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Hartlepool is one of the many towns around Middlesbrough, collectively known as Teeside in the northeast of England. It's one of the most industrial places in the UK, with steelworks, chemical plants, nuclear power and oil terminals all adding to the local scenic beauty. Middlesbrough itself is where the so-called toxic "ghost ships" from the USA were laid up. Hartlepool is also well known for putting a monkey on trial during the Napoleonic wars, on suspicion of being a French spy. The monkey must have been guilty, as it was executed by hanging. Hence the nickname for the locals, "monkey hangers".

I worked for a summer in Hartlepool, travelling up and down to Aberdeen each weekend, which fairly wore me down. It was quite a fun place to be for a short time, although nights out could be a bit rough. It's the cheapest place I've ever been in the UK, you could get a full pub lunch for 3, and a pint for half that.

The Headland, Hartlepool

The Headland in Hartlepool is the older, nicer part of town. It was a really hot summer that year and it was quite a pleasant place to work.

Borough Hall, as seen across Middlegate Town Square. I think this used to be the town hall, but it's now leasable office space and a sort of community centre.

Borough Hall

St Hilda's Church

St Hilda's Church, in the centre of the Hartlepool Headland.

Much of Hartlepool and down to Seaton Carew is very much classical Victorian seaside architecture, such as these houses on Radcliffe Terrace.

Radcliffe Terrace

Hartlepool Marina and HMS Trincomalee

Hartlepool Marina was given a big facelift in the 2000s, with a raft of fancy new bars and restaurants springing up. Its centrepiece is the restored HMS Trincomalee, a British navy frigate named after the Sri Lankan city, built in India in 1817, and now a museum.

Hartlepool still has some large fabrication yards, which produce oil platforms for the North Sea amongst other things. This one overshadows the surrounding housing.

Platform at Heerema Hartlepool

Verrills fish and chips, Hartlepool

My favourite place in Hartlepool, Verrills fish and chip shop. Every lunch time it was queued out the door, such was the quality of their grub, including "scraps" where they sprinkle some crispy bits of batter over your chips. There was another chip shop around the corner which was always empty. I never went there.

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