Tuesday, March 1, 2016


George and Elizabeth Tweddell
This is a hub for the work of George Markham Tweddell and his wife Elizabeth Tweddell (AKA Florence Cleveland).


Paul Tweddell in Rose Cottage Stokesley

This site dedicated to the memory of  Paul Markham Tweddell, who in 2005, became a valued friend and associate and unstinting in his dedication to recording and researching the history of his ancestors of  'modest fame' as he termed it.
Trev Teasdel

Notes For those visiting via Coastal view and Moor's News re- Holly Bush's article (page 33) on Captain Cook and the proposed pyramid on Roseberry Topping - The original article is here http://georgemarkhamtweddell.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/captain-cooks-monument-easby-moor.html

George Markham Tweddell - 1823 - 1903 was born in Stokesley on 20th March 1823 , North Yorkshire, and claimed he was the son of a Royal Navy Lieutenant, George Markham, who had been born in 1797 in the Rectory, Stokesley. His father, another George Markham (1763-1822), was the Rector of Stokesley, whilst also holding the post of Dean of York, and his grandfather was Archbishop Markham (1719-1807), famed for saving the walls of York from demolition in the first decade of the nineteenth century with the help of the author Walter Scott.

George's full history can be read on the Tweddell History site - here - http://www.tweddellhistory.co.uk/index.html

About George Markham Tweddell -

  • Editor of Radical Newspaper - campaigning against the Corn Laws, Slavery and many other issues of the day.
  • A printer, publisher and author of many books including Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham, Shakespeare and his Times and Contemporaries, History of Stockton and Darlington Railway, and many more.
  • A prolific, wide ranging and well published poet - world wide, in papers, magazines and anthologies and his own books - and more recently has a collected poetic works published recently by Paul Tweddell and myself Trev Teasdel - with pdfs posted on this site.
  • The author of The People's History of Cleveland.
  • A prominent member of  the Cleveland Lodge of Freemasons / Odd fellows who published his own 100 Masonic Poems in sonnet form.
  • A preserver of the Cleveland dialect.
  • A Chartist who had poems published in their paper - Northern Star along side those of Ebenezer Elliot - the Poor Law Rhymer whom Tweddell corresponded with and had poetical exchanges with.
  • And much much more!
Elizabeth Tweddell (Aka Florence Cleveland)
Elizabeth Tweddell was the daughter of Thomas Cole (1787-1867) who was 34 years parish clerk of Stokesley in North Yorkshire and renowned for being the last person to toll the town's curfew bell. She was the wife of George Markham Tweddell and became a respected dialect poet herself under the pen name of Florence Cleveland. Her book - Rhymes and Sketches to illustrate the Cleveland Dialect - 1875 is still popular in the local area and recently a Stockton on Tees folk duo Megson achieved national notoriety with write ups in the Guardian, Independent with an album of songs whose title song - Take Yourself a Wife - was based on one of her dialect poems - listen below.

And on their second album Megson put music to Elizabeth Tweddell's dialect poem 'Twaa Match Lads' called here Two match Lads.


Press Cuttings on Tweddell Relatives

Thomas Clark Tweddell - A son of George and Elizabeth Tweddell

Mabel Tweddell, Last surving grandchild of George and Elizabeth Tweddell

Mabel Tweddell - Clock memorial in Great Ayton.

Burial of Elizabeth Tweddell - Florence Cleveland.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

George Markham Tweddell's Talk for Stokesley Mechanic's Institute on Local Writers 1850

"We may fairly claim that English literature began hereabouts" WH Burnett 1886 Middlesbrough

Below is one of George Markham Tweddell's many talks. This one is to the Stokesley Mechanics Institute Sat 9th November 1850 on the topic of Local Writers. But first an introduction....

The Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham 1872

In 1872, George Markham Tweddell published The Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham (which can be downloaded free Here ). It was published at first in instalments before being republished as a full book. It contain an essay and often a woodcut of 37 authors, writers and poets who lived in the area from Whitby, up to Stockton on Tees from as early as 500AD to the 19th century. In the introduction, Tweddell mentions  another 103 plus writers which he says "such a monomaniac am I that I meditate preparing a second (mayhap, who knows? a Third) series of  Bards and Authors! ' The second and third volume never appeared. Any notes or work towards the further volumes would have been lost in the Stokesley flood of the 1930's along with some of his other notes.

There is more on his book on this site here

Other Books on Early North Yorkshire Bards and Authors
In 1867 Gideon Smales published his book
Whitby Authors and Their Publications: With the Titles of All the Books Printed in Whitby, 670 to 1867 (1867)  which covered some of the Whitby authors that Tweddell covered later in 1872.

Much later in 1886, Middlesbrough poet and Newspaper editor W H Burnett  (The Daily Exchange) published his book 
Old Cleveland - Local Writers and Local Worthies 1886 
which had a section on local writers and which began " There is no doubt a series of profitable papers may be written on the subject of our local literatureFew book readers and fewer newspaper readers are aware of its extent and importance". Talking about the Celtic bard Aneurin who wrote the Gododin about the battle of Cattraeth, identified as Catterick in North Yorkshire, Burnett writes "we may fairly claim that English literature began hereabouts". Along with Caedmon and Beowulf  (who allegedly was buried on Boulby Cliff) and Gower the Moral who according to Tweddell lived in Sexhow near Stokesley and was mentor to Chaucer as well as a poet himself. The area is often regarded as a cultural desert in literary terms but these early authors put up an interesting case for the area.

George Markham Tweddell's Speech to the Stokesley Mechanics Institute First Meeting Saturday 9th November 1850 - Local Writers.

George Markham Tweddell said - "Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is rather a formidable undertaking for a poor man like myself, who never, during the whole course of his education, possessed the common auxiliaries of learning - a spelling book and an arithmetic - it is a formidable undertaking for such a one to stand forward, on an occasion like the present, to address so goodly an assemblage of the beauty, the learning, and the talent of his native town. It is at times like this, one is apt to feel a certain weakness at the knee-joints, a palpitation of the heart not arising from disease ; and some how or other the teeth are inclined to dance and chatter in the head. But as the tea has been good, and the music excellent (I always feel good tea to be indeed to be what the poet Cowper terms it, "The cup that cheers but not inebriates." and all know the inspiring effect of heaven-born Music.) and as I see the bright eyes of the ladies smiling encouragingly upon me, (and I never could resist the potent magic of a woman's smile,) I take courage and address myself as well as I can, to my task.

The sentiment to which I'm required to speak this evening is that of  Local Writers, by which expression, I understand, all men of letters who, by birth or residence, have been connected with this district. Since the programme for this meeting was issued to the public, I have been frequently asked the question "Who are the Local Writers?" and I have promised, during the short space allowed me this evening, according to my ability, to answer the inquiry. It was, indeed, my intention to have consulted a few biographical works and local histories, and to have made out as complete a list as I could of Local Writers, whose productions, nay, whose very names - I am sorry to say, are so little known in this, their own district. Cleveland has never yet done justice to such of her sons as have distinguished themselves in the Republic of  Letters ; nay, judging from various circumstances, I unhesitatingly declare, that the majority of you, however intelligent you may otherwise be, are totally ignorant of what literary men have been connected with Cleveland and what have not. I have pencilled down, from memory, a few of the authors connected with this district, giving them, as well as recollection will serve me, in chronological order ; and as it is totally impossible to do justice to any one of our Local Writers in the fifteen minutes allowed me to address you, I must content myself with merely, mentioning the names of such of them as I have been able to remember, trusting that some of you will bear them in mind when you have retired to your own domestic hearths, and that you may endeavour to make yourself acquainted with their writings. - The eastern extremity of this district, Sir, produced one of the most celebrated Anglo Saxon poets in person of a poor herdsman, named Cedmon, who afterwards became one of the monks of  Whitby. Near twelve hundred years have swept over the earth since his body mouldered into the dust ; but his writings have survived the dark and troubled centuries, and were printed, only  nineteen years ago in London. There is much in the personal history of  Cedmon, when stripped of the superstitious legends with which tradition has invested it, to remind us of the Scottish plough boy, Robert Burns. His writings, however, bear much greater resemblance to those of  John Milton ; so much so, indeed, that I should unhesitatingly declare him the Milton on the Anglo Saxon period era. One will find specimens of his poems in Sharon Turner's History of the Anglo Saxons, in Dr Young's History of Whitby, and in that popular and excellent work, Chambers's Cyclopeadia of English Literature. The next author to whom I shall refer is an English Historian of the fourteenth century - Walter De Hemingford, who was Canon of Guisbo' Priory. The original manuscript of his history, I believe, is preserved in the Advocates Library in Edingburgh. This history was published at Oxford, by that laborious antiquary, Thomas Hearne. The next literary name that I remember being in anyway connected with Cleveland is that of  Sir Thomas Chaloner, the elder, an eminent poet, statesman and warrior of  the Elizabethan period. He is the first of the names connected with Cleveland, and was author of several prose works as well as poems. It was his son Sir Thomas Chaloner the younger, who first began manufacture of alum in England, and published a volume On the Nature of  Nitre. Two miles from where we are now assembled, was born one of the most eminent divines of the Church of England, one of the most accomplished scholars of his day, Bishop Brian Walton, whose Polyglot Bible, edited,  as it was, in the troubled times of Charles the First and the English Commonwealth, will immortalise his name. Another distinguished divine of the Church of England and a celebrated controversialist, a native of this part  was Rev. Henry Foulis, son of  Sir David Foulis, of Ingleby Manor. His works, though principally controversial, are not forgotten. Passing now to the western extremity of Cleveland, I find the industrious Thomas Rymer, author of The Faedera in fifteen folio volumes and a View of the Tragedies of the late Age was born at Appleton Wiske. His collection of state papers have been termed "an undigested mass". I wish the writer, instead of applying the epithet, had digested them for us. Fifty eight manuscript volumes of valuable historical documents collected by  Rymer, are at present preserved in the British Museum, for Rymer did not eat of the bread of idleness. If I may be allowed to go a stone's throw from Cleveland Mr Chairman, in the adjoining parish of  Kirby Wiske, we shall come to the birthplace of the tutor of Queen Elizabeth, the learned Roger Ascham, author of  The Schoolmaster and other works. The next Cleveland writer to whom I shall refer is one whose name I mention with mingled feelings of pleasure and pain allude to John Hall Stevenson of Skelton Castle, the friend and 'Eugenius' of  Lawrence Sterne. I feel proud of this gentleman's learning, proud of his wit and humour but sorry that his talents were so prostituted. While his Fables for Grown Gentlemen his Crazy Tales and other display the fire of true genius, I deeply regret that the greater part of them are not fit for republication in the present day. Pity it is that true genius should ever be prostituted. Passing again a mere stone's throw from Cleveland - only crossing the river Tees at Stockton was born one of the most eminent of  literary antiquarians - Joseph Ritson, and also a poor rope maker and dramatist. Joseph Reed, a scene from whose farce of  The Register Office will be familiar to most of you, under the name of  Margery Moorpout. The Reverend W. Wray has alluded to one who may be classed amongst Local Writers, seeing that he prepared the manuscript copy of his second voyage round the world for the press ;  and all humanity must regret that his untimely murder prevented him from preparing an account of his third. I refer to that truly great and heroic man, Captain James Cook, who was a son of farm labourer of Marton, and received his education at our neighbouring  village of Great Ayton, from whence he went to sea, and became the greatest navigator of his time, gaining for himself immortal renown. The Rev. David Simpson, whose Plea for Religion and Key to Prophecies are so well known, was also a Cleveland man. The only writer that Stokesley has produced in by gone days, that I remember ins Thomas Pierson, the  author of  Rosebery Topping, a poem, and of some play performed here, a copy of which I  have never been able to obtain. And how did Stokesley honour or reward her child of the muse? Why she starved him out! Though the poor poet tried so hard to gain for himself  an honest livelihood by following the useful callings of Locksmith, Clock and Watch maker and school master, she churlishly denied him bread, entrusted the tuition of her children to an astrologer and forced to be a poor man of  letters  to seek shelter in "a small place" in the custom house of Stockton. I must not forget the first historian of Cleveland, the late Rev John Graves of Yarm, whose antiquarian researches were equally creditable to himself and useful to others. But all other parts of our district are insignificant  as the birthplaces of men of genius, compared to Gisbro', - bear witness to William Mason, to  William Danby, and that unfortunate bard and historian, John Walker Ord, whose writings  alone would require a lecture to do them that justice they deserve. Poor Mason, nearly all his writers seem to have perished with him ; the only specimens of his poems that are preserved are Monody on La Place printed in Blackwell's Magazine and the pieces given in my own Yorkshire Miscellany. Some of the best of the South Durham poets, Mr Chairman, have been singularly connected  Stokesley : Thos Watson, author of  The Ruin, my friend Henry Heavisides whose Pleasures of  Home deserves to be in the home and heart of every Englishman, and the lamented Edward Marsh Heavisides whose poetical and prose remains I now hold in my hand, These have all spent some years of their  lives in Stokesley, though none of the three were natives of the place. The Night by  Mr Thomas John Cleaver like the Wildflowers of  Miss Ayre was published in Stokesley. One noble name Cleveland possesses in the ranks of her literary men, in the person of  Marquess of  Normanby, ( The Hon Commodore Constantine John Phipps) and the friend of Charles Dickens, (to his honour be it spoken) and author of the novels Matilda, Yes and No, The Contrast as well as Tales of  Arinda (?). and  The Prophet of St. Paul's. I turn now to a humble name, but one which I would not willing omit of a poor stone mason of  Danby,  John Castillo, author of Auld Izaak and Other Poems, principally in the North Yorkshire dialect. Though not born in Cleveland, the Rev. James Holme, vicar of Kirkleatham, deserves honourable mention as the author of  Leisure Musings and Mount Grace Priory and other poetical works. Another clergyman I must not forget to mention, as his name  is both connected with Stokesley and the literary world, i speak of our late Rector, the Venerable Levison Vernon Harcourt whose Doctrine of the Deluge I trust will find a place in the library of our Mechanics Institute.  Have any of that gentleman's correspondents, our worthy Rector for instance  was to give the hint, I doubt not that he would be willingly present with a copy. And now Sir having mentioned one Archdeacon of Cleveland, I ought to mention his successor, the Venerable Henry John Todd, whose Life of  Cranmer, revived edition of  Johnson's Dictionary  and other works, have made his name well known in the world of letters. As time allowed me now expired, I shall merely mention two more literary names connected with Stokesley, the Rev Charles Cator and a medical writer Mr Lawson Crummey, whose valuable work on the Diseases of the Skin is of practical importance. Mr Chairman, I think I have now fairly and fully answered the question 'Who are our local Writers'."
most celebrated Anglo-Saxon poets, in the person of a poor herdsman, named


Editor's note - it is interesting in that Tweddell included in 1850, some of the poets or authors that never made the first and only volume of Bards and Authors of Cleveland in 1872 but were earmarked for the proposed second and third volumes which never appeared. It means we have at least got some of his thoughts and information on them.

Although very much a work in progress at present, a full list and information of the Bards and Authors of Cleveland for various sources including GMT (for possible further research) will be on this site Bards and Authors of  North Yorkshire http://bardsandauthors.blogspot.co.uk/


Some of the Local Writers that GMT has mentioned -
Sir Thomas Chaloner the Elder - woodcut from Tweddell's
Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham

Bishop Brian Walton woodcut from Tweddell's 
Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham
Thomas Rymer http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/poetic-justice.html

Roger Ascham woodcut from Tweddell's 
Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham

John Hall Stevenson of Skelton Castle.
1718 - 1785.
Painted in 1740 by Philipe Mercier.
Photo above and below from and more information here
 Laurence Sterne.
1713 to 1768.


Joseph Reed' Play

Captain James Cook

The Rev. David Simpson

Thomas Pierson

John Walker Ord

Henry Heavisides

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Story for Boys - Anent the Proposed Tees Bridge. Elizabeth Tweddell 1871

This wonderful story by Elizabeth Tweddell in 1871 shows that the idea of a Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge began much earlier than suspected by William Lillie who says discussions began in 1872 and she outlines the opposition of Stockton in the process. The Transporter Bridge was finally built in 1910. 


Councillor Dave Walsh has sent an article from the Evening Gazette 1871 which gives some background to the story and it seems the proposal at that time was for a Swing Bridge like the one in Goole but according to William Lillie a transporter bridge was a proposal a year later in 1872. More details below after the story!

Elizabeth Tweddell aka dialect poet Florence Cleveland was wife of poet, printer, author George Markham Tweddell and although from Stokesley, lived in Middlesbrough in the 1860's to about 1872 when they returned to Stokesley. They lived in Commercial Street, St. Hildas and George ran his print shop Tweddell and Sons at 87, Linthorpe Rd. Middlesbrough (now part of the new Maplin store near MacDonald's). 

William Lillie, Middlesbrough librarian and historian 1926 - 1951, after outlining the problems of ferrying people across the Tees near Port Clarence, tells us on page 134 of  his History of Middlesbrough that "The question of a horse and cart ferry and that of a transporter Bridge were discussed in 1872 under the chairmanship of Sir R. Dixon and the horse and cart ferry won" Elizabeth Tweddell's story, published in 1871, shows that it was indeed discussed earlier and that the sticking point was Stockton. Admin

A Story for Boys - Anent the proposed Tees Bridge
Elizabeth Tweddell 1871
aka Florence Cleveland

Published by Tweddell and Sons
Cleveland Printing and Publishing Offices
No 87 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough
Price One Penny (1871)

"In a country such as Britain, full of running streams, bridges form the essential part of every system of roads connecting the various districts of the Kingdom with each other....The great conveniences of bridges gradually led to their erection along many of the principal fords ; and when the art of Bridge Building became more advanced, they superseded ferries - always an inconvenient, and often a dangerous method of crossing rapid rivers. The bridge brought the inhabitants of certain districts into immediate connection with those on the opposite bank of the river flowing between them, and enabled them freely to hold intercourse and exchange produce with each other." Dr Smiles - Lives of Engineers.

A Story for Boys
Anent the proposed Tees Bridge

There once lived on the banks of the river Tees (and does yet) an old fashioned petted boy called STOCKTON. He was the biggest and most favoured son of old Father Tees ; and he had been allowed so much of his own way for so many years, that he could not bear to be contradicted in anything. He always thought his will ought to be law. And sorely grieved he was when a younger brother was born unto him. He was afraid that old Father Tees might favour his younger son more than he did him., and this made him more unhappy and discontented than ever.

Meanwhile, the young stranger (whom we will call Middy, by way of a pet name) grew beyond the expectations of anyone ; and STOCKTON said, that he was sure his brother Middy was going to be a great rival to him ; and he determined to try and keep him back as much as ever he could.

Now some of the friends who were well acquainted with STOCKTON, and wished to show him some mark of their favour, presented him with a very large top, which gave him a great deal of pleasure and profit too. And the top used to spin away daily, to the great delight of  STOCKTON ; who felt very proud of being the possessor of such an article as very few had got. But his brother Middy had seen it, and thought that he was big enough to have one too ; and the gentlemen who had given the top to STOCKTON were of the same opinion.

But oh ! had you seen the rage of STOCKTON, when they proposed to give Middy one too. He stormed no little. And then showed his selfish nature. he said, that if Middy had a top, there would be no room for him to spin his, that the top which they had given him had been of very great service to him ; but if they gave one to his brother , he and all his belongings would be quite ruined.

Middy and the gentlemen tried to convince him that it could not possibly do him any harm , but would be a great benefit to them both. But STOCKTON  could not see it., and he wrote a letter to the Big House  where they gave the orders who should have tops and who should not ; and he set his grievance forth in the most abject manner, - he and his belongings would be ruined forever (the same story he had told Middy and his friends).

But they of the Big House could not see it in the same light, and they agreed  that Middy should have one also. And Middy got it and was thankful. And didn't he learn to spin it too ! And how the fellow grew and prospered ! And still had a kindly feeling for his brother, although he had used him so unkindly !

But STOCKTON  always kept sulky, and looked with jealous eyes on Middy, although he never did him any harm at all.

A few years after this happened, a great friend and benefactor of Middy's made a wonderful discovery. One day, when he was out on the moors, he found a great mass of stone contained iron, and he and another benevolent gentleman, who was a connection by marriage, set to work in good earnest, and erected blast furnaces and made iron in such large quantities, that it would have made teeth for all the peg tops in the world.

And now Middy grew apace, and spun his top so valiantly that the buzzing of it could be heard for miles.
When STOCKTON saw all this, he set to work and built some furnaces too, and derived a great deal of good by the discovery of Middy's friends. And Middy was delighted to see his brother flourishing so much, and hoped that STOCKTON had quite got over all the angry feeling he had shown towards him. But in this Middy was mistaken.

In the course of a few years, when Middy had got to be a great deal bigger and stronger than his brother, some gentlemen proposed to make a Bridge over the river Tees, so that the two could visit each other more easily ; and they thought it would confer a great benefit on all the people on both sides of the river : And Middy was quite pleased at the thoughts of it.

Not so, however, with STOCKTON. He began to grumble the old way again. MIDDLESBROUGH, as he chose just to call him (giving him his name in full because he was vexed), would get all the good of it. It would do him no amount of harm. He didn't see why his younger brother should be favoured more than him. However for his own part, he should do all in his power to oppose the Bridge !

Middy tried to reason with him ; but it was all of no use. he had got into the his old stupid ways again, and there was no getting him out of it.  Middy told him, that they ought to consider themselves Siamese Twins. That whatever materially affected one, must of necessity affect the other. That he thought they could walk better both together than either of them could do alone. That he had no wish to sever the connection ; but that if it really had to be done, why, as he was strongest, he would have the least to fear about it. That if they got the Bridge, he should be very glad. he did already spend a great deal of money every week on STOCKTON, and he had no doubt that he would spend a very great deal more if the way between them was shortened. But it was like casting pears before swine talking to STOCKTON on the matter.

A lot of Middy's friends got up a public meeting about the Bridge, and it was highly satisfactory. Only Middy thought that one of his friends made a slight mistake at the meeting, in a remark that he made. But as he knew that it was kindly meant, he did not like to say anything about it at the time. What his friend said was, that Middlesbrough was the place to no place : But Middy says that it both was and is the road to Fortune ; and that it has been a right royal road to a great many, and he hopes that it will still continue to be so. Some people, of course, get muddled in the throng,and cannot find the right track.

I suppose, after a while, there will be a great fuss made by STOCKTON about sending another letter to the Big House, begging of them not to let Middy have the Bridge. How it will end ; remains to be seen. meanwhile, STOCKTON has gone back in it's corner again, to have his sulk out : and there stands, a warning to all selfish naughty boys.

Middy says, that he will certainly go in for the Bridge, and would very much like to get it ; but if he should not be successful, he will not fret about it as he has so far got along without one. As however, he always likes to encourage all improvements for the general good, he hopes the Bridge will be built whatever STOCKTON may say to the contrary. And he thinks that in the end STOCKTON will find unity is strength.

Elizabeth Tweddell (Mrs G.M. Twedell) Middlesbrough 1871.

Since posting this story, Councillor Dave Walsh has sent me this article from the Evening Gazette 1871 which seems to provide the background to the Elizabeth Tweddell's story - it looks like the proposal was for a Swing Bridge although William Lillie says that discussion of a transporter Bridge took place a year later in 1872. Here's the article - 

Accreditation the Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea 28/04/1871 Gazette. Dave Walsh and http://www.redcar.org/meetings-places-north-eastern-railway-bill-bridge-across-river-tees/


Accreditation the Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea 28/04/1871 Gazette.


This measure, which has been for the last few days under the consideration of a Parliamentary committee, of which Mr Cross, the member for S. W. Lancashire, is the chairman, was presented by the company in order to obtain powers to construct various short lines and a bridge across the Tees near to Middlesbrough, thus affording a direct communication between Newcastle, the Caulfield of S. E. Durham, and the Cleveland iron district. The only part of the bill objected to was that in which it was proposed to unite the North and South banks of the Tees by means of a swing bridge, which it was contended would almost totally destroyed the trade of the places higher up the river stop the opponents were the corporation, merchants, shipbuilders, &c., of the town of Stockton, whose plea was that the structure would put an impediment to the navigation the river; and the Middlesbrough are corporation who desired to have a roadway in connection with the bridge. The specifications stated that the bridge was to be constructed on the principle of the one at Goole, and was to have the centre opening 130 feet in width, but to accommodate the Stopped and traders, it had been increased to 160 feet, with headway of 30 feet. It was proposed to work it by hydraulic machinery, capable of opening it in a minute and a half stop Mr T. E. Harrison, the engineer to the company, Mr Hawkesley, Mr Fowler, Mr Abernethy, Mr Randall, and other eminent engineers, were examined, and all concurred in stating that the contemplation structures would not effect navigation for ships could be seen when half a mile off, and the bridge opened in time, but that for most of the vessels plying on the river. It would not need opening. It will shown that the only direct means of communication at present existing between the Durham coal field and the Cleveland iron district was by means of the all bridge at Stockton; and if anything should happen to that, the trade of the locality must necessarily be seriously injured, as it would be almost impossible to convey the minerals round by other routes, because of the steep gradients and sharp curves. MessrsI. Lothian Bell, H. W. F. Bolckow, J. G. Swan, W. R. I. Hopkins, and other influential members of the Cleveland iron trade, gave evidence as to the absolute necessity for additional and more direct communication; after hearing which the chairman, said the committee were quite satisfied as to the need of a connection, but wished to confine their attention to the depositions as to the impediment that would be placed in the way of the navigation. Mr Harrison on the part of the company, agreed that the demand of the Middlesbrough Corporation relative to the footway should be acceded to; and their petition, which had only been filed in order to secure what they had thus obtained, was withdrawn stop Mr Dixon, shipbuilder, Middlesbrough, supported the measure, though his firm often sent large vessels to Stockton to the engined; and he made it appear that if the trade of Stockton were injured that of Middlesbrough would be similarly affected, and the prestige of the river would be damaged. Several pilots and ship-owners spoke in favour of the bill stop for the opposition Stockton Corporation said that the bridge would cause a serious decline in the trade of their port, and that if one accident happened there, the ship-owners would leave the place, as the rates of insurance would be so heavy stop if the centre pier were built as proposed, in the middle of the river, a strong current would be formed, and it would be difficult to steer a large ship through in safety, particularly if the wind was unfavourable stop. They made it appear that a tunnel, which would be no obstruction to the navigation, could be made for £50,000, whilst the bridge would cost constantly more. The company, however, stated that if a small tunnel was constructed. They could not in the short distance between the mainline and the right bank of the river get a game on a level with the former, so as to make it useful. Mr Jos. Dodds, M. P., Mr G. N. Duck, Mr Lockwood, Mr Anderson, and others spoke as to the danger of the direction; and several pilots and ship-owners from Goole showed that the trade above the bridge had materially decreased in consequence of the accidents that had happened. On Wednesday, the committee decided that the bridge scheme would not be approved; but it is understood that if the company should undertake to make a tunnel, according to suitable plans, no opposition would be put in the way by the corporation or traders of Stockton. The Tees Conservancy Commissioners will also agree to the proposition, but it has been stated that the company cannot under any circumstances accept the alternative of a tunnel.


Councillor Dave Walsh further comments

"Interesting too, in that the new "Combined Authority" for the Teesside Boroughs has, as one of its infrastructure proposals, a new Lower Tees Crossing to take pressure off the A19,...............

You can see, in the line up of the pros and antis that it was the massed ranks of the ironmasters against the Stockton port interests,

I don't know, but will assume the HoC Ctte di#; not approve the private bill. Looking at the map, I guess the NER proposal was for a line diverging from the existing Durham Coast line south of Seaton Carew and following the route of today's A178 road to a crossing point near where the transporter now is and from there straight into the ironmasters district. The topography would not allow for a high level bridge, and so a swing bridge was the logical solution from a railway point of view. A tunnel would have been difficult too, given the high water levels around the area and the fact that the area is based on slippery boulder clay, and would have meant building in substantial and expensive cuttings on both sides."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Speech to the Cleveland Ironstone Miners Union Skelton 1875 by George Markham Tweddell

Contributed by Councillor Dave Walsh - a verbatim report of the Cleveland Ironstone Miners union Political demonstration , Skelton in Cleveland, August 1875

In this article, George Markham Tweddell pays his first visit to address the Ironstone Miners of East Middlesbrough Daily Gazette -
George Markham Tweddell
Cleveland. Some of his offspring were ironstone miners and George follows on from the previous years meeting, led by Samuel Plimsoll (in the post below this one). By 1875 Plimsoll's Merchant Shipping Bill had been rejected by Disraeli's Government for no good reason, leading Plimsoll to use 'unparliamentary language' in response. The miners stood behind Plimsoll because he was one of the few MP's at the time champion the interests of the working classes and in particular the sailors who were being sent to sea in unseaworthy vessels so that the ship owners could realise the insurance at the expense of lives. In the article we also witness the early fielding of potential union candidates to the Liberal Party to represent the interests of the working class some decades before the formation of the Independent Labour Party.  Here is the article from the Middlesbrough Daily Gazette -

Middlesbrough Daily Gazette August 1875

The Merchant Shipping Bill -
The Government Condemned
(By Our Own Reporter)

Skelton High Street
On Saturday evening, a large meeting of miners connected with the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Miners Association was held in a spacious field belonging to Mr Stephen Emmerson, of Holly Farm, Skelton for the purpose of discussing the action of the Government in regard to Mr Plimsoll's Merchant Shipping Bill. Mr Joseph Toyne, President of the Cleveland Miners Association, occupied the chair - 

The Chairman said the meeting had been called to appreciate the efforts put forth by Mr Plimsoll MP for Derby, on behalf of our seamen, whose interest he had at heart for many years, having spent time and money and strength in order to benefit the sailors' condition. When they read what the sailors had to pass through and the way they were used, it was a good thing to have someone like Mr Plimsoll to stand up and fight for their glorious cause. The hon gentleman had been accused of using unparliamentary language in the house of Commons, but were there many present who would believe such was the fact. However, he had gone too Merchant Shipping Bill had been shelved and Sir Chas. Adderley, president of the Board of Trade, had introduced another Bill, as the Government were obliged to agree to some measure of the kind to appease the mind of the people. However a blow had been struck at the Tory Government, Mr Plimsoll was the man who had struck the blow, and nothing better could have helped the Liberal cause. The Government knew that thousands of countrymen might loose their lives next winter and thousands made widows and orphans, and yet they threw up Mr Plimsoll's Bill. This proceeding cause the hon gentleman to say what he would never have said had they acted otherwise. The Cleveland miners had hitherto shown a warm heart for Mr Plimsoll; when help was required for suffering humanity they had always shown a willing hand and a ready heart. He was glad to see so many present who sympathised with the cause of the poor sailor.
far, he made an apology. As they were aware Mr Plimsoll's

Mr Geo. Markham Tweddell, of Stokesley, F.R.S.N.A. (Fellow of the Royal School of Naval Architecture.)..copen etc., then moved the first resolution, as follows - 
"That in the opinion of this meeting , the withdrawal by the Government of the Merchant Shipping
Bill, the most important measure on the Ministerial programme, is a blunder which calls for the condemnation of the country and fully justified the outburst of honest indignation with which the announcement was received by Mr Plimsoll in the House of Commons." -
He did not think it worth while wasting time in trying to convince one of the justice and the importance of the bill as that of Mr Plimsoll's. The very fact that so many were then present who approved of the cause they were met to advocate, showed that they, like him, approved of Mr Plimsoll's conduct and regarded the withdrawal of his bill as at least a blunder - if that were a proper expression, though he felt they must use a much stronger one, as with regard to to the use of language opinions differ. Politicians told us that a blunder was worst than a crime but he confessed he could scarcely see that, though they could plainly say the withdrawal of Mr Plimsoll's bill for the protection of of the seamen was both a blunder and a crime. (Cheers.). That it was the most important measure on the Ministerial programme he thought any cool observer of Parliamentary business must at once admit , because there was no other bill that might not have been deferred for twelve months without any loss beyond that of pounds, shillings and pence. No one of common sense would say that the lives of British or any other seamen were of less value than money. Perhaps, however, some people thought so; as if they looked at legislature of this and every other country they would find that the laws had protected property more than persons. A man might be guilty of of great outrages against the person, and yet suffer less penalty than if he had injured property. But he maintained that the first element of civilisation was to protect life and property, but the protection of property should not come before that of life. He felt delighted when he read of the outburst of honest indignation exhibited by Mr Plimsoll. He had remarked that of course the hon gentleman have to say he was sorry if he used unparliamentary language, but it had gone forth and done its work, and Mr Plimsoll would not withdraw the principal part of what of what he had said. he was glad to see that public meetings were held throughout the country in support of the Merchant Shipping Bill, and was delighted to find that the first meeting of the Cleveland miners on the question would support such a resolution as the one he had moved. He remembered reading many years ago some old Roman translations in the name of Terence, who spoke to the effect 
 "that he was a man, and anything that regards humanity could be handed to him"

(Actual quote 
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto", or "I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me." This appeared in his play Heauton Timorumenos.") Ed

Louis Kossuth 
He (the speaker) wished everyman were actuated by the noble - great, if they liked - principle of of the good old Latin writer. Public opinion now ruled the country, and it was by a well educated and noble expression of this opinion that, whatever the form of Government, the people would be rulers.. 

It was Louis Kossuth (See this link) http://tweddellpoetryhub.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-earth-worm-with-letter-from-lajos.html) who thanked the people for the interest they felt in in the cause of the down-trodden nations, and said that everyman possessed some influence for good, whereby many an evil deed might be prevented. Every man should act upon this sentiment. The mighty ocean was made up of drops of water from the clouds. Humanity was made up of units. By everyman and woman knowing their rights, and daring to maintain them, the liberties of the country were preserved. he did not think that the resolution he had moved required much pleading for. he should feel thoroughly ashamed of any persons who would not hold up their hands in support. He complimented the Cleveland miners for coming forward to support Mr Plimsoll in his glorious cause. The bread winners who risk their lives in the mines acted nobly in supporting those who risked their lives at sea. It was only by the working classes of one craft being true to the classes of other crafts that their positions could become greater than in the past. If they looked at the
history of the past in every country, even the most civilised, they would see that the position of the working
classes had been but one of slavery. But he believed that the working classes of the present day occupy much higher positions than the working classes ever occupied in bygone ages ; that the working classes of England fill higher positions than those of any country - unless it be the United States where the people were sovereigns. When we spoke of our liberties we were in the habit of calling them privileges instead of rights. In America they speak of them as rights and not as privileges. Let them them do away with the notion of privileges, which could only pertain to the privileged classes, and go in for that of rights, and one of the greatest rights was to see that rotten ships were not sent to sea, to risk the lives of honest men for the sake of dishonest traders. he respected the labour, whether of mind or body, which was useful but could not see how a man who sends rotten ships to sea in order to put money in his pocket was a useful member of society. he thanked them for the patient hearing they had given him. It was the first time he had spoken but he hoped it would not be the last time he would have the pleasure of addressing the Cleveland miners. (Cheers).

Mr W.M. Snow (Lofthouse) seconded the resolution. he said that every man should feel its his duty to
The article as it appears in Daily Gazette
sympathise with Mr Plimsoll, and to support the resolution. It had been truly said that the merchant Shipping Bill was the greatest measure on the Ministerial programme. By the passing of it perhaps 500 or 1000 lives would be saved during the coming winter, but by the withdrawal of it, the same number might be lost. Why should the Government throw out a bill whose object was to save human life, and keep on the programme bills which were to protect wealth and property? They had thrown out the Merchant Shipping Bill to keep up the Agricultural Holdings Bill? There was no comparison between the two measures . What was the Agricultural Holdings Bill? What use was it? Did it leave the tenant farmers in a better state than before? If it did so it was very slightly. Good landlords would make good bargains with their tenants before and by this bill they had the same privilege. Mr Plimsoll had the right to show indignation and the wrath which he did when he was told by Mr Disraeli that there was no time to deal with the Merchant Shipping Bill this session. After Mr Plimsoll had spent years and years in toil and search, pound on pound of his wealth and broken down his health to obtain facts and figures to prove that many ships went to sea in a very unseaworthy condition ; that they were only insured and sent to sea in a rotten state so that they might sooner go to the bottom and the owner make more money on them, knowing many how many widows and orphans were left destitute in this highly privileged land by the greed of shipowners; and that by, by this bill being thrown out , many more would before winter was over, be added to the number - it was enough to raise his temper, and make him use the language he did use in House of Commons.

If Mr Plimsoll had good grounds for using such words as 'Villains' and 'scoundrels' - if it were true - then
they could not blame the hon. gentleman so much. But he had withdrawn a portion of the language he used, and yet not the protest which he laid on the table of the commons. he hoped Mr Plimsoll would show the country he could bear out his facts and figures, so that the Government should be forced to pass such a measure as would prevent any unseaworthy ships being sent to sea and thus the lives of our gallant seamen would be better protected in future. Why should a man be allowed to so overload a ship that she will scarcely float above the water? They would see by the pamphlet issued by Mr Plimsoll, which had been distributed amongst the miners in the district that many cases had come under the hon gentleman's own observation and that of his friends, where ships had been loaded to such an extent that men, after having signed articles, were afraid to go to sea in them, feeling that they would never reach their destination. Shame on the man who would sacrifice human life to gain wealth. It was the duty of every man to sympathise with and support Mr Plimsoll in his endeavours to force the Government to pass such a bill as that which they had withdrawn. (Cheers)

Mr G. Cox (Lingdale) supported the resolution. Mr Plimsoll could not say too hard things against the Mr Freeman who had been fined and imprisoned for sending an unseaworthy ship to Cardiff (Cheers).
conduct of the Government in not taking up the cause of the widows and orphans. For years he had worked hard to put all his power in force to bring things to a point. He hoped they would live to see a time when the hon gentleman's bill would be passed. If ever a man was worthy of a lasting monument and of testimonies, he was, and in years to come he would be looked upon as an honour to the nation. Whatever should be the loss in a particular sense, life should have a free course, and humanity enjoy free thought. he hoped they would hear of few such cases as that of

The Chairman said that if Mr Plimsoll should never have a monument, he had carved his name and it would be handed down from one generation to another, and never be forgotten. On putting the resolution it was unanimously carried.

Mr Joseph Bourne (Brotton) moved the next resolution as follows ; "That in the opinion of this meeting, the present Government has forfeited the confidence of the country, and ought to immediately resign." (Laughter) Mr Disraeli and his Government deserve the "sack" for their conduct during the present session. They had been a 'stop-gap' to all progress. The Tories had put a stopper on every that might be of benefit to the masses or the country at large. When Mr Trevelyan introduced the Household Suffrages Bill it was squashed by an overwhelming majority. ; and when Mr Plimsoll introduced his measure for the protection of those at sea, it was treated in like manner. This was sufficient to upset a man like the member for Derby, and half a dozen such men. There was no reason in the way he had been treated. How were they to guard against such a state of things? let the trade unionists throughout the country, if they were properly federated, select a candidate, and when a vacancy occurred in either borough or county, run him in. They had Mr Lloyd Jones, Mr Thos Halliday, Mr Arch and others who might be brought forward as Liberal candidates and who would represent the working men's interest fairly in the house of commons. Looking at the majority of the members in the House of Commons, there were not much more than 16 or 20 who said anything on behalf of the working classes. This was very wrong. He did not think they could be fairly represented with less than a hundred members in the House of Commons. Referring to the recent Hartlepool election, the speaker said that the candidature of young Kenealy was only a trap by the London Tory Clubs to secure as many votes as possible in order to prevent Mr Lowthian Bell getting a seat in parliament. They (the working men) did not did not want a man like Mr Bell ; he represented capital and they might depend upon it he would represent it fairly too. He had nothing to say against Mr Bell as a gentleman or private individual, but if he said one word for them as a class, he would be like a clown in the pantomime and say “ One for you, Joey and two for me (Laughter) one for you Billy, and one for you old man, and three for me.” (Renewed laughter). Working men should direct all their attention to being fairly represented. Look at the vast sums that were expended by these men in getting into the House of Commons. Certainly the monies which came before the public eye were never fathomed. No one but the candidate himself could tell what the cost was. Money was spent on in all directions but it should not be so. He did not think it would have cost Mr Spark any canvassing or bribery or scarcely any money to have got in for Darlington during the contest last year. At the Birmingham election of 1872 it cost John Bright £29. This seemed only a small sum, and it was within reach of the working classes to pay it. The election of Mr Elliot, the Conservative member for North Durham, cost tens of thousands. Unless they were united and sent a Liberal to Parliament wherever a vacancy occurred, they would never get their rights, nor sailors either. There were some gentlemen in the House of Commons just as absent minded as the men who had left home, and imagining he had left his watch on the piano, went back to fetch it, and looked at his watch on the way to see if he had time to go or not. (Laughter) When a measure of was brought forward by an hon. Member who is the real friend of the working classes, it met with the greatest opposition at once. The course was planned in club house at Pall Mall what a man was to say and do and who was to pay him. They required to give the matter their earnest and sincere attention. When their secretary sent petitions to be filled up, they should work earnestly to fill them up in a correct manner ; it was only by petitioning that they might hope speedily to make their influences felt in the Houses of Commons. In 1866 when John Bright was agitating for reform measures, petition sheets were carried into the House of Commons which weighed 25cwt, and two men were occupied one night carrying out of the street into the House. The measures were passed ; and if they aroused themselves, they would be successful also. Mr Trevelyan intended to bring in a Bill next session, which, if it were passed, would justly benefit them and the working classes at large. They must give their earnest attention to the matter in the coming winter and endeavour to get the measure through Parliament. If they did not work and watch they would never get a step in advance of their present condition. If they were all as unanimous as he was, Mr Disraeli would be removed at once. There were clever men who would gladly handle the reins of Government, if the working class would only work together. If Mr Gladstone were backed, he would take command next week. They would never have a finer Statesman, politician or leader of the nation, than they had in Mr Gladstone. (Cheers).

Mr James Philbrick (Brotton) seconded the resolution. It was openly confessed that the occupation of miners was of a dangerous character and they confessed that the frequent hearing of sudden deaths and accidents in mines confirmed the truth of the statement, yet he considered that the sailor who has to cross the ocean in a rotten tub or vessel was more in danger than the miner. There were only a few inches between him and a watery grave and why should that space not be composed of good material. Things in Cleveland were not now as they were formerly, and they would ask the Government to resign office as early as convenient (laughter) – and not allow them to sit another session upon any consideration. (Renewed laughter).

Mr Thomas Green (Boosebeck) supported the resolution. It seemed a great mystery however, the present Government ever got in power. He was confident that if the country had had its rights they never would have and if the Tory government had not been in power they would have received the benefit of the legislation of Mr Gladstone and his colleagues, which, as things were that had yet to fight for. It was time we had more such heroes as Mr Plimsoll, when it was seen that hundreds of lives were annually lost through the greed of the capitalists. Mr Plimsoll had not expressed himself so warmly as he might have done under the circumstances. At the Mansion House banquet the other day, Mr Disraeli had said the working classes were satisfied, but it was untrue, as they never would be so long as he was at the head of the government. The power of the Tory Government was dated from the time they rejected the Merchant Shipping Bill. He believed that the country, both Tory and Liberal had protested against the action of the House of Commons in rejecting the bill. Referring to the substitute bill to Mr Plimsoll's, that had been introduced, the speaker said that the Government had been compelled to legislate on the matter because the country demanded legislation. They should combine together as working men and never rest satisfied until they obtain a franchise ; then they could send to Parliament whom they liked., and need not be in fear of a Tory Government. He had been told that whenever a Tory Government was in power, wages were always lower. If they passed the resolution, he had no doubt it would pass through its proper course, and be landed at headquarters.

Mr Joseph Shepherd also supported the resolution. He knew Mr Plimsoll personally, and could state that he had worked on behalf of the sailors and other working people besides. In benefiting more directly the sailors he must benefit the miners also, as, when shortly old ships would be broken up, the plate iron trade would improve both in Middlesbrough and elsewhere. If Mr Plimsoll needed support similar to that what was afforded him in 1873, he ws satisfied they would be ready again to give it. (Hear hear). Mr Plimsoll supported every measure which pertained to benefit the working classes ; and the day was not far distant when he, along with other hon. Gentlemen, would go in for assimilation of of the country and borough franchise, and they would then be able to tell Mr Disraeli what they meant. But let them mind he did not thwart them like he did in 1867. he said then the people should have a vote, but should pay for it, and those in the boroughs have had to pay for it to the tune which they did not like.

The Chairman put the resolution to the meeting and it was carried unanimously. Mr Plimsoll was a hero of the 19th Century, and he hoped the House of Commons would shortly be filled with such men. There were few self-sacrificing men men in parliament and by the labours of the country to become franchised the day would come when they would be able to send what men they liked – men like Mr Plimsoll, who could look any obstacle in the face, and never mind being kicked and called in a good cause. (Cheers).

Mr Joseph Bourne (Brotten), moved a vote of thanks to Mr Emmerson for the use of his field and to Mr Tweddell for the trouble he had taken to be present to interest himself in the meeting. He remarked that the moaners of Cleveland were betaking themselves to reading &c and in time they would have more thoughtful and better educated men in the district.

Mr Joseph Shepherd moved a vote of thanks to the Chairman, and those who had been instrumental in calling the meeting together, and the proceedings were terminated.