Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Teddy’s Nook (NZ666216)

Much of what follows is sketchy. Rumour based on hearsay, with a little bit of tittle-tattle thrown in for good measure. Good fun all-the-same, though.

Teddy’s Nook is the name of a private house which sits on what you might call the ‘main bank’ of Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Its construction dates back to the very earliest days of the town, when, in 1862, Henry Pease MP built and moved into the property – indeed Pease was pretty much responsible for founding the modern-day town as a whole. It was originally intended to build several of these mini-mansions, but only the one was ever completed – and was modestly named ‘The Cottage’.

One might think that a house with a former occupant of Pease’s standing was quite enough history for any private residence – but no. For in its relatively short existence, The Cottage has played host to many a celebrity – some, perhaps, imagined.

First up is the rumour that at one time the house was occupied by two eccentric old ladies who kept a lion for a pet, exercising it on the beach and having it buried in the garden. The famous Lillie Langtry supposedly stayed there, too, in the late 1870s, where she is said to have ‘entertained’ the future Edward VII.  Thereafter, ‘The Cottage’ became known as ‘Teddy’s Nook’…

German spies are the next little anecdote. Apparently, enemy operatives sent out signals to ships at sea from the house during WWII.

Then there was the Kelly family, who were often visited by their cousin, the late Jimmy Savile. Does anyone remember him padding Saltburn’s streets during his morning runs?

As if that wasn’t enough, ‘Teddy’s Nook’ was also once the family home of Audrey Collins MBE, a formidable figure who served as the town’s mayor and chair of the South Tees Health Authority.

And that, I think, is that.

If anyone has any further information, rumours or, er, tittle-tattle, then do get in touch.

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