The Waterfall

Great Ayton’s famous waterfall, although it’s really a weir. On the left-hand wall are the initials of Thomas Richardson who made a large donation to the weir’s construction in 1840. A water race ran all the way to Low Green providing power there for Richardson’s corn mill so a cynic might say the donation wasn’t entirely altruistic. However, Richardson though was an important benefactor of the village, contributing to the founding of the North of England Agricultural School, later to become the Friends’ School and the British School for the poor of the village. He was born in 1771 in Darlington and had a humble upbringing. He was sent to London as an errand boy and became one of the wealthiest bankers. A Quaker, he was a partner to Edward Pease and George Stephenson, the latter at his locomotive works in Newcastle. He was also one of the “Middlesbrough Owners”, the founders of Middlesbrough.

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