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Archive - Monday, 16 September 2002
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Cobbler's curious castle unveiled
HIDDEN treasures are to be unveiled to the public for the first time in years.
Curios including a two-headed sheep, historic photographs and important artefacts - all locked away in a seventeenth century Grade II listed house named Winkies Castle - will be available for viewing by the public.
Cobbler Jack Anderson has left the building in Marske High Street - and the artefacts he spent his life preserving - to the people of his home town.
Mr Anderson, who prevented the house - built to medieval design - from being torn down in the Sixties, died in May last year and left Winkies Castle to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. His dream was that it would be turned into a museum.
A group of enthusiasts, under the supervision of the council, aim to open it to the public, possibly next summer.
But first the long, hard job of organising a group to collate the thousands of artefacts and raise money for redecoration and structural improvements must begin.
Phil Philo, the council's museum curator, said some of the agricultural equipment was of particular importance.
"Things like drenching horns and bull leads were a commonplace part of life, but that rural life disappeared very quickly in the early part of the nineteenth century and so it is rare to come across many items like that," he said.
"Then there's the building itself, which is one of a very few we have in this area dating back to that time. It is built to a medieval design and has a trap door and tiny, almost secret rooms, so it's all a real find. The trouble is a lot of information about what we have here was in Mr Anderson's head and we're going to have to work hard to find out the stories behind them."
Myrtle Anderson, Mr Anderson's sister-in-law, thought there was a secret room in the house, which she said was haunted. She said that Mr Anderson originally used to keep old equipment from his cobbler's business there, but he soon started collecting other artefacts and was visited by amateur historians from across the world.
One theory for the house's name, Winkies Castle, was that it was named after a cat who used to live there.