King George V Coronation 1911

This “Coronation” picture has me puzzled, does anybody have any idea about what could be happening, there are an awful lot of people, all men, standing around a bus, there are far too many to all get aboard.

Also there are no signs of street decoration that normally accompany such events, the only thing I am sure of is the pickup point was in the high street outside the alleyway leading to the Blue Post Hotel. Judging by the way the men are dressed I would say that 1911 is a very likely date for the picture.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Newham Grange School Sports Badges

These are the School representative badges for the Newham Grange School won by Marie Brown (Kennedy) in 1949/50. Marie was also an accomplished Athlete representing Stockton Lady Harriers in the !00 yards and Relay races at the Local Athletic Meets such as The Richmond Meet Many. World class athletes competed at the Richmond meet, such as E McDonald Bailey, Fanny Blankers Kohen (5 Olympic Gold Medals), Bob Richards the American Olympic Pole Vaulter, Arthur Wint the World class Jamaican 400 yard runner and many others. These Athletics Meetings allowed the local athletes to compete against the Worlds Best, and gave local people in the North East a chance to see the Worlds best which was usually restricted to the London areas such as Wembley Stadium and the White City Stadium.The Meetings had wonderful atmospheres with Cycling also featured. I suppose that Gateshead is the only place North East people can now see these top athletes in action.

Photograph and details courtesy of Ben Brown.

Memories of the Green Howards WWII

The 50th (Northumbrian) Division included the Infantry Brigades 149th, 150th (4th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 4th and 5th Green Howards and 5th Durham Light Infantry) and 151st. The division was mobilised on 1st September 1939 and in October 1939 was under the command of Major-General Giffard Le Quesne Martel, focused on training in the Cotswolds. Then in January 1940 embarked to France to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). My father (Pte RL Hymer), in the 4th Green Howards fought in France and retreated to Dunkirk. After which was sent to North Africa and in the Battle of Gazala, Rommel surrounded the 150th Brigade Box known as the Cauldron until it was gradually reduced over a stubborn defence and overrun by noon on 1st June 1942. Prisoners were then taken through Italy to German camps and Stalag XVII B [Pottenbrunn, Austria] is where he was taken. His mother, Margaret Hymer (21 Salisbury Street, Thornaby-on-Tees) sent a parcel to him on the 31st December 1944, rather than the Red Cross. Home from the battlefields, the Green Howards honoured with the freedom of Middlesbrough – 1946.

Photographs and details courtesy of Michael Hymer.

Old Coatham Bridge

A friend and I went to explore the Old Coatham Bridge a few weeks ago. There was obvious signs that someone was rough sleeping down there. I remember riding a bicycle and later motorcycle and car across that bridge many times back in the 1960’s and later.

Photographs and details courtesy of Michael Thompson.

Model of Stockton Station – Canopy Removed 1979

This really was the start of the model railway four years ago and inspired by my trip on a train from Stockton to Newcastle in December 1978. The desolate views really were depressing given a cold winters day. This model still requires more detailing in the station area as time permits. I therefore recreated in the model a brighter time in the days of Stockton Station.

Photograph and details courtesy of Alan Davis

From the top of the Globe Theatre

Photos taken from the top of the Globe Theatre, Stockton.

Photographs and details courtesy of Tony Cooney.

ICI Salt Division Roll Of Honour, 1939 – 1945

This ICI Roll Of Honour was reported to have been recently found dumped in Saltburn but fortunately saved from the scrapman or worse and is now being held in safe keeping pending its future. The Salt Union at Port Clarence was taken over by ICI in 1937 and the Clarence Salt Works were closed by ICI in 1952 followed by the Tennants Works in 1956 . The salt or brine fields extended from Port Clarence across to Greatham were the Cerebos Salt Factory was and between the two was the aptly named Saltholme Farm now a thriving nature reserve but once an active ICI farm .
It would be appropriate and fitting if the plaque could be placed alongside the ICI War Memorial in Memorial Park on Station Road in Billingham which was itself moved from its site outside of the former ICI Headquarters in Chilton Avenue in 1996.

Photograph and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Reflection on Pickering Lifts, 1971

The introduction to engineering draughting after a selection process started at Pickerings Lifts in 1971.

Two apprentices for the drawing office were taken on that year, where I participated with memorable moments in a professional career. The first year of my apprenticeship was an initiation to drawing office procedures of drawing and documentation. Manufacturing courses in the second year were at the Engineering Industry Training Board in Billingham. Unfortunately, I was instructed to try harder as the time went on. A project of manufacturing a set of gauge of guides for Pickerings Lifts did not meet the required standard, sadly I accepted the verdict from my apprentice partner from Pickerings. At least I managed to attain the EITB certification. We went on to Stockton & Billingham College for the engineering qualifications. There is abundance of admiration I hold dear to the staff at Pickerings Lifts. (In the photograph, that is me in the middle).

My reflection on life in my career and ancestry started in 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer. Two surgical operations later (left & right dissections; partial tongue removal), 60 treatments of radiotherapy and 6 regimes of chemotherapy, hope the coronavirus does not get me. Still my wife who I met at Pickerings Lifts looks after me and me to her.

Images and details courtesy of Michael Hymer.