7 thoughts on “Lightfoot Grove Baptist Church c1985

  1. I had the sweet pleasure and blessing of coming to Lightfoot Grove Baptist Church in June 1977 as part of a group from Clifton Forge Baptist Church in Clifton Forge, Virginia, USA. So many dear people were part of that experience for me, including Sandra Costello and John and Barbara Thurlow. The precious fellowship and generosity of so many have kept both the trip and the church a part of my best memories.


  2. Yes Terry, there was mass immigration to this area because of the burgeoning number of iron works. Near Stockton centre alone there was the Westbourne iron works, the West Stockton iron works and the Phoenix iron works, that was one side of the railway. On the other side the Engine works, Stockton Forge works, Portrack lane iron works and Stockton Malleable iron works. Add in potteries, brick making and small foundries, the gas works, you will realise the number of men needed far outstripped the number of Stocktonians available. That does not take into account the ship yards, flour mills, tanneries and then over the river on the Thornaby side more iron works then of course Middlesbrough, once a small village on a swamp South Bank Cargo Fleet and Redcar, the whole area was a hive of industry. Do not forget Brunamond the ICI Anhydrite mine, a lot of Welsh men down there even in my time. I remember travelling with Dad in his truck as a wee lad pre-war, we loaded bricks in little Ireland (Portrack) delivered them to little Scotland in (Billingham) or little Wales (Haverton). Some of my relatives on one side went from Ireland to Scotland then to Middlesbrough and worked in the Steel industry the rest of their lives. On the other side they came from Preston to Newcastle then to Stockton before leaving for New Zealand, leaving my Father here to look after his Grandmother. This idea we have of a small population who never went more than five miles from home is another urban myth, people travelled to work starting well before watermills producing wool got into their stride, they went where the work was and with the discovery of iron in our hills that brought the miners then the workers needed to run the steel mills and foundries. It was not only the men, women travelled to take up jobs as servants on Estates and in large town houses. My mother said her freedom came when, at 13, she went to Skutterskelfe Hall as a kitchen maid under my Aunt Lizzy who was the cook. She had her own room, a day off and was paid, that back then was to her heaven on earth. Where did it all go we may ask and I suppose the answer is progress. Nothing is forever as I think, walking down what was once the liveliest High Street in the North. My parents, if still here, would weep.


  3. My great great grandfather, Francis(Frank) Lewis, was born in Carleon near Newport, Monmouthshire in about 1846 and by the 1871 census was living in Stockton working in the Ironworks as a Plate Roller. This would seem to add support to the evidence of migration from South Wales. I also have ancestors from Somerset, Cumbria & Plymouth who all arrived on Teesside during the period 1860-1880.


  4. During the 1950s when I lived in the Portrack area I attended the sunday school at Portrack Baptist chapel. I don’t remember it being called the ‘Welsh’ speaking chapel.
    I also attended Stockton Baptist Tabernacle through my involvement with the Boys Brigade and there were a family of Morgans there. In fact a Mr Morgan (William I think) was senior Deacon at the Tabernacle.
    I believe that quite a number of Welsh people moved to Teesside in the mid 1800s in order to work in the newly opened iron ore mines on the Cleveland Hills and associated iron works. That would fit in with David Boydell’s great grandfather move from South Wales.
    The Godfrey Map of 1899 of Stockton (North) lists the people living in Joseph Street, Lumley Street, Elliott Street Portrack Street and Portrack Lane East(as it was known then).
    Amongst those residents about 15 names are shown to be involved in the iron works and these are the ones with recognisable Welsh names such as Morgan, Williams, Jones and Davies. There may have been others who originated in Wales living there as well.


  5. Not sure about the Welsh-speaking community, but I think that the Portrack Baptist Church was known as a ‘Welsh (speaking?) chapel’ at one time – might be worth investigating.

    My mother’s family were Lewises from Monmothshire, and settled at the Stockton Baptist Tabernacle – where there were many Lewises, Morgans, Llewellyns, and so on. Mu great grandfather moved to Stockton in or around 1869. He was a puddler in the iron works, and the iron and steel industry seems to have brought many up from S. Wales.


  6. My dad Norman Rowlands Bond was organist and choirmaster at Lightfoot Grove for years.His grandmother Rowlands was a Welsh speaker from Merthyr Tydfil. His dad was also Welsh but I don”t know if he spoke Welsh. Can anybody throw any light on the Welsh community on Teesside. I know the church contained people called Williams, Morgan, and Edwards, and some of my Welsh forebears appear to have been members of the Rechabite branch of the Baptists. I have recently moved back to England from a welsh-speaking area in west wales, and would love to know how prominent the language was here around the first world war period. diolch yn fawr i chi pawb


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