Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

SAND, SEA AND SO MUCH MORE; DAVE ROBSON Looks at the Ever-Changing Face of Redcar

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

SAND, SEA AND SO MUCH MORE; DAVE ROBSON Looks at the Ever-Changing Face of Redcar

Article excerpt

Firstly, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Do you pronounce it Red-car - as in car - or Redcuh, as in, well, cuh? Two years ago, Channel 4 political reporter Michael Crick posed that very question to an assembled press pack outside Coatham Memorial Hall.

He was in town to cover an election campaign visit by Lord Prescott and was struggling to know how to say the town's name.

He settled on Red-car in that night's bulletin - but however you say it, it's still a favourite day out for Teessiders and a popular place to live if you want a home by, or at least near, the bracing North Sea.

Let's have a trip to the seaside...

Face around town Frankie Wales has lived in Redcar all his life and the founder of the town's amateur boxing club thinks it's a knockout place to live (sorry, it had to be done).

In 1997, the Redcar dad-of-three, then a Corus plant operator, took up boxing and a year later helped set up the boxing club. In 2000, the club moved to Coatham Memorial Hall, where everyone pitched in to restore the old building. And now, 17 years on, they're at it again, with ambitious revamp plans set to take the club, and its base, to the next level.

It's not all about boxing either, with the hall hosting regular community events through another of Frankie's brainchilds, the Redcar Development Trust. On Wednesday, for example, more than 200 pensioners are being bussed in to enjoy a George Formby tribute act.

But what does Frankie, 51, like so much about his home town? He said: "I've been lucky enough to travel all over Britain, Europe, the world with my job and the boxing, and there's nowhere like it. I can look out of my window to the right and see Saltburn, to the left I see the coastline and inland you've got the racecourse, the hills and everything else.

"I feel sorry for people who live in places like London because everybody is so miserable, no one talks to each other. Here, I can walk to work every morning and pass lots of people who say "hello, morning" - that's born and bred in the people of Redcar. People are just nice here."

But Frankie admits Redcar has had to show resilience in the wake of the steelworks closure.

"It ripped the heart out of people. I know 50-year-olds who are never going to work again.

"We used to make the best quality steel in the world - now we make lattes and buns.

"But we're made of strong stuff. We'll come back fighting. That's what we do - we have a fantastic community spirit."

History Researching his book The Place Names of Yorkshire, historian Paul Crystal found references to Redker in 1165, Ridkere in 1407 and Readcar in 1653.

The "Red" part of the name derives either from the red colour of the marshland, or a reed marsh, while the "car" suffix is probably from the Viking word "kjar" meaning marshland.

Either way, for centuries it was overshadowed by its neighbour Coatham and in 1510 was even described as a "Poore Fishing Toune" (there's that spelling again).

But the arrival of the railway line in the 1840s and, in 1875, the construction of Redcar Racecourse meant Victorians had plenty to come to Redcar for, other than beach and sea - and they did so in their droves.

Nowadays, the "town" is split into four wards: Coatham, Newcomen, West Dyke and Zetland, with a combined population in 2015 of 21,404.

But if you add the neighbouring wards of Kirkleatham (taking in historic Kirkleatham village) and Dormanstown - celebrating its 100th birthday this year - the figure rises to 35,393, out of a total figure for Redcar and Cleveland of 134,950.

Housing There's a huge mix, ranging from town centre terraces to newer housing estates like The Ings.

With an average property price last year of PS135,679, Redcar was cheaper than nearby Marske (PS144,549), Saltburn (PS176,713) and Guisborough (PS165,024), according to Rightmove. …

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