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Village life at Ormesby.

THIS was Ormesby long ago.

But this shot goes even further back in history than you might think.

We have featured this part of Ormesby several times in the past, with many of the photographs showing the old Red Lion public house, which once stood where the Fountain pub is now.

However, this photograph actually predates the Victorian Red Lion pub and shows Ormesby as it was before even this landmark was built.

This photograph dates from the 1880s.

We know this because the Red Lion was not rebuilt until the 1890s and this photograph shows the original building. We understand that the white building in the distance was the Red Lion Inn, which went under an extensive rebuild and extension 10 years after this picture was taken.

This may have been in response to the growth of Ormesby in the latter part of the 19th century as nearby Middlesbrough expanded. However, the town of Middlesbrough was still separated from Ormesby by several miles of open countryside and farmland.

Nevertheless the village of Ormesby would still have been an attractive place for the new well-to-do to set up home, perhaps being influenced by the resident Pennyman family who lived at the 18th century Ormesby Hall.

The photograph shows buildings that are still in existence, the Alms Houses on the north side of the High Street between the Red Lion Inn and the house in the foreground on the left.

The appearance of this building is deceptively modern and even today it could easily be mistaken for a 1920s residence.

This is because of the classic rectangular windows with the small, almost square frames, which became popular again after the Great War.

The central chimney stack also looks more modern than the 1880s heralding a design feature that was copied nationwide in the semi-detached housing boom of the 1930s.

This building was probably the first house as you entered Ormesby because a large sign on the wall reads Ormesby.

At first we thought that this had been somehow painted on to the original photograph but a close inspection of the brickwork of the house today in the picture shows traces of the original sign.

The road looks as if it is unmade and consists of little more than a dirt track and was probably not very busy in contrast to the road today.

Just to put this picture into context, electric lighting had only just been invented, certainly not reaching Ormesby until much later.

And Karl Benz was still tinkering about with his three-wheeled automobile. Gladstone and the Marquess of Salisbury were the Prime Ministers in the 1880s, both being premier twice in turn. Queen Victoria had been reigning since 1837. Our modern picture, inset, shows how the area looks now on Google Street View.


THEN AND NOW: Ormesby village in the 1880s and, right, how it looks today, courtesy of Google Street View
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Mar 2, 2013
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