LETTER: Transporter bridge was not for us

Hartlepool could have had its own iconic structure like Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge. Photo: Reader Sue Cuthbert.

Hartlepool could have had its own iconic structure like Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge. Photo: Reader Sue Cuthbert.

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My family’s first known address was 10 North Well Street in Hartlepool.

Cleveland Street then became home for the later expanding family.

My great grandfather, James, married a Margaret Kelly in 1872.

James and Margaret are buried in separate plots in Spion Kop, near to the wall of the Jewish cemetery.

The ground at this part of the cemetery is not deep enough for more than one grave.

From this marriage came my grandfather in 1874.

The name on the birth certificate was Henry Tumbletee, marked with an ‘x’ from his mother, Margaret.

So more mouths to feed, more work needed to keep them all clothed and fed.

Work was not a problem. Ample opportunity was there to be had.

Dock workers, steel workers and, for those who wanted to venture out further, fishing boats aplenty.

Even more work was on the horizon.

Parliament decreed that crossing using the ferry was to be avoided, and a safer means had to be implemented.

To ensure this, Hartlepool Iron Works manager Charles Smith designed a transporter bridge.

The idea was mooted at the time but quickly dropped.

Forty years later it was built across the Tees.

Another means of gainful employment would be to enlist in the Army.

There was a unit right on the doorstep, the Durham Light Infantry at Heugh Battery.

No surprise then that the family chose the same regiment.

There were plenty of them to choose from – they occupied most of one street alone.

A Durham and Cleveland street census showed Tumilties residing there, often as not with other families.

Possibly this would have been normal practice with housing being scarce.

It would have been the only way to find accommodation.

More so for an ever-increasing family.

Victor Tumilty,

Collingwood Walk,

Hartlepool.