Skelton History Group Walk – Biggles and the Zeppelins

Tuesday 15th October – (10) Biggles and the Zeppelins

Distance: 3 miles; Ascent 65ft; Duration: about 2-2½ hours

Meet at 10:30am in the Stray car park near Green Lane, Redcar (NZ 624 237). This easy-paced walk takes place on mostly level ground. There are two ladder styles to negotiate to cross the rail line. The heritage interest includes: the 1913 summer camp of the Northumberland & Durham Brigade of the Territorial Force, the WW1 RFC/RAF airfield, and the Sound Mirror for detecting incoming Zeppelins.

A charge of £2 per person will be made on each walk to offset the costs of Insurance. Please wear appropriate footwear and have clothing suitable for the likely weather conditions on that day. On the longer walks, it is suggested that you bring food and drink as we usually stop between midday and 1:00pm for a lunch break.

Further details can be had from: or by contacting Peter Appleton (Tel: 01287 281752)

Tees Scoria Brick Company – Wharton Arms Skelton

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Blue tinged Scoria blocks are still a fairly common sight in the gutters around Cleveland as they were manufactured from molten blast furnace slag, a waste product that was available in huge quantities in our area.

Tees Scoria Brick Company - Patent - Skelton

Joseph Woodward first took out a patent in the mid 1870s for a machine for making blocks from molten blast furnace slag.

The Wharton Arms was built in 1878 so the bricks in the yard behind could be original examples from this early phase. Nearly all the blocks carry the name “Tees Scoria Company – Patent” where most examples in Cleveland are just plain.

Later 1877 US Patent

In 1893 the Institution of Mechanical Engineers visited the Tees Scoria Brick Co. at Cargo Fleet Iron Works and described a more advanced process :

The manufacture carried on at these works is that of slag blocks for paving. The plant comprises one rotating wheel, fitted with 140 moulds; and also eighteen kilns, each capable of holding 1,000 blocks. From twenty to thirty different sizes of blocks are made. By arrangement with the Cargo Fleet Iron Co. these works are carried on at U, Plate 55, within the boundary of the Cargo Fleet Iron Works.

1894 map showing kilns adjacent to blast furnaces.

The blocks were also manufactured at Skinningrove up until the 1950s.

Gisburne Bible

The Gisburne Bible was donated to Gisborough Priory in 1333 after a fire in 1289 had destroyed many of their books. It stayed there until the Dissolution of the Monasteries around 1540.

It subsequently passed through many hands before going to St John’s College Cambridge in 1635, where it has been kept ever since.

It can be viewed in Guisborough Library between September 26 and October 29 as part of the 900th Anniversary of Guisborough Priory events being organised by