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Hartlepool ferry

The old town of Hartlepool is built on a spur of land connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. For centuries, the quickest way to travel between ‘the Headland’ and the mainland was by ferry. The ferry – a rowing boat carrying passengers across the 100 meter stretch of water between Old Hartlepool and Middleton – saved travellers a walk of at least a mile, along the marshy coastal path.

Hartlepool ferry

In the early 1800s, the ferry was operated by former local fishermen, who were paid by Hartlepool Corporation. A second ferry service was started by the Harbour Commissioners in 1852, crewed by two ‘ferrymen’, or four in bad weather. The ferries were particularly popular at this time, bringing workers to the developing docks, shipyards and engineering works. During World War I, when the yards were building warships, they carried over a thousand men a day.

Safer and warmer ways to travel eventually became more available, and the ferry service finally closed in 1952. The last ferryman was Thomas Boagey, who sadly died falling down the ferry steps.

Image courtesy of Hartlepool Borough Council

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