Posted by Ian (alias 'Beefy') on February 06, 2003
Here's one I'm surprised has never appeared in your forum (I did a search):
Person born in the town of Hartlepool. Allegedly, during the Napoleonic wars, a French ship called the Chasse Maree was wrecked on the coast at Hartlepool. There were no survivors, with the exception of a lone monkey, wearing a French uniform (dressed as such to amuse those on ship). The monkey was found by some locals and questioned in a beach based trial. Obviously, the monkey could not answer. The locals concluded the monkey to be a French spy, as the locals did not know what a Frenchman looked like. The poor animal was thus sentenced to death and hung from the mast of a fishing boat. To this day, this has remained a source of embarrassment for people living in Hartlepool and it is best not to call anyone from Hartlepool by this name, as some regard it as a term of offence.
(Information taken from the Sunday Sun newspaper, January 30th 2000. Copyright Newcastle Chronicle and Journal Ltd.)
Hartlepool United have also been labelled with this title, so much so that they've turned the joke around and now have a mascot called 'H'Angus the Monkey'. Their football strip colours are light blue and white stripes and their home ground is Victoria Park (formerly named Victoria Road).
To add insult to injury, 'H'Angus the Monkey' stood for election as Mayor of Hartlepool in 2002 and the person inside the monkey suit narrowly won. One of the promises he made was to give all school children free bananas, a promise which he later had to go back on. But what will be remembered is long after 'hanging the monkey', the people of Hartlepool later voted for one to run their town.