Canadian guests revisit Hartlepool civic history

Left to right: Jane Rilett, Isla Evans and Coun Paul Beck compare the civic robe with the one being worn by Alderman Grainger in the photograph.
Left to right: Jane Rilett, Isla Evans and Coun Paul Beck compare the civic robe with the one being worn by Alderman Grainger in the photograph.

A pair of Canadian visitors came face-to-face with their Hartlepool heritage.

Memories of the town’s civic history were rekindled when two Canadian citizens paid a visit to Hartlepool in a bid to trace their roots.

I first visited Hartlepool in 1954 and with all the positive changes I don’t recognise it now

Isla Evans

Isla Evans, who is 89 and lives in Victoria, British Columbia, and her niece Jane Rilett from Hamilton, Ontario, received a warm welcome from the Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Paul Beck when they went along to the Civic Centre.

Isla is the granddaughter of Hartlepool Alderman, Barton Grainger, and the niece of William Watt, who was Mayor of Hartlepool in the 1930s.

And, Jane is Barton’s great-granddaughter.

Coun Beck told them about the work underway to further regenerate the town and showed them an antique fur-trimmed robe in the civic collection, which is believed to be the same one worn by Alderman Grainger in one of the family’s photographs they two women had with them.

Jane said: “This is my first visit to England and it’s fascinating to see the town where great-grandpa was raised and to have a look at the civic robe he probably wore.”

Isla, added: “I first visited Hartlepool in 1954 and with all the positive changes I don’t recognise it now. The northern hospitality is always wonderful and very clearly there’s an exciting future ahead for the town.”

Coun Beck said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome Isla and Jane to the Mayor’s Parlour, to hear more about their family story and tell them about what’s happening in Hartlepool.

“I’m sure they will return to Canada as two very fine ambassadors for our town.”