Grangetown takes its name because it was developed close to a farm named Eston Grange. The farm name dates back to the 12th century when it was established as a farm by the canons of Guisborough Priory. Farms belonging to monasteries were usually known as granges, derived from the old word for “grain”.
Grangetown was built on the lands of Eston Grange Farm. Eston Grange was established in the early 12th century, with land stretching down to the Tees estuary.
Stephen de Meynell, one of the Meynell family of Whorlton Castle granted to the monks of the abbey of St. Mary of Fountains “his vill of Eston as far as where the sea flows to the Tees to make as many fisheries wherever they wished, together with two acres to make more buildings and a road to them through his land.” A monk named Stephen of Eston became Abbot of Fountains in 1247. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the farm probably came into the hands of the Pennyman family.
See The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Yorkshire North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1923)
An Early Mention
From “History and Directory of North Yorkshire” T.Bulmer (1890)
“Grangetown is another rapidly increasing place . . . Almost the entire population is employed in and about the extensive works of Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan & Co., Limited. Here are the offices of the Eston District Local Board, erected in 1885-6 from the designs of Mr. T.W.Stainthorpe, C.E., the district surveyor. The Mechanic’s Institute is a handsome red brick building with stone dressings, situated at the east corner of the spacious market square. . . The church of St. Matthew is a temporary iron structure attached to the parish church, and served by the Rev. R.Bee, who is the curate in charge. The Catholics have a school chapel in Bolckow Road; but contemplate the erection of a suitable edifice on the adjoining plot of land, which has been secured for the purpose. The Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists have also chapels here. The Board Schools form a plain but useful block of buildings, with accommodation for 900 scholars.”
The Lay Subsidy of 1301
The canons of Guisborough Priory had grange farms in several places. Their grange at Ormesby can be found in the Lay Subsidy taxation returns for 1301, and their grange at Eston might be expected to appear as well. However, there is no trace of it in the tax returns.
The church of St. Hilda of Whitby (1969)
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School (2000)
A Few Lost buildings
The Eight Streets (1881-82) demolition began in the late 1960s.
Grangetown Local Board Offices (1886) demolished in 1990
Sanatorium (1894) demolished in the 1920s.
St. Matthew’s church (1901) demolished in 1979.
The Lyric Cinema (1936) destroyed by fire in 1995.
Some People of Note
William Short (1884-1916) A soldier who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery at the Western Front in France in 1916.
Horace King (1901-1986) A politician from Grangetown who became Speaker of the House of Commons.
Winnie McKenna (1897-1971) A footballer from Grangetown who became the England ladies football captain.
Roy “Chubby” Brown (1945- ) Born in Grangetown as Royston Vasey. A comedian mostly known for his stage appearances.
Mark Benton (1965- ) An actor, born in Guisborough, who grew up in Grangetown where he went to school. His acting roles include several films and a wide range of television programmes.
John “Cornelius” Carr (1969- ) A Professional boxer who was British super-middleweight champion from 1994 to 1997 and was crowned World Boxing Foundation middleweight champion.
The Hearth Tax of 1673
49 properties were listed in Eston parish in the 1673 Hearth Returns. It is possible that one or two of these were in the area that later became Grangetown, but it is unlikely that any could be identified.
See “The Hearth Tax List for the North Riding of Yorkshire, Michaelmas 1673” , Ripon Historical Society (2011)
A Selection of Dates
1877 Bolckow and Vaughan opened the Eston Steelworks.
1881 Work began building the “eight streets” of Grangetown.
1883 A weekly market was inaugurated.
1884 Eston Local Board was established. Grangetown Board School was built.
1885 St. Mary’s School and chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour were opened.
Grangetown station, then named Eston Grange, opened.
1886 The Town Hall Buildings on Whitworth Road were completed.
1889 The Literary Institute was built.
1893 Grangetown Cycle and Sports Stadium was built.
1893 Typhus epidemic. There was a smallpox epidemic five years later.
1899 A cycling event at Grangetown stadium attracted a crowd of more than 9,000 spectators.
1902 St. Matthew’s church was consecrated.
1904 An explosion occurred at Eston Steelworks.
1905 The new Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (St. Mary’s) was consecrated.
1906 Pochin Road infants school opened.
1912 The North Ormesby, South Bank, Normanby and Grangetown Railless Traction Company was formed.
In 1918 the company was sold and the Tees-side Railless Traction Board was formed.
1914 Cleveland House was used as a naval hospital during the First World War.
1918 Bolckow Vaughan Ladies football team, based in Grangetown, played in the final of the Munitionettes Cup at Ayresome Park in front of 22,000 people.
1919 Trolley buses began running from Grangetown Market Square to South Bank and North Ormesby.
1920 Cleveland House became the Urban District Council Offices.
1921 The Trunk Road from Redcar was built. Later it was extended to Middlesbrough.
1929 Bolckow, Vaughan and Company were in serious financial difficulties. The company was taken over by Dorman Long and Company.
1932 St. Mary’s Roman Catholic school, originally built in 1886, moved to new premises. The school moved again in 2000.
1936 The Lyric Cinema opened.
1941 Grangetown Boys’ Club was formed.
1942 An enemy bomber crashed at Clay Lane and a bomb landed in St. Peter’s school.
1951 The trolley bus line was extended to Kingsley Road in the new housing estate that had sprung up south of the Trunk Road. In 1964 it was extended to Fabian Road.
1953 Alderman William Jones Primary School opened. It closed in 2003.
1967 Dorman Long’s iron and steel works were taken over by the British Steel Corporation as part of the government’s nationalisation of the steel industry.
1968 Grangetown became part of Teesside County Borough. From 1974 it was part of Cleveland County.
1969 Work began on a new Anglican church dedicated to St. Hilda of Whitby. In 1976, St. Hilda’s replaced St. Matthew’s as the parish church of Grangetown.
1971 The trolley buses to South Bank and North Ormesby stopped running.
1979 St. Matthew’s church was demolished.
1991 Grangetown railway station was closed.
1993 Ironmaking at Grangetown came to an end.
1995 The Lyric Cinema was destroyed by a fire.
1996 Grangetown became part of the unitary authority of Redcar and Cleveland.
2003 Caedmon Primary School opened, an amalgamation of the former Attlee Road and Alderman William Jones schools.
2007 St. Mary’s School was badly damaged in a fire. It was re-opened in 2008.
This list of dates was compiled using “The Eight Streets of Grangetown: Immigration, Assimilation and Dissemination” by Peter McCarthy, in “Cleveland History” no.111 (2017) and other secondary sources.
Suggested further reading:
“Clean Steps and White Pinnies: A Personal History of Grangetown” S.France (1991)
“Around Grangetown” J.M.O’Neill (2004)
“Cardboard City Threads” G.M.O’Neill (2008)
“The End of Old Grangetown: the Local Board Offices” C.T.L.H.S. Bulletin no.59 (1990)