Arthur tells the story of old Seaton Snook

Arthur Glendinning
Arthur Glendinning

IT was called Seaton Snook and it grew up around a chemical works.

It was a whole community which sprang out of industry.

There was a school, a mission, a community hall, a fish and chip shop called Geritz and a shop called Litherlands.

Arthur Glendinning found out this and more during endless hours of devoted study which he started not long after his retirement.

Arthur, 76, had plenty of reason to do the research.

He was always interested in the work that his dad, also called Arthur did. Arthur senior died in 1955.

His dad was a sub-lieutenant in the First World War, seeing service in countries including Norway.

But he was also the chemist in charge of the laboratories at the Zinc works in the now long abandoned town of Seaton Snook near Hartlepool. In fact, he once held the grand title of chief metallurgical chemist at the zinc works.

Arthur, who lives in Queensway in Greatham, said: “It was about 2010 when I started this. Now, I put in what I can when I can.”

The words that follow, both in this column and the subsequent pieces which we will reveal in Family Roots over the next three weeks, will be the only time they will appear in print.

Arthur has no plans for a book despite his fascinating research.

His battle with osteoarthritis makes his painstaking study all the more admirable.

“Essentially, I have spent quite a lot of time talking to people, going to the library and reading through books,” said Arthur who is married to Mary Glendinning (nee Culley and a former bank cashier).

Arthur is a man of the sea. Born in Grantully, he grew up in Seaton Carew in a property on The Green.

By adulthood, Arthur junior had become a customs clerk in a shipping office in Middlesbrough.

Soon, though, he’d got the job he wanted on a Norwegian shipping line and a life at sea beckoned. From mess boy, he worked his way up to purser though different companies until his retirement - and that’s when a thirst for knowledge took over.

Arthur, a father-of-one, grandfather-of-one and great-grandfather-of-one, was driven by the discovery of “finding a lot of papers of his father’s when he moved here. There were chemical formulas and when he retired he started having a look.

A second event spurred him on further. He was having a conversation with a friend who asked him ‘what do you know about a railway at Seaton Snook?’.

Arthur knew nothing of it, but he did know his dad worked at Seaton Snook and he wanted to find out more.

Soon, names such as Croymans, Geritz, Halff, Beswick, Metcalfe and Heslop started to appear.

They were all part of the Seaton Snook community who grew together.

And that’s a story in itself to be told next week.