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.

102 thoughts on “Sparks Bakery, Stockton c1948

  1. To Ray Buck, when i was a little lad Grays used to come to our road and we would get our favourite lemonade and if mam and dad had a few bob left over we got a big stone jar of root beer { bit like a shandy }I think I’ve got the right name for it, Grays came on a Saturday and we would have the root beer with our sunday diner, I’ve never tasted it since, I wonder if you can still get it, all the best Derek

    Like

  2. Here is a test of the Old Grey Cells, who remembers the Fentiman’s ginger beer delivered in the stone jars may be about a gallon “stone hens” as I remember they were called. I think it was delivered by Gay’s with the rest of the “lemonade”.

    Like

  3. Yes Ken it was Bruce’s, they did a delivery in Norton and their Ginger beer was fantastic. They also did soda syphons which were very popular in those days. A screwtop Bruce’s ginger beer jar is worth a lot of money today and it is suprising where the turn up. Not just on Teesside.

    Like

  4. Lowcock’s lemonade is still made in Middlesbrough although the firm is, I understand, no longer connected to the Lowcock family. POP was usally sold in pub off licenses. The Mile House used to sell it so it may have had a Vaux connection.
    My own favourites -though Lowcock’s was good- were Jones from Bishop Auckland, sold at the Anker Wine Lodge, at the top of Norton Avenue and Bruce’s ginger beer sold in earthenware jugs.

    Like

  5. Anyone remember ‘Fentimans’ ginger beer and pop which I recall being delivered each week round the doors in Thornaby in the 50s? The ginger beer was delivered in exchangeable salt glazed stone bottles.

    Like

  6. Having ‘googled’ I find confirmation about the existence of Tees Direct Table Water supplies on T9522 – a class photo from the Queen Vic’!
    There a grandson of Wilfred Bruce (brother of Clifford of Bruce’s Pickles) tells of his grandfather establishing TDTWS. Helped me recover my sanity that!

    Like

  7. Jonco pop was produced in a factory in Haverton Hill, early sixties? There were many flavours as I remember & when the factory started production almost every house in Billingham received two bottles free (delivered). This instigated lots of orders, sadly I don’t think the company existed for very long after this.

    Like

    • Jonco also delivered to Roseworth. I remember you had to place your order then it was delivered every week. It was no where near as good as Lowcocks.

      Like

  8. I remember all of the soft drinks suppliers mentioned by previous contributers, but the one that sticks in my memory was ‘Jonco’ dunno if that’s the correct spelling. When asked by one of the masters at Grangefield what he wanted to be on leaving school, a pal of mine answered ‘To ride shotgun on the Jonco wagon’

    Like

  9. Re the lemonade van – there were two local suppliers that I can recall, Lowcocks and Villa.
    I wonder if either of those names ring any bells?

    Like

  10. The Lemonade was sold by a couple of companies door to door, Lowcock’s, Garnett’s and our favourite Gray’s. Any of them still around now? Moved from Teesside to Australia in 1983 but left Glaisdale Avenue in 1971 for sunny Norton.

    Like

  11. Re Ken Sawyer’s thoughts on the soft drinks delivery company, ‘Lowcocks’ now comes to mind and we took delivery of Dandelion & Burdock, Iron Brew and Cream Soda and of course a penny for every empty returned.
    Can’t remember hearing of the company you mention Ken, sorry.

    Like

  12. Jack Stevenson, of the excellent memory, mentions ‘the lemonade van’ from Middlesbrough (who’s name escapes me).

    ‘Tees Direct Table Waters’ is ringing a bell in my mind. I can picture the truck coming in to Oulston Road, my home from 1936 to 1957 before departure via 10 years in Rugby and then to Halifax.

    Like

  13. Wonderful to read so many memories of Newham Grange Est as I was ‘brought up’ on Commondale Ave. I suppose most large estates were ‘serviced’ by all sorts of ’roundsmen’ so here’s some I recall and I feel sure other readers will be able to add to the list.
    Millfield & The Coop coalman, Ringtons tea, The Coop butchers van, Sparks Bakery Bread van, Percy the fishman in his 3 wheeled Reliant Robin and his gammy leg hanging out of the drivers door!
    The ‘Green Van’ groceries which was taken over by Glaisdale Av Mick Manser as I recall.
    Duncans the grocers, The Coop electric cart milkgirl (Mary), the lemonade van from Middlesbrough (who’s name escapes me), Paleschis, Rossi’s, Serrechia’s ice cream vans and not forgetting the Walls 3 wheeler bike machine who only had a bell to ring to catch our attention, ‘Stop me and buy one’. These were all vital support services when very few had cars and the bus journey into town to shop was saved till the weekend. I remember that when anyone died at home all the adjoining neighbours would keep their curtains closed until the funeral was over and somehow the street vendors knew and as a mark of respect would not sound their horns or chimes. Changed days my friends.

    Like

  14. I started my first job with British Bakeries at Sparks; it was a great place to work. I’m happy to see it still stands, it is a great building. I remember getting a fresh donut on my way back to the workshop for a tea break. You used to have to clock in then with a T card at the start and end of the shift (they were the days). Anyone remember Ray Ferguson? He was character, knew everything about everyone.

    Like

  15. Maureen, I use to live next door to your family at No 31. I can remember you being born. I think you might have only been about 5 year old in 1969 when I married and moved overseas. Such a lot of people from the estate were employed at the Bakery.

    Like

  16. I was brought up and lived in 29 Commondale Avenue for 19 years until I left home to get married. I have many good memories of Sparks Bakery and recognise the names of many people who have written on this website. I also worked in the bakery on a Sunday morning making bread rolls when I was 18 and at college. There was a great canteen and always an aroma of good food. Sparks bakery also had great social clubs which offered day trips, christmas parties, BBQ’s and a great social scene. I am very pleased to see that the frontage of the building remains unchanged and hope to see the building maintained for many years to come.

    Like

    • Hello Maureen – I lived No 35 Commondale (Gilly Barber). I often wondered what happened to you and your sister. Love reading about people back home. I live in Scotland now still and miss home.

      Like

      • Hi Gillian

        I’ve just seen this when re-visiting the Sparks Bakery website. Of course I remember you all very well, along with Phyllis, Edna, Hilda and of course your mum & dad Renee & Norman.
        I have great photo of you in our back garden when we were small. We were playing with our dog, Trixie, I don’t know if you remember her. I’ve long since moved to Eaglescliffe and all of my five children are grown up now with children of their own. Its lovely to make contact with someone from the past!

        Like

  17. The Stonehenge looking site in the right hand corner was the foundations for a hospital that was supposed to be built there but was abandoned at the onset of the war. The founds used to fill up with rainwater & as kids we used to sail rafts along the water. Benny Brown was one of the kids that used to get over there!

    Like

  18. If you mean the group above the .uk of the website logo, could it be a large circular group of trees that I seem to remember being in the park. The park at that point was behind the field, to the right of the bakery, that had the football pitch in it.

    Like

  19. The Stongehenge referred too in reference to Newham Grange Park, when entering this park from the cemetary end you would have to walk down a small banked path, then cross over the bridged stream. The pathway would then turn left for a short distance, however before turning left, directly in front of you would be a grassed hill on which there was a circle of tree’s (no longer there I believe). This can probably be backed up by the fact that the horizontal line of tree’s shown in the picture (below this circle of tree’s) are very likely those which were on each side of the stream along its flow, not actually very far away fron the bakery.

    Like

  20. I see what Rob means about the stone henge in the top right hand corner, I don’t know what it is either but judging by the front of Sparks it must of been quite a size considering it was further away. Like Rob I would love to know what it was.

    Like

  21. Early in the Second World The L.D.V. (Home guard) moved from (I think it was Green Lane) Hartburn to Sparks Bakery (about 1941)and we then used to do our Watchkeeping from the roof. Sometimes when going on Watch we found that some sandwiches were left out for us. A Great treat in those days. Thanks.
    Memories.

    Like

  22. Susan Chatterton, I do not think that we are related but I will ask my mother who still lives on the Whitehouse Farm estate behind the bakery.I probably sneaked through your garden as a short cut to the Black Path to get to or from Newtown school. This would have been around 1950-54.

    Like

  23. I dont remember you Susan but my family also lived at 26 Commondale Ave I think it would be about 1949 when we moved there, my mother worked at Sparkes Bakery for quite a long time, believe she worked in the tin cleaning room which was very hard work, there was four of us kids Joyce,Jack,Eddie and myself dont know if any of our names ring a bell,we used to have some rare times in the fields at the bottom of the road,and also the new houses being half finished was a place of adventure for us,we went to Newtown School until we eventually moved to the other side of town,then we transferred to Bowesfield Lane,happy days no health and safety checks in those days,but we didnt get injured or anything it was just great fun.I also married and moved away from Teesside I now reside in the City of Lincoln but still visit brothers in the North East about three times a year.Dont think the park was quite at the back of Sparks think it was a bit further along the road, could be wrong though its a long time ago.

    Like

  24. It was interesting to see an early photo of Sparks Bakery. Would the fields at the top of the photo be whether the park is? I was a baby when we moved into the estate opposite. My family lived at 31 Commondale Ave, opposite the junction of Glaisdale Ave. I lived there until I married in 1969. Allan Callender – are we related?

    Like

  25. I worked at the daylight bakery for approx. 8 months in 72/73 in a year between school & uni. I lived in Billingham, and drove to work in my cool white Morris Minor. We worked alternate weeks of day shift/night shift. My main job was despatch – loading the vans with bread etc. Sometimes i got to drive the 3 ton Bedford Wagon to deliver to the Darlington shops at the end of my night shift. Totally illegal at 19. My shift mates were a delightful guy called Ali, a skinny scottish lad called Bill, and another bloke who”s name escapes me.

    Like

  26. Alan. Glad to hear you are alive and well after all these years. The last time we saw each other was at Barry”s funeral but I was so upset I wasn”t speaking to anyone that day. Thanks for the update on the former neighbours. Your recollection of the Bakery being used for the Coronation celebrations is good. The weather that day was very bad and someone had the sense to move the whole operation into the bakery. I remember the fancy dress competition – I was a bog standard pirate and didn”t win! Do you remember the electric fence in the field next to the bakery. We thought it great fun and very brave to get electric shocks off it. Hot summer days in the long grass. Speaking of jobs you had delivering for Sparks, was it you who got me involved in strawberry picking somewhere near Yarm? That was the worst job ever and the farmer was a slave driver. I remember he sacked somebody on the spot for using scissors! Our fingers were cut to ribbons and I still have a bad back! So many memories. You falling headfirst into a bank of nettles one day in the field near St Paul”s where Patterdale Avenue now is; taunting Clemmy the builder”s nightwatchman; cycling to Ripon one day and getting back after dark without lights (did I get a telling off!!); days out to Bluebell Woods near Thorpe; swimming in the River at Yarm and the hog weed blisters. Enough for now.

    Like

  27. June Norman A Mrs Evamy lived in Palmerston Street Stockton some years ago. Probably died in the 1960″s if that is any help. I know your spelling of the name was Evermy so may be way off the mark. On the other hand spellings on old documents were often not accurate.

    Like

  28. Tony, a couple of updates on the Vickabos and the Hendersons. Karen Vikabo(O”Brian), sadly, died some years ago but her daughter Kirston O”Brian regularly appears on BBC Childrens TV introducing an art show. Lynn Henderson (Brown) is now living in Saudi with her husband Chris but visits her mother Hilda who lives on Alford Lane (behind the bakery)a couple of doors away from my mother Rene. My memories of Sparks are of a party in the garage (The Coronation celebration?)and a holiday job delivering bread etc. around the Durham countyside. This had me back in the garage again loading the van. I also have a distant memory of Tony O”Connor going off to Canada.

    Like

  29. Cardboard Bread We all remember the margarine when we were young, made out of whale blubber, but if that is all your purse would stretch to then butter was never on the menu. But do you remember in the 50’s and 60’s what the bread was like, I am as convinced now as my memory serves me from that era that there was cardboard in the bread., well that is what it looked and tasted like. What may have convinced me of this was a visiting circus to Stockton and going behind the razzmatazz of the bright lights to see the animals fed. The big cats were each given, half bucket minced offal, full bucket of water topPed up with a half bucket of sawdust. The keeper said that when the takings were down and money was short the food had to be bulked up some way. Well what was I to think, it made sense to me stood there in my short pants. Roy.

    Like

  30. Stone Henge crossed with the Menin Gate. The photograph t108 Spark’s Bakery, can any body help. In the top right hand quadrant is an image which looks like a cross between Stone Henge and The Menin Gate about where Newham Grange Park is now (for the un-educated the monkey tree park). It may be something quite obvious and I will say silly me, then we shall see. Roy.

    Like

  31. Matt Wright. I am one of the daughters of John Spark – the others were Doreen and Conce – can you remember which you went to school with? The factory was begun in 1938 and finished in about 1940 – they were allowed to go on building during the war because it was food production. There was a canteen for men, and one for women, no mixing. A building before its time, beautiful maple floors I remember.

    Like

  32. My family came from stockton our name was Wright and my gradmother was Evermy. I thought maybe someone could tell me if they know them.

    Like

  33. Tony O”Connor. Glad to hear you”re alive and well and thanks for the refresher on some of the neighbours. Did you know that my sister Linda”s middle name is Nora after your mother who helped with the delivery. Even though I was 12 I managed to sleep right through it all!!

    Like

  34. Tony Jackson, you brought back so many memories. Remember the O”Connors ,lived over the back at 15 Farndale Green ,Jim,Patricia,Paul and Susan, mother Nora, a great friend of your mothers and father Paul. I remember your mother and father and Linda, they used to let us take a short cut thro” your garden when we”d been to the Saturday Institute on Grays Road for the silent films. We lived next to the Gallaghers, Alan and Tony. I remember copper Lonsdale and his daughters Glynis and Julie . Playing cricket at the lampost. The whole bit. Copper Lonsdale wouldn”t let us play soccer on Farndale green I remember, what a waste !! John Smith,Gordon Philips,Denny Klinckie a good friend of our Jims. Mary Edith Allen, the Glaisdale Smiths, Derek Condon, Tony Chesser. Do you remember going into the Sparks fields, going down to the beck, next to Newham grange Park? For an adventure, as kids , we used to try to reach the sixth field or even further. Our mams made us sandwiches for the trek. Do you remember playing Teealleyo and Commandos until 10 oclock at night? Or gathering “bondy” for the big bonfire on Nov 5th, at the bottom of Del Strother, remember how big that bonfire used to be? Really ,we grew up in “the country” didn”t we. Great days !

    Like

  35. Fascinating to see the old bakery in the photos. I went to school with one of the Sparks family, one of the daughters but forget her first name.

    Like

  36. I lived on Newham Grange Estate at 9 Glaisdale Avenue from 1949 until 1962. The bakery must have pre-dated the estate by about 20 years. The lawn in front of the building was a fantastic surface for playing football if a little small. Floodlights were added at some stage, and we would sit right up close for warmth waiting to be called in for tea or bed. This was the terminus for the No 5 bus from town which came every half hour and waited for 3 minutes before returning via Bishopton Avenue and Oxbridge Lane. There was a lampost at the end of Farndale Green where the bus turned round. We used this as our wickets – for our frequent cricket matches. We chose this particular lampost because there were no windows to break nearby. You scored 4 if you hit the ball across the road towards the Bakery, six without a bounce. PC (Bobby) Lonsdale used to live on Farndale Green. My friends John Smith and Gordon Phillips also. Other boys from the estate I remember were Gordon Todd, Alan Callender, Ian Bell, the Klinckie”s (Robert, Dennie, Steven and Christine)the Vickabo”s the Hendersons, the Heath”s (Malcolm and Donald (Donny) and loads more too many to mention.

    Like

    • The Heath brothers Malcolm (Mally) and Donny were both good footballers, Mally played for Stockton Boys and Durham Youth Team, then he packed in he was also a well known hard man in the area in the late fifties and early sixties, Donny was a professional footballer with Middlesbrough, Norwich City and Swindon Town.

      Like

  37. Regarding the football pitch next to the Bakery. I know of 2 players for Sparks. Eric Bunn the goalie and John Barnes a “no nonsence” centre forward. They also played darts for the Sparks Social Club in the Middlesbrough League. There was also George Dutton. I played for this team. The Manager of the Team was called Bob Harrison. They all worked for Sparks. On our home matches they would bring food along to have after the games were over. Do these names bring back any memories from our readers?

    Like

    • My Dad is John Barnes he was manager of the office at the daylight bakery . I remember Eric as well. Can remember as a child the van driver from Sparks delivering an easter egg with my name iced on it

      Like

      • Hi so nice to hear John Barnes was your dad. I worked in the general office. Started at 16 yrs worked there till I emigrated to Canada. I could not thank him enough for the best working days of my life. Great memories
        Christine Veitch 🇨🇦

        Like

  38. I remember Sparks bakery so well. I lived in Oxbridge but I walked past the Bakery every Saturday morning to play football in the park which was close by. The aroma from the bakery was something to behold. It goes without saying that as I walked by I always took 3 deep breaths. Well worth the walk.

    Like

  39. I remember Sparks Bakery on Bishopton Avenue. My aunty Annie Holligon worked there and my Nana and Grandad lived in Ulswater Road, Grange Estate and later into a bungalow set back off Bishopton Avenue not far from the bakery. I remember walking past the bakery with my parents to go to the park and smelling baking bread, making my mouth water. I loved their strawberry tarts.

    Like

  40. i grew up in Commondale Avenue.  My mam, and a lot of other mums on the estate, worked at the bakery.  There was always the smell of baking bread in the air.  There were fields around the bakery and a couple of orchards.  The bakery had a football team with which my dad was involved.  I can remember watching football on the pitch next to the bakery.

    Like

    • Hi Susan, I remember you. I lived in 35. I think most of our mams worked in the bakery I remember your mam watched me and my brother Ron after school till my mam finished work. Ohhh the memories.

      Like

  41. I was born and grew up in Glaisdale Ave just around the corner from Sparks Bakery – I remember playing on the steps of the Bakery as a young girl, in the days when you”d play out all day until your mam shouted for you to come in! I also remember how exciting it was when they put up the decorated Christmas trees along the roof of the Bakery. There were farmers fields and an orchard next to the Bakery when I was little in the Sixties.

    Like

  42. This bakery provided jobs for the people that lived on Newham Grange Estate. My family was the first to move on to the Estate the first house built for habitation no 28 Kirkdale Close behind St, Paul”s Church.

    Like

  43. I was less than six months old when we moved to Newham Grange Estate. Remember the Bakery was a source of work for the new “estate” women. We were one of the first families to live on the estate, part built by Fordy & Son, but the first few were built by Stockton Corporation direct labour (my father was a bricklayer with the “Corporation”).

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.