Wednesday, 25 May 2016


My Father died suddenly many many years ago.
So he wasn't passing on a dying man's message when he told me, just months before his death that he wrote to The Hartlepool Mail under a pen name.
He told me the name.
Not sure why he decided to tell me?
Most probably knowing one day I would search them out.
I did.
A couple of years ago I took two days off work and booked a machine at Hartlepool Library to search through back issues of The Hartlepool Mail.
I only found four; there may be more.
I became quite skilled at whizzing from day to day and searching out the Letters to the Editor Pages and then scanning down, looking for his pen name.
Here they are and not surprisingly there is a Beach Theme to them.

24 July 1980.

Debates and arguments have been going on recently about the increases in Council rents and rates and reasons given for the necessity.
Therefore could some Council officials please explain by means of the Letters Page how much money has been spent building the two-tier mesh buttress on the Beach in  front of Hartlepool Yacht Clubhouse , which is a very private club.
Before they say it, the Northern end of this buttress is in front of a piece of beach that over the years has built itself up to a healthy height by means of wave action, therefore the remaining  section can only be  to protect the clubhouse. Are the Council receiving any reimbursement?

Also when are the Council going to start charging all those private companies whose vehicles do constant damage to the pavements, trees, grass verges and so on? It is caused by the drivers parking up at night near their homes, obvious damage is being caused by the same people in the usual vehicles.
Incidentally most of these vehicles don't park in front of the driver's house ; the car is in the way and other people usually have the inconvenience  of an early morning chorus of engines revving into life and an evening of reading adverts on the side of the vans.

27 October 1980.

WHAT  a cry from Mr. G. Pitman regarding the 500 tons of sea-coal on the Beach {Mail, October 22.}.
What utter rubbish about the coal dirtying the beaches.
Except for the rubbish and filth deposited by the sea-coal lorries, old tyres, garage rubbish, oil drums and remains of all night fires, all of which can still be seen, the beaches have never looked better.
The beaches were clean before the sea-coal wagons started their plunder. What a pleasure to stroll on traffic-free beaches . Let's go back to the odd pre war bike and barrow and the beaches left free for the lovers of clear sand s and no more distasteful television reports besmirching the town.
Incidentally, talking of damage to beaches if by his own statement 500 tons of  coal has laid there since they were warned off, it works out that in one year basing the weight of sea-coal to that of wet sand, enough coal  to fill the playing area of Wembley Stadium for a depth of seven feet six inches is removed yearly, so if you wonder  why you see rocks and marks that  you have never seen before. Mr Pitman has defeated his own argument.
Let us have peace, no more beach bullying, night noises and deposited rubbish.


The next is a poem 
It is about the foy boatman's cabin being demolished.
My Grandfather was a foy boatman.
So Dad was saddened by it's removal.

6 October 1981.

They have knocked down the Cabin,
Where men used to stay,
Who tied up the boats,
That came from the Bay,
A hardy creed of great renown 
All well known  throughout the town
Weatherbeaten, always on hand,
To moor up ships from many a land,
It's going to be landscaped,
So we can all flock,
And sit amidst the flowers,
By the empty dock.

The final one from Dad is also  a poem.
It won't make a lot of sense to non locals .
There was talk of letting the Heugh Pier  Fall into disrepair. 
The Heugh stretches out into the Sea protecting much of the Coast from the full force of the Sea at it's angriest.

8 March 1982.


The Heugh is broken, waves abound,
Rolling over Old Town Sound,
Christ Church spire, beacon lit,
Shopping at Binns in diving kit,
Crab Pots shot along York Road,
Ships at Elwick waiting to load,
People coming from far and near,
To gaze upon this new formed mere,
Still how nice to live in reach,
Of the golden sands on Wolviston beach,
So dock board people show some sense,
And repair our essential sea defence,
If you don't like our pier and prom,
Please go back to where you belong.


When Dad died, I thought it would be fitting to write to the Hartlepool Mail using his pen name ... but putting Son of in front.... but i ain't no poet

21 January 1983.


My Dad was the world's best Dad,
And when he died we all were sad,
But the good times linger on,
If we think of them, then he hasn't gone.

A rough childhood made a man of him,
He thought things out, would't act on a whim.
He worked his way from bottom to top,
Maybe that was his trouble- he couldn't stop.

He was good at making model boats,
Was interested in anything that floats,
He was a craftsman through and through,
There wasn't anything he couldn't do.

We spent hours walking on the beach,
And as we walked, he tried to teach,
He talked about old ships and treasure, 
And wonderful things beyond all measure.

He'd say to me "Keep that, it's old.",
I always did as I was told,
Now I can sit and look around,
Smile and see the things we found.

He made sure his worries, stayed his own,
Would always listen if we would moan,
In his way keeping the world at bay,
I'll do that for my kids one day.

Well now he's gone; he won't be back,
And life without him seems so black,
I just can't think how I will cope,
But we'll walk on the beach again I hope?


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