Frank Elgee

Born: Frank Watson Elgee was born on 8th November 1880 in North Ormesby. His parents were Thomas Elgee, a bookkeeper at a local ironworks, and Jane Coates. He had two younger brothers, Allan and Edward and a sister, Amy.

Educated: Frank attended Derwent Street School in North Ormesby and the Hugh Bell Higher Grade School. He later taught himself Latin and German and studied botany and geology.

Married: In 1911 Frank Elgee married Harriet Louisa Wragg.

Family:

Home: In 1892 his family moved from North Ormesby into Middlesbrough. Frank was weakened by ill health and spent some time at Ingleby Greenhow to recuperate. It was there that he took an interest in natural history. In 1920 Frank and Harriet moved to Commondale. In 1938 the Elgees moved to Alton in Hampshire, which they thought would be better for Frank’s health.

Known for: When the Dorman Memorial Museum opened in Middlesbrough in 1904 Frank Elgee was appointed assistant curator. From 1923 to 1933 he was the curator at the museum. When he stepped down, due to ill health, Harriet Elgee took over as the curator and Frank himself was awarded an honorary doctorate by Leeds University. He is known as an educator and a pioneer in the local study of history, archaeology and natural history. He is also known for his ground-breaking books “The Moorlands of North-Eastern Yorkshire” (1912) “The Romans in Cleveland” (1923) and “Early Man in North East Yorkshire” (1930). He led the excavation of Eston Nab Iron Age hill fort and discovered the prehistoric stone circle on Wayworth Moor near Commondale. Frank Elgee came to be regarded as the father of North Riding archaeology. A memorial stone was placed on Blakey Ridge in 1953.

Died: Frank Elgee died on 7th August 1944 in Alton in Hampshire

Further Information: “A Man of the Moors” Harriet W. Elgee (ed.) (1991)

“The Face of North-East Yorkshire” S.R.Eyre and E.J.Palmer (1973)