Port Clarence changes

port clarence, high clarence, haverton hill

Port Clarence is born

In 1828 Clarence railway was founded by a man named Christopher Tennant to provide a shorter route from the coalfields to the Tees. It ran from a junction with the Stockton and Darlington at Heighington to Samphire Batts (now Port Clarence) and had a branch through Norton to the river at North Shore in Stockton. It was nearly eight miles shorter but was never profitable because of the rental charged on the Stockton and Darlington line to the pits. It also had navigation problems because of the river, it took longer to travel from Stockton to the Tees than it did to travel from London to the Tees. In 1884 the company was taken over by the Stockton and Hartlepool railway.

Below: The old Clarence railway

Below: Clarence railway (Hartlepool junction).                                            

In 1830 a man named Isaac Lowthian Bell started ironworks here with his brothers Thomas and John after the discovery of vast amounts of ironstone by a man named john Vaughan, these ironworks would later be named "Bell Brothers" and it was a very successful business. Back then the land was nothing more than boggy marshland, the river Tees flooded the area where the iron furnaces came to stand. Sir Lowthian Bell as he became known, married Margaret Pattinson in 1842 and they had 6 children.

Below: Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell:                              

Below: Bells brothers works:

In the 1850's  houses were built to accomadate the iron and steel workers, many of them being Immigrants. Furness built around 850 houses in Sweethills and Samphire Batts (Now the Clarences) then council houses followed nearby and Haverton Hill was born, booming with shops, schools, churches and even a cinema. Salt works were finally established at Haverton Hill in 1882 by Bell Bros after salt deposits were discovered in Port Clarence in 1847. Salt workers were brought in from Cheshire and housed at Haverton Hill. Both Haverton Hill and the Bell Bros business were thriving. Sadly, Haverton Hill only stood for 40 years then it was demolished due to unacceptable levels of pollution caused by nearby ICI. Tree's withered and died and residents couldn't peg out washing when rain was iminent as it burnt holes through clothes! Residents were forced to move to Billingham and The Clarences. St John's church remained standing until the late 1960's then it too was demolished. Without its busy neighbour, Port Clarence was left isolated, much like the place it is today.