25 thoughts on “Billingham Beck

  1. Billy Beck was once a happy hunting ground where the water tasted somewhat more natural than Havo Beck and the fish had less fingers!
    Bernie

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  2. Spent many childhood days at Billy Bottoms and also the becks behind Chesham Road where I grew up. Used to love fishing for minnows and also collecting taddies. Often was down there alone fishing till after dusk even at the age of 9 and 10. Horrifying thought! I remember the poor baby going missing. I also remember on another occasion seeing police searching the becks and then walking past the side of my house carrying a small child wrapped in a blanket. I saw the heartbreak on the policemans face and remember it clearly even now, decades later. My dad explained the child had drowned. I think it was a sibling of children we often played with who lived down the road. So sad.

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    • Kath the baby was Kimberly Jackson and was taken whilst sleeping in the pram outside the door of the flats in South Road. I was stationed at Norton Police Station at that time but because of my fathers death on the 16th Jan 1969 and the funeral on the 18th I was not at work when it happened which I think was the 18th January 1969.

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  3. I sailed under the bridge in a rubber dinghy when I was a schoolboy. The Billingham Beck was very high with floodwater. We were lucky not to drown at the Dam furthur downstream when the dinghy turned over.

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  4. Billingham Beck or bottoms as it was known in the late 40s 50s the whole of our summer hols was spent there it was great. Does anyone remember the ghost?

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  5. Re: Billingham Bottoms Baby Murder. At that time I lived on Amble View over looking Billingham Bottoms and the old by-pass, it was part of a new developement built by Harry Lane (Lane Fox). At that time Amble View had a small parking area at the end of the properties on the edge of open ground leading onto the bottoms, since built around, the pram was seemingly abandoned on the parking area and was reported to the police by my neighbour as we had some concern as to the time and where it had been left, this in turn I understand brought the police to the location and the baby was found shortly after. A tragic ending.

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  6. I have to say that the start of the Teesside Borough was the beginning of April 1968 and it was the Teesside Constabulary that continued the enquiries re. the murder. I believe the baby’s name was Kimberly Jackson.

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  7. On the 18th January 1968 a baby in a pram went missing from the flats in South Road. I remember this date as it was the death of my father. The baby was later found dead at Billingham Bottoms just below Colchester Road. It was treated as murder but the culprit was never found. It was also the transfer of Durham and the North Riding to amalgamate Middlesbrough with the new County of Teesside. At that time it was Durham County Police’ boast that there had never been an unsolved murder in their area. With the transfer they were able to keep that record.

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  8. I remember fishing in the beck, somewhere near the bottom of Thacker Thornton’s field(c.1970), when the bank crumbled away and in I went! Being nothing of a swimmer I thought that this was it! Fortunately my shouts for help were heard by two other lads passing by who hauled me out.
    We went to the old ‘pill box’ shelter nearby where they then lit a fire and heated up a tin of beans which they promptly served me on a plate from a doll’s tea set – how bizarre is that? But I’ve never been so grateful and whoever you Good Samaritans were, thanks again !

    That aside, I have many very fond memories of the whole of this area. I remember the brilliant ‘Wide Games’ played across all of this area with 1st Norton Scouts both before and after the Ring Road was built.

    I also have vague memories of a murder nearby, or at least the dumping of a body, possibly a child’s body, late sixties/early seventies?? Anyone else recall this?

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    • Yes,I remember it very well, the police were doing door to door enquiries at the time – I believe the baby was taken from Carmel Gardens off South Road, tragic!!

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      • At that time I was stationed at South Road Police office. I was not there on that day which was the 18th Jan 1968 as my father died that day. Police enquiries continued from the Durham police to the Teesside ones as that on 1st April the force was passed onto Teesside.

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  9. Hi Stella You are certainly a blast from the past. I knew you when you rode with Elvia, do you remember me? there was also Linda Clarke, Susan Reed, Sue Wilson ad Pauline Reed (my cousin no relation to Susan) also Howard Crooks, we all rode at Elvia”s at “Calf Fallow Riding School” We had some fun back in those days, riding down the quarry and over to Kenndy”s farm. Do you remember the Gymkhana”s Elvia organised for the school pupils down in the quarry. Elvia is now running her riding school from Eston and has been for about 20 years.

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    • Isn’t the Internet a strange thing. I’ve only just found this today 17th February 2016.
      If you would like to get in touch, ask Picture Stockton for my email address.

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  10. I remember this bridge. I used to go over it on horseback when I went riding at Elvia Fawcetts riding school near the quarry in Norton. Anyone else remember it. The ponies used to skid on the steps down.

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  11. My memories of the beck are mainly of catching minnows in a jam jar. We would put a hole in the lid, tie a length of string around the collar of the jar and then put some bread in the jar. The jar would then be launched into the beck and we could tell if there were any minnows in the jar as we could see the bread being moved around. The stones hear the bridge always had caddis larvae attached to them which we also used as bait to catch roach. Another favourite bait for roach were leather jackets. We would pull uf sods of earth near the beck and we always seemed to find them. Water voles were very common and were frequently seen. I remember taking a baby vole home only to be told to take it back to where I found it.

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  12. Tacker Thornton phew long time since iv heard his name mentioned, he had the small holding beside the Davis Bridge but lived opposite the Station Hotel. i.e. no 1 railway house at was originally part of old Billingham station it had the coal yard in front of his house it later became used by London Bricks as a delivery yard when trains brought the bricks.

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  13. In the 30″s we used to go down the beck, in fact most roads lead to the beck.  Swimming in the beck forever flowing brown, didnt care we swam to the left of the bridge as you view it in a spot called “Molly”s Hole” to the right a spot called “three Corners” the names , haven”t a clue where we got them,in three corners we had a 10 yd run up to the water and a three foot drop ,we flew like birds into the water ,not forgetting there was all sorts of rubbish in there, old bikes etc.we could spend all day in the “Willow Garth”,an old rope from the branch of a tree , the miles we ran throgh the paths, we could cool off swimming in “Peckitts Corner”had to be skinny dipping no cossies with us.then into old Tackers Field nick some potato”s make a fire and roast them, they came out like lumps of coal, beautiful.when we set out for home it had been dark for awhile,nobody bothered us in those days,I will never forget those days, we had absolutely nothing in those days,but the friendship of your pals,and money couldnt have bought it,the laughs, imagine going down the “willo gaff” two slices of bread with maybe condensed milk on them(lucky me”and a bottle of cold tea, or water , when you had something to eat , you passed the bottle around , and , if you were the last one ,you got all the crumbs from the bottom,you could nt buy that today.

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  14. A thought provoking description, but this scene reminds me of the breathless final steps of the Billingham South Modern annual cross country. If I remember it correctly we ran out of the school towards Billingham Bank and Norton, then up Beaconsfield Road, across the Green and down towards the beck on Mill Lane, detouring to a really boggy bit near the railway embankment before staggering across this bridge to finish. I also did my share of stickleback catching but mainly in the beck north of the railway.

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  15. Billy-Beck” What memories of the Willow-Garth”. The garlic smell of marsh flowers, fields of buttercup, the “katkins” overhanging the walk from the Old-Mill ,Sticklebacks caught in stocking nets on bamboo poles the sparkle of sun lit water under the bridge. Will my fish live long enough in the jam-jar to show Mam and my friends or shall I put them in the Duck-Pond. The day seemed to fly with not a worry in the world

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