A few years ago, I read a tiny article in the i newspaper which mentioned a community of cabins in the area of Hartlepool called Middleton and, following a bit of internet research and emailing, went to visit them and photograph the huts and some of their inhabitants. On this trip, I met the late Les Steel who, I understood at the time, used to be Mayor of Hartlepool.
In fact, I’d misunderstood: Les was Mayor of Middleton or – more accurately (I think) – Mock Mayor of Middleton. “Mock Mayor” was a tradition I’d never heard of but seems to be one in which a group of people decided to create their own post of Mayor, then elect someone to that post. I think the word “mock”, in this context, conveys both of its meanings. You can read a little about this tradition in its Wikipedia page, although Middleton is not mentioned. I’m aware of a description of the Middleton Mock Mayor – and links to The Hartlepool Smallcrafts Association – via extracts from a book by Paul Screeton. I don’t know much more than that, but I want to visit the Smallcrafts soon to find out more.