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Saltburn is 150 years old

For Henry Pease 1861 was going to be a good year. With approval from his board of directors, not surprising perhaps with him being chairman and putting up most of the capital, development could push on apace. The green fields, which already boasted an iron road

running over their well tilled surface, would soon welcome buildings that would be the envy of other spa towns and their white brick, fired in his own brickworks, would reflect the rising sun over the skyline of Huntcliff each morning as the eastern horizon awoke promising wealth and riches beyond most mortals’ dreams. Henry was a religious man as were most of his

contemporaries although not all of the Quaker faith. Some of the first buildings that would be erected in the town would be to celebrate the word of God. 1861 meant something in particular to this community.

In the wider world, however, not everyone was celebrating 1861.

For those still fixed on the Byzantine calendar the year

would have been 7220. This perhaps gives some perspective to where we sit in history. The fields in Russia were definitely green as The

Emancipation Manifesto gave freedom to 23 million serfs, releasing them from servitude and granting full rights as free citizens. Maybe it was too good to be true. For Italians the unification of their country under

Victor Emmanuel 11 was an end to bloody struggle and the beginning of a constant parochialism that would just suffer unification as long as regional identity ruled.

America would fare much worse as the green fields of

that fair country of promise soon ran red. Alexander Stephens in his infamous Cornerstone speech heralded a bitter conflict that would tear a country apart and leave a legacy of bitterness. Lincoln, having avoided assassination, led a country to the brink. Our Queen Victoria issued a proclamation of neutrality which did nothing to make clear the majority view against the establishment of the Confederate States, led by Jefferson Davies, elected at Montgomery, Alabama. Elsewhere there was more pleasant news as the builders

got to work putting white bricks on top of each other. The first industrial meat packing company was

established in Uruguay and we became familiar with the little town called Frey Bentos. William Wrigley Jr. set up his factory and soon the

world was chewing his gum. Some people had free time and the Weisshorn was

climbed in the Alps and James Naismith invented basketball. Lots of free time was necessary to read Mathew

Arnold’s ‘On Translating Homer’ and even more time to read Francis William Newman’s’ Homeric Translation in Theory and Practice’. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld passed away

and our Queen was without her mother. Plans were drawn up for a well laid out town, a regal

circus and lots more. Rather exciting times in fact, rather reminiscent of the Great Exhibition days. Unfortunately that designer passed on too, leaving our Queen without a husband. His memorial still stands in the Valley Gardens.

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