Bowrons Stone and Marble Masons Yard

A view of Bowrons Stone and Marble Masons Yard, Yarm Lane, Stockton showing headstones and a stone mason at work c1890. The commercial sign reads John Bowron, Stone and Marble Mason, Builder & Co. tombs, monuments, in granite, marble etc.

29 thoughts on “Bowrons Stone and Marble Masons Yard

  1. For 30 years I have had a plaster cast of a crouching lion, signed (i.e. carved in the plaster) Tom Bowron and dated 1924. We live on the coast in East Yorkshire, and so presumably it was bought in a local shop (£3!) Is it one of yours? I can send a photo.

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  2. Have just discovered today doing my family tree that Mathew Outhwaite is amongst my ancestors. Would be good to know if anybody knows how Mathew and his son died if any body can help?

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  3. Alan, I must admit to ‘cheating’ – sort of. The cemetery is my place of work , and I find my job really interesting, so it wasn’t overly hard to locate the graves.

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  4. We scan all hardcopy images at both high and low resolutions. The high resolution copies we hold ‘on file’, we have taken a conscious decision to use the low resolution copies (72 dpi)on the website to improve the deployment speeds. When Stockton Central Library reopens (Oct/Nov 2011) we will be happy to assist with any requests to view originals of any images we have in our collections.

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  5. Remarkable effort, how long did it take you? I failed to achieve anything in two hours at Oxbridge. I got the grave names by comparing three copies of the Robert Woodhouse book on the pictorial history of Stockton where sharper views of the above photo are printed. I needed a few magnifying glasses and a strong table lamp to examine all the diffused dotted writing, and it took me over an hour to satisfy myself I had the correct names.

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  6. Paul, a sharp image appears in a pictorial history book about Stockton by Robert Woodhouse, where I read off some names. This is not possible from the low resolution Picture Stockton (PS) offering. However your enquiry illustrates the ‘fine detail’ problem with PS, where some information is lost during the scan. When PS was in its infancy you could see an old photo on PS and the library staff would find you the actual photo from stored boxes on site and then you could read off all the fine detail not seen on the PS computer image, eg the above gravestone names. Now that more old photos are on PS there is a reluctance to offer this once library task, the excuse being that this is why the photos were put on PS to minimise viewing of originals and time consuming searches. At least that is my experience, eg when I researched Stockton Gas Works locomotives, the worksplate details could only have been read from the original photos, which were not made available to me. This seems to be a problem with many big London libraries and museums where computer scanned images, designed to improve knowledge accessibility, have replaced or hampered actual item availablity or viewing. Luckily, I got round the worksplate problem by using Industrial Railway Society records.

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  7. Found both graves today.

    Matthew Outhwaite , headstone details :
    Matthew Outhwaite – died Feb 12th 1888 , aged 47 years
    Matthew Henry , son of above – died Feb 17th 1906 , aged 34 years
    Margaret Hannah , wife of above – died Feb 17th 1934 , aged 86 years
    Grave number(s) – D 38/39 O old

    Rosannah Woolsey , died Oct 6th 1929 – aged 76 years
    Ethelina Woolsey , died Oct 8th 1888 – aged 2 years.
    The headstone is (i’m pretty sure) a different one to that pictured on this site.
    Rosannah’s name is on it first , and it seems to be of 1920/30 style , so i would think a new memorial was erected after Rosannah’s death.
    Grave number – N 39 P old

    Also found this (in Oxbridge Lane cemetery too)
    Eliza Jane , daughter of John and Rose Hannah Wolsey , died May 14th 1883 , aged 5 years
    Also of MARIA , daughter of the above , died Nov 11th 1886 , aged 5 years
    Also the above JOHN WOLSEY – who died at Pittsburgh U.N.S , April 4th 1888 , aged 40 years
    and was interred at South Side Cemetery.

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  8. I don’t know how Alan B. can read the names on the gravestones, I certainly can’t make them out.

    I’ll find out where Ethelina Wolsey and Matthew Outhwaite are buried – and see if their gravestones are still intact.

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  9. Tom Bowron was Tonys father and at one time the florist shop and stone yard was situated on Bridge Road near the railway crossing. Both Tom and Tony were members of the Stockton Club(1938) Ltd originally situated above Crown wallpapers on the High St. before moving to Bowesfield Lane and then to Yarm Road.

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  10. Some names I could identify on the above gravestones did not appear on the Stockton Roots site, so I did not mention them back in January. Presumably they were for local village churchyards or elsewhere. I could not find the Ethelina Wolsey gravestone (identified above) at Oxbridge recently, so presumably I missed it or it disintegrated some time ago. The Victorian postbox on the right of the photo is long gone replaced by a free standing red circular postbox a short distance off the left of the photo in Varo Terrace. Still puzzled as to the origin of the tall chimney seen at the back of the photo.

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  11. If most of the gravestones pictured were for people that died around 1888, then I would imagine that most of them were for Oxbridge Lane Cemetery. Obviously, the stone mason’s was local to Oxbridge Lane, and also – Durham Road Cemetery’s first burial wasn’t until 1894.

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  12. Bowron’s Stone & Marble Mason’s Yard was situated on Varo Terrace directly facing up Yarm Road. Ken Sawyer is correct in his recollection. Traffic lights are situated at this junction of Yarm Lane, Yarm Road and Oxbridge Lane and the junction is known as Densham’s Corner. To the left of the Yard was Salmon’s the Chemist. To the right was Taylors provisions and grocery shop and post office hence the postbox (an original grocery shop where everything was weighed). In 1961/62, Ron Taylor, the son of the founder of the grocery shop purchased and developed the Bowron site. The grocery shop was demolished and the site redeveloped to what it is now. The corner site into Leybourne Terrace was leased to the Yorkshire Bank. Ron Taylor dispensed with the grocery store, the trend for self-service supermarkets which started in Britain in the mid-fifties had made traditional grocery stores not viable. Ron Taylor did develop a post office at this site which he himself ran for several years. Above was at one time a flat and then offices which were leased out. At the back of the post office accessed by an entry in Leybourne Terrace was an extensive yard which was originally part of Bowron’s property and which was used by Ron Taylor.

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  13. Daisy Spring was Cubmistress (Arkehla) of Stockton 6th Scouts troop, St. Pauls, her husband Reg was Scoutmaster they did make a very good team. I joined this cub troop in 1936 and had some happy and fun years there. Daisy owned a wool and handicrafts shop in Dovecote St, quite close to Roberts fish shop.

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  14. Somebody logged that Mrs Bowron of the Florists business – who did the flowers for our wedding – was still going in 2010 at 105. She lived on Durham Road opposite the Cut into Westfield Crescent. Her Son Tony was a pal for a few years and once took me to the stone yard. His father scorned him for supposing to teach me how to cut letters. Tony became a Solicitor I believe but is now deceased. Other Bowrons lived in Westfield Cres and there was some connection with Daisy Spring who was a Cubmaster and excellent at it I remember.

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  15. According to the Godfrey reprint map the area around Yarm Lane between Lawson Street and incomplete Hartington Road was not well developed in 1897, except for a large property Stanley House set back from Yarm Lane, and houses on the east side of Lawson and Hartington. The geography each side of these streets in 1897 does not easily match the above photo either. Although Bowron’s could have had a stoneyard here at some time, is it the one shown above? I note there is another photo of this 1888 stoneyard on Picture Stockton identifying it as next to Leybourne Terrace. A clue in the above 1888 photo is the chimney on the horizon, most (but not exclusively) seem to be associated with businesses close to the railway. The postbox on the right edge of the photo is another clue to the location. Maybe the Stockton trade directories from this era can confirm the above yard location claimed as Yarm Lane (or its associated terraces) with a numbered address.

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  16. Bowron Stone Yard was between Hartington Road and Lawson Street. It was positioned where the ‘Taj Mahal’ Restaurant now stands. The houses to the right at the back of the photo are now demolished and the Diamond Pub in Hartington Road now stands there.

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  17. Going to school at the Richard Hind the bus route took me round Denshams Corner. Thinking now I would place the stone yard on Varo Terrace or Yarm Lane. There were 2 more, one on Bridge Road and the other in Wellington Street.

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  18. That’s good research Alan B thinking to look at the trade sign and finding Egglestone Terrace. There were often spelling discrepancies on Godfrey reprint maps or indeed between OS maps of different periods.
    I can certainly clearly picture in my mind that left Stockton 54 years ago that stoneyard virtually at the bottom of Yarm Road. Walked passed it many times to & from school, town or whatever.
    Various Bowrons were contemporary at school, some being at Holy Trinity in my 1934-39 period.

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  19. The residence of Mr John Bowron was 2 Egglestone Terrace in 1888, as indicated by the small white lettering under the large black and white trade sign on the right of the photo. Egglestone Terrace is just north of Yarm Lane between the railway bridge and the Yarm Road junction. Note on the Godfrey reprint map of 1897 it was named Ecclestone Terrace, an error? Presumably this stone yard as recent commentators, and old maps, have suggested was opposite the entrance to Yarm Road, with Egglestone Terrace at the back and Leybourne Terrace on the right of the photo. The advert, top left, refers to Willey and Sons of Cobden Street, Stockton. The white patch to the right of the simple cross gravestones on the right edge of the photo is a public postbox. Maybe someone can confirm whether it is still there?

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  20. I think it was on the corner of Yarm Lane and Leybourne Terrace, which is next door to Woodlands Medical Centre (the old school clinic and dentist). There is now a sandwich shop and a recruitment agency in an ugly modern building here. We went to Bowrons for a gravestone for my aunt in 1956. The houses would be Leybourne Terrace to the side and Egglestone Terrace behind – they are still there today.

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  21. A sharper view of this photograph appears in the book Stockton-on-Tees, A Pictorial History, by Robert Woodhouse as plate 174. In this book it is just possible to read the names off a few newly constructed gravestones. The Stockton Roots website confirmed the names with dates. The circular topped gravestone at the back was for Matthew Outhwaite aged forty-seven, who was buried at Oxbridge Lane on 14 February 1888. The pointed gravestone on its left seems to be named Hutchinson. Another readable gravestone was for a little girl Ethelina Wolsey aged two, who was buried at Oxbridge Lane on 14 October 1888. This gravestone has the complete circular cross shadow on it, and is located to the right and just below the height of the workman. On this gravestone is another name Rosanna Wolsey maybe the childs surviving mother. Both gravestones effectively date the above photograph to circa 1888. Census returns show that a widow, Rosannah, usually Rose Hannah Wolsey (died 1929, aged 76) was a tomato dealer (1901), then a fruit dealer (1911) at the Market Hall in Stockton. Later the Wolsey’s, including son James, were better known as fruit dealers from the oldest and possibly one of the smallest shops on the High Street. This was a corner shop, little more than a big shed, at the junction of Knowles Street and the High Street. A photograph and brief history of this shop, James Wolsey and Son, 24 High Street, appears on Picture Stockton under the title ‘Oldest Shop on the High Street’. I am not sure what this exactly means, the oldest shop or the longest traders(1917-1970) in a High Street shop when it closed. My grandmother was a life long customer of this Wolsey shop as part of her family lived directly behind it. Wolsey, always a rare surname in Stockton, is likely confined to one local family.

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  22. In the Gazette last week, the lady who owned the Florists celebrated her 105th birthday. It stated she still lives in her own house and in her 90’s could be seen driving her MG sports car around the Town.

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    • I have an old copy of a book Alice in Wonderland by Louis Carrol, inscribed inside is Eileen Bowron, St Peters Sunday school Stockton Christmas 1948 in her own writing could this once have belonged to the florist lady.

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      • You say you have a book belonging to Eileen Bowron. She has been a friend of mine since I started work at 16. if you want more information you can email me

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  23. This stonemason was my Grandfather and I was brought up in the Teeside area. I understand our surname is a corruption of a “Boldron” Village where a Quaker family called Bowron lived with evidence still on the headstones there.

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  24. The finest pieces of the Bowron craftsmen and apprentices are seen in Thorpe-House, High Street, Norton , opposite the library. Built during the late 1870s the window and lintel carving ,over 20 pieces are all very subtle different i.e. extra flower, leaf etc. The two “Frostley Marble” door columns came via the “Blue-Post” inn, from Stockton Castle Chapel.

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  25. Our (fairly rare) family name is more common around Stockton than anywhere else on the planet; perhaps its a local corruption of something else. This lot are “nowt ter do wi” us” though. Apart from selling us a few headstones over the years. Then there was the florists…

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