Heartbreak Hill

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During the great depression between 1929 and 1933 many of the Cleveland ironstone mines closed which lead to unemployment rates of up to 91%. Major James Pennyman the owner of Ormesby Hall bought land near the mining communities of Margrove Park, Boosbeck and Lingdale. This land was cultivated as a work camp to provide alternative employment for the miners and their families.

Heartbreak Hill Heartbreak Hill

The list of people involved in the scheme is astonishing.

Sir Michael Tippet was involved in staging the Beggars Opera and his own work Robin Hood at Boosbeck church hall. Boosbeck Industies was also formed which manufactured furniture for about four years.

Local legend has it that William Joyce who became better known as Lord Haw Haw was present at the sixth work camp in April 1935.

Theres a very interesting book on the subject by Malcolm Chase and Mark Whyman

8 thoughts on “Heartbreak Hill

  1. Interesting – hadn’t heard of that happening before. I suppose the marginal nature of many of the deposits in our area didn’t help either.

  2. I often wondered about the land along there, it looks like abandoned agriculture. Now I know why 🙂

    As an aside Cleveland Model Railway Club now occupy Boosbeck Church Hall. They have a cracking model of Guisborough Station and the club layout just had a big feature in Railway Modeller.

    It’s the exhibition coming up on the 7th and 8th at Redcar College. Lots of layouts and trade standes.


  3. It had a full feature in Railway Modeller a few months ago. Go to Redcar on Sat or Sunday to see it operating. It has the gasworks and Blacket Hutton Foundry all modelled as well.

  4. Hidden Teesside site is excellent. Anyone wanting more detail on the astonishing unemployment level in the area in these years should look out for a book that’s being published in 2011: “Unemployment and Protest”, edited by Matthias Reiss and Matt Perry. I’ve contributed a chapter: “Unemployment without protest: the ironstone mining communities of East Cleveland in inter-war Britain”.
    Best wishes,

  5. By the way, we have not yet had a post on the Margove Park mine. I do not know if there is much of it remaining today (apart from the obvious rows of cottages and the rail bed) but seem to recall seeing an air shaft from the road, somewhere in the caravan park.

    Any details anyone?

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