Saltburn 150 Pt V: The founder's memories

The Northern Echo: Mary Pease (1826-1909), who wrote of the founding of Saltburn Mary Pease (1826-1909), who wrote of the founding of Saltburn

MARY Pease was so much younger than her husband Henry, the founder of Saltburn, that there was much concern and even consternation within the Quaker community.

Mary was 22 and Henry was 55.

Mary - a member of the Lloyd family of Birmingham - was Henry's second wife. He married his first, Anna Fell, in 1831, but she died after just four years of marriage.

Henry (1807-1881) didn't re-marry until 1859 - the very year Saltburn began to crystallise in his mind. Mary (1826-1909) bore him five children who grew to love being with their father at his seaside resort. For four weeks every summer, they stayed at No 5 Britannia Terrace (as discussed yesterday), one of Henry's three extravagant properties in the area: he also had Stanhope Castle and, most luxuriously of all, Pierremont in Darlington.

After Henry died in 1881, Mary wrote a memoire of his life. The excerpt below is the portion she devoted to the creation of Saltburn which this year is celebrating its 150th anniversary: ============================ In the summer of 1859, the year of his marriage, while staying a few days with his brother Joseph's family at his sea-side house at Marske-by-the-Sea, Henry Pease one afternoon disappeared, and returned heated and exhausted and late for dinner. He explained afterwards that he had walked along the sand-hills to where the burn, which gave the name of Saltburn to a few fishermen's cottages under the cliff, met the sea. And that, seated on the hill-side, he had seen, in a sort of prophetic vision, on the cliff before him, a town arise, and the quiet, unfrequented glen, through which the brook made its way to the sea, turned into a lovely garden.

It was not a new thought to him, but from that time it took a practical shape. He imparted his ideas to his fellow railway directors, and they warmly took up the scheme.

We have seen how, years before, it was thought a great venture to take the railway as far as Middlesbro'. Great changes, however, had taken place in the neighbourhood since then, and, following the curve of the coast, it had reached Redcar, and then Marske; two-and-a-half miles more of rail were alone needed to pen out this charming site to all health and pleasure seekers.

His recent visit to America, where he had seen cities, the marvellous growth of a few years, rising up in the wake of every new railway, no doubt helped to make him sanguine that a speedy and brilliant success would attend a watering-place endowed with all the natural advantages that Saltburn possessed.

That others shared in his hopes and enthusiasm was seen by the large, palatial hotel which was at once planned, and in the coures of time erected at the terminus of the railway. The land, chiefly purchased from Lord Zetland, was laid out to a plan, and it may truly be said that he watched almost every house with interest as it developed his scheme, and brought others to take an interest and pleasure in the spot.

The gardens were, however, his chief delight; he so intensely admired and enjoyed them, he wondered that every one that had the power did not come and luxuriate in the combination of charms to be found in them.

There was, perhaps, a shade of disappointment as years went on that Saltburn did not grow as rapidly as at first it seemed to promise to do, but on the other hand there was much to gratify in its steady increase, and, as everything was well done, he could still indulge the hope that a prosperous future was in store for it.

The three or four weeks spent almost every summer in his house, No 5 Britannia Terrace, formed a very happy part of his children's holidays.

The fine hard sands for driving or walking, the boating and fishing, and listening to the band in the gardens on the warm summer evenings, will ever be remembered by them in connection with their dear father as he shared these pleasures with them.

Fishing was the only sport of the kind he indulged in. On a calm evening, accompanied by his boys, he occasionally dropped the line into the deep sea, and sharing in the excitement at success.

The Convalescent Home built by his nephews and himself was a continual source of pleasure and satisfaction to him. It was build to accommodate sixty patients at a time, all to be admitted free of charge, and each season more than 500 poor invalids have had the advantage of change of air and good food. Two or three rooms are set apart for patients in a different position in life. This has proved a great boon and very timely refreshment to many toiling Bible-women, two missionaries, worn-out school- mistresses, and others who could not otherwise have the rest and change they so much need.

But all these things did not spring up at once. The planning and building of a town is not accomplished without much thought and labour. Henry Pease never shrank from his share of the work, and a large share therefore devolved upon him, but it was a work much to his taste, and Saltburn became one of the great interests of his life.

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