Coordinates: 54°37′07″N 1°04′07″W / 54.61856°N 1.06856°W / 54.61856; -1.06856

Redcar 20050324.jpg
Redcar Sea Front in 2005
Redcar is located in North Yorkshire

 Redcar shown within North Yorkshire
Population 36,610 [1]
OS grid reference NZ601252
    - London  218 SSE 
Unitary authority Redcar and Cleveland
Ceremonial county North Yorkshire
Region North East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town REDCAR
Dialling code 01642
Police Cleveland
Fire Cleveland
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament Redcar
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Redcar is a seaside resort in the north east of England, and a major town in the unitary authority of Redcar and Cleveland in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire. It lies 7.5 miles (12.1 km) east-northeast of Middlesbrough by the North Sea coast. The combined population of the wards of Coatham, Dormanstown, Kirkleatham, Newcomen, West Dyke and Zetland was 36,610 in the 2001 census.

Redcar originated as a fishing town in the early 14th century, trading with the larger adjacent market town of Coatham. Until the mid 19th century it was a sub-parish of the village of Marske-by-the-Sea, when Redcar emerged as a seaside tourist destination. With the opening of the Middlesbrough to Redcar Railway in 1846, Redcar became a resort for Victorian tourists.



Redcar means "(place by the) red marsh" from the Old English rēad "red" and Old Scandinavian kjarr. However the first part of the name could also represent OE hrēod, (reed), giving a sense "reedy marshland", referring to the low lying land by the sea on which Redcar lies. Redcar originated as a fishing town in the 14th century, trading with the larger adjacent market town of Coatham. Until the mid 19th century it was a sub-parish of the local village of Marske-by-the-Sea (mentioned in the Domesday book).

In 1846 work was complete on the Middlesbrough and Redcar Railway, created to attract local tourism and trade, but like much of the Middlesbrough region, Redcar's real population expansion began with the discovery in 1850 of iron ore in the Eston area of the Cleveland Hills. With the construction of Redcar Racecourse in 1875, Redcar prospered as a seaside town drawing tourists to its eight miles of sands that lead on to Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

Redcar and Coatham piers

Plans for Redcar Pier were drawn up in 1866, but work was not started until 1871 by which time building a pier at Coatham had been suggested. Misfortune struck both piers very early in their lives. Coatham Pier was wrecked before it could be completed when two sailing ships were driven through it in a storm. It had to be shortened because of the cost of repairs and was re-opened with an entrance with two kiosks and a roller-skating rink on the Redcar side, and a bandstand halfway down the pier. In October 1898 the barque Birger almost completely wrecked the pier and the pier was allowed to disintegrate. A glass house for concerts was added to the remains of the pier. In 1928 this was replaced by the New Pavilion theatre which became the Regent cinema in the early 1960s. An anchor from the Birger can be seen on the sea front pavement opposite the Zetland lifeboat museum.

Disaster struck Redcar Pier in the 1880s and 1890s when a series of ships broke through it. In October 1880 the brig Luna did £1,000 worth of damage and on New Year's Eve in 1885, SS Cochrane demolished the landing stage. In 1897 the schooner Amarant went through the pier and in the following year the pier head burnt down. In 1907 a pavilion ballroom was built on the pier behind the entrance kiosks and in 1928 the pavilion was extended. The pavilion continued in use after the Second World War despite the deliberate breaching (sectioning) of the pier (to prevent it being used by enemy invasion forces) and structural weakening caused by a nearby mine explosion. Damage to the pier by subsequent storms finally led to its demolition in 1981.

In 2010, plans for a new vertical pier, along with plans to fully redesign the sea front, were put forward to the people of Redcar & Cleveland Borough.[1] The plans were accepted and construction started in 2011.[2] However, objectors put forward alternative suggestions for a vertical pier.[3]

Zetland lifeboat

The Zetland, the world's oldest surviving lifeboat which was built by Henry Greathead of South Shields, is housed in a sea front museum at Redcar operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). The lifeboat was first stationed at Redcar in 1802.[4]


Historically a part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, in 1968 the town became part of the County Borough of Teesside, which was absorbed by the non-metropolitan County of Cleveland in 1974.

Redcar is now situated in the unitary authority of Redcar & Cleveland. It is ceremonially in North Yorkshire, but is within the region of North East England.

Politically, Redcar has leant towards the Labour Party in parliamentary elections, allowing the town to fall under the category of a safe seat[5]. From 1987 to 2001, the local MP was the late Mo Mowlam, from 2001 to 2010 the MP was Vera Baird.

In the 2010 General Election there was a large swing to the Liberal Democrats with Ian Swales being elected. This was probably partly due to local anger at seeming government inaction over the moth-balling of the Corus Steelworks in Redcar.

The town comprises 4 wards: Coatham, Newcomen, West Dyke and Zetland. In addition, the suburbs of Dormanstown and Kirkleatham are two wards.[6]

2011 Council results

On 5 May 2011, Redcar elected its councillors to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council.[7]

Ward Councillor Party
Coatham Josie Crawford Lib Dem
Irene Curr Lib Dem
Dormanstown John Earl Lib Dem
Ray Goddard Labour
Eric Howden Lib Dem
Kirkleatham Brenda Forster Labour
Mark Hannon Labour
Dale Quigley Labour
Newcomen Christopher Abbott Lib Dem
Glynis Abbott Lib Dem
West Dyke Michael Carling Lib Dem
Kay Helm Lib Dem
Mary Ovens Lib Dem
Zetland Ron Harrison Lib Dem
Jim Rogers Lib Dem


Today Redcar is made up of numerous areas, including Coatham, Warrenby, Dormanstown, Lakes Estate, Redcar East, The Ings, Ings Farm, Mickledales and Westfield.


Redcar Steelworks at night

The town's main employers in the post-war era were the nearby Teesside Steelworks at Warrenby, founded by Dorman Long in 1917, and the ICI Wilton chemical works. The steel produced at Dorman Long was used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Tyne Bridge, Auckland Harbour Bridge and many others. Today no steel is made at Redcar, following the plant's closure in February 2010, though the Thai owners of the former Corus Plant at Lackenby, Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI), plan to re-ignite the blast furnace which is the largest in Europe, on December 8 2011.[8] [9] Both the Warrenby and Lackenby sites became part of Tata Steel when Corus was taken over in 2007, but continued to trade under the Corus name until at least February 2008. SSI bought the plant from Tata Steel in February 2011, for £320 million.

Lackenby blast furnace, September 2011

There is a small inshore fishing fleet in Redcar catching lobster, crab and fish, and offering fishing trips to tourists. As high tide at Redcar now comes up to the sea wall, fishing cobles are permitted to park up with their trailers on a broad section of sea front pavement.

Tourism, leisure and amenities

After the opening of the Middlesbrough to Redcar Railway in 1846[10] Redcar became a regular destination for Victorian tourists. Each year people from North Yorkshire, Leeds and Scotland visited Redcar for their holidays.

From the 19th century to the present day Redcar has featured donkey rides - owned by the Burnistons established locally in antiques and jewellery, scrap metal, mechanics and wool - run today by the sixth generation Ronnie Burniston. In the 1970s there was also trampolining on the beach; the roundabouts and swings were run by showman Victor Vernon and his family who still have rides on the prom. Ice cream was sold on the promenade and a candy floss stall on the beach was also owned by the Burnistons. Pacitto's are still in Redcar on the sea front selling ice cream with red sauce and their signature cone, the lemon top (dairy ice cream in a cone, with a blob of lemon sorbet on top of it). The name "Pacittos" was derived from the name of an Italian family, who owned the shop in Redcar, and another member of the family owned the shop in Scarborough. There was another ice cream company with the family name "Todisco" that sold ice cream in the area that was also very popular.

The ice cream was sold by Pacitto's, Rea's[11] and Kings, from 1946, who also made and sold Redcar Rock. Unfortunately, Mr. Todisco was one of the numerous Italians in the area sent to Canada during the war. His ship was hit by a German torpedo, and Mr. Todisco consequently drowned. This was a great shock to the locals of Redcar, as even though he was from a country at war with the British, he was well-liked.

Redcar Beach

The sand beach at Redcar stretches approximately eight miles from south east to north west. In the north west the beach runs past Coatham to South Gare breakwater at the mouth of the river Tees. To the south east the sand beach is bordered by the Stray from Redcar's Zetland Park to Marske-by-the-Sea and then continues on to Saltburn. The Stray is a 2-mile (3 km) long public open strip of coastal grassland situated between the beach and the A1085 road characterized by a series of howles (small chines) leading from the grassland to the beach. The Redcar coastline is a prime location for finding fossils of Gryphaea, also known as devil's toenails.

The main pedestrianised shopping area is based on and around High Street and runs parallel to the sea front Esplanade. The town has had several parks built for tourism. They are Coatham Enclosure, Locke Park, Zetland Park, Lily Park, and Amusement Park with its roller coaster. These parks are now operated by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council. A further park, Titty-Bottle Park no longer exists as such and in its place on the triangular plot of land which it occupied is a red and blue, brick built toilet block and tourist information centre, (see right of 'Redcar sea front' photograph). Amusement arcades have existed at Redcar since the building of the Redcar Pier in 1873, and today the arcades are still very much part of Redcar sea front life. The town is only about 5.5 miles (9 km) away from the North York Moors National Park at its closest point, near Guisborough, and offers fine views of The Monument at Eston Nab in the distance.

During filming of the adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel Atonement, Redcar experienced a sharp (approximate) 70% increase in the number of tourists who visited the town's promenade to see the film being shot. Redcar is also tipped to experience additional tourist numbers, thanks to Atonement's release into the cinemas and the film's expected popularity. This story has been highlighted in national and regional news.[12]


As a seaside town, Redcar has long had a number of bars and nightclubs. On High Street is Aspire (formerly the Blue Lounge), Martha's Vineyard, The Livery (formerly The Barracuda Bar), and Elgins, (now closed), which offered Cheesy Chart music on Friday nights and House on a Saturday with DJ Sparky, resident for nine years, Thursdays and Sundays offering karaoke, with a live band night every Tuesday. The Plimsoll Line is notably the busiest and most popular bar amongst locals mainly due to its cheap price policy. On Milbank Terrace there is Harry's offering live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

The seafront and Esplanade is home to some of Redcar's more established haunts, including Silks (now closed), Aruba (formerly Kudos/The Piper), The Deck (formerly Top Deck), and Angels, a strip club.


The Clock Tower

There are some twenty three listed buildings in Redcar.[13]

  • At the west end of High Street is a Grade II listed clock tower,[14] a memorial to King Edward VII who was a regular visitor to Redcar. This tower has now been refurbished.
  • On the sea front stands the grand Victorian edifice of the former Coatham Hotel.[15][16] The ballroom of the hotel was the home to the Redcar Jazz Club a popular venue for the up-and-coming bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
  • On the sea front is the grade II listed Zetland Lifeboat Museum operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) housing the Zetland Lifeboat, the world's oldest surviving lifeboat.
  • In the east of Redcar is a sound mirror. This is a grade II listed building built during the First World War as part of a regional defence system to detect approaching aircraft (Zeppelins mainly) and give early warning.[17] Built in 1916 the mirror was used up until the invention of radar. Although it was originally built on open fields, a modern housing estate now surrounds it.


Redcar has three railway stations, on the Tees Valley Line served by Northern Rail. From west to east, they are British Steel Redcar, with a very limited service for British Steel workers; Redcar Central, serving the town centre, and Redcar East about a mile to the south east which serves the residential area (unofficially) named after the station. There has been speculation locally about the development of a new station serving the expanding residential area known as The Ings, which would supposedly be situated between Redcar East railway station and Longbeck railway station in Marske-by-the-Sea, but so far no firm plans have been agreed.[18]

On weekdays, trains run approximately every half hour in each direction, towards Saltburn eastbound and Middlesbrough, Darlington and Bishop Auckland westbound. There are also two of early morning through trains to Newcastle-upon-Tyne which run via Darlington and on to the East Coast Main Line via Durham and Chester-le-Street. Trains are less frequent in the evenings and at weekends.

The main roads through the town are the A1085 and the A1042, with the A174 bypassing. Redcar is served primarily by Arriva North East buses, connecting Redcar with the surrounding towns and villages of Middlesbrough, Guisborough, Eston, Marske-by-the-Sea, New Marske and Saltburn.

The Pangea North and CANTAT-3 submarine telecommunication cables both come ashore at Redcar.


The town's college is Redcar & Cleveland College; the building opposite the college is Redcar Adult Learning Centre. Although most people think it is part of the college it is a separate entity, which also has a couple of rooms at Coatham school. The town's secondary schools are: Redcar Community College (formerly West Redcar School), Sacred Heart RC Secondary School and Rye Hills School. There are eight primary schools in Redcar.


Redcar has a Motorcycle speedway racing team. The Redcar Bears racing in the Premier League. Although the track is at the South Tees Motorsport Park in Southbank Street it is unusual in that one bend is highly banked the other has much lower banking. The team is captained by 1992 World Champion Gary Havelock and managed by his father Brian. A junior team known as the Cubs also race in the Conference League.

Notable people

Nathaniel Hawthorne, the well-known American novelist, came to Redcar on 26 July 1859 in search of peace and quiet, while he worked on the manuscript of The Marble Faun.[19] Hawthorne's house stands at the junction of High Street and King Street. This was formerly known as the Hawthorne Cafe.

Alfred Edward Graham (1882–1945), most active of Redcar's photographers, whose surviving negatives were fortunately acquired by Redcar Urban District Council's Library and Museum Committee and are now held by Redcar and Cleveland Museum Service.[20]

Film and television actresses June Laverick, and Wendy Hall, and actor/director/producer Robert Porter were all born in Redcar.[21]

Gertrude Bell, colonial administrator and colleague of Lawrence of Arabia spent her youthful years at Red Barns, now the Red Barns hotel in adjoining Coatham.[22]

Rex Hunt, governor of the Falkland Islands during the 1982 invasion by Argentina, attended Coatham School.

The late Minister for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam, represented Redcar in the House of Commons.[23]

Singer David Coverdale, lead singer with Deep Purple and Whitesnake lived there as a youth and worked in the Gentry clothes shop on Coatham Road.[24]

Chris Norman, founder member and former lead singer of Smokie was born in Redcar.[25]

Pete York, drummer with the Spencer Davis Group and session drummer was born in Redcar.[26]

Robbie Stockdale, ex Middlesbrough and now Grimsby Town footballer was born in Redcar[27]

David Wheater, Bolton Wanderers and England national football team central defender, grew up and still lives in Redcar.[28]

Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, originally from Wales, lived in Redcar for a number of years with her husband and daughter.[29]

Also see the category People from Redcar.

Cultural references

Atonement (film)

In 2006, Redcar was used as a location for the film adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel Atonement. The Coatham Hotel, Regent Cinema, a section of Newcomen Terrace and part of the beach were dressed as 1940s Dunkirk. Filming took place across three days in August 2006, with local men playing the soldiers.[30][31]

The Secret Millionaire (TV programme)

In 2010, Redcar was featured on the Channel 4 programme, The Secret Millionaire. David Jamilly a humanist and philanthropist, self made millionaire, visited the Redcar community and gave £25,000 to Zoë's Place for a sensory room, £25,000 to Redcar Amateur Boxing club to start an Olympic fund and 25k to Sid's place for special counselling. There was a subsequent visit on 14th May to a screening at Redcar's cinema, which was attended by the mayor and mayoress, along with all the charities and people involved. The feature of the documentary involved the closure of the nearby Corus steelworks as well as the charities.


1. ^ Combined population of the wards of Zetland, Kirkleatham, Coatham, Dormanstown, West Dyke and Newcomen in 2001 Census.
  1. ^ "BBC News - Show of support for multi-million pound Redcar revamp". Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "BBC News - Plans for Redcar's vertical pier approved". Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Support floods in for traditional pier in Redcar - Local News - News - Gazette Live". Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "RNLI - The Zetland Museum in Redcar, Cleveland". Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  5. ^ BBC News, Liberal Democrat Ian Swales is the first non-Labour MP to represent the Redcar constituency
  6. ^ "Redcar & Cleveland Ward Map". Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  7. ^ "Election Results for May 2011" (pdf). Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  8. ^ "New recruits start work with SSI - Business News - News -". 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Welcome to the British Steel Collection". 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Ellison, MH. "The Stockton and Darlington Railway". Newcastle University. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  11. ^ (part of the family of songwriter Chris Rea)[citation needed]
  12. ^ "Redcar". Gazette Live. Teesside: Evening Gazette. Archived from the original on 2008-02-07. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  13. ^ "Conservation and Listed Buildings - Redcar". Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  14. ^ "Redcar Town Clock". Communigate. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  15. ^ "The Coatham Hotel 1905". Communigate. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  16. ^ Garratt, Mick. "Former Coatham Hotel". geograph. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  17. ^ Grantham, Andrew. "Redcar sound mirror". Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  18. ^ Swales, Ian (2011). "My hon. Friend’s intervention...: 24 May 2011: Westminster Hall debates - TheyWorkForYou". Tees Valley Rail Transport. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  19. ^ Hawthorne, Julian (1884). "Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, Volume II, Chapter 6 Rome to England". Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  20. ^ "Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council - Historical Photos". Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  21. ^ "Place of Birth Search". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  22. ^ Proud, Keith (2005-04-06). "Queen of the desert". The Northern Echo's History Pages. Retrieved 2009-03-16. [dead link]
  23. ^ Langdon, Julia (2005-08-19). "Obituary: Marjorie Mowlam". Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  24. ^ "David Coverdale". Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  25. ^ "Chris Norman (I)". IMDb. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  26. ^ "The Spencer Davis Group". Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  27. ^ "Robbie Stockdale Grimsby Town". Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  28. ^ Taylor, Louise (2008-03-21). "Wheater swaps nights at the bingo for the bright lights of England". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  29. ^ "Dame Tanni Grey Thompson DBE". Creating Excellence. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  30. ^ Hencke, David (2006-05-24). "Redcar scrubs up for starring role in film version of Atonement". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  31. ^ "This Month I'm Going Snap Happy on the Atonement Sets". CommuniGate. 

External links

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