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The Pattison Collection by Museum of Hartlepool

This set holds a group of images taken by the Reverend James Whitehead Pattinson during the latter years of the 19th Century, in and around the Hartlepool and Bishop Auckland areas. Many show simple street scenes, or views from the beach at Seaton Carew, while others record the town's diverse range of inhabitants and characters. Indeed, often picturing the poorer, even illiterate members of society, Pattison's images enable us to gain a rare insight into the lives of Hartlepool's working classes, whom history has often overlooked.

Ordained in 1882, Pattison was posted to the Holy Trinity Church in Seaton Carew in 1885 in order to help its rector, the Reverend John Lawson, during his twilight years. Here, in 1887, he took up the hobby of photography and began to record the everyday lives of the townsfolk. A father of two, he appears to be a kind and generous man who was especially good with children, whom he even taught to use his camera and photographic equipment.

Yet, despite the important contribution he made to the town's history, Pattison left Hartlepool for Portack Lane in Stockton after only five years in 1890, going on to become a popular Rector at St John's Chapel near Bishop Auckland.

Continuing his hobby for the rest of his life, Pattison's images were finally recognised when, after his death in 1936, his daughter Catherine donated a selection of images to the Bowes Museum, including many dating back to the three years he spent beginning his hobby in Hartlepool. Today, collections of work can be found in museums and art galleries across the region, where the work of this talented photographer is valued by historians, admirers and enthusiasts alike.
The creation of the Hartlepool Museums and Heritage Service was mainly down to one man: William Cresswell Gray, who was a member of a family of shipbuilders who played an important part in the history of Hartlepool. He left the original museum building to the town in 1920 in thanks for the safe return of his son from the First World War. The building was named the Gray Art Gallery and Museum in his honour.

Since the museum opened an important and diverse collection of objects that reflect the history of Hartlepool have become part of the museum collection. This collection includes objects of archaeology; natural history; costume; fine and decorative art; social history; world cultures; coins and medals. The museum service continues to collect today looking to fill gaps in its existing collection and represent the more recent history of the town since the amalgamation of the two Hartlepool Boroughs in 1967.
Tug Boat
64 Media in collectionpage 1 of 1

Bathing ...by Beechams

Dressed in the popular ''sailor suits'', the children in this photograph seem to be enjoying themselves in the waves. Behind them are the wheeled bathing huts, which judging by the large advertising boards tha... more

Rock Formation: The Arches

Landscape showing a rock formation creating arches off the Hartlepool Coast as it would have looked during the late 19th century. ..Photograph Collection Number 638

A Helping Hand

Image showing women, probably fish women, crossing the mud as they attempt to gather shellfish. The women in the foreground appears to be helping her workmate up the bank. Mentioned by Sir Cuthbert Sharp in his... more

The Boat

This image of the Seaton Carew shoreline shows three people in a small boat, with oars and a mast. The boy on the left is standing on the sand. ..Photograph Collection Number 664

Bowler Hats

Showing the cannon and looking out across the bay, this landscape gives us a clearer look at the wheeled bathing huts that littered the shoreline. Pulled by horses, they look rather strange with their large whe... more

Posing for a Picture

Image showing a group of smiling children on Seaton Carew beach, with wheeled bathing huts in the background. ..Photograph Collection Number 667

The Lighthouse

Image of the lighthouse on the Headland, which shows the sea wall and the rocks below. ..Photograph Collection Number 696

Sea View!

Showing how much Seaton Carew has changed over the last century, this street scene shows us the town's front, and part of the beach. Almost directly on the beach itself, many of these houses look as if they wou... more

Winter Branches

This image shows some of the inhabitants, including three children and a dog, of a street in Seaton Carew. The long branches of the tree just out of shot on the left make this picture look very striking. ..Phot... more

The Green

As with most other small towns and villages across the country, Seaton Carew has its own green to be enjoyed by the townsfolk. Here park benches have been provided so that visitors can sit and admire the view o... more

Sail and Steam: Changing Tides

Image of a sailing ship and a stream tug, along with a few smaller boats...Photograph Collection Number 691

Sand Dredgers

Image of sand dredgers at the snook in Hartlepool, with men working in the foreground, ..Photograph Collection Number 701

Cobles Landscape

An atmospheric landscape of cobles on the Fish Sands in Hartlepool Headland. Sandwellgate and the town wall can be seen in the background, with the ferry building being to the right of the image. ..Photograph C... more

Tug Boat

Image of a steam tug pulling a small sailing boat back to the shore. ..Photograph Collection Number 4724

New Shoes

This photograph shows the blacksmith fitting a new shoe to a working horse, while another man holds its reins to keep it steady. ..Photograph Collection Number 3478

The Club House

Image showing Seaton Carew Golf Club. In the foreground, we can see a young boy standing by the gate. ..Photograph Collection Number 657


As popular as ever, this men's singles tennis match in Seaton Carew is overlooked by the Staincliffe Hotel. With their richly decorated hats, many of the female spectators appear to have turned out in the Sunda... more

A Fisherman and his Friends

Image showing three men standing by a coble (boat) on the beach at Seaton Carew. . ..Photograph Collection Number 677


Image of sailing ships in port at Hartlepool..Photograph Collection Number 697


Image of a street in Seaton Carew, showing the Cannon and water pump..Photograph collection number 644

St. Hilda's and the Water Pump

In a time before running water was pumped directly into every home, this photograph of the High Street in Hartlepool's Headland shows the water pump, alongside St Hilda's Church, which was built in the late 12t... more

The John Lawson

The crew of the "Upgang" Lifeboat from Whitby wearing cork life jackets. The boat is still attached to the carriage which was used to pull it out to sea. ..Photograph Collection Number 700

The Seaton Hotel

Showing the Seaton Hotel on the corner of the road, this street scene was taken in Seaton Carew in the late 19th century. ..Photogrpah Collection Number 646

How it's Done

Unusually for an image from the Pattison Collection, this picture comes with a description from the photographer himself. ..Entitled ''How it's done'', we are unfortunately unsure as to exactly what the caption... more

A Coble under Sail

This rather majestic image shows a Tees Pilot coble returning to port under full sail. ..Photograph Collectio Number 702

Searching for Shellfish

Image of a group of women, probably fish women, crossing the mud as they gather shellfish on Seaton Carew beach, as according to the historian Sir Cuthbert Sharp, such women would ''procure the mussels from th... more

All Aboard!

This image shows Seaton Carew Railway Station was it would have looked towards the end of the 19th century. Originally built to carry coal by horse drawn carriage during the first half of the 19th century, the... more

Beside the Seaside

This is a photograph, taken in the late 19th centry, of five women and a man at Seaton Carew Beach, with the lighthouse in the background. Thanks to Victorian modesty however, there isn't a swimming costume in ... more

The Seaton Carew Seascape

Seascape of the Seaton Carew looking out across the sea. Unfortunately this image has been damaged by what looks like a tea stain in the top right hand corner. ..Photographic Collection Number 639

Cobles on the Fish Sands

Image showing children playing in front of several upturned cobles on the Fish Sands in Hartlepool Headland. The ferry building can be seen to the left of the picture. ..Photograph Collection Number 694

A Golfer and his Caddy

Image of a man playing golf at Seaton Carew alongside his caddy. Believed to have been introduced to the UK by Mary Queen of Scots, caddies, who were usually young boys, were often employed by golf clubs to wa... more

Making Hay

This image shows agricultural workers making hay, probably in the area surrounding St. John's Chapel near Bishop Auckland, where the reverend worked later in his career. Without a combine harvester in sight, th... more


Taking a well-earned rest, these fish women are sitting on a wall on the Seaton Carew seafront. Beside them are the wicker baskets which would be used to hold the latest cath of fish, along with mussels and san... more

The Seaton Horses

Despite being just a little over 100 years old, this image of the Seaton Hotel shows a slower pace of life, with two horse and carts pictured in the foreground. ..Photogrpah Collection Number 647

The Blacksmith

Image showing the blacksmith, Kitty Bull, practicing a dying art as he works at his anvil, with two others looking on, as someone assists him. ..Photograph Collection Number 673


This wreck on Seaton Carew's shoreline shows that, aside from the beach huts and pleasure boats, the sea could be a dangerous place. With only its skeleton remaining, this particular ship appears to have been s... more

Teeing Off

In the early years of the 20th century, increasing leisure time for ordinary working people meant that relaxing sports, such as golf, were becoming more and more accessible. Playing on the sandy Seaton Carew Go... more

Elephant Rock

This image shows 'Elephant Rock', a curious rock formation that existed off Hartlepool's headland right up until 1891, when it finally collapsed. Named for its interesting shape, it was rather ironically destro... more

Back to the Grind

This image shows two grinders in their workshop, apparently refining the edges of the materials they are using. ..Photograph Collection Number 676

Going to the Beach

Black and white photograph showing five boys descending wooden steps onto the beach at Seaton Carew. ..Photograph Collection Number 642

Haymaking: Horse and Cart

Again taken in Weardale near St John's Chapel, this image shows one of the later stages in the process of making hay. Having loaded the newly made bales onto a horse and cart, the workers are taking a well earn... more

Fancy a Drop?

Despite the fact that the modern beer pump, or tap, had been invented over 100 years previously, this pair are still taking their beer the traditional way, as they are pouring it into a glass from a jug outside... more

Clearing the Lines

Accompanied by two men, these fish women are removing the latest catch from the fishing lines on Seaton Carew beach. In a time when career opportunities for women were extremely limited, this work was hard. In... more

Sandwell Chare

One of Pattison's earlier street views, this photograph shows Sandwell Chare in the Headland, along with Sandwell Gate and groups of people standing around. ..Photograph Collection Number: 635..HAPMG: 1977.29.1


This photograph, which has a backdrop of Seaton Carew Golf Club, shows a group of people watching some work taking place on the beach. ..Photograph Collection Number 658


19th century photograph of two men and a boy in a rowing boat, with the ever popular site of the wheeled bathing huts, or wagons, behind them. Probably taken in Seaton Carew...Photograph Collection Number 663


This timeless photograph shows shows a group of boys fishing in the sea at Seaton Carew with large wooden nets. ..Photograph Collection Number 670

Working Hard

Image showing an old man repairing chairs by hand in Seaton Carew. His materials appear to be kept in wicker baskets. ..Photograph Collection Number 671

Playing Golf

Sitll in site of what appears to be the club house, this image, taken at Seaton Carew Golf Couse shows a man playing golf, accompanied by his caddy. ..Photograph Collection Number 654

Gathering Shellfish

Photograph showing an old woman, Mary Ferguson, going out to gather shellfish. ..Photograph Collection Number 682


This is a photograph of a man named, rather unusually, Kitty Bull, who lived in the Seaton Carew at the end of the 19th century and worked as the local blacksmith. ..Photograph Collection Number 672

Potato Picking

An agricultural image of people harvesting potatoes in Seaton Carew by hand, along with a horse-drawn plough. ..Photograph Collection Number 685

The Killingworth

Photograph showing steam and sail ship, the ''Killingworth'', which was based in London, in harbour at Hartlepool Headland. Houses can be seen the background. ..Photograph Collection Number 689

Sitting in the Sand Dunes

Probably taken at Seaton Carew, this image shows a two men and a woman sitting in the sand dunes...Photograph Collection Number 661

Water Horse

Presumably taken on warm summer's day, one of the bathing huts in this picture is being pulled out to sea by a horse, ready for its appropriately attired occupant to wade into the water. ..Photograph Collection... more

The Hartlepool Old Ferry

Image showing the ''Hartlepool Old Ferry'' along with the Headland ferry building in the background. ..For centuries, the ferry was the most convenient way of travelling from the Hartlepool Headland to Middleto... more

The Harbour

Photograph showing a twin-masted sailing ship being led out to sea by a paddle tug, as a herring boat arrives in the harbour. Several small rowing boats can be seen scattered across the foreground, with the tow... more


This rather grand looking photograph shows The Staincliffe Hotel in Seaton Carew, as well as the very faint image of the lighthouse in the background. ..Photographic Collection Number 640

On the Rocks

A beautifully shot image of three people relaxing on rocks at the beach, probably in Seaton Carew. ..Photograph Collection Number 659

The Golf Club

Image showing the golf club from behind the sand dunes on Seaton Carew Beach. ..Photograph Collection Number 656

Plenty More Fish in the Sea

This image shows two fish women working on the beach at Seaton Carew. They appear to be picking the latest catch up off the sand. Writing in 1951, in his ''History of Hartlepool'', Sir Cuthbert Sharp described ... more

Beside the Sea

This image shows the seafront at Seaton Carew. The objects on the beach showcase the area's rich maritme history along with the town's reputation as a popular holiday destination: the wheeled bathing huts, as s... more

Young and Old

A very traditional view of Seaton Carew, that appears to have been taken at the end of the 19th century. The young boy in the foreground appears to be carrying either a bag, or a tin of paint, as he poses for t... more

The Seaton Village Fathers

Nicknamed ''The Seaton Village Fathers'', the men in this image are standing talking in a group outside a shop licenced to sell ale, port and tobacco. In the doorway, a man is standing watching them with his ... more