From Stamps of the World
By the early nineteenth century, Hartlepool was still a small town of around 900 people, with a declining port. In 1823 the council and Board of Trade decided that the town needed new industry, so the decision was made to propose a new railway to make Hartlepool a coal port, shipping out minerals from the Durham coalfield. It was in this endeavour that Isambard Kingdom Brunel visited the town in December 1831, and wrote: "A curiously isolated old fishing town – a remarkably fine race of men. Went to the top of the church tower for a view." But the plan was faced by local competition from new docks. 25 kilometres (16 mi) to the north, the Marquis of Londonderry had approved the creation of the new Seaham Harbour (opened 31 July 1831), while to the south the Clarence Railway connected Stockton-on-Tees and Billingham to a new port at Port Clarence (opened 1833). Further south again, in 1831 the Stockton and Darlington Railway had extended into the new port of Middlesbrough. The council agreed the formation of the Hartlepool Dock and Railway Company (HD&RCo) to extend the existing port by developing new docks, and link to both local collieries and the developing railway network in the south. In 1833, it was agreed that Christopher Tennant of Yarm establish the HD&RCo, having previously opened the Clarence Railway (CR). Tennant's plan was that the HD&RCo would fund the creation of a new railway, the Stockton and Hartlepool Railway, which would take over the loss-making CR and extended it north to the new dock, thereby linking to the Durham coalfield. After Tennant died, in 1839, the running of the HD&RCo was taken over by Stockton-on-Tees solicitor, Ralph Ward Jackson. But Jackson became frustrated at the planning restrictions placed on the old Hartlepool dock and surrounding area for access, so bought land which was mainly sand dunes to the south-west, and established West Hartlepool. Because Jackson was so successful at shipping coal from West Hartlepool through his West Hartlepool Dock and Railway Company and, as technology developed, ships grew in size and scale, the new town would eventually dwarf the old town. The 8 acres (0.032 km2) West Hartlepool Harbour and Dock opened on 1 June 1847. On 1 June 1852 the 14 acres (0.057 km2) Jackson Dock opened on the same day that a railway opened connecting West Hartlepool to Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. This allowed the shipping of coal and wool products eastwards, and the shipping of fresh fish and raw fleeces westwards, enabling another growth spurt in the town. This in turn resulted in the opening of the Swainson Dock on 3 June 1856, named after Ward Jackson’s father-in-law. In 1878 the William Gray & Co shipyard in West Hartlepool achieved the distinction of launching the largest tonnage of any shipyard in the world, a feat to be repeated on a number of occasions. By 1881, old Hartlepool's population had grown from 993 to 12,361, but West Hartlepool had a population of 28,000. Ward Jackson helped to plan the layout of West Hartlepool and was responsible for the first public buildings. He was also involved in the education and the welfare of the inhabitants. In the end, he was a victim of his own ambition to promote the town: accusations of shady financial dealings, and years of legal battles, left him in near-poverty. He spent the last few years of his life in London, far away from the town he had created. In 1891 the two towns had a combined population of 64,000. By 1900 the two Hartlepools were, together, one of the three busiest ports in England.
Hartlepool was allocated the numeral 947 in the 1874 lists.
The original Main Post Office was situated at Lower Middlegate in the northen sector of the town. It no longer exists. The main Hartlepool post office is now on Northgate. Hartlepool had the following Sub and branch offices.
Fish Quay (A) PO,MOO & Telegram
Central estate PO & MOO : Middleton (B) PO, MOO & Telegram
Northgate Street PO & MOO : Throston (C) PO, MOO & Telegram