- George Smith
15th September 2013
Without the railway, the Hartlepool of today would be very different. The present town of Hartlepool is really an amalgamation of what local people call Old Hartlepool and West Hartlepool; the latter not existing before the arrival of railways. The railway and dock complex, created by rivals George Stephenson and Sir John Rennie, grew up in a way that reflected the rivalry between the two towns. The first Hartlepool railway was created at the beginning of the railway age. At the height of the town's prosperity, there were nearly 200 miles of working railway within the dock complex alone, and this book covers the rise and gradual decline of this system. The railways have witnessed a number of significant events, such as the bombardment of Hartlepool by German warships during the First World War and the devastation caused to the docks and railways during the Second World War. Hartlepool Railways records the history of Hartlepool from its pre-railway origins as a medieval port through to the present day. The book draws on numerous sources, including the Robert Wood collection at the Hartlepool Museum, Hartlepool Library, the Teesside Record Office, and the National Railway Museum at York and Shildon. The railways made Hartlepool. This is their story.