A View From Mount Pleasant

Published: August 8th 2016
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Marske. In local pronunciation, there is no emphasis on the “r”. It is just Mask. The functional Teesside accent just says it as it is – or in this case, doesn’t and says it the lazy way. An accent that gets the job done without frills. The small town situated on the coast half way between Redcar and Saltburn. When we were at school, it was about 2 miles away but could have been a million miles way. It was just somewhere on the railway line on route to Redcar or Middlesbrough. We occasionally visited to go to the dentist at one time. I can also remember being taken to Marske Cricket Club to see a John Hampshire Benefit Match. I went to see Geoffrey Boycott play. Sir Geoffrey to you. I still have the programme with his signature on it. I can hear the Other Half muttering, "if it was the only programme you had!". Marske only achieved some real relevance when starting 6th Form College, when new horizons opened up in the form of girls from Mask. The Bydales School (now one of these new and so called better Academy projects) fed into Prior Pursglove in Guisborough, even though it was a hop, skip and a jump to Willy Turners in Redcar...... and all of a sudden it gave Philmores a whole new perspective. We'll move on - the Other Half will be reading. Bydales School was always a problem for us at school. Well specifically, in footballing terms. They seemed bigger and better than us and frequently hammered us. The school pitches alongside the Stray were ideal for letting a 50 miles per hour wind rip in from the North Sea and freeze everybody to death. I think we lost 11 - 0 once and only crossed the half way line every time we kicked off after conceding. I note that the school has had a total rebuild. It now resembles a ship with red funnel structures rising from the roof. Good job it wasn’t there in 1914 when the German Navy was steaming down the coast between Hartlepool and Scarborough looking for targets, They would have shelled it. It could have solved our football problems though!

There isn’t a great deal to the centre of Mask. There is a small shopping precinct either side of the traffic island in the centre. The highlight was
St GermainsSt GermainsSt Germains

........... burial place of Captain Cook's father
the old Marske Records shop. It was the nearest record shop after the Token Shop closed in Saltburn. A school friend was a regular down there. He was always a good customer. If his latest girlfriend liked a record, he bought it! He has a large record collection! There were a couple of banks, I recall. Midland on the corner and a NatWest across the road. The old Amos Hintons supermarket was right on the traffic island. “Super” market was relative term. Today, it would be the size of a corner shop. It is actually a hairdressers now, I noted. A Co-op and a large Sainsburys local now dominate and the banks have disappeared.

One of the most prominent buildings in town is on Redcar Road, just beyond the Church. Marske Hall was built as a home for the local Lord. William Pennyman must have had a bob or two in 1625. The 1st Baronet Pennyman was a Royalist and had a scrap with Cromwell’s forces on the very impressive stretch of sand that is Marske beach. He repelled Cromwell’s men, but later fell from favour after the decline of the monarchy and the estates were sold initially to the Lowther family and subsequently to the Zetland family. After a temporary stay by the Royal Flying Corps in World War 1, the last Zetland to permanently live in the Hall died in 1929. After a spell as a school in the late 1950s was ended by the pupils and some matches, the building eventually became a Leonard Cheshire Home in 1963. The Royal Flying Corps were based just down the road in World War One on Marske Aerodrome. Captain W E Johns, author of the Biggles books, was based here in 1918. I remember the place as an ICI storage base, which was very different from the flare stack city just up the road at Wilton. It is now houses on roads named after aircraft or an aeronautical theme.

The other large house in Marske is Cliffe House. A holiday home for the Pease family, who had major interests in the Stockton & Darlo railway which extended through to Marske and Saltburn in the 1860s. The house is perched right on the edge of the beach and was presumably without a cracking view of the ex-British Steel Redcar plant when built. This is “old” Marske. An array of old sandstone house line what was the High Street, which leads to a gentle incline down to the beach. The railway ironically could not have been further from the Pease house within the confines of urban Marske. Mr Pease probably planned it that way. The town initially expanded between the two points. The station is a the “top end” away from the beach. The Zetland pub was and is the “Top House”. The Clarendon is the “Middle House” – favoured in it’s day as a pre-Philmores drop in pub and The Ship is the “Bottom House”. The Club near the old High Street appears to be no longer. The For Sale sign is a bit of a giveaway.

I walked across the Headlands towards St Germains Church. This is the oldest of old churches on this stretch of the coast. It is now in ruins. It was originally the church for the Parish, which extended from Redcar to Saltburn. Captain Cook’s father is buried in the churchyard off St Germain’s Lane. He had moved from the family home in Great Ayton to Redcar and was buried in this church yard, unaware that his

"Top House" pub
son had pre-deceased him by a few months in the slightly more exotic climes of Hawaii. Charles Dickens is reputed to have paid a visit to the grave in the 1840s.

I was in town as usual for sport. Marske United are the southern outpost of the Northern League. They are relatively recent entrants to the 2nd oldest Football League in the world, but progressed to win their first title in 2014 / 2015. I don’t watch them very often – the odd “derby” against Guisborough Town – but the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round against South Shields appealed. As Marske’s website put it, “the team everybody is talking about”. It would be my second FA Cup tie of the weekend, after a Friday night out in the Leicestershire village of Heather. The homeless phoenix club, Hinckley AFC, are forced to play there pending a return to their spiritual home. The dates for football matches get changed for many reasons, but this must have been one of the first that fell victim to a Scarecrow Festival. A very popular event by all accounts – so popular that the village could not apparently cope with the 308 crowd at the match and the scarecrow visitors all on a Saturday. Across the fields, the Heather Music Festival was booming out into the Friday evening. It was all happening in this village.

Meanwhile back in Marske, I was hopeful that Julio Arca would play – ex-Premier League star of Sunderland and Middlesborugh and Argentine Under 20 World Cup winning captain. I still can’t actually believe in these days of the modern, money grabbing footballer, that he chooses to play in a regional league – because effectively he wants to! Julio had been very impressive, when I saw him last winter on a cold Tuesday night in the run in for South Shields promotion push at Darlo Railway Athletic. The GER Stadium is on Mount Pleasant, between the Frigate and the Top House. As far as I am aware the capacity of > 2,000 has never really been tested, but the Darlo 1883 game a couple of years back drew nearly 1,500. The Julio Arca effect had drawn a few Boro away from their final pre-season outing against visiting Real Sociedad, which had kicked off at 1.30 pm and South Shields travel in numbers. However overall, I guess Marske were
Marske  Utd v South ShieldsMarske  Utd v South ShieldsMarske Utd v South Shields

............ a short hop from Baku for the game
a bit disappointed with the eventual crowd of 411. Alas, 9500 + chose to be bored to death at Awesome Park - a 0 - 0 draw isn't exactly a surprise these days with safety first Aitor in control - and missed out on the FA Cup fix. August is a good time to see Marske at home – their pitch is notorious for taking on water and turning into a quagmire. Julio would need a good pitch to show his talents.

The GER Stadium isn't exactly the picturesque ground – it is a bit of a make do and mend venue – but in the sunshine, it was Mount Pleasant today. I had left the dog at home this afternoon – she doesn’t do large crowds and it was a bit warm for her. There aren’t many days on the Costa Del North East, you can say that! The Tin Shed Titans area does indeed resemble a tin shed. The Chicken Run is pretty non-existent, but would suffice for chickens. The Sand Dancers travelled in numbers, as expected. I estimated circa 250 / 275 minimum in the crowd, may proudly wearing their classy looking new away shirt. The

....palm trees and tractors
Marske total was definitely affected by the super Boro occasion. South Shields decorated the Cricket Club end with a collection of flags. The Baku tweeter surfaced. How many flags make a 2500+ journey for the FA Cup Extra Prelim round? Who says the FA Cup has lost the appeal? Shields outplayed their hosts and should have had a 3 - 0 lead at the break. They were mugged on 1/2 time and the classy Julio performance was in that 45 minutes was rendered neutral with that equaliser. Marske are a big, physical team and appeared to have a tactical rethink at half time. After a glorious South Shields opportunity for a 2 – 1, the rest of the 2nd half by-passed the midfield. The visitors weren’t impressed by all of the refereeing decisions. “Howay man, Referee!!” Marske ran out 3 -1 winners. The flags and the rest of the Sand Dancers retreated back up the A19 to concentrate on the league. As far as I am aware, there is still no direct connection back to Baku from Marske Railway Station!

Appendix 1

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

GER Stadium, Mount Pleasant, Marske by the Sea,
Julio ArcaJulio ArcaJulio Arca

....... Argentine footballer
North Yorkshire

Saturday 6th August 2016 @ 1500 Hours

Marske United FC 3 - 1 South Shields FC

Scorers: 0-1 Scroggins (South Shields) 8 Mins, 1-1 Ramsbottom (43 Mins) 2-1 Mulligan (Marske) 64 Mins, 3 -1 Butterworth (Marske Utd) 89 Mins

Attendance: 411

Marske United FC: to be confirmed

South Shields FC: Carmichael, Baxter (Smith 25), Turner, Morse, Riding, Arca, Carson (Byrne 84), Scroggins (c), Shaw, Cogdon (Briggs 71), Foley. Sub not used: Davidson.

Additional photos below
Photos: 46, Displayed: 29


9th August 2016

Love the redheads LOL

Tot: 1.204s; Tpl: 0.085s; cc: 13; qc: 34; dbt: 0.0239s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb