Category: News

Remembers Ord Will


Thoo Remembers Ord Will

“Thoo remembers ord Will” somebody will say,

When a general election is on its way,

With a stamp of his foot and a wave of his hand

His speech he’d deliver from his fish box stand.


Pigeons were the first love of his life,

Followed close second by his wife.

In crouching pose by his loft he’d watch

Of his winning bird first glimpse to catch.


With anxious eyes he’d scan the air

“Is this oors coming?” he’d declare.

“We’re fost this week, can’t be denied”,

His bony frame bursting with pride.


by Mary Hambley

from Village Verses  1982

published by East Cleveland Women Live Group

Holliday and Pigeons


Leslie ‘Pem’ Holliday and Pigeons


Pem Holliday (1933-2013) was a lifelong resident
of Skinningrove. His daughter Dawn has these

recollections of her dad’s devotion to pigeons:After World War Two, dad still lived at Cliff Terrace but by then he was working on ‘the belt’ at the local steelworks and keeping pigeons.  Corn was still rationed because of the war and the allowance was 12lb per week.  Bill Dawson would inform dad when beans were being sold at Hinderwell; dad would walk there for a stone of them then walk all the way back, a total of about 14 miles.  He got the beans at the first farm on the left as you go into Hinderwell from Staithes.  Sometimes dad would look for ears of corn and peas in the fields then slough the ears so he could feed his pigeons.

Here’s an entry from Dawn’s diary:

20 September 2004 – Me, dad and Joe (dad’s great grandson) went to feed the ducks today.  On the way back, dad said it was 53 years to the day since he joined the Army.  He was in it for two years and for the first 18 months he was paid £2 1s 6d each week.  He used to send 10s 6d home to Bronco, his brother, to feed the pigeons.



Skinningrove Bonfire & Fireworks Display 2017


Saturday 4 November saw one of Skinningrove’s best ever shows as spectacular fireworks illuminated the hillsides and a bonfire that represented pigeon fancying in the local area.  There’s been a theme to all the bonfires in the village since the first one in 1982; this year it was the turn of an activity that’s been part of the local landscape for more than a century.  In the weeks leading up to 4 November there were guided visits to pigeon lofts and shows at Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum that featured archive film of pigeon fancying in the North East of England, together with readings and talks.  There was also a display at Loftus Library that featured images kindly provided by the mining museum, East Cleveland Image Archive, Teesside Archives, Dawn Holliday, Skinningrove History Group and photographers.  Thanks are due to the bonfire committee and history group for their work on these activities; look out for news of a project to highlight the significance of pigeon fancying in our area.  The bonfire and fireworks display could not go ahead without donations of money and time, so it’s a huge Thank You to the organisations and individuals who gave financial support and many hours as volunteers to make this community event such a great success.






The Up North Combine is an amalgamation of pigeon clubs and federations, founded in 1905 and governed by the North of England Homing Union. Members of the combine’s federations range from Berwick to Staithes. Here’s a roll of honour showing the owners of pigeons from Skinningrove that have won Up North Combine races, together with year, place of release and number of birds where available:

1952   J Hall   Luxembourg   6,734

1953   J Hall   Welwyn   4,678 

1955   Rawson & Son   Welwyn

1956   Winspear & Son   Welwyn   6,638

1957   C Rawson   Welwyn   8,093

1960   J Hall   Cormeilles   8,463

1960   Wood Brothers   Bourges

1961   J Hall   Lille   11,779

1966   Rawson & Son   Ashford   8,394

1967   Wilson Brothers   Ashford   11,006

1973   E Rowe & Son   Lillers   12,000

1975   E Rowe & Son   Beauvais   12,258

1975   G Hoggarth   Ashford   18,225

1976   E Rowe & Son   Beauvais   14,674

1981   G Hoggarth   Beauvais   17,305

1987   G Hoggarth   Folkestone   20,081

1987   B & K Simpson   Folkestone (West Bank 7 Bird Club)   24,644

1990   I Purver & Partners   Harlow (West Bank 7 Bird Club) 20,618

1998   Mr & Mrs Brundle   Folkestone   20,292

1999   B & K Simpson   Folkestone   22,360

1999   White Brothers   Lillers   16,175

2001   A Breckon   Brussels   11,870

2002   Sayers Brothers   Eastbourne   26,854

2003   B & K Simpson   Ashford   23,041

2004   B & K Simpson   Folkestone   21,039

2009   Prokopowicz, Son & Ewens   Maidstone   19,646

2010   I Stafford   Lillers   18,368

2012   Sayers Brothers   Lillers   13,064  

2016   Richards & Marsay   Peterborough  11,967

2017   I & E Purver   Reims   4,193


With thanks to Keith Simpson for providing this information



My Beautiful Ocean









Chimney Demolished

At Skinningrove Works










May Day Queen

May Queen

May Queen

May Queen

about mid 1975



Old Harbour at Hummersea

old harbour


In the Seventeenth century, the Alum mining industry began at near-by Hummersea. Skinningrove thus became increasingly busy with horse and cart traffic passing across the scar (or wave -cut platform) , to Hummersea.


Traces of this can still be seen, with deep cuts worn into the rocks, below Hummersea  cliffs

Alum became important as a chemical for fixing dyes in textiles and in the tanning of leather. It was also used in the manufacture of parchment, for hardening candles and fire-proofing. From the 1851 census return,we know that a number of alum miners/labourers and even manufacturers, were resident in Skinningrove. The sandstone used for building the hamlet was possibly a by-product of the alum mines. Layers of sandstone having had to be removed by quarrying, before the alum could be reached. This then was the first encroachment of industry of Skinningrove. This industry lasted well over 200 years, coming to an end in 1870, when the invention of aniline dyes in Germany rendered the use of alum as a mordant in the wool industry redundant.

Stan Binks

Archive Photos from Irene Kettle

Here are two photos taken in the early 1950s on Deepdale Lane (known locally as Wood Road) between Skinningrove and Loftus.  One of the photos shows Bill Andrew and, in the pram, his daughter Irene who told the history group: “My dad was born and bred in Skinningrove, as were my grandparents and great-grandparents.  I’ve spent many happy hours on ‘Saltburn side’ and like to walk there when I try and visit every year and remember happy times.  My dad’s cousin is Mrs Teasdale on New Company Row; my great-grandparents’ name was Harker”.

The photos show some features of local industry at that time, including the aerial cable that took shale from Loftus Ironstone Mine to the tip beside Deepdale Lane.  The structure above Bill and Irene was there to protect pedestrians from any shale that might fall from the overhead buckets.  In the distance is Skinningrove Iron & Steel Works and part of the mine can be seen below.  The zig zag railway is also visible on one of the photos.

If you have any archive images or documents of the Skinningrove area that you wish to share with others, please contact Skinningrove History Group.IMG_0002IMG_0001

Remembered with Honour


Remembered with honour


In Memory of


73339, 1st Bn., Durham Light Infantry

who died

on 29 March 1918


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