Form A4, St Bedes School c1970

A school photograph capturing the scoundrels of form 4A if memory serves, I think it was 1970 but I’m not sure… I found it among my deceased mothers possessions and thought some my like to have a shot at putting names to faces, identify the living…. and the departed. I can name almost all. I am second from the right front row sat next to Tony Bailey first right. With “Billy Cap” sitting proudly in the centre who ruled over the class with a rod of iron, and a table tennis bat with which he dealt out summary justice on the spot!

Photograph and details courtesy of Craig Harrison.

Kulaz Barbers

This is a photograph of Kulaz barbers at 6 Silver Street.  I would love to know the history of this building with its unusual design and the fact that it has two emblems situated on both sides where the barber signs are.  One is engraved 1895 and the other 1905.  Can anyone help?

Photograph and details courtesy of Gill Burns.

Museum Exhibition

Preston Park Museum has a Toy Stories exhibition coming soon!

Just to help bring to life the toys in the collection do you have memories of playing with the following toys; Meccano, Star Wars toys actions figures or games, Sindy, Scalextric, Gerry Anderson toys (thunder birds, Cap Scarlet and Stingray)?

If so please share a memory of playing with these and what they meant to you! Was it Scalextric that got you into cars? Did Meccano inspire you to become a DIY enthusiast? Or was it just a time when you happily played and enjoyed them? These memories could be seen in the interpretation of what is on display so please share if you would potentially be happy to see them.

We can’t guarantee everything will go in but we will do everything we can to share as many as possible!

The Old Baths in Billingham

Billingham “Billy” Baths is where I and many many others were taught to swim by the marvellous Olive Atkinson.

The shot of the building I can date to around 1960, to the right of the picture there can be seen a car on the perimeter road leading to the ICI offices, these were opened in 1959, straight ahead is the roundabout at the junction of Central Avenue and Cowpen Lane, St. Johns church was later built on the corner and it opened in 1961/62.

When facing the baths, to the left were a number of single storey pre-fab buildings, these housed the welfare and medical centre, it is where we went for our Polio jabs in the 1950s, also they supplied the famous National Dried Milk and exceptionally tasty orange juice.

To the right of the baths were some tennis courts surrounded by a high fence, I never saw tennis being played there but I did see the Police running the Cycling Proficiency Examinations during the 1950s.

The shot of the diving board dates from the 1950s, one of our favourite escapades was for a group of lads to gather near to the boards then we would all run up the boards and with a loud yell all jump together and “Bomb” the pool, this led to a lot of whistle blowing and finger pointing by the attendants, we were never thrown out but we did get some ear bashing.

The long shot of the pool is also from the 1950s and was taken from the diving board area looking toward the front of the building, the opening behind the man in the dark suit was the entrance to the lads  changing rooms, the balcony and part glazed roof can be clearly seen.

The pool had underwater lighting along the two long sides, we used to sink under the water and we could see past the bulb and reflector and see the maintenance men going about their business.

The shot of Olive Atkinson and her prize winning team is a newspaper clipping from 1962, my thanks to Ann Martin for the loan of this image.

Before being taught the correct way to swim I used the usual dog paddle method of swimming, neither of my parents could swim so we were very much on our own when messing about in water.

Two of the things I disliked about the baths were the foot trough between the changing rooms and the pool and the huge extractor fan in the changing rooms that caused a near gale, both were freezing cold.

I was very lucky learning to swim as I was a pupil at Billingham South Modern School for one year 1957/58 and we had swimming lessons there, when we were transferred to Stephenson Hall on the Billingham Campus site there were no swimming lessons available.

Swimming was one of the great loves of my life and I continued swimming well into my 50s, I taught two of my younger brothers to swim, both gained the ASA gold badge and one became a professional diver, they in turn taught my two sisters to swim and they in their turn taught my two youngest brothers.

Details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

ASDA / Portrack Lane

Does anyone have pictures of the front of the building facing Portrack Lane circa and the rear warehouse truck entrance circa 1975/77?

I worked there until late 1977. Just trying to jog my memory as to were I would have parked my moped / motorcycles before leaving for pastures new.

Black was the shop. Red the warehouse. Orange the Petrol Station. Blue the public entrance. Green would be the staff entrance to ‘clock’ on. I either parked at the front staff entrance or around the back in the warehouse delivery area.

The first picture is from 2000 before the rebuild and the second is how it looks today.

Photograph and details courtesy of Glenn Atterton.

Finkle Street looking towards the High Street

Two images of Finkle Street, the Newhouse image is dated c1954 and the other is approximately the late 1960’s. There are three arched windows clearly visible on the corner building on both images and Ronald Cowan architects can be seen on the left of the Newhouse image, which confirms the images were taken from approximately the same location. There is a dummy facade clearly visible on the top of the corner building but it doesn’t appear on any of the other Finkle Street shots I have seen, possibly erected by Newhouse’s.

However the Newhouse image is causing me a puzzle. In Stockton Reference Library is a copy of “Occupational History of the High Street – Book 1.” The corner shop is 48 High Street and the entry for that address and time period states:

1910 – 58:  R Medd & Co, drapers and furriers.

1958 – 68:  Charles Clinkard, shoes.

In 1968 the building was vacated in preparation for demolition prior to the construction of the Castle Centre.

There is no mention of J Newhouse Ltd. for that address.

Can anyone help clear up this mystery? Also can anyone identify the make of vehicle just visible at the end of the street?

Photographs and details courtesy of Alex Moody.

The Vestfold, 1931

The Vestfold was built at Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Haverton Hill. The keel was laid on 23 July 1930 and the ship was launched on 16 April 1931.

In 1943 when on route from New York for The Clyde carrying a cargo of 17,386 tons of fuel oil and 3 landing craft as deck cargo she was torpedoed by U-268 and sunk. 19 members of the ship’s complement lost their lives. There were 56 survivors.

Congregational Church

The Stockton Northern Gateway Townscape Heritage project is a five-year scheme joint funded by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It aims to improve the historic environment at the northern end of Stockton High Street from Regent Street up Norton Road to Queen Street, focusing on a series of restoration projects of identified historic buildings and works to the surrounding area. It builds on improvements that have already been made to the historic environment of Stockton Town Centre through Stockton Heritage in Partnership (SHiP) and Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) projects. The work will also complement the current Stockton Globe restoration project, due to be completed this year.

Part of the initiative will involve the re-landscaping of Tennant Square on Norton Road at the northern end of the project area. This small urban pocket park marks the site of the once imposing Congregational Church and so before the landscaping can be carried out, an excavation of the site will be undertaken by Tees Archaeology working alongside local volunteers

We would love to know if any photos exist of its interior, perhaps taken during a wedding or christening. Do you have memories of trips or events? Did you watch its demolition and did you take any final images? What happened to the internal fittings and furniture? Please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. If you have any information that you would like to share or are interested in the excavation project of Tennant Square, please contact Fiona Riley, Townscape Heritage Project Officer, fiona.riley@stockton.gov.uk or 01642 524551. It would be great to think that the excavation reveals some small detail of its role as the heart of a vibrant and democratic church community.

Image courtesy of Teesside Archives.

The Spence Arms and Armour Collection

The Spence Bequest has some of the best examples of weaponry in the North of England, if not the country.

His collection spans from the Stone Age to the early 20th Century and includes hundreds of edged weapons and firearms. There are also a unique set of watercolours painted by Spence himself at the Front during the First World War.

Exhibition Officer Chris Young has spent a good degree of time researching and studying this collection and over the years new stories have come to light and are ready to be shared with the community Spence served and loved.

Join us ‘virtually’ on Wednesday 19 May from 1pm. For further details and free booking, click here!