Old town, Hartlepool, England by Katharine Ainger

Old town, Hartlepool, England

This image shows the Pilot Pier located in the historic old town, known locally as the Headland, in Hartlepool. The Pilot Pier was hosted a lighthouse since 1836, but the current structure with its distinctive horizontal red bands was built in 1899. The light on the Pilot Pier is one of several that mark the treacherous stretch of coastline running south towards the mouth of the Tees. Many ships were lost to the rocks off the Headland before the lighthouses were built. The light on the Pilot Pier is a welcome sight to be-nighted mariners navigating the rocks and shoals as it marks the deep water channel into the harbour. Not for nothing is Hartlepool harbour known as the Harbour of Refuge.

The Pilot Pier is just one of many historical buildings packed into an area of just a few hundred square metres, including the remains of the Medieval town walls at Sandwell Gate, the Heugh gun battery (adjacent to Moor Terrace, the site of the first civilian casualty on British soil of the First World War) and St Hilda's Church (home to St Hilda before she moved to Whitby). Today the Pilot Pier still provides a valuable landmark to ships, as well as a favoured location for sea angling.