Good news for Hartlepool? The Heugh Gun Battery is to be on the BBC Restoration Village program (Friday 8th September, BBC2, 9pm). If it gets through this heat it goes forward to the finals – with the chance of securing a sizeable grant to aid in its reconstruction. This could give a much needed boost for Hartlepool, and the Headland in particular. It would be great to have the battery and parade ground as a functioning tourist attraction.
During the program itself, which focuses on the North of England, the battery is competing against 2 old mills: one in Howsham and one in Higherford. Whilst these buildings both have some merit the Heugh battery really does have some major historical significance, being used in anger in both WW1 and WW2. It?s restoration won?t see it turned into ?an arts centre? or an ?educational resource centre promoting renewable energy? as the other contenders are going to be (can?t you just see the New Age, tree hugging, save the lesser spotted beetroot weevil, purple skirt wearing brigade at work here) but will be a historical monument and visitor attraction. That?s it! Plain and simple.
Check them out at their website: http://www.heughbattery.org.uk/
If you?re a local, or someone who cares passionately for history (or both!), please don?t forget to vote? either during the show or anytime between Friday morning (8th) and Tuesday evening (12th) by calling 09013 600 500 and following the recorded instructions.
Looking around Hartlepool there are any number of buildings that could do with some restoration ? my candidate for the neediest is the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, which looks like it was designed by a committee of wino chimps with no hands. In all fairness it?s no worse than a couple of hundred other shopping centres in the UK (go to Cumbernauld? you?ll think that Middleton Grange is a stately home by comparison!) which makes me ask? why design them all to look like public toilets? Has anyone been shopping in a town with real streets and individual, interesting shops (for instance Chester, Whitby or York)? it?s a great experience ? why do we need these mostly ugly malls with their uninteresting architecture and piped music ? roll on December? I simply CAN?T WAIT to hear the never-ending stream of carols and Slade singing Merry Xmas Everybody whilst I shop for Mrs Headlander?s present in Poundland again.
When I spoke of these things to our local pub drunk (There?s one in nearly every local… sits at the end of the bar and drinks until he falls off the stool ? but keeps all the knowledge of where everyone is and who?s having an affair with who) he came up with the idea that the good burghers (I think that?s what he said anyway) of Hartlepool should rise up and invade Whitby without delay, looting the women and raping the shops. I think all the patriotic talk about the Heugh Battery had gotten to him… and the fourteen pints of Stella of course. He slid into oblivion after promising to vote for the Middleton Grange in the new, upcoming series of Restoration Shoppingcentre, where an ugly mall won?t be made beautiful but the selected town can win enough money to hire a hit man to kneecap its designer.