Bye bye Steetley part 3, the demolition

Well, it’s all over. the dust has literally settled, there is officially no more steetley Chimney. After many decades overlooking the residents of Hartlepool, its fate was sealed at 11:06AM, and it crashed to the ground in a cloud of black smoke.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have as many cameras covering the event as I anticipated, but I still managed to get these…

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Bye-bye Steetley, part 1

I know I’ve left it a bit late, seeing as there’s less than 12 hours, before this local landmark gets blown up, but I am indeed sad to see the old thing go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Those of you not from Hartlepool won’t know this place, unless you’ve came into Hartlepool from the north. It’s the big huge chimney that stood next to the tran track, and was surrounded by rubble. After the entire site being a death trap for many years, at 11AM tomorrow, the chimney stack will be demolished. the rest of the site, which has also been flattened over the last few months, will then be covered with crushed stone and a housing estate built on top of it. A sad, undignified end to something which was, for my entire life, such a prominent part of it. For those of you who know Mercuryvapour Towers, you’ll know that the chimney is visible from the front window, which means I saw it at least once a day for my entire 32.5 years of existence (minus holidays and foggy days, naturally).

The question that I keep asking myself is, am I sad to see it go? Some days I’d look out and think “I really wish they’d get rid of that eyesore”, next day I’ll look out and think “I’ll miss it when it’s gone. The end of an era”. Its purpose was to extract magnesia from seawater.

Steetley has had many names over the years. Some readers may remember it as the Pallister works, others simply as “Redland Magnesia”, which was one of the last companies to own it before it closed. I’m pretty sure most of the local area knows of at least one person who worked there.

There are three things that were certain in nearby West View – death, taxes, and the fact that Steetley would kick out its unmistakable stench as soon as your mam put the washing out. The smell was an ungodly mix of chlorine and rotten eggs, and if the wind was coming in off the sea, the entire estate spent the next half-hour gagging. The afore-mentioned Washing would also need to be done again too, as there would be little yellow spots all over it.

Steetley also featured in the very first time I borrowed a camcorder, was Wayne’s. Some of you may, or may not mention Wayne. He was someone who I went to school with for a bit, was really good friends with up until about 2000, and then almost completely disappeared off the face of the planet. Past mentions of him on here, feature a recording of his mam asking Wayne… “Is he still an alco?” More on that, in another post.

Anyway, the very first camcorder I ever borrowed was his. He had an interest in lasers, and we both lived a mile from Steetley, albeit at different angles. One night, he left his camcorder over here, and we talked over ye olde CB radio while he shone the laser pointer onto Steetley to see if I could see it, or if the camcorder would pick it up. The answer was a resounding no. I don’t know why either of us thought it’s be possible to see a dot the size of a pinhead on a structure 1 mile away. Still, I got to use his camcorder for a bit, and yes, I still have the tape I made somewhere. I doubt he still has his copy. In fact I don’t even think he remembers who I am.

The fact that Steetley was also visible from so far away was also another “attraction” for me. As a kid, I made a couple of trips to Roseberry Topping. I always wanted to know if Steetley was visible from there. Unfortunately, each of the days we’d chosen were no good for viewing. It wasn’t until April last year that I confirmed with my own eyes and camera that it was visible – a distance of exactly 14.67 miles.

I had plenty more memories going around in my head, but it’s approaching 2AM. I’m going to get some shots in the morning before it goes…
I have a million other memories and photos to go through,

Hart Lodge

A little bit of local news for those of you who care, but Hart Lodge, known to the locals (well me, anyway) as “The Old Folks’ home” on Jones Road, is currently being pulled down.

I wouldn’t say it’s a pretty exciting landmark or anything, as it was a dull example of late 60s / early 70s functional architecture, but for me, it’ll always remain one of my childhood playgrounds. Even more so when they built the car park.

I’ll be adding some more pictures of my own to that same page throughout the day…

It’s finally, finally happened.

Since I started attending flea markets and car boot sales back in about 1993, when my Aunt Rose took me down one Wednesday morning, I have been after owning one object. It has, as far as I know, never been there. Everything else has been sold, including broken smoke alarms, rubbers in potties, and more second-hand underwear than you could shake a nasty gonorrhea infection at.

This particular object is, thankfully, none of the above, it is in fact a 7″ copy of “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and The Range. Eagle-eyed flickr-ists will notice I already have one copy, but I got that from ebay. It’s easy to get them ebay. There’s no challenge, and no sense of achievement.

Yeterday, I awoke on the sofa at 8AM. It looked like a sunny day, so off I went.

Something which is very odd, is the fact that around near where I live, they’re flattening the old hospital buildings which have been there for years. Lots of years. I’ve discussed on here that I’m glad to see the back of them, as they were very cold and sinister. Not nice places to be in at all, especially when you’re a six year old getting your chest x-rayed in them… ooo, childhood flashback.

Anyway, yes. There buildings, I believe, date back to the days when treatment was more of a punishment. I have heard it used to be a mental asylum of some sort. The surrounding walls actually have broken glass bottles embedded in the concrete. I don’t know whether that was to stop people getting in, or to stop them escaping. I guess I’ll never know. Either way, these buildings have now be reduced to this.

Acer Image

Anyway, I put the camera away, and headed towards the flea market, a mere short bus ride away, which cost me £1.05. Jaysus.

I had no intention of staying a while, or anything over a few minutes, if I’m honest, but it was pretty busy, and there were a good few stalls there, for once.

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However, the ones that stood out, were the ones I didn’t expect to be any good. There’s always a few stalls which appear to be full of garbage and rusty metalwork or rusty tools, which nothing worth looking at. I walked past one of these stalls, and saw some random guy flipping through some records. I had been bitterly disappointed by the CD’s on offer from one of the stalls which are normally quite good (£1 each, and I’ve bought some great ones from there in the past.), so I thought I’d take a look. That’s when I found “it”. Its yellow, creased cover, staring back at me. The title, arranged in a semi-circle, in the middle of the cover. It was all there. I was holding it in my hands. For ten whole seconds, I just laughed to myself, and thought “Heh, Cool” as I placed it back in the box along with the rest of the records I was holding.

Of course, I suddenly had a moment of clarity, and it suddenly struck me, that this was the moment I’d waited for since way back. Every single flea market, car boot sale, record fair I’d ever been to, had been all for this moment. I was about to buy “The Way It Is”. I handed my shiny pennies over (well, OK, they were 50p each, and I bought about another 6), and I walked away with a sense of satisfaction, as if to say to myself “I’ve done it. It’s all over. It’s finished”.

The day didn’t just stop there, I continued my searching for other stuff. The next stall along had an Andrew W.K’s “I Get Wet” buried amongst the likes of Engelbert Humperdinck and Pavarotti. Needless to say, I snapped that up. I’ve been after that CD for years too.

I walked around the stalls, to see that Eric has returned permanently. Eric owns one of the good stores, he used to be the one near the Corner House (or whatever it’s called now), but in his own words, he gave up for a couple of years. I did miss his stall, as he always had a good (and varied) collection of CDs. He’s back, but with a smaller CD collection. A few other things are missing too, but hopefully he’s going to be there for a few more years to come. He had a sealed copy of Sandi Thom’s CD (oh, I wish I was a punk rocker, etc) for £2, so I bought that. I’ve not listened to it yet, as I’ve got the Andrew W.K. CD on repeat. His album is only 35 minutes long, but every track is a winner. The longest track is 3:33 in length.

Overall, a fantastic day music-wise.