From the D&S Times of…

July 6, 1867

ONE hundred and fifty years ago this week, the D&S Times was reporting on the arrival of Redcar’s new lifeboat, the Burton-on-Trent, which had been paid for and built by the Staffordshire townspeople.

It was to replace the Crossley lifeboat, built by people in Halifax, which was only three years old but was considered too small due to much of the hull being taken up by self-righting airboxes.

“The unpacking of the boat at the railway was superintended by Capt Ward RN, the lifeboat inspector, but owing to his orders not being strictly followed, the boat once fell over on to her side and crushed a fisherman, David Stonehouse, severely.”

Mr Stonehouse was taken to his home and was recovering satisfactorily.

The D&S then turned its attention to Redcar’s first lifeboat, which had gone into service in 1802.

“The other Redcar lifeboat, the Zealand, is a curiosity, as she is the oldest lifeboat ever built expressly for that purpose in the United Kingdom,” said the D&S. The Zetland, it said, had “saved 330 lives while only one man has been lost out of her, and that was on Christmas Day 1839.

“It is remarkable that there is not an unsound plank in her, and she is still in as good work in order as ever. She was the property of the Lifeboat Institution till the arrival of the Crossley, when she was presented to the fishermen.”

This tells only half the story, as the Zetland was damaged in 1864 successfully rescuing seven sailors, causing the Crossley to be sent as a replacement. The RNLI had hired a local carpenter to break up the Zetland, but such was the strength of feeling among the Redcar fishermen, that she was reprieved.

On October 28, 1880, a terrible storm played havoc with the east coast shipping, and Burton-on-Trent was twice sent out, coming home with a large hole in her side. When a third distress call was spotted, the aging Zetland was launched and rescued seven from a brig, Luna.

That was the last time either vessel was launched, and now the Zetland has pride of place, as the oldest lifeboat in the world which rescued more than 500 souls, in a volunteer-run museum.

July 7, 1917

WE’VE looked at Richmond’s water supply in some depth on this page this year, but 100 years ago the town was afflicted by an appalling water supply. The reservoirs weren’t watertight and the pipes were leaking, leaving householders without water for three days.

The water inspector suddenly quit his post and, to make matters worse, the town council received an angry letter from Mr FW Hall, agent to Lord Zealand of Aske Hall.

“He stated that in one of his lordship’s houses there had been no water for three days, a state of things likely to lead to serious illness through the drains not being flushed,” said the D&S. “It was, said Mr Hall, a general complaint in the town that the water was off at night.

“The corporation, Mr Hall insisted, had no right to put the town in danger of epidemic.”

Quaking in its boots, the council immediately appointed a new inspector on £2-per-week, plus war bonus, although much of the shortage was probably caused by the huge number of soldiers in the area, and the increase in civilian demand due to the popularity of baths and flushing toilets.

One councillor, though, was having none of such excuses.

The D&S said: “Mr Blow could not understand why men who represented the town were so lacking in progress. For years they had been regarded as rather sleepy-headed in Richmond, and he said it would still seemed to be thought that a little bucket would hold sufficient water for double the number of the town's inhabitants.”

July 8, 1967

FIFTY years ago, the D&S said that “Blackie, a 22-year-old Friesian cow, “is well on the way to becoming a national heroine”.

At the weekend, Blackie, who lived with Mr and Mrs William Bell of Borrowby, had delivered her 20th calf, a black and white bull.

Blackie had been bred by Mrs Bell’s father in Thirsk, and had moved twice with the Bells as they had established themselves.

But it doesn’t sound like there was much room for sentimentality…

The article concluded: "‘She is still sound in wind and limb and she is likely to rise to 5-6 gallons a day, as she has done so many times in the past,’ says Mr Bell. ‘We kept her for her 20th calf but we shall probably let her go this time.’”