Town ‘holding its own’ says author

Author Paul Chrystal with a copy of his book, Hartlepool Through Time.
Author Paul Chrystal with a copy of his book, Hartlepool Through Time.

AN AUTHOR who has written a series of books about various towns throughout the UK says Hartlepool “holds its own” against the others.

Former town man Paul Chrystal, has written a book called Hartlepool Through Time as part of a series which features various towns.

Paul worked with Simon Crossley on the book, which is one of 17 in the Through Time series.

But the 57-year-old says Hartlepool has as much to offer as anywhere else.

Paul, who is married to Ann, 56, said: “Hartlepool very much holds its own.

“A lot of it is prejudices, but if people do take the time to travel down the A689 they will see what a good place it is.”

The 96-page book features photographs comparing the town at the turn of the 20th century through to the 1960s.

There are also contributions from town individuals and organisations including George Colley, Stan Laundon, West Hartlepool Grammar School Old Boys Association, Greatham Hospital of God, Ord Print and Richardson Coaches.

Paul, who was born in Edinburgh to Hartlepool-born mum Ruby Chrystal, came to town in 1968, aged 14 to attend Hartlepool Grammar School.

He left aged 18 to go to university in Hull.

Paul returned briefly to Hartlepool but moved to Sussex in 1977, where he worked in medical publishing up until four years ago.

He still has relatives in the town, including Hartlepool Sea Cadets chairman Eric Priest and his wife June, and David Richardson, who runs Richardson Coaches.

The dad-of-three, who lives in Haxby, near York and up until recently ran Knaresborough Bookshop, in Yorkshire, said: “The town has changed.

“One of the things that completely impresses me and what I tried to get over in the book is the work that has been done to the Marina and how parts of the Old Town have been rejuvenated – I think it’s brilliant.

“When I lived there, the area was where the steelworks were and it wasn’t that pretty.

“But now it’s a much better place and the work that’s gone into it should start paying dividends.

“It was nice to go back and visit people and nice to have a good look round and go into the museums.

“The marina is also great and I realised how much the town has changed for the better.”

The book, priced £14.99, is available from WH Smith and Waterstones.