INCIDENT – Rat Nuisance in Redcar

Accreditation 21/09/1935



“Out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats- “

  Is Hamelin Town in Redcar? Following a series of complaints stating that Redcar was a rat-infested district, a “Standard” reporter began a round of investigations, gleaning that though many stubbornly declare Redcar is fortunate in having a very small proportion of rats, others are eager at the slightest encouragement to quote Browning extravagantly and reiterate that rats swarm and thrive throughout our holiday resort.
   Rats! Here in R the word is sufficient to throw scores of housewives into a panic. Around the old Arcadia, people live in a constant terror and women sleep in dread and make ceaseless appeals to the Ratepayers’ Association and Redcar Councillors to try and rid them of their vermin, while others in the same vicinity cynically pooh pooh all the rumours of these long-tailed six-inch monsters.
Mr. W. T, the Redcar Sanitary Inspector, is firm in his belief that rats are not a menace to Redcar. “We have rats here,” he told a reporter this week, “but so has every town. But they are very few in numbers. Because they are so rare in Redcar, people fly in a panic at the slightest suggestion of their presence, If a rat is seen in  Lane the town is immediately in uproar. If people could see the rats in thousands which surge in some of the large industrial towns they would realise hos fortunate we are her.”


   A correspondent who signs himself “Public Health but who also furnishes the “Standard” with his name and address, states that Lord Street swarms with the vermin and implies that the slaughter-houses are the veritable incubators of rats and that it is well-known fact that houses in Lord Street are troubled with the pest.
Complaints were gleaned from all four corners of Redcar. In due fairness-it must be pointed out that no instances of babies being bitten in their cradles or fights with dogs or the killing of cats has been recorded.
Mr. J. N, of Lilac Grove, Redcar, informs us that a few months ago his garden was invaded by long tails, who seemed to regard is as a rats’ playground. The menace in his own back yard became so great that his wife became afraid to use the back door.
“I have watched them for hours in my back garden,” states Mr.N. “In winter this part of Redcar swarms with them but they are not so common in the summer. I have managed to keep them out of my house but could not keep them out of my back garden. My neighbour became so troubled with the pest that he engaged a ferret to try and clear them but the ferret did not do much good.


   “There are scores of nests behind the New Primitive Methodist Church. All the rubbish lying there should be cleared as I think this is the cause of the vermin. all the houses round about live in dread of them in winter and I think it is about time something was done about them. Of course the people here are menaced by the rats which abound in Zetland Park. The gardeners there tell me there are thousands of them.”
Around the Lily Park residents declared that the place was rat-infested and complained of a distinct smell of the vermin.
Mr. R.H.W of the Ratepayers Association was quite emphatic in his views on rats in Redcar.
“The place swarms with them,” he declared. “The town is infested with rats. I have received complaints from all directions of the vermin and these have been sent to the Town Council where they have been denied. The drain which runs down Regent Street has twice fallen in by the burrowing of the vermin which thrive there. Another drain in Redcar Lane has done the same. Rats in their hundreds thrive in Green Lane beck. The Mayor of Redcar has admitted to me that the place is overrun with the vermin. Up at the Coatham end the town councillor caught about fifteen rats in the back garden. Trafalgar Terrace swarms with them.


   “Something should be done about them, but what? They say they cannot put ferrets down because they will run away to the sea. They dare not risk poison about the town.
“It is a well known Thing that rats swarm here in Redcar, and I do not think that the authorities are doing anything to stop it. When we urge the removal of the rats’ nuisance they tell us they do not exist. The beck at Canterbury Road swarms with rats and this feeds the paddling pool. Little children play in the water and parents do not realise the danger of a cut foot or scratch in such a place.
“Zetland Park swarms  with them and they have been known to attack the swans there.
“We ought to have some authority to deal with the rat menace here. Rats are vermin and disease carriers. With a disease carrier we should have a local authority able to deal with it and not wait until the harm has been done.” 


   A councillor in Redcar, who in November will have completed her three year of office, explained to our reporter that the problem of rats in Redcar was one that the councillor had very much to heart. It was foolish to deny the existence of the vermin, as definite proof has been furnished time and time again. The councillor did not want to raise an alarm but to her mind in Redcar the rats were a very serious problem – a problem at present in its infancy – which should be checked before it has a chance to grow. Rats are acknowledged to be one of the most dangerous disease carriers in the civilised world, and steps should be taken to rid Redcar of this threatened menace.
If these warnings continue to go unheeded it would not be hard to visualise a position so adequately described by Browning:
To see the townsfolk suffer so
“From vermin, was a pity……
At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking:
“Tis clear,” cried they, “our Mayor’s a noddy;
“And as for our Corporation – shocking!
“To think we buy ermine
“For dolts who can’t or won’t determine
“What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
“You hope, because you’re old and obese,
“To find in the furry civic robe ease.
“Rouse up sirs! Give your brains wracking
“To find the remedy we’re lacking.
“Or sure as fate we’ll send you packing!”
At this the Mayor of the Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.

   What a day of glory this would be for Mr. H.R.W and the Ratepayers Association.


dean March 31, 2010 Redcar