The Plaza Theatre, Bishop Street, Stockton c1940

s136A view of the Plaza Theatre and the Grand Hotel on Bishop Street, Stockton c1940.

A theatre called The Star was built on the site in 1866, it was destroyed by fire in 1883. A new theatre called The Grand opened c1892, it was renamed The Plaza in 1930 it closed in 1959 and demolished 1969.

10 thoughts on “The Plaza Theatre, Bishop Street, Stockton c1940

  1. Picture title date of 1940’s wrong as the modern Corporation Quayside warehouse largely complete by 1950 can be seen at the riverside end of Bishop Street.


    • This picture shows the buildings on the riverside of Thistle Green next to Hubbards Quay, a Granary and Ware House would be to the right and the buildings which became the Seaman’s Mission are to the left. The truck facing looks like a Ford and there were a few of them around even in the war before masses of ex army vehicles came on the road in the late 40’s of every make.
      The money was not around until late fifties for rebuilding the quayside and up to 1956-9 the quayside looked like a well bombed area, half demolished buildings heaps of rubble and the boats alongside the quay would be resting on the mud banks at low tide the new quay had not been completed.
      The war for those of us around lasted nearly twenty years because of the austerity caused by the Americans withdrawing all aid until the Marshall Plan came into being. That plan was to help all the European countries damaged by the war so we got a proportion which did not give much for anything but housing for the returning forces and clearance of some of the worst slum area’s, this country was broke, rationing went on until 1951-2, queuing was a National pastime and the Town Council were mainly unpaid local business men and women.
      I smile when people complain about what happened to old buildings in the Town and all the ugly new area’s, it was all we could afford and we wanted new modern buildings like those we saw on the movies, we see what we threw out after the war on the Antiques shows now selling for big money? how were we to know that?
      The Council cannot win, there seems to be uproar now about the new Town Centre which I think was needed, in sixty years there will be uproar when they tear it up again. Progress is painful.


  2. The north side of Bishop Street starts at 1 from the High Street to 13 or 14 at the corner of Thistle Green the final number dependent on the era. Many local Groskop family photographs up to 1930 if not taken by Robert Thirlwell and Co at 21 Bridge Road were taken by Albert Edward Ball and Co at 1 Bishop Street. A. E. Ball and Co were close to St. Thomas’s Church and got a majority of their marriage work whereas Thirlwell’s were close to Holy Trinity Church. By 1908 A. E. Ball had replaced Mac Iver’s as photographers at 1 Bishop Street. During the late 1930’s Thirlwell’s were operating from 1 Bishop Street. By 1968 Turner’s (Newcastle) Ltd were the final photographic and audio-visual equipment dealers at 1-4 Bishop Street ending at Knowles Street. Drab Lindsay House (t7501) currently occupies this section of Bishop Street. It replaced the glorious eccentric and gothic Victoria Buildings (1896-1964) which slightly protruded down Bishop Street (s1024). The first Stockton shop of Marks and Spencer (t2300-01) started at 3 Bishop Street (c.1901) moving to Victoria Buildings (c.1907) and then the High Street (Sept. 1927). Father and son clothes dealers George (Gershon) and Emanuel Groskop were trading from their 2 Bishop Street shop by 1893.

    According to my late relatives George (t6612) may have also traded at the north end of the High Street market. The shops at 1-3 Bishop Street and the entrance to this street can be seen to the right of Victoria Buildings in 1960’s photo t10210. The Groskop’s shop was close to Abraham Hyams (ex-Russian Empire likely Lithuania) who established his well-advertised pawn broking business c.1888 and traded from 8 (later 5 c.1912) Bishop Street. By 1938 it was Hyams and Sonhouse furnishers. George and Martha Groskop had moved from Sunderland to 3 Brown Street, Stockton during 1867 followed by 11 Ryan Street (1868) 23 Webster Street (1869) 9 Lawson Street (1871) and 10 George Street (1873).

    They mainly moved to Stockton to be close to Martha’s family the Robinson’s who lived around Brown Street. George Groskop (ex-Russian Poland) worked as a travelling jeweller and dealer until 1875 then briefly as a fruiterer (1875) and glazier (1885) with Martha often fronting the other family businesses from home until 1904. George and Martha started the family clothing business from their residence in Beech Street about 1876 before moving to 21 Silver Street by 1878. They also ran a general dealership from their house at 2 Brown Street from 1879 but new and mainly second hand clothes dealing with some tailoring remained their main occupation. From 1880 to 1886 the Groskop’s lived and traded from 4 Cross Street. Their house was likely on the east (river) side of Cross Street the same side as the Grand hotel and theatre which replaced the Royal Star hotel and theatre of the 1880’s. During 1886 the Groskop’s moved across Bishop Street to 5 Thistle Green by Constables Yard (previously called Bulmers Yard until c.1886 possibly named after the yard’s owners). A well-known Victorian photograph of this yard exists (s996) bending left at its end to the back of 5 Thistle Green.

    By 1889 the Groskop’s had started a general dealership at this latest house becoming less dependent on clothing. George was not the first immigrant dealer to operate from Thistle Green (TG) others c.1881 were Morris Jacobs (ex-Russia at 22 TG clothes dealer) Joseph Lands (ex-Poland possibly now the part in Lithuania at 3 TG Wolf Leverson (ex-Russia at 11 TG general dealer) and Eli Goldston (ex-Russian Poland at 11 The Square picture frame maker). Russia in this census could mean anywhere in the Empire of Russia such as Poland and Lithuania. The few East European immigrants that settled in Stockton after 1880 were mainly from what is now Lithuania. By 1890 George’s son Emanuel was employed in the family clothes business. Even the established Groskop’s had vacated their 2 Bishop Street shop by 1896 to William Fell a butcher with Emanuel drifting into the shipyards during 1894 to support his growing family at tiny Sun Inn Yard off Knowles Street.

    The number of independent clothes dealers in Stockton had fallen in preceding years. His sister Lauretta became a well-known furniture/general dealer with shops in Parkfield from WW1 to the 1950’s. The Enterprise and Hope and Anchor pubs were at 6 and 10 Bishop Street respectively. Christopher Yeates became an established pork butcher at 9 Bishop Street (c.1887-1899) before moving to 7 Bishop Street (c.1900). Isaac Groskop became an apprentice here at the turn of the century but did not take up this profession. Christopher Yeates was a witness to Abraham Hyams naturalisation so their signatures survive together at TNA Kew. By c.1904 Yeates had left Bishop Street for 4 Church Row and a short spell at Portrack Lane East. By 1917 this business was consolidated at Church Row and ran by Charles Yeates. Edward and Margaret Glendon’s fruit shop was at 12 Bishop Street in the 1880’s. Glendon’s (later related Vicker’s fruit shop from c.1891-1897) was opposite and just past the entrance to Cross Street (street entrance t10611 plus the Grand hotel/pub). This shop is possibly where their daughter Ann Glendon met Fred Groskop and they married. The shop at the end of Bishop Street (13 or 14) on the corner with 1 Thistle Green can be seen in a later era in t4971 t4224 likely Oxborough’s clothiers in 1891.

    The Plaza theatre Grand hotel/pub and Bishop Street shop edges including 912 and 13 can be seen in s1036. Compared with other Stockton immigrant families from the same era the total number of houses lived in by the Groskop’s was usually high. Considering George’s large family above it is surprising that the Groskop surname has not survived in Teesside.
    Alan B


  3. A friend of mine tells me that in the mid to late forties, when he used to go to the Plaza, opposite on Thistle Green next to the saddle shop, was a shop window that contained exact replicas of the crown jewels. Does anybody remember this shop and, if so, whatever became of these replicas?? I personally am to young to remember them but he tells me they were stunning and he would love to know what happened to them.


  4. I remember George and Sadie Blackmore from The Turks Head, the Grand and the Malleable Club. I was a school friend of their daughter, Pam. As a very young child, around the mid 50″s,I remember going to the Plaza to see what seemed to me a very scary movie about a vampire bat – I must have only been 6 or 7 and have no idea how I would be watching anything so scary!


  5. My first in-laws were the last managers of The Grand (George and Sadie Blackmore) they moved on to the Turks Head before retiring in the 1970″s The last night party was something to remember, the first time I experienced the Brewery giving beer away.


  6. I lived in my early days opposite the Grand Hotel and Plaza in Bishop Street. My Grandad ran a tinsmiths opposite the Grand and we lived above the shop. The site is now the car park. Towards the High Street was a furniture shop “Hyams” and the shop next door and opposite the Plaza was a plastics shop. I seem to remember a sweet shop at the corner of Bishop Street before Thistle Green.


  7. The Grand Hotel was open in early 1891 (1891 census) and a distant relative of mine, Henry Oxborough, had a clothiers/outfitters business at 13 Bishop Street, which may have been next door or “over the road”.


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