12 Hartlepool stories from 1993 - including the Queen's praise for town pensioners and a vicar in charge of a digger

What a year that was in Hartlepool’s history. We had a Royal visit, an FA Cup hero and decades of tradition making way for a new era.

We had a pub with a growing tradition for a particular animal - in ornaments.

And we had the relaunch of a well known Hartlepool building which had stood empty for years.

We are talking about 1993, and if you needed a reminder of the stories in the news, here are 12 of them to trigger some memories.

Life in Hartlepool in 1993 including a Royal visit. Did you get to meet Her Majesty the Queen?

The Queen wrote to Hartlepool pensioners to say how much she enjoyed meeting them.

Her Majesty was very impressed by Bramley Court during her visit and a letter from Buckingham Palace told how much she enjoyed meeting the residents of the sheltered housing complex. Did you get to meet her?

Also in the news was a Hartlepool vicar. St Luke’s vicar, the Rev Peter Townsend, climbed aboard a huge digger to begin an exciting new construction project at his church.

New meeting rooms and associated facilities were being planned at the church in Hart Lane.

The Queen pictured in Hartlepool as she met residents in 1993.

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FA Cup final hero Andy Linighan was the toast of the town when he returned to Hartlepool for a civic reception.

The Arsenal defender hit the national and international headlines when his last-gasp replay winner clinched the 1993 FA Cup for his team in the dying seconds of extra time at Wembley.

The 30-year-old former English Martyrs pupil and his family were invited to the Civic Centre to meet the Mayor and Mayoress, Coun Brian Smith and his wife Margaret.

The Ralph Ward Jackson statue.

Did you go to Galleys Field School? Former pupils got together for their tenth annual reunion party in 1993 with a cake-cutting ceremony.

More than 150 former pupils and staff members came from near and far to be there, including some who travelled from Canada and Australia to meet their old friends.

One of Hartlepool’s oldest landmarks was casting aside decades of tradition and entering the modern age.

Christ Church’s famous clock was wound by hand for 72 years, but all that was set to change with the introduction of automised winding.

The 'Venue' in the former Co Op Central Stores building, in Park Road.

The electrification of the clock was part of an extensive renovation of the church, which was to become the site of the town’s new art gallery in 1995.

Conservationists were launching a fight in a bid to stop Ralph Ward Jackson being moved to a new site.

The statue of West Hartlepool’s founder - which looked down Church Street - was a familiar sight for generations of townspeople.

But under ambitious plans for the approaches to the Marina, the statue was in line to be moved to a new site at the top of Church Square close to Binns, where pedestrianisation was planned.

However, in a letter to the council, Hartlepool Civic Society secretary, Sheila Bruce, said: “The statue is listed and we do not see any reason for it to be moved. If it must be moved, would it be possible to move it back a bit so that it stands closer to Christ Church, even if it is on the grass.”

Regulars at Elwick’s McOrville Inn were among the people who helped to add to the pub’s pig population.

The McCorville Inn was in the news in 1993.

When John Hall took over the inn 18 months earlier, he decided that, in keeping with tradition, the pub should have a collection of some kind, a point of interest to beguile and amuse customers.

Along came Brian the pig, and from there the collection grew to include Brian’s wife and pigs and piglets of all shapes and sizes and from all points of the globe, including Cyprus, Bangkok, Canada and Ireland.

Lindisfarne’s Ray Laidlaw was on song when he officially opened a new music business in Hartlepool.

The band’s manager and drummer was in town to meet up with old pal Dave Hill, the brains behind Revival Music and Productions.

The York Road business not only catered for music-lovers in 1993 - selling records, tapes, compact discs, videos and memorabilia - it also provided for the musicians themselves with everything they needed to produce and promote a record.

One of Hartlepool’s most prominent buildings was set to begin a new life when it officially opened its doors once again after almost five years.

The former Co-operative store, in Stockton Street, which had undergone a £1 million facelift, was redeveloped as a luxurious leisure complex.

The Venue featured licensed premises, as well as shop units and a restaurant.

It was the first phase in the refurbishment of the impressive Grade II listed building, which was 80 years old in 1993.

Ten students from the Hartlepool-based Val Armstrong School of Dance - including Val’s own daughter Hollie - won a part in Sleeping Beauty at the Forum Theatre, in Billingham.

The talented locals were set to feature alongside stars such as Ted Rodgers and Emmerdale’s Naomi Lewis in the show. Were you among them and what do you remember about the show?

A Hartlepool student won four top places at a drama festival. Kevin Holroyd took first, second, third and fourth in the event in Stockton - and he had only begun drama lessons three months earlier.

Two hundred students from High Tunstall School launched a huge campaign to pay for the installation of smoke alarms in pensioners’ homes. Were you one of the students who did so much to help others?

What are your memories of life in town in the early 1990s? Which was your favourite pub, club, nightclub, and store? Tell us more by emailing [email protected]

Ray Laidlaw at the opening of the new business in Hartlepool.