Sparks Bakery, Stockton c1948

Sparks Bakery, Bishopton Avenue, Stockton c1948. Also showing Newham Grange housing estate under construction.DayLight Bakery This modern bakery is pleasantly situated in the country, where the air is fresh and clean and work carried on under healthy conditions. The exterior of the building is very attractive and the interior is equally so. A modern bakery plant and an efficient staff combine to produce wholesome bread and confectionery which is renowned for its quality throughout the district.

101 thoughts on “Sparks Bakery, Stockton c1948

  1. My grandparents celebrated their wedding at Sparks Cafe on Stockton High Street on 16th April 1938. I have a photo of them cutting the cake.

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  2. Please can you direct me to sites which are:
    Whitton Road, Fairfield Road, Hartburn School….or one of these…Thanks a lot!

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  3. My mum worked at Sparks on Stockton High Street in the fifties, she was a short order cook and toasted tea cakes, cheese on toast etc. My dad also worked for Jonco for a time I used to help him on his round on Friday evenings. My mum was Louie Mitchell and dad was Albert. I also remember Sparks bread van coming round Roseworth Estate and their toffee.

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  4. Does anybody remember a prisoner of war camp on Cowpen Bewley Road, Billingham? I lived in Bedford Terrace from 1940 to 1960 would like to hear from you. Alan Forrest.

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  5. Found this web page by just typing in Percy the Fishman and much to my surprise discovered that other people living on Newham Grange Estate during the sixties have fond memeries too. Reply to terry brown’s question, the shop at the end of Paterdale and close to a small roundabout was Mr and Mrs Seaman, the small roundabout was at the end of Newham Grange Ave not Delstrother Ave. Surnames of friends I grew up with 1956 -1977, Vikabo,from Glaisdale Ave mam used to work at Sparks Bakery, Fishburn, Bower, Derbyshire,Hunter Westerdale Ave, Banks Commindale ave , Green Farndale Green,to name just a few. To end, I remember the Christmas Trees on Sparks Bakery at Christmas time and the No 5 bus, terminating at Farndale Green.

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  6. As most people in the area are now aware, Sparks Bakery has now been developed into flats. When the developer started work on the conversion he found that some of the structural steel work had corroded. To replace this he had to remove some of the original tiles on the front of the building. The tiles were originally produced by an Italian company back in 1938 and the company was still in business and had the original ‘recipe’ for them! So the developer contracted the Italian firm to remake some replacement tiles and incorporated them into the facia – I bet you can’t spot them. Well done the developer!!

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  7. Does anyone remember the VG shop on Patterdale, just up from Sparks on the small roundabout at the end of Delstrother? I loved that shop, we used to buy trendy pops from there :o) We lived in bransdale and my ma still does. Does anyone remember the Chapmans who lived in the houses next to the bakery? They were company houses – Billy his son I went to school with him – sadly his family moved away and I never saw him again – bezzy mates.. where is he now? I remember Percy coming round the roads – shouting ‘any fish’ we were only young and thought he was saying ‘ABC’ for years. lol

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  8. As most people in the area are now aware, Sparks Bakery has now been developed into flats. When the developer started work on the conversion he found that some of the structural steel work had corroded. To replace this he had to remove some of the original tiles on the front of the building. The tiles were originally produced by an Italian company back in 1938 and the company was still in business and had the original ‘recipe’ for them! So the developer contracted the Italian firm to remake some replacement tiles and incorporated them into the facia – I bet you can’t spot them. Well done the developer!!

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  9. Thanks Frank – I knew someone would be able to help me. It sounds like your mother’s teachings continue to serve you well. Everybody should have basic cooking skills, but don’t get me started on that! I will let you know how they turn out.

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  10. That made my mouth water with memory Linda. Fadge’s are potato bread with as many recipes as you had neighbours in the Street. I loved them with bacon and egg for breakfast or cooked in the oven for a Saturday tea with butter cheese and pickles. Recipe from an old recipe book is 8oz mashed potato, 2oz of flour (any kind), 2oz butter, 1 egg, salt pepper, 1 Tbsp milk. Mix the lot to a dough not too wet, add more flour if needed then roll out to a round thick or thin as you wish. Cut round into 8 pie shaped slices and then comes the tricky bit. For breakfast cook in the bacon fat or a little butter on a gentle heat 4-5 minutes each side and put aside to keep warm while you cook the rest of the breakfast. OR place on a baking tray in a heated oven 180C and cook for 15-20 minutes or to your taste. Eat warm with butter cheese or even jam if you wish enjoy. Some recipes add herbs or spices but I think us older lot prefer plain potato cakes and Sparks were good warmed gently in the oven for a few minutes. For the record I went to cookery school for a couple of years after being taught to cook at an early age by Mother who said men should not rely on women to cook for them and I still do all the cooking, six of them for Sunday dinner this week when my Granddaughter, who normally will not eat meat, tried it and then ate three full slices of top rump roast plus three Yorkshires.

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  11. This is slightly off topic but I have been trying to find a recipe for that starchy delicacy we used to call fadgies. Is there anyone out there who might be able to help me? Maybe growing up next to Sparks Bakery had something to do with the fact that my secondary job is baking bread for a local farmer’s market here in Nova Scotia – I would love to make real fadgies, a proper northern treat!

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  12. Indeed I do remember the Toffee from Sparks, I have mentioned it on this page before – never tasted anything like it since, it was special.

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  13. I remember a John Magor from School (Newtown Juniors & Richard Hind). I haven’t seen him since 1977. John if this is you I must have eaten pies and cakes from your shops as they were the best around. I do miss the Bun Shops.

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  14. Ian I remember your great aunt Betty Stubbs, she was a supervisor on the pastry room. I worked at sparks from 1976 till it shut down in 1984 (I think). Everything looks the same on the picture but obviously all the estates around were built, most of my family worked there, people will remember my sister Maggie Magor. I went on to work at the bun shop (great laughs).

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  15. When I was a kid my Mum and one of her sisters and I went by bus to Stockton and came back with a big box of snowballs. We ate the whole lot on the bus and felt sick from it all……now after 30+ years living on the W coast of USA I am moving into this old bakery (my Dad passed away and has left me a flat there) obviously minus the snowballs. I am really looking forward to it. I was very scared for a while, the UK being so very different now I treasure the history and heritage. Have a Happy New Year.

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  16. My first job was working at the bakery on a YTS Scheme(1983ish). I remember walking up the black path from Newtown, where I lived, to the bakery. I loved working there it seems another lifetime ago. I also remember Radio Tees coming in to do a few interviews about various products the bakery made, I was one of the people interviewed. Don, yes I remember Mr Stott, he was my boss when I worked there early 80’s. Tall, thin and had dark hair and a tash if I remember right.

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  17. Does anyone remember Stott and Mcginn, who used to be some type of Gaffer there? They ended up running The Bun Shop, Norton road. And Percy was my grandads best mate and he had a Moggie thou’ and used to shout ” Any Fish”. My Grandad used to live at 50 Patterdale ave – Gilbert “Gilly” Taylor.

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    • Yes, Steve McGinn went to Dubai in 95/96 and I remember dropping P. Stott Teesside airport, maybe 2001, he was visiting his son who was living in Australia. I also worked at Sparks from 79 till close. I was on the ovens in the cake section with Reaz Ahmed and Colin Sutcliffe….
      MAHFOOZ (JIMMY) Akhtar

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  18. My two Grandads worked at Sparks during the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Does anyone remember them? They were tall and lean and didn’t know any english?

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  19. I’m almost 100% sure there was a Spark’s cake and bread shop at the Hardwick Shops in the 1960’s & 70’s. Lovely cream cakes there was too.

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  20. The Spark’s story continues as the Vero Terrace shop is mentioned for the first time which makes me ask how many outlets did they have in total? I can only recall the flagship High St, Durham Rd, Varo Terrace and the shopping arcade at Roseworth. No doubt I will remember others as other ‘Stocktonians’ add to the list.

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    • They had 10-12 vans that went throughout the region.

      Middlesbrough

      Newport Road
      Linthorpe Road
      The Large shop 69 Linthorpe Road Which had the Cafe Royal Attached and the Resteraunt above.
      Wilson Street shop along with the Angus resteraunt

      Darlington

      Bondgate and about another 6 outlets

      Hartlepool and outplaying villages
      Loftus, Skinnergrove, Brotten, etc

      They also used to cater for weddings

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  21. Sparks toffee was the best ever, nothing has ever come close to it. You had to break it with a sharp knife or bash it with the rolling pin but when it got chewy it was wonderful. My Mum, Grandma and Great Aunt all worked in the Sparks cafe in the High Street in the 30’s and 40’s. Mum met my Dad (Royal Engineers) while fire watching on the roof during the war.

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  22. How interesting reading about Sparks. I lived in Tarring Street and Sparks had a shop on Vero Terrace,(Denshams corner). I loved pink wafers covered in choc like a sandwich and also Sparks Toffee – you bought a bar which was made up of small square segments, I have never tasted toffee like it since, and the custard slices were the best I have ever had. Happy days.

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  23. The Spark’s family lived at Wellington House High Street Norton, during the early war years. I lived opposite and remember Mrs Spark bringing cakes down the air raid shelter which was positioned in front of their house. As kids we thought it was quite a treat.

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  24. This great business was founded in the one man-and-a-boy tradition by Ralph Spark, in Bishopton Lane Stockton-on-tees, in 1881. The progressive steps were from the opening of Yarm Lane shop in 1900, then between 1911 and 1914, four other branches were added in Stockton and Middlesbrough. Following the 1914-18 war period, more branches were initiated in Darlinton, West Hartlepool, Thornaby and South Bank, and further branches in Stockton and Middlesbrough. Then in 1920 a new bakery in Martin Road in Middlesbrough.

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  25. “Here’s to Spark’s Bakery” I agree Jack Stevenson. Yes, I remember queuing during the war there for my mother who was a regular for many years at the classy cafeteria/restaurant upstairs, along with some of her friends.
    Actually there were some young folk who would gather there too!

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  26. We used to get the mobile van coming into our close in Hardwick, loved the fresh cakes and pasties. Also, we used to get Tees Direct Table Water delivered to our door step on a Saturday morning, that is 4 bottles. I think from memory, it was Dandelion and Burdock, Lemonade, limeade and Cherryade.

    Also, when I worked at Russells cash and carry warehouse. We had Wright’s who were delivering the drinks and beer, I believe there were in Brunswick Street originally.

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  27. Re Bruces lemonade, the driver was called Jackie Temple whose father was caretaker at Tilery School for a very long time. Maybe you can remember Ken, from your time as a teacher there, it was a long time ago.

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  28. I can remember a gig we did in the early 60’s in the upstairs cafe of Sparks on Stockton High Street. The upstairs room was extremely posh but the strangest thing, there were no electric outlets, 3 pin or 2 pin around the walls. How they cleaned is a bit of a mystery it must have been all brush and pan. We, not to be outdone, had a huge collection of adapters and todays health and safety would not have allowed us to do what we did next; With all the adapters of various connections we eventually managed to plug our primitive homemade mains board into… wait for it… one of the little wall light fittings. Hey magic, it all worked. BUT maybe all these rules and regs had a point because at the end of the night when we were wrapping up we discovered to our shock horror that the adapters and the little socket had melted into a big plastic bakalite mess, luckily the mains extension came out but the rest was all moulded into a mass. Glory days indeed.

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  29. I think Derek you are referring to “Herb Beer” a different drink altogether. It came in the big brown jug and ours came from Lowcocks along with the Lemonade, Ice cream Soda, Dandelion and Burdock plus on the odd occasion a drink that looked and tasted like Iron Brew but was not called that. Herb Beer a lovely refreshing drink in hot weather and did not have the bitter taste that the American Root Beer has. The first time I went to my Daughters house in California she gave us a glass of Root beer, I took one mouthful and spit it out, never touched it again although the Americans like it a lot. Feynman’s and Gray’s did come round after the war years although it never tasted the same, they must have used more water and less juice. We made our own Ginger Beer for years until one day the fermenting beer exploded in the pantry one night, that was the end of that.

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  30. i have a great auntie who worked here for most of her life. unfortunatly she passed away a few years ago. she was called Elizabeth Stubbs more commonly known as “Betty”. I have some great memories of her. if anyone knew her and would like to share some old stories I’d love to hear them.

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  31. On seeing the name Fentimans I just had to write. When living on Roseworth in 60’s I was a delivery boy on the Fentimans truck on a Saturday delivering to Roseworth, Hardwick, Portrack etc. Indeed, the Ginger Beer Stone jars were the “flagship” product. Does anyone also remember the large glass jars of orange juice. I believe the Head Office and factory was in Dunston (Gateshead). Once, while going up for reloading, the truck radiator was leaking and in order to keep going, we filled it with lemonade!!!! I think it was Keith Fentiman who lived in Acklam who we took the takings to. The ginger beer was (and presume still is) by far the best I have ever tasted. happy days. Lowcocks were the “enemy” of course (despite the superb Dandelion and Burdock). Try explaining D and B to teenage Canadian sons….. Happy days.

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  32. Sparks had a shop in Norton High Street. I remember during the rationing in the war years and shortly after, food being scarce. When it was one of our birthdays we would go early and queue at the shop for cakes for our party teas. They would be delivered to the back of the shop and I believe then it was by horse and trap. Strawberry/chocolate wafers were my favourite. Ralph Sparks lived on a farm next to the Bakery. The gate entrance to this farm is where Sainsbury’s is now.

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  33. Fentimans are a Newcastle firm est 1905 and famous for their ginger beer, which can still be bought in Tesco. The firm now does quite well I believe, marketing retro products, such as ginger beer and dandelion and burdock. Gray Bros of Middlesbrough were also still active in the area, delivering pop up until at least a few years ago on Roseworth est.

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  34. I do indeed remember it Ray , every week a delivery, mam loved ginger beer it was always kept on the pantry floor.
    My favourite was limeade and lemonade ,the bottles had hard rubber screw tops i can remember the smell of them. Happy days.

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  35. With so many comments re Sparks Bakery I have some questions maybe someone can help with.
    When was the ‘Daylight Bakery’ built? it looks well established in 1948. Who designed such a beautifull iconic building? Who was Ralph Spark? Did the family have a bakery before opening the ‘Daylight’one?
    I remember in the early 50’s that they had but two outlets (I think)the flagship being Stockton High St which was an incredibly busy shop with long lines at times. Upstairs was a very upmarket waitress serviced Cafeteria very popular with businessmen at lunchtime and then with the ladies who took afternoon Tea.If any readers of this blog was a regular there you may recall my Auntie (Doris Earl) who waitressed there for many years.

    The second outlet was on Durham Rd to which I was regularly sent running to across Durham Rd Recreational Ground (The Rec) for life’s basic bakery items and for my mothers occasional treat of a Chocolate Eclair.
    The large estates were serviced by Spark’s mobile van which eventually ended as more outlets were opened.
    For a family run business it was massive for it’s time and so much a part of Stockton life for so many years. Here’s to Spark’s Bakery.

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