The Groskop Family of Stockton

The Groskop family of Stockton. George Groskop’s children that were still in Stockton. Back row left to right – ?/ Henry/ Leah/ Robert/ ?
Front row left to right – ?/ Issac William/ ?/ ?/ ?/ ?

Photograph and information courtesy of Bob Groskop, Alberta, Canada.

24 thoughts on “The Groskop Family of Stockton

  1. I will update the current status of identification of family members on the above photograph more fully at a late date. However, in summary, blind Joe seems to be the big man sat between his two sisters on the first row of the above photograph. This means that the guy who looks blind sat on the extreme left of the same row is likely to be Godfrey. Evidence for this are recently discovered photographs of Joe took in later life, especially one took on Coronation Day 1953 in Wales. Levi is still difficult to assign on the above photograph, despite recently discovered photographs of Levi as a young man in Wales, and also in Stockton. Levi was a well known local footballer and his story is described elsewhere on this site under a photograph titled by his full name… https://picturestocktonarchive.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/levi-groskop/

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  2. The history of the Groskop Jewish family in Stockton is not unique, from 1840 onwards the industrialisation of Victorian Britain attracted immigrants from all over Europe, including the then Russian Provinces of Lithuania and Poland. It’s fashionable, almost a cliche, to claim that these (mostly) men were fleeing Jewish persecution but this is not always true, in the main they were seeking work, seeking paid employment which was often impossible to obtain in the job scarce – poverty stricken areas they fled from. The lack of jobs (and often food) in 1870s Russia explains in part why British coal mines, steelworks and heavy industries had thousands of Jewish workers, it also explains why after they had sent for their wives and daughters they in turn became involved in the clothes making, tailoring and retail trade. This tale of human industry is to their credit, and reading about ‘our Groskops’ on Picture Stockton, has been a wonderful exercise in 19th century history.

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  3. I remember a family called Groskop who lived at the top end of Winston St in Stockton. Mr Groskop was a very small man and his daughter was I think called Jean but my memory could be wrong.I think he collected money around the area which I assume was fro some form of credit business

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  4. Fascinated by the postings above. I am keen to discover about Laretta Greathead who married Robert Groskop in 1924. Was she taken in by the Groskop family and appears in the census as a daughter but married under her birth name. Jan née Greathead (www.greathead.org)

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    • Hi Jan. Lauretta GROSKOP was born in 1901, Stockton-on-Tees to Henry and Annie GROSKOP.
      She married her Uncle Robert GROSKOP in 1924 under the name of Laurette GREATHEAD (English translation of the Polish name GROSKOP) in Wales.

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  5. Jones the ladies fashion shop was on the corner of the High Street and Wellington Street, a few doors down from Debenhams. It was still there in the 60s as I bought a hat from them for a wedding I attended in 1965. It always appeared a very classy kind of shop, as the ‘swinging sixties’ had arrived by then, and they seemed to cater for the older ladies of the town. That’ll be me now then!

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  6. The wedding dress of Miss Leah Groskop b.1897 was donated to Preston Park Museum in the 1970’s, along with a photo of her wearing it in 1924. The wedding was at Stockton Parish Church with the reception at St. James’s Hall, Tilery. Portrait photos of the bridesmaid a Miss Rose McKivett possibly from a Middlesbrough based family (b.1900 in the 1911 census)survive. William Hodgson and his wife Eleanor (nee Kirby, married 1918) can be seen in the 1924 wedding photos, Eleanor being Arthur’s sister. William and Arthur can be seen in Picture Stockton(PS) photo titled- Members of Stockton Red Cross c.1916. Leah can be seen in PS photo titled- J. Jones Ltd, Ladies Costumiers, Stockton 1921. The Jones connection may explain why her hand made wedding dress was accepted by the local museum. Her ancient gramophone, records and a box of early ‘bulb-head’ friction matches were also donated. The Hodgsons are my relatives, and I remember them as a large Norton family when I was young.

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    • Rose Mckivett was my Mother and I am trying to find more information on her life in the North East before she moved to the Fylde Coast –

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    • Further to my comment about the Bridesmaid Rose Mckivett at the 1924 wedding who was my mother she subsequently lived in St Annes On Sea working for JR Taylor in a senior dressmaking role. As Bridesmaid for the Groskop family could she have worked for them before moving across the country. I would be delighted to get more information as she must have been a good friend of the Bride!

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  7. According to Family History; I had a Great Aunt Leah Kirby, who was originally a Groskop. She married my Great Uncle and had two sisters, Zillah and Zetta. Sadly, I only met Zillah at my Great Aunts funeral. Are you my distant relations??

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  8. Gershon and Martha Groskop ran a clothes and tailoring business from their house and shop at 4 Cross Street from 1880 to 1886 where their children Leah, Lauretta and Isaac (all above) were born. From 1886 their house and clothes/general dealers shop was at 5 Thistle Green, and from c1890 to 1896 they expanded with a clothes shop at 2 Bishop Street, although no one was present here during the 1891 census. The old trade directories and maps at Stockton Library largely ignore tiny, insignificant Cross Street, even the matching of house numbers to house locations has not survived here. However a 1934 Stockton Council/Ministry of Health Clearance Order for Cross Street found in London shows the street structure and the numbering of some buildings on a map. Because it was mainly in commercial use Cross Street avoided the great Housewife Lane Clearance Scheme of 1926-1929, but its days were numbered on health grounds. Stockton Council under the 1930 Housing Act issued a clearance order for Cross Street on 1 August 1934 (compiled during June 1934). This order gave the occupants twelve months to vacate 3 to 5 Cross Street. These were all dwelling houses and shops, and the only properties listed for demolition. The Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Health, ironically called Mr. R. B. Cross confirmed the order on 27 February 1935. According to the order, Emma Louisa Buffam occupied 3 Cross Street, and R. Fenwick and Co. Ltd occupied 4 and 5 Cross Street. Trade Directories identify the Queen’s Hotel, Station Terrace, as the principal asset of R. Fenwick and Co. (Sunderland) Ltd in Stockton during the 1920’s and 1930’s. According to their old adverts the Queen’s Hotel porter met every train that arrived at Stockton Station. Fenwick’s ran hotels elsewhere in the North East. Presumably Fenwick’s used 4 and 5 Cross Street for storage or staff accommodation. The east side of Cross Street was closer to the river and ran from Bishop Street to Silver Street comprising in 1934 of part of the Grand Hotel/public house (numbered in Bishop Street), then a small house or building (numbered 1 perhaps), and finally a block of three properties numbered 3 to 5, with 5 bordering onto Silver Street. Thus the early 1880’s Groskop shop and four-roomed house was in the middle of this block. There was a back alleyway off Silver Street along the rear of the block to the back of the Grand Hotel finishing by its stepped fire escape. The 1897/9 map (Godfrey reprint) shows the street structure, which had not changed by 1934. The east side can be seen of Picture Stockton photo titled ‘Aerial Views of the River Tees c.1922’ where 3 to 5 Cross Street is dwarfed (almost engulfed) by the huge warehouse on the south side of Silver Street. On this photo the classically structured Plaza Theatre (pre-1930 Grand Theatre) in Bishop Street is just to the left of Cross Street. The north entrance to Cross Street appears on many Bishop Street photos on this site. John Hartley, a wholesale fish merchant and fried fish dealer, occupied 3 Cross Street for many years. Fisherman and shell- fish dealer William Jackson occupied 1 (and a no number recorded) Cross Street close to Bishop Street; although later he was at Bishop Street (no number given). Jackson was related to the Quayside based Samuel family (also fish traders), whose roots were in the Jewish quarter of Sunderland like the Groskop’s. In Victorian times, parts of Silver Street and Cross Street, the Quayside and Smithfield, formed a fish, shell-fish and oyster dealing area of Stockton with resident fishermen and associated shops, such as Mrs Broadbent’s Oyster Store at 3 Silver Street. The west side of Cross Street was barely drawn and not numbered on the clearance order, as the commercial properties here were not listed for demolition. These properties seem to be more connected with Bishop or Silver Street. The new Calvert’s Lane mainly follows the course of long demolished Cross Street, especially towards Bishop Street. The original Calvert’s Lane vanished under the Riverside Road development of the 1970’s.

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  9. If any descendant can identify Levi or Fred Groskop, thought to be on the right of this photo, then all the past Stockton family above will have been identified. This assumes all previous assignments were correct. Many identities have already been confirmed by at least three descendants, but less for Emanuel, Godfrey, and the middle row girls, where some uncertainty may remain. Some put Lauretta Wilson (the once well-known Parkfield shopkeeper) on the left due to her ring and age, but others are less sure (or disagree) as the photo, if correctly dated about 1902, was three years before her marriage. Any further identifications or confirmations welcome, especially from Welsh descendants. The best-known family members are proving the most difficult to identify above.

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  10. 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. Acording 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 Son, house 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, clothes dealer), 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 9, 12 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.

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  11. Stuart. Fred and some of his brothers above were established, possibly lifelong, members of the Boilermakers Society. The society records held at Teesside Archives may confirm this, your original source perhaps?

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  12. F Groskop was a Stockton district secretary to the Boilermakers Society during World War One. An unusual name, any relation to the above family?

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  13. It now seems that we have some agreement that perhaps the far left person is Joseph especially identified by another individual who knew Joe at an early age. One thing that is somewhat confusing is that this photograph was likely taken in 1902, most people alive today would only know what the family may have looked like perhaps in the 50″s or 60″s? Thanks for everybody”s interest and yes Harry you are correct on the address”s. I myself lived in Arlington Street 50 years ago !

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  14. I remember that there were members of the Groskop Family living, for many years in Rokeby Street, Parkfield. This Street was located behind St.Cuthbert”s School, and joined Arlington Street and Richardson Road. A Joseph Groskop was one of my Sunday School Teachers at Lightfoot Grove Baptist Church in the mid 1940s.

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  15. I think that the Groskop in the middle is blind uncle Joseph. that is how I remember him looking. Yvonne Morton BROTHER OF ROBERT [BOB]

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  16. I have only included the names on the photograph that I feel are positively identifed, if anyone can supply correct names please send them in.

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