103 thoughts on “Stockton Swimming Baths

  1. My great grandparents Harry and Annie Griffiths lived and owned a shop on Bath Lane in the 1930s/40s near the baths. My grandma met my granddad when he came in the shop during the war when he was a soldier stationed on Bath Lane.

    Like

  2. Great photos, just wondering if anyone knows where the G.T SNOW swimming cup is now, would love to see it. Thank you in advance

    Like

  3. Hi folks I have just found this site, its amazing how many names of people who have fond memories of the old baths. I also was a swimmer for the club doing well swimming breaststroke, around the time of Dennis Buckton, Don Joyce Webster, Frank Townning ( who was my boy friend for 2 years) the lovely Mr Cook, Vera Milne who if I remember went to Canada, Mr and Mrs Robson, Mrs Greenwood, Barbara Terrill, and many more. I remember going to league matches around the area and once at Gateshead we were a team member short and I enlisted the help of my then boy friend to swim for us not telling him that he was against the chap who had had a great win at the commonwealth games. He came a very long way back loser of course but got us a point. It didn’t put him off and we celebrated 48 years of marriage until he passed away last year. I would love to have a reunion of all of the Stockton Swimming Club of the 50’s era. Any one interested?

    Like

  4. My grandparents Charles and Elizabeth Thompson lived in Bowser Street in the 40s to 60’s. Their children were Charles, Minnie, Amy, Frank, Ernie and Jim.

    Like

  5. Paul Fellows – the team that trained at Hardwick Pool was Teesside Starfish and was set up by ‘Doc’ Angus. A number of the Stockton ASC swimmers joined. Team colours were green ans yellow! Names like Judith Cockcroft, Julie Bowbanks, John Edon, Ian and Neil Scott, Ken Blott spring to mind, although I didn’t stay in swimming for much longer after that. Sam Foggin was one of the coaches for Stockton ASC and we bumped into him on a night out in Newcastle of all places. It must have been over a decade since we had last seen him, but we exchanged some great memories of training nights and galas. A lovely man.

    Like

  6. It makes me feel cold just looking at the picture of Stockton baths. The overpowering smell of chlorine and the stinging eyes, memories of sliding along the marble(?) benches like a whiskey glass on a saloon bar – happy days.

    Like

  7. I lived above the shop opposite the baths in 1951/53. When we moved to Norton I always used these baths including the Turkish baths up until they knocked them down – they should neve have knocked them down. My mum also used the laundry, I can remember going with he. Yes, and as others have said, we walked to the baths – we seemed to walk everywhere in those days. What memories they bring back.

    Like

  8. Yes I also learned to swim in Stockton Swimming Baths .. taught by Mr Wilson! After lessons.. an ice cold lime juice drink from the vending machine next to the turnstiles! I do recall the cockroaches in the deep end of the old pool though! It looks so primitive looking at the photograph and amazing that it was the only pool in the area before the new pool or Billingham Forum. It was however very real and a great place to go. After all a pool is a pool is a pool! Before the new pool we sometimes used to trek across to Eston Baths in Middlesbrough (on the old electric trolley buses or in the back of the Morris Minor Van my Dad had). The tiles in the old pool were a green salt glaze in the sixties. In the 70’s the pool was refurbished after the new pool next door was built (still find it hard to believe they demolished that as well!) and the old pool was re-tiled in the more modern turquoise shade and used for school swimming lessons. We used to go there in the early seventies from Richard Hind Technical School. Sometimes we were at the old pool, other times the new pool. The new diving pool was brilliant – 14 ft deep with two spring boards and a high board. I so much miss the opportunity these days to dive from a great height. It was so thrilling and scary at the same time. I always remember Lol B doing a belly flop from the high board, he was red raw! Ouch!!!! Fully recovered the week after though and back off top board again. Feel sorry for the kids today that they don’t really get much of a chance to dive in the overly protected world they live in today, where hardly any pool has a diving board anymore. I remember also when the new Stockton Baths opened that it had the old style pool design with gully edges and the water level about 12inches down from the edge whereas the Forum had flush edges. On the one hand it seemed a bit retro… on the other hand it was macho to be able to haul oneself out of the pool at Stockton to impress the girls! I also used to go swimming after school in the evenings at the Hardwick school pool (Sheraton School, also demolished!) I think the pool may still be there though… Starfish swimming club. That was a tough regime. I did become best at back crawl at Richard Hind, only to finish last in the Town swimming Gala – full of hay fever on the day of the big race! Thanks so much for the photographs. Wish they were in colour and also you had ones of the new (demolished) pools, especially the inside including the magnificent diving pool.

    Like

  9. I remember the old baths well, I was in the Bailey St Boys swimming team in the 50s. I lived in Bath Street very close to old Stockton Baths.

    Like

  10. Derek, your mum’s name does ring a bell now although I still can’t confirm that my mum was a bridesmaid to yours. I shall have words with my elder sister, Joan, when I can, she might remember. Yes, it is sometime since we saw each other, it must be 60 years or so. The family left Bowser Street in 1950 and I left The Yorkshire Penny Bank Stockton in 1962 for work in banking in the Middle East. I visit quite often to see all the family except twin brother John who is in Australia but he visits quite regularly from there. But thank goodness for Skype for keeping in touch. I’ve recently moved to Bedfordshire after 38 years in Lincolnshire; prior to that I was in Hull and Harlow! Take care.

    Like

  11. Hello Derek, I don’t know the details of your Mum, what was her maiden name? I do know that they knew each other because mum used to mention your mum quite often and, of course, we knew other well as kids.

    Like

  12. Surnames of families or individuals living in Bowser Street in the 40’s & 50’s which come to mind: Winter, Hiscocks, Walker, Stockton, Holmes, Nattrass, Elkin, Fox, Rust, Petts & Holmes. The corner shop was owned/run by Mrs Henderson whose daughter became Mrs Duggan. Hopefully, my recollections are reasonably correct!

    Like

  13. Ed Buliavac – I was born at 3 Bowser Street in 1941 and my family lived there until 1950 when we moved to Ragworth Estate. My Grandmother, Elizabeth Ferguson, generally known as ‘Fergie’ lived at 31 Bowser Street. She was one of the last to leave the street in 1957 or 1958 when the street was knocked down for redevelopment. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen any pictures of the street itself.

    Like

  14. I live in California and my great-grandmother, Margaret Edwards, is from Stockton. She lived at 3 Bowser Street which has been mentioned on this page. It seems there is no longer a Bowser Street in town. Is this true? If so, does anyone know what happened to it? Thank you so much in advance. I am enjoying all the photographs! Looks like a really nice community.

    Like

  15. My mother, Etta, was a Greenwood, born in Stockton-on-Tees in 1925. She emigrated to South Africa in the early 1950s. I seem to recall her father’s name was Albert, and her mother was a tailor/seamstress. I wonder if anyone who has posted here has any knowledge of her or her sisters (Miriam and Bertha), and if the Albert Greenwood mentioned above could have been her father? Sadly, her memory is not great anymore, and she spoke very little about her early life in England. She did, however, insist that her children become competitive swimmers, so perhaps she swam at this pool, too.

    Like

  16. Yes you are right Ken, Bill Harburn was a ex Bailey Street School swimmer who made a clean sweep in the Stockton Schools gala. He was one of Clive Marrison’s rivals along with Norman Alderson at the Stockton Swimming Club. Bill’s two brothers Albert & Bobby Harburn were also good swimmers.

    Like

  17. Many years ago it was only a dream that any school other than Bailey Street would win any of the swimming trophies. In the ealier years of the Forties they seemed to win them every year, maybe because of the war and getting down to the baths from Richard Hind. I remember at RH we had one excellent swimmer called Clive Marrison who always had to carry the rest of us scrubbers. Clive came from Norton and swam and played water polo for Stockton for a lot of years. In those years Mr Plummer took football lessons and a lady called Dot Duffney took keep fit in St Peters Hall, I can’t remember if we went swimming. We didn’t have a proper sports master till Mr Fenny came home from the RAF. I seem to remember that just before and and at the start of the war, RH had a diving champion from Egypt. I’m sure Ken can confirm this history because he dealt with a lot of the sports after I left about 1947.

    Like

  18. The system at the old Stockton baths to indicate when to get out was by numbers. After paying your 4d at the entrance, you were given a basket just before the changing rooms. The basket had a number on it and when your time was up they used to hold a board up in the pool with a range of numbers and if yours lay within it you had to get out. Anyone who ignored this would then see their clothes in the basket standing on the pool side with the attendant threatening to throw them in the water!

    Like

  19. I remember swimming in this pool in 1955 for Richard Hind when we won the Greenwood shield as well as the Snow cup and later as a member of the Stockton swimming team during the years of Mr Cook(coach and wonderful man later killed in a tragic accident), Mr Robson, Mr Goff and of course Dennis Buckton (best man at my wedding). Dave Pinkney and Billy Fisher were just youngsters then and the above Joyce Webster, a good breast stroke swimmer and very nice person. The ‘old’ pool above was known in the swimming world then as a ‘fast’ pool which enabled me to equal the then county record for 100yds freestyle of 44secs and tie with a swimmer called Barry Shapman from Darlington. It got me my Northumberland and Durham county swimming badge but when in larger pools I could not keep the times. I think this is why the swimming fraternity pushed for a larger pool at Stockton as it was difficult to train in a small pool and then compete in larger ones. Those gruelling training sessions make me tired now to think about and the enormous amount of food I had to eat to keep my strength up all seems vain now just to say ‘I won’.

    Like

  20. I remember going to the old Stockton baths with my sister, Lynn Olive. While we were in the baths my mother, Rita Oliver, would be in the wash house doing the washing.

    Like

  21. Thanks for that information. Bill is my cousin and his Mum was my Auntie Nora (although for some reason we always new her as Auntie Nod) Sadly she died some years ago at a ripe old age but she was a lovely lovely lady. It was she and Bill”s sister June who gave me info on the Greenwood shield. They also helped me when I was researching the ancient canoe that my Grandfather dug when dredging the river Tees. It was donated to the Dorman museum around 1927.

    Like

  22. The coloured rubber bands were introduced in the new Stockton baths, there was an indicator board in the middle of the front of the spectator gallery which used to flash the respective colour when their time was up. Close, Frank, but no cigar mate !

    Like

  23. The Mrs Greenwood presenting prizes in 1968 was possibly the Mrs Greenwood still swimming and officiating when she was 80 or even 90 years old. It was Bill Greenwood”s mum, he was also a good swimmer when we were at Richard Hind in the 1950s.

    Like

  24. I have vague memories of getting a coloured arm band to wear, showing what “session” you were in. Or was that at Billingham Baths?

    Like

  25. I”m not sure if Mrs Greenwood was a relative, I”m sure she must have been. Unfortunately although my father was one of nine children, none of them are alive which makes it difficult to gather information. It would be interesting to know if anyone remembers the family.

    Like

  26. Great to see these pics, brought loads of memories back. I was never away from there when I was a kid. When I first started to go I ran and jumped in at the deep end but couldn”t swim – I was soon in trouble, I was drowning and kept going under. I started to feel weak and thought I”de had it. Suddenly I felt someone grab me and I was put on the side. I laid there feeling sick, swallowed a lot of water, don”t know to this day who it was who pulled me out. When your time was up the whistle was blown. If you were slow getting out he used to hold your basket over the water, it always worked. Used to love the tupenny dip buns.

    Like

  27. I was lucky enough to win the Greenwood shield in 1968 (I think that was the year because the shield was for under-15 boys freestyle). John Thompson beat me the year before. The lady that presented me with the shield was a Mrs Greenwood and she was also an official in Stockton ASA. Was she a relative of yours, Joy?

    Like

  28. Read with interest your stories of Stockton baths. My grandparents, Charles & Rachel Greenwood, lived at 11 Bath Lane and it was my Grandfather who donated the Greenwood swimming shield roundabout 1912. I have photos of my father (Wilfred) and Uncles Albert & Charlie winning it and a collective photo of the family in their swimming suits. (No distinguishing between male or female swim suits) I hope this little piece of information may be of some interest.

    Like

    • Hi, I am busy researching my Greenwood family tree. I think Charles Greenwood was my grandfathers brother, his wife Rachel was originally called Rachel Skipp. There is a story in our family that the shield was donated by Charles to encourage swimmers after a nautical disaster. Any light anyone can shed on this would be greatly appreciated.

      David Greenwood.

      Like

    • Hello Joy,

      I think we may be distantly related. My grandfather’s brother was
      Charles William Greenwood who married Rachael Skipp and lived in Stockton. Surviving members of my family say he instigated the Greenwood Shield after having pulled a couple of children out of the river and that the shield was a way of encouraging local children to lean to swim. He was known by us as uncle Billy. I understand he died in Morpeth in 1912 at a relatively young age. Family myth suggests he was a mariner and that he may also have owned vessels on the Tees. Anything you (or anyone else) can tell me would be greatly appreciated. You can get my email via Picture Stockton – pictures@stockton.gov.uk

      David Greenwood

      Like

      • Are you Billy Greenwood’s son, Billy will be about seventy-seven now, He went to Newtown School & Richard Hind, him & his sister were good swimmers.

        Like

      • Hi David, I have only just picked up your message regarding the Greenwood family. I do have photos of the Greenwood swimming shield with various Uncles having won the swimming competition. (Including my father Wilfred Greenwood who was either youngest or second youngest of the Greenwood family) Also have limited information regarding the boat business which I could forward to you if you would like. I am not very good with technology so could post some details if you would allow me to have your address.
        I look forward to hearing from you in due course and apologise for the delay in replying to you.

        Like

        • Joy! Thank you every so much for your response to my questions about the Greenwood Shield and Charles William Greenwood (my grandfather’s brother). I would be delighted for any information about the Shield, the family and their involvement in shipping that you have. Unfortunately I live in France! If you email pictures@stockton.gov.uk they will forward on my email and postal address. I would be more than happy to recompense you for any costs re photocopying, postage etc. perhaps also you would tell me your fathers name. I know Charles had several children and I haven’t yet looked at their life histories. In the meantime if you would like any information about your grandfather’s brother Albert, please don’t hesitate to ask.

          David Greenwood

          Like

  29. I used to live in Princess Avenue, just over the road from the baths. My auntie Joan Broderick and mum Maureen Martin worked there so I used to get in free, hence was a “water baby”, swam & dived for school etc there until new baths opened. Remember my gran Lily Broderick doing the laundry and ironing in the wash house adjoining it.

    Like

    • I worked with Joan at the baths from about 1967 to 1970 we had a great time we used take turns nipping over to the Lord Nelson for a swift orange ‘wink wink’ it was a great place to work
      and great people to work with.

      Like

      • Hi Ian,
        I just noticed your post when looking for some old photos. My auntie Joan is still living in Stockton, I see her when I am visiting from my current home in Spain.

        Like

  30. Fantastic to view these photos – the memories came flooding back. I lived in Cromwell Green, and the baths were at the end of the street, so when I came home from school I would go swimning 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes having the pool to myself.

    Like

    • Hi. Does anyone remember Blanche o’Neil nee Charlton?
      My grandmother Blanche o’Neil lived as 12 Cromwell Street, sadly her mother and other siblings died in a tragic house fire. Blanch lived on, and was at one time bath attendant at Billingham baths, but his is many years ago. Her son Jack o’Neil swam for the county, he emigrated to Australia. Kathleen O’Neil is my mam, now 87 years.

      Like

  31. I do not think these Baths are the original Stockton Baths post 1946, As I remember them they had Cubicles down the side of the baths also a balcony along both sides of the Baths, The shop mentioned was just opposite the baths entrance and as kids we were always hungry when we came out from swimming and headed straight for the shop to buy a loaf of bread which we scoffed without and butter or any other spread. There was also a shower on the side of the baths where you had to go before entering the pool.

    Like

  32. My youngest brother Chris mentioned this site to me and the photos brought back so many memories – not least of the chilly changing rooms and eyes red from the chlorine! It even prompted me to dig out my old scrapbook from the 60″s. Oddly, I don”t remember my Dad doing any coaching either although he used to ferry Andrew, myself and other club members all over the county to galas. I remember Peter Chisholm well, and Lorraine Kilvington (striped swimming cossy and black hair.) Other names which come to mind include Billy Dalton, Billy Fisher, Steve McGann, Ray Mallon, Janice McDonald and her twin brothers. The atmosphere in the pool during galas and waterpolo matches was fantastic and I”ll never forget it.

    Like

  33. Came across this website whilst researching my family history and I believe that my ggg grandfather Benjamin Cossins was the Superintendant at these baths from when they opened in 1859 until he died in 1881. The 1861, 1871 and 1881 census show him here with his first wife Lucy (Matron of the Baths) then with his 2nd wife Catherine as the Matron. My gg grandfather John Crossly Cossins also worked (1881 census) here as assistant before getting married. Lovely to read all the comments and memories that the baths have evoked.

    Like

  34. I too remember the chlorine content of the baths. As a member of the Thursday evening swimming club I ended up with three days in the Childrens” Hospital on Durham Road with suspected Polio. After a lumber puncture and other tests it was diagnosed as chlorine poisoning. I can only assume that I had overdosed on the water that had a weeks accumulation of chlorine concentration. It had been witnessed chlorine being administered to the water from the pool side when the chlorination system was faulty.

    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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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.