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Let it rain! It certainly did in Hartlepool in the summer of 1998 - but what else was happening?

Talk of a maritime-theme festival was on the agenda in Hartlepool in 1998.
Talk of a maritime-theme festival was on the agenda in Hartlepool in 1998.

It’s been a summer of sun, sun and pretty much more sun this year.

But 20 years ago, Hartlepool was lashed with rain in a summer which was a washout.

A 1998 picture of hundreds of youngsters gathered outside the former Wesley nightclub, in Hartlepool, before one of the venue's popular junior discos.

A 1998 picture of hundreds of youngsters gathered outside the former Wesley nightclub, in Hartlepool, before one of the venue's popular junior discos.

In fact, according to the experts, the only people who were really feeling the benefit in 98 were the hayfever sufferers who were having a much more restful time of it thanks to low pollen levels.

Well actually, another group to benefit was the RSPCA and that was thanks to workers at Camerons Brewery who trudged eight sponsored miles for the charity even though it tipped it down all the way.

Organiser Gillian Doughty said at the time: “Despite the rain, we had a lot of fun on the walk.”

But apart from the weather, what else was going on in the town in 1998? Let’s take a look.

Twenty years ago, Hartlepool was lashed with rain in a summer which was a washout

Hartlepool Mail reporter

Hartlepool got news that it was about to hold a festival of its maritime history. A three-day extravaganza was being planned and it was going to include an It’s A Knockout tournament, art festival, flotilla of fishing vessels and the opening of a new visitor attraction.

HMS Trincomalee was about to play a leading role in the festival with plans to celebrate the complete restoration of the historic vessel.

But that wasn’t where it all ended. The festival was also going to include a parade through the town centre, craft fairs and displays.

That summer also saw the launch of a book which detailed how the Angel of the North had been built in Hartlepool.

And if you were into bargain hunting, there were plenty of places to look in Hartlepool. Uptons, in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, was selling picnic baskets at £9.99 and summer dresses for the same price.

McGurk Sports in Park Road had a sale on and you could buy shinguards, the latest footballs, inline skates and replica shirts at bargain prices.

Hartlepool’s social scene was bustling and the under-16s were getting in on the act. Teenagers could get along to the Wesley for the Pulse 16 disco and for the adults, there was the Thursday Disco Inferno event..

Also, for the older generation, Fibber McGinty’s in Whitby Street had acts on including Badger Man and Lee Maddison, while over at The Studio in Tower Street, Indie Rock nights were going down a treat.

If you preferred to stay indoors, there were plenty of options on the box such as Celebrity Ready Steady Cook on BBC1 (with Pam St Clement and Patsy Palmer taking up the challenge), Gardeners World on BBC2, Des O Connor’s Take Your Pick on Tyne Tees, Lonely Planet on Channel 4, and Sons and Daughters on Channel 5.

There were plenty of options to keep the children entertained in town during the 198 summer holidays.

Hartlepool Borough Council was running a programme of activities called Ain’t Sport Brilliant and it gave youngsters a chance to try their hand at canoeing, mountain biking, and sailing.