Gone but not forgotten - the little community of Graythorp

Graythorp in 1968.
Graythorp in 1968.

It was the village which shaped many families.

When we asked for memories of Graythorp, more than 14,500 people took a look, and some lived in the little Hartlepool community.

The ex-RAF site at Graythorp, in 1966.

The ex-RAF site at Graythorp, in 1966.

There were some wonderful recollections and we look at them today. There will be another story later in the week on how you can get involved in a village reunion.

But let’s set the clock back 40 years to the days when Graythorp was going strong.

Duncan Rutter told us he lived there from 1974 to 1980. “Still remember those years with affection: being part of a small village/community where everyone knows each other is something special.”

Susan Dawson, nee Swires, said she lived “next door to the Lithgos in 1952 until the 60s. Lots of memories. We lived with my gran Mrs Cole”.

Still remember those years with affection: being part of a small village/community where everyone knows each other is something special

Duncan Rutter

Wendy Patten was a Graythorp resident from 1978-1980 when she was 16-18. “Last family to live in that house before it was demolished.

“My stepdad’s family lived there for several years. Simpson and Davison. I also played for Graythorp ladies darts team and worked on the industrial part.

“I remember getting the last bus from town after a night out was 10.35, if i missed that it was an expensive taxi home or a long walk lol.”

Stephen Lithgo “grew up in the village ... great memories of the place. Spent many a happy hour on the rocking horse”.

John Taylor spent “many a happy day in the club playing pool with my mate Les Raw”.

Jeremy Sharpe remembered the Graythorp club where “you could see the stars”. Trouble was, he said, you could see the stars through the roof in the toilets.

John Bradshaw recalled: “Quite a few shipyard workers lived there” and recalled the names of Lowry crane driver Jimmy Bickerstaff and joiner Joe Wilson.

He said there were “lots of good guys in the yard. I was apprentice fitter on maintenance but it could be noisy. Some of the ships in for repair were nailed together with rivets. Must have been terrible for villagers as well”.

Dot Davis said: “My friend’s sister and her husband, Harry Flint, lived there. He worked in the shipyard like a lot of the men in the village. We spent many a happy day in the village when visiting them. We were in our early teens and the summer seemed to stretch for ever.”

Rob Stubbs lived in Graythorp “next to Smedleys and Herberts”, while Barbara Stevenson lived there “until they demolished the houses. Some good memories”.

Debbie Wheelhouse told us her dad’s family were Hilda and Jim Thorpe from Graythorp and added: “Their sons were our dad Brian, Ray, Denny, Jimmy and Gordon and daughter Audrey Thorpe. Our mam worked at the coop store Graythorpe 1958 to 1961 and that’s how she met our Dad. Mam has loved reading all these memories.”

Later this week – details on a reunion later this year.