Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I'm Talking Up Loftus

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I'm Talking Up Loftus

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE MORGAN

THE Loftus area is a unique blend of history, important industrial heritage and rural and coastal delights.

And few are better placed as an ambassador for the town and its surrounds -often described as the capital of East Cleveland -than historian, author and three times Loftus Town Mayor, Eric Jackson.

Eric, 69, of East Crescent, Loftus, was also Redcar and Cleveland borough mayor in 2002/3. He said: "Loftus is a wonderful place to live, work, visit or shop.

"There are several good cafes where you can enjoy a cuppa before walking round the town to look at the fine old buildings and getting the benefit of healthy fresh air.

"Of course, Loftus isn't Shangri-La and does have its share of problems with anti-social behaviour and boarded-up shops.

"However, though an urban town in a rural setting -not a Cotswold village - and consequently not immune from any downward turn in local industry, it will certainly weather the current storm of recession.

"Local people are very positive and resilient."

Councillor Jackson was born in Loftus and the only time his family left the town was after being bombed out by the German Luftwaffe during World War Two.

He said proudly: "My great-grandfather Matthew Johnson was a local alum worker and he later worked in the local ironstone mines, as did my grandfather Jeremiah Jackson after him, at the Liverton Mine.

"For 250 years we had an alum industry that employed hundreds of people.

"Then following the discovery of iron ore in 1848, the Cleveland miners worked hard, sometimes in appalling conditions, to keep the Teesside furnaces going for iron and steel production.

"Today, we have the mine at Boulby producing potash and salt - a very important employer which provides many hundreds of jobs for local people, as well as helping to keep the roads open via the gritters in winter.

"Loftus and the surrounding district has a very good community spirit. …

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