Historic changes for a new-look Hartlepool

Historic Quay, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID
Historic Quay, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

We all know what the historic quay looks like now.

But it was only 24 years ago that inquisitive town people were keen to get their first ever look at the completed version.

Ron Norman shows Coun Hanson round the Hartlepool Historic Quay, under construction in 1994.

Ron Norman shows Coun Hanson round the Hartlepool Historic Quay, under construction in 1994.

The quay was under construction back in the mid 1990s and there was lots of interest in how it would eventually turn out.

But the general consensus of opinion was it was going to be breathtaking and attract people from all over the country.

Back in 1994, Hartlepool’s new Mayor Coun Gwyneth Hanson was given a guided tour of the multi-million pound tourist attraction by the chairman of the Teesside Development Corporation (TDC), Ron Norman.

In one of her first duties as mayor, she was shown how the development was taking shape ahead of the attraction’s planned opening in July that year.

Over the next 12 months the town centre will take on a whole new dimension with the many exciting developments taking shape

TDC official, 1994

Its aim was to give people a glimpse of what life used to be like in the late 1700s.

A TDC spokesman said at the time: “This fantastic multi-million pound project includes an authentic reconstruction of an 18th Century North Eastern village.”

It was due to include HMS Trincomalee along with a gunsmith’s, a poor house, swordsmith’s, tailor’s shop and an admiral’s house.

The TDC spokesman described it all as a “breathtaking development on an enormous scale”.

They said it had the potential to attract people from Berwick to Birmingham.

This was a time when significant sums of money were being invested in Hartlepool, especially with the marina developments taking shape.

The official said: “Over the next 12 months the town centre will take on a whole new dimension with the many exciting developments taking shape.”

They predicted that the historic quay, along with the Imperial War Museum, would act as a ‘honey pot’ in attracting people to Hartlepool.

What are your memories of the changing face of Hartlepool in the early 1990s?

As a bit of a reminder, here is some of the other news from 1994.

l One of Hartlepool’s best known buildings was being lined up for a new lease of life. The Central Buildings were being considered for flats and shop units.

l HQ Engineering won a £250,000 order to supply steelwork for a furnace order at a steel mill.

l Two town boat clubs – the Hartlepool Yacht Club and Tees Sailing Club – were in talks that could lead to a merger.

l And on the telly, you could enjoy Top Of The Pops on BBC1, or The Bill on Tyne Tees.

Or is there another aspect of Hartlepool history you would like us to reflect on?

Get in touch by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk with all of your memories of the changing face of the town.