Hartlepool forge will be remembered in new exhibition

Albert Roxborough looking at the Head Wrightsons exhibition.
Albert Roxborough looking at the Head Wrightsons exhibition.

Memories of a forge which gave jobs to hundreds of Hartlepool people for more than 75 years will be revived thanks to a new exhibition.

Jim Matthews and Albert Roxborough have put together a display of photographs, forgings and other memorabilia.

It marks 76 years of the time when a forge provided work for people in Brenda Road in the town.

The plant went under different guises down the years from Head Wrightson to Davy Forge, and Clydesdale to Caparo.

At its height, it is thought to have employed up to 612 people in its heyday, which was thought to have been in the 1950s and 1960s.

But the plant finally closed in October last year with immediate effect and 79 people were told they were losing their jobs.

Now, photographs, certificates and forgings from the plant will go on show in an exhibition at the Central Library, in York Road, Hartlepool.

It will run until May and the library is open from 10am to 6pm, from Monday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm on a Saturday. Jim Matthews worked there as a quality manager and is now one of the people behind the exhibition along with Albert.

He said: “It is designed to be a remembrance of the times when Head Wrightson was a great company in Hartlepool, which is now gone.

“I was there for 30 years.”

Organisers are hoping lots of former workers and their families will come along to the launch of the exhibition this Wednesday from 2.30pm at the library.

They say they hope the launch will “act as a reunion”.

Jim said the plant is thought to have opened in 1939 and, under its various guises, was operated by Head Wrightson in the 1970s, before becoming Davy Forge, which it remained as until 1989.

He said it was later run by the Caparo group and became Clydesdale Forge before finally having the Caparo name until its closure last year.

Jim added: “We think there were 612 people working there at its peak, probably in the 50s or 60s.”

He said the exhibition was “a series of photographs in timeline order, a few forgings, and some memorabilia of the 50th anniversary in 1989.”

l For more details, contact (01429) 242909 or email infodesk@hartlepool.gov.uk