LOCATION – Fisherman’s Square, Redcar


   Mention Fisherman’s Square? and you probably think about one of the oldest, and well-known place names in Redcar. The original name of the cottages, and area, was in the past called Zetland Square. The properties consisted of a row of terraced housing with a garden at the front, and at the rear bait houses.  In 1854 foreign boats would anchor offshore, and it is said that the crew member(s) would ask the fisherman’s wife’s on shore to wash the boat crew’s clothes etc. The washing of these clothes and poor sanitation leaking into the water supplies was probably the reason why in 1854 tragedy struck this part of Redcar. Along with other locations in the town; cholera struck some of its residents. This epidemic wiped out whole families. The original Zetland Square was demolished in an effort to eradicate the disease. As a result the terrace was re-built by the landlord Lord Zetland, and named it South Terrace, although it is referred to in an 1881 census as Fisherman’s Row. The residents wanting to be self sufficient had an allotment at the front with parking place for a boat etc, and kept livestock (pigsty) at the rear. The terrace once rebuilt had a small lookout tower built into the centre of the properties with access from the rear of number 9. The frontage at this particular time was just low sand dunes. The area today is steeped in history, with its street of terrace housing (South Terrace), and parked fishing boats, and tractors on Fisherman’s Square. Fishermen still can be seen mending nets, lobster pots alongside their fishing boats. At the rear of the South Terrace, and attached to some of the housing is a row of small baiting houses, still used today as they were way back for storage of fishing equipment.
Numbers 9 & 10 of South Terrace still has two houses with lookout windows built into their roofs. This was because they had an uninterrupted view of the sea, and some of the coastline. The residents (or lookouts) could see fishing boats putting out to sea, and returning after a days fishing. They could also see immediately the state of the sea, and possible stormy weather building up. However, when a row of houses called Granville Terrace was built in 1909 along the same line as South Terrace, this was blocking the view of the lookouts. To remedy this, the builders of Granville Terrace left a space in the centre, so that a lookout could still be maintained. As progress on shipping hazards and prominent dangers improved along the coast they did of course fill in the space later with houses. Another interesting point about South Terrace is that if you look at the houses 9 & 10 they are not in the middle of the terrace of houses, where you would have expected to find them to be with the original 20 houses being built?> You will find No. 21 & 22 were a later date added to the east end of the terrace. They appear higher than they adjacent ones, but there are a few varying heights.
Because, the name Fisherman’s Square was so well known in the area (local people calling the location that) it never became an adopted address, not even by the postal services, but letters still arrived at peoples homes. With the growing of the town, the frontage of the house once filled with allotments, became a tarmac area filled with fishing boats of every make, colour, size etc. It has now a limited number of fishing boats, along with an extensive car parking area. To the spare ground and the edge of the quadrangle in 1996 were built eight new houses, and YES they called it Fisherman’s Square.


dean February 4, 2010 Locations