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Horsley Family

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George Horsley (1836-1895), a shipowner and timber importer, was Mayor of Hartlepool in 1875 and 1876. He and his wife Alethea had six sons; three died young and are buried in Spion Kop in Hartlepool. They lived at No 18 Cliff Terrace, and subsequently at Claremont House (now demolished).


Their first son, Matthew Henry (‘Harry’), born June 1867, took over the family shipping and timber-importing business in 1895 when George died. He was educated at The Leys School  and Christ’s College Cambridge. Harry played cricket for the West Hartlepool club (as captain, vice-president and president), and Durham County occasionally. He played rugby for the Hartlepool Rovers as wing three quarter, and full back for the County, but gave up most sports to concentrate on business, although he later acted as Captain of the Seeton Carew Gold Club. He lived in a house called Brinkburn, now demolished.

He was elected as representative for the West Ward on the Town Council in 1900, and was Mayor from 1910-11. He also served on other public bodies – such as the Port and Harbour Commission in 1898, becoming chairman in June 1922. He also had a seat on the Pilotage Board. He took an active interest in education and was a member and eventually chairman of the West Hartlepool Education Committee, serving also on the Finance Committee.  He was Justice of the Peace for both the Borough and the County Division.  As a politician he was a keen liberal, being president of the local association, vice-chairman of the Northern Liberal Federation, and on the National Executive.

Harry married Clare, the daughter of William Maclean in 1893.  The Macleans were also a prominent family in Hartlepool. He died in February 1925 in Sidmouth following a bout of influenza.



Albert Beresford  was born in 1880 on the 2nd of January, and was the second son.

Albert was educated at The Leys School in Cambridge where like his older brother Harry he distinguished himself at cricket and long-jumping. He played for Durham County, becoming captain and secretary (1905-1920), also captaining the West Hartlepool Club, helping it to win 5 titles in 15 years, and helping his brother Harry to finance the club’s debts. He played for the MCC when on tour, and a single first class match in 1904 for London Counties, W.G.Grace’s side.

In 1906 he was listed in the London Gazette as a Land Tax Commissioner for County Durham. In 1920 he received the CBE for his services during the war as Deputy Director of Recruiting for the Ministry of National Service, and contributed financially to the 18th Batallion of the Durham Light Infantry.

He lived in Bradgate (still standing, but now known as ‘Westlands’) and Pangbourne House (Grange Avenue? Park Avenue?).

He was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1920 following the publication of his book ‘Round About Egypt and other things’.

Also in 1920 he donated a picture to the newly opened Gray Art Gallery and Museum.

In 1916, together with George Robert Nicholson, he applied for a patent in connection with improvements relating to syphons.

During the last three years of his life he suffered greatly from mental illness and eventually committed suicide in 1923.


The third son, Stanley, educated at Loretto and Clare College Cambridge captained his University Rugby team against Oxford in 1903, and played regularly for the Hartlepool Rovers Club. He was selected to play reserve full back for England vs Scotland at Richmond in 1903.In October 1906 he played for Durham against the All Blacks on the Victoria Ground – for the first half in ordinary shoes, because a couple of players, one of whom was bringing his boots, was late for the match. He remained a bachelor and lived in Sidmouth.   

Donor : Patrick Horsley


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