19 thoughts on “A sketch by J. Halson of Browns Bridge. c1900

  1. Happy days Pat. I too look back fondly to Lustram Hall and the time we spent there as pupils. Like you, the skills we acquired I still use today although I make my own bread as well as cakes.

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  2. Lustrum Hall, which was once the vicarage for St Paul’s, was used by Richard Hind Girls School for Needlework and Domestic Science lessons when I attended in the 50/60s. The Hall was beautiful, I remember a large tiled hall and a sweeping staircase, kept clean and spotless by the schoolgirls There was a flat upstairs where two of the younger members of staff lived, and we had to ‘housekeep’ for them – laying fires, dusting and cleaning. We had a ‘plan of work’ which informed you which tasks came first, and at which time you had to move on to the next one but, of course, no mention was made of finding time to look after children!
    Another task was to cook school dinner for the pupils who were there that day, some doing Domestic Science and others doing Needlework. We did, however, have a cook to oversee us. Cooking a meal for two staff members was also on the work list, on a rota system. At the risk of appearing anti-feminist, I have to admit these chores stood me in good stead when I got married, and certainly helped eke out the finances by being able to make home cooked meals and bake my own cakes, which, incidentally, I still do, as do most of my old school friends also do.

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  3. The Rev William Borton (sp?) was at one time the Vicar of St. Pauls Church and lived in the vicarage at the top right hand side of the bank leading from Brown’s Bridge into the town- hence Billy Borton’s Bank. His name was on a list of previous Vicars in the Church.

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  4. Am I right in saying that the mill was sited in the middle of what is now Dunmail Road just behind the scrap yard. I seem to remember when we moved to Dunmail Road about 1956/7 there was still evidence of a mill in this area such as a pond and lots of rubble. We kids of Dunmail had many a happy playtime there.

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  5. I see from the 1899 edition of the Ordnance Survey map of north Stockton, that the Millers House is called Lustring House. As is what we have referred to as Lustram Beck. I wonder what year it was changed to Lustram and why?

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  6. Description of the stickleback tiddler which is in the address I gave on the previous message. Which shows that the Redbreasts we talk about are actually the male Stickleback. Distribution: there are eight species of stickleback throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The three- spined and ten-spined may be found in Britain. Habitat: streams, ponds, ditches, rock pools & estuaries. Description: small, fairly deep body. Three spines in front of the dorsal fin. Colour is normally mottled, brownish-green, paler on the underside. A breeding male has a bright red belly and blue eyes.

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  7. I can confirm that there were redbreasts in Lustrum Beck. A stickleback was larger & not the same shape, from memory they had a smooth back. As you know kids call things by a name, it may not be the correct name but they were definitely there, goodness knows how, one would think they would have been fished out with the number we kids took home. Good luck with your hunt for the correct name.

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  8. Nowhere on the web can I see any reference to UK fish as being readbreasts. Since I only ever saw sticklebacks in Lustrum Beck, I suspect they may be a variant of them. If any one can point me to a reference to them on the Web, I”d be obliged. I had this notion that Lustrum beck may have been a tributary of the River Leven, but I”m mistaken.

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  9. For the benefit of any Stocktonians with a birthday coming up. Robert Woodhouse has compiled some good books with excellent photographs of old Stockton. One of these is “STOCKTON PAST” and on page 77 is a very good photograph of Wrens Mill complete with the Millers house and chimney. We passed this rather quickly by after fishing lest something unexplainable came out of the unihabited buildings!

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  10. Redbreasts were “tiddlers” with a bright red stomach area. They were easier to spot but no easier to catch. Bloodsuckers (leeches) were to be found in the filthy trickle of water that emerged from the base of the pile of scrap metal and earth that was some short distance away from the ruins of the old mill, in a southerly direction. This became a small beck and according to Ged Hutchinson joined the main flow of Lustrum at Browns Bridge. Hence the link beween the bridge and where I first spotted them. I had a friend who did army service in Malaya and had to do a leech search after crossing rivers. Every leech with it”s teeth firmly embedded into a leg had to be persuaded to let go by having it”s backside roasted with a burning cigarette! I think Lustrum Beck starts on the South west side of Hartburn village. Probably an amalgamation of many natural field drains to be found on most farmland. Your name is familiar to me, were you a former member of Trinity Youth Club? Alan Wealleans

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  11. The Lustrum Beck as traced by Merv James as far as Hartburn is a combination of 3 becks. 2 of them Hartburn Beck and Coatham beck, as I recall from childhood and youth, join where there is/was a footbridge on a path running from Hartburn Village to Yarm Road. 200 or 300 yards downstream this combined beck is joined by another beck that ran/runs from the Urlay Nook direction. Now it becomes Lustrum Beck and runs near West End Bowling Club, under Hartburn Avenue and then under a bridge on Oxbridge Lane downhill from the Cemetery. Before that bridge it is joined by another small beck we knew as Greens Beck from the area between Hartburn and Fairfield. Somewhere near the present Holy Trinty Junior School I think from visits to hometown during the past 50+ years. Sledging in wintertime years of 1940-45 (real winters) included sledging at Sunnyside, Hartburn on fields beyond Harlsey Road as far as it extended then downhill to Hartburn Beck. Huge crowds of young people there. A lesser run for some of us was on the fields of the then incomplete Oulston Road to Greens Beck, preferably over the bridge on the footpath from Hartburn. The steep railway embankment was to the right of us. Up a lesser slope on the other side of the beck was Crayke Road and Kilburn Road. Happy days.

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  12. As a child my fishing experiences were at Billingham Bottoms. It was only “Tiddlers” that were caught, mainly Sticklebacks and Redbreasts. You thought it was great if you caught a Readbreast.

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  13. I only ever encountered bloodsuckers under the bridge. What are readbreasts ? Also, I know where Lustrum beck flows – into the Tees, but precisely where does it originate. I”ve tried to follow its route using Google Earth, but it seemed to disappear around Hartburn.

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  14. The small beck that disappears under Bishopton Road flowed under the road and entered Lustrum Beck about midway through the arch at Brown`s Bridge. I discovered this “secret” while manhandling our raft under Brown`s Bridge. Regarding Bloodsuckers in Lustrum Beck, there were “millions” of them, especially in a stretch of water downstream of Durham Road Fishshop. Not content with having the ability to suck us kids dry of blood, one of the kids where I lived suggested that they were also deadly poisonous. Deadly creatures indeed and we kept well away from them while splodging in the beck.

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  15. Interesting comment Keith Roberts. I think most kids knew the beck under Brown`s Bridge as Lustrum Beck. The small beck close to the Vicarage wall was the one we knew as Billy Bawton`s Beck which disappeared under Bishopton Road at the bottom of Billy Bawton`s (Borton`s)Bank.Different gang of kids, different names.

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  16. As far as I remember Keith the smaller beck ran ,or rather dribbled,out from the base of a high bank over near the scrapyard.It then ran through two small fields the second of which went past the bottom of gardens of Vicarage Street(?) This then joined the main beck( Lustrum or Billy Bortons) upstream of Browns Bridge. This is the beck where our little gang found the bloodsuckers. —-Scary!` I”m not sure whether or not there were any in Lustrum Beck proper,Perhaps Captain Ged saw some when he was skippering the good ship SS Aluminium on it”s maiden voyage.

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  17. Me and my school friends used to haunt this location as kids. We used the path close to and adjacent to Bells Mill to get to the old Moor scrapyard. (Thompsons). I dont know about what other kids called Lustrum Beck but we always knew it as Billy Borton”s Beck. Can anyone enlighten me as to why it was called this.??? There was a smaller beck that used to run close to the Vicarage wall on what is now Wrensfield Road. Before the building of the housing estate there used to be nisson huts and air raid shelters in the middle of the field on the road leading to the old mill.

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  18. You are almost right about our infamous raft Allan. We encountered some difficulty with our raft at Brown`s Bridge as the water under the Bridge was not deep enough to float the raft so, with the help of another kid, we carried the raft under the bridge to deeper water before sailing it a further 100 yards or so to the Durham Road Bridge where it was abandoned to provide yet another attraction to the local Newtown kids. We were all devastated when the Council had it removed. The above sketch shows what a fine building Tommy Wren`s Mill was 50 years before we knew it. Like yourself, I also spent hours fishing for Tiddlers and avoiding the Bloodsuckers. Happy Days.

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  19. This is Lustrum Beck but not as us Stockton boys knew it. This is a stone”s throw from Newtown School where the road to Oxbridge Avenue goes over Brown”s bridge and round the left hand bend. My friends and I would chase the stickle backs and redbreasts along to the bridge before catching them and proudly taking them home to show Mother. It”s probably where Ged Hutchinson left the aluminium scrap raft after it”s maiden voyage from the scrapyard. Is that right Ged. Wren”s mill was there in ruins until ,I think, the fifties when it would be demolished to make way for the council estate. Us Wellington and Hutchinson Street lads would explore the mill but in the darker hours it was a bit scary!

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