Friday, 14 October 2011

Harvest Time at the Harbour (NZ522338)

Such was the decline in the fortunes of Hartlepool’s once renowned harbour, that by the dawn of the nineteenth century it was out of commission entirely.

Incredibly, in 1808, a ‘grant of the harbour’ was made to an individual, who immediately enclosed the silted expanse for the purpose of agriculture.  The enterprising maritime farmer successfully grew corn on the huge slake for some time, whilst arguments raged about the state of the once great port and its protective, but crumbling, pier – the storms of 1810 further heightening tensions.

In 1813, local citizen and burgess, William Vollum, indicted the enclosure as a nuisance by way of a petition.  The case went to court in Durham and a verdict delivered in his and the town’s favour – and the harbour was saved.  In time, and after many more years of debate, the area was returned to its watery state thanks to the demands of the industrial revolution.

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