Hartlepool author traces history of Carlton Camp for new book

It is a place that has brought enjoyment to countless Hartlepool children over many generations.

Monday, 13th December 2021, 4:45 am

Now past visitors to Carlton Camp can take a nostalgic trip down memory lane in a new book.

The Story of Carlton Camp by retired school teacher Frances Wilson traces the history of the camp and is packed with photos and reminiscences from over the years.

She said: “I have a lot of memories myself of taking children though I wasn’t lucky enough to go as a child.

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A photo from Frances' book showing Brierton Hill Technical High School girls on the hills above Carlton in around 1968.

"It traces the history of Carlton Camp because it is 90 years old next year. It was originally built for children of West Hartlepool.

"There are lots of pictures in it and is full of memories of people who have been there since the 1950s.”

Carlton Camp was created after teacher William Wilson Clark started taking children from Ward Jackson Juniors camping around the Cleveland Hills in the 1920s.

A charity was formed with the people of Hartlepool contributing to a fund to buy a field at Carlton dedicated for use by children from the town.

Modern youngsters enjoying camping activities at Carlton Adventure.

Now Carlton Adventure and run by Hartlepool Borough Council, the centre continues to delight youngsters with exciting outdoor activities including abseiling and canoeing.

Frances added: “I think it’s so popular because you are only eight or nine miles from Middlesbrough but you are completely in the country.

"The ethos has always been to promote confidence in children, enjoyment and taking risks.”

To compile the book she worked closely with the Friends of Carlton Camp to delve into old documents and photos, and spoke with many past campers via social media.

Abseiling at Carlton Adventure.

It also includes a chapter on the camp’s fabled Grey Lady ghost.

Frances is holding a signing in Community Hub Central (central library) on York Road on Thursday, December 16, at 11.30am-2pm.

The Story of Carlton Camp is priced £6 of which £2 will go to The Friends of Carlton Camp.

Trustee Peter Gowland said: “Thousands of Hartlepool kids have been through Carlton Camp and really enjoyed it.

"This book will enable more to go, particularly disadvantaged kids whose parents or school would struggle to send them.”

It is available now from the Community Hub Central, MKM Building Supplies, in Burn Road, Greenbank, in Waldon Street, and Owton Manor Library, in Community Hub South, Wynyard Road.

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