A Grand Spell of Sunshine - The Life and Legacy of Francis FrithA Grand Spell of Sunshine - The Life and Legacy of Francis Frith

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My Grandfather, He Shackleton Lived There

A Memory of Heysham.

I remember going to visit my grandfather, Henry Ewart Shackleton when he lived at Heysham Hall (as we called it) in a downstairs flat. This would have been in the early 1960's.
My understanding is that he purchased Heysham Hall, possibly in about 1926 and was instrumental in setting up the Holiday camp. He was a civil engineer and was involved with later developing the land as a housing estate.
My father remembers living there as a child.
If you have any further information on this period of history I would be most interested to hear it.
Many thanks
Jane Reynolds (nee Shackleton)

With thanks to Jane Reynolds for this memory of Heysham

Added 24 November 2020


Comments & Feedback

Hello Jane. I also have happy memories of many holidays spent with Uncle Harry and Antie Nellie at Heysham Hall. Nellie was my fathers sister (Duncan Stanley Cameron) I also remember their lovely neighbour Mr Mrs Mitchell that lived upstairs. I tried to find the Hall a few years ago and couldn't , my memory obviously playing tricks on me. I would love to hear more memories from you. Im sure we must have met briefly as Harries Daughter arrived with her Daughter, was that you? Sincerely
Hello Jennifer,
Thank you for making contact. I have to admit to this being a bit of a bolt from the blue as I know absolutely nothing about your 'Aunt Nellie'. When my grandparents divorced (I think about 1932), divorce was taboo and not spoken about and I think there were a lot of hard feelings. I'm afraid your Aunt Nellie was just referred to in our family as 'Cameron'. I don't think I ever met her (or you!) as we were abroad for many years when I was growing up. Grandad/Uncle Harry had 3 children - Ewart m. to Kitty, Greta m. to Charlie & Leslie m. to Bobby (my parents). Greta , his daughter only had 2 sons, so I suspect you met my Aunt Kitty with one of her 3 daughters....
I too went back about 7 years ago and sadly it is all covered in houses and all we could find was an old stone arch which I think was in the garden . Amazingly I saw a lady tending her front garden nearby and when I enquired she said her husband used to be the gardener at the Hall and she remembered my Grandfather!
Do you remember anything about a Holiday Camp that Grandad & Nellie ran? When did it close? Was my Grandfather actually responsible for all the house building that has since taken place? When did the big Hall get pulled down? I think I might have been about 8 or 10 years old when I last went there (1953-55). When did you last visit?
Sorry lots of questions!!
I hope to hear from you. Jane
Hello Jane, I've got to say I was shocked to see your first comment. I was actually looking to find some information about Heysham Hall. I was born in 1948 and used to be packed off for a couple of weeks a year to stay during the 50's. I never knew any history of Uncle Harry and aunt Nellies (Helen) life, my parents never spoke of any skeletons rattling in the cupboards, although later in life I did find out about a few . I do remember some houses being built but not a lot else. I was sad to hear the hall had been pulled down, the last I knew it was a hotel restaurant. Being realistic I suppose the value was in the land, so I can understand. I don't know if you remember Aunt Nellies pet seagull Sally? Where do you live? I'm in Ripon North Yorkshire a lovely part of the country. I took a short holiday in a static in Morecombe 3 years ago as I have a dog, and like a lot of seaside towns it felt quite run down, but I did recognize certain things. Nellie had a sister Elizabeth (Aunt Bessie) who lived in Scarborough, so I was very fortunate to have many holidays by the sea when young. Sincerely Jennifer
I'm so glad you replied Jennifer - I was worried I'd been a little rude and frightened you off! Yes, I too was looking for history about the Hall, whereas now we seem to be delving into family history!
Do you have any memories of it being a holiday camp? I recall a story of it being very strict with the gate being locked at 10pm and you couldn't get back in after that! A bell would be rung for afternoon tea at 4pm & they did archery on the lawn. My Father remembered riding donkeys on the beach. He was born in 1922 but sadly died 2 years ago. The only memory I have is of visiting Grandad in his downstairs flat in the hall. I think there was a housekeeper so I guess your Aunt Nellie must have pre-deceased him.
It is a bit of a co-incidence that you live in Ripon as my grandparents on my Mother's side of the family, lived in Sharow for many years - I'm sure you must know it being only 4 miles or less outside Ripon. I used to stay with them quite a bit when my parents were travelling abroad! I now live in Kent. I plan to write a booklet on my Father's life this coming winter & amongst his papers I do have various maps and plans of the Heysham Hall estate. Let me know if you are ever this way and perhaps we could meet up!
Best wishes
Hello Jane, I'm sorry I can't shed any more light on Heysham Hall. I'm sure Auntie Nellie died after Uncle Harry, its times like this that I wish I had asked more questions, it isn't untill your parents die that you realise you know virtually nothing about your past. Thats how it goes I'm afraid, I think the future looks scarier than the past at the moment. Thank you for your e-mails I find it quite amazing that a chance look on the internet could put us in touch. Best wishes Jennifer

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