns, a Victorian-style street name plate and an interpretative board detailing the history of the area.

Funding of £5,000 for the project came from the council’s Town Centre Communities Neighbourhood Action Plan.

The improvements were celebrated at a launch event in Edgar Street attended by 18 residents.

Long-standing local residents Bob Farrow, who was instrumental in securing support for the project, and Irene Braithwaite spoke at the event and welcomed the project.

The Wagga estate – so-called because of its remote and isolated nature just like the Australian outback area of Wagga Wagga – was characterised in the 1870s by a brick works, cement works, engineering works, clay pit and a saw mill to the north, a slag bank to the south, a railway line to the east and open ground, fields, allotments and bogs to the west.

As demand grew for more housing, the Wagga area became joined to Belle Vue and new streets began to spring up, including Edgar Street.

But, as the re-development of West Hartlepool gathered pace, a number of streets in Belle Vue were demolished from 1946 onwards, including most of Edgar Street.

Homes were bulldozed to make way for a new dual carriageway, leaving the portion of the street that is being celebrated through this project.

Irene Cross, a neighbourhood development officer with the council, who has worked closely with residents, said: “Residents have told me that they are absolutely thrilled with the improvements.

“We think it is important to preserve the heritage and history of areas such as this which hold a lot of fond memories for many of our older residents.

“I found it a particularly rewarding project to work on with the local people who have some great stories from days gone by and I am delighted with the result.”

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