The mystery of a Victorian painting uncovered in Hartlepool

Hartlepool's Central Library on York Road.
Hartlepool's Central Library on York Road.

The fascinating story behind a damaged painting will be told at the next meeting of a Hartlepool group.

The next CHAT event at the Central Library will be held on Thursday, December 13, from 2pm.

The painting of Mayor Eales.

The painting of Mayor Eales.

It will look at a portrait which was discovered in archives – but to find out more on its history, you’ll have to get along to the talk.

Library officer Jackie Johnson said: “Frances Wilson will be delivering the presentation.”

And Frances herself added: “A large and damaged painting of a Victorian mayor of Hartlepool was found at the back of the Hartlepool Museum Store at William Gray House. We decided to investigate who he was and if he contributed anything in particular to the town.

“The answer proved to be a big yes and a quite amazing tale was uncovered as we unpicked the story of his life and his place in the town’s history.”

A large and damaged painting of a Victorian mayor of Hartlepool was found at the back of the Hartlepool Museum Store at William Gray House. We decided to investigate who he was and if he contributed anything in particular to the town.

Jackie Johnson

But Frances will be revealing all at the talk and people can pre-book their spot.

Admission is £1 and booking is required in advance on (01429) 272905 or email central.library@hartlepool.gov.uk

The CHAT group has now been going for around three years and regularly attracts between 20 and 30 people with sometimes up to 50 getting along.

Jackie added: “It is a chance for people with time to spare to go out and socialise. It is all about wellbeing and learning about the town.

“It is a way for people to share their knowledge so that it is not lost.”

CHAT regularly holds talks and they are usually held monthly, although the interest is sometimes so strong that they are held more than once a month.

They can be on a theme of local history, sometimes art and craft and sometimes about travel.

“Sometimes it is people showing displays of their travels on holiday to the likes of Antarctica or Australia,” said Jackie.

And often it is users of the Central Library who come along to give the talk.

December’s speaker, Frances Wilson, is one of those people. Jackie added: “She is one of the library users and volunteers who very kindly have delivered a number of presentations to the CHAT group.

“Frances also plays a leading role in the Hartlepool branch of the Cleveland Family History society.

“They meet on the third Thursday of the month apart from December, and anyone interested in joining them is welcome to join in at Grange Road Methodist Hall at 7pm.”

Hartlepool Family History Group holds nine monthly meetings in Hartlepool each year, excluding July, August and December.

As well as talks, it also helps people who are researching their family tree.

For further information on this group, visit www.hartlepoolfamilyhistorygroup.com

To sign up for the latest CHAT talk on December 13, call (01429) 272905 or email central.library@hartlepool.gov.uk