Without the railway, the Hartlepool of today would be very different. The present town of Hartlepool is really an amalgamation of what local people call Old Hartlepool and West Hartlepool; the latter not existing before the arrival of railways. The railway and dock complex, created by rivals George Stephenson and Sir John Rennie, grew up in a way that reflected the rivalry between the two towns. The first Hartlepool railway was created at the beginning of the railway age. At the height of the town's prosperity, there were nearly 200 miles of working railway within the dock complex alone, and this book covers the rise and gradual decline of this system. The railways have witnessed a number of significant events, such as the bombardment of Hartlepool by German warships during the First World War and the devastation caused to the docks and railways during the Second World War. Hartlepool Railways records the history of Hartlepool from its pre-railway origins as a medieval port through to the present day. The book draws on numerous sources, including the Robert Wood collection at the Hartlepool Museum, Hartlepool Library, the Teesside Record Office, and the National Railway Museum at York and Shildon. The railways made Hartlepool. This is their story.
George recently retired after eleven years in the chemical industry and thirty years in local government. Born in Hartlepool, County Durham, both his father and grandfather were railwaymen and he fell in love with railways and in particular steam locomotives at the very time when main line steam was on the way out. Being simultaneously long- and short-sighted, he was somewhat surprised to be turned down by British Railways when he applied to become an engine driver. Since the railways didn't want him, he decided to write about them instead and has written extensively for railway magazines over the last decade. His first book, Wylam: 200 Years of Railway History, was published in 2012. For the last two years he has been completing a post-graduate 'Certificate in Railway Studies' run jointly by the National Rail Museum and the University of York. He is married with three grown-up children.