IN September 1854, the cholera epidemic came to Redcar. There were 20 cases and eight deaths, seven of which were in Fishermen’s Square, a dirty and ill-ventilated collection of about 30 houses owned by the Earl of Zetland.

He took decisive action. Not for him a convoluted roadmap to beat the infection. Instead of lockdown, he resorted to knockdown.

He demolished all the properties and replaced them with a terrace of 22 houses “with every sanitary improvement calculated to prevent the recurrence of the disease”.

Behind each one was a bait-house – an outhouse in which nets and tackle could be stored and repaired.

The terrace was called South Terrace although even to this day it is known as Fishermen’s Square. In its centre is a curious construction which is a storey higher than the other fishermen’s houses – it is a look-out, so that the fishermen’s families could keep a watch out to sea in times of storm.

This is one of the many fascinating tales to be found in the re-published Redcar & Coatham by Janet Cockroft. It was first published in 1975, but has now grown into a fourth edition, updated by Peter Sotheran, which takes the town’s story up to the start of the 21st Century.