Norton Duck Pond. 2006

Norton duck pond, after the first snow this year and the last view before the improvements started. Experts from Tees Valley Wildlife Trust say the improvements will enhance life for the ducks as the increased air flow to the pond will improve the water quality. Photograph courtesy of Mr George Guirguis.

12 thoughts on “Norton Duck Pond. 2006

  1. The ‘Devils Dip’ that Bob Harbron mentions was in the old Sholwfield at Norton. Where Primrose Hill played on the top field the banking behind it and at the bottom of this was a further hollow which we called the Devils Dip. We sledged down the bank from any side and into the extraometimes going through the air and most times falling off. The other which you mention is what we called Thorpe Bank where the cattery is.


  2. Sarah Sheraton, I’m pretty sure from Bob Harbrons description that the Devils Dip he speaks of is not the same as the one of your memories. However, I know of the one which you remember. As a teenger in the middle seventies, I used to go to the same spot with a couple of mates from Roseworth estate. At the time we were fans of the late great Barry Sheene, so we used to emulate him by pedalling down the hill, sticking our knee’s out when going round the bend as fast as we could. It’s still there, if you follow Blakeston lane on Google maps (starting at Junction Rd) you come to a point where it branches off to the left, this becomes Durham Rd (the old Durham Rd, not the A177 new road). It also branches off to the right to become Wynyard Rd, this is the road on which Devils Dip as I know it is situated. Google maps is a little confusing, as this Wynyard Rd stops at a T-junction, where the road to the right and left is also called Wynyard Rd, this is the road which runs from Thorpe Thewles through to Wolviston, passing the entrance to Wynyard Hall on its route


  3. Tom Webster was a horticulturalist and before working the land behind the Ragworth Hall he had a plot of land where the Spiritulists Church is on Darlington Lane which he used. He was also a member of the Norton Tykes Cricket Team who played their games in the field at the corner of the Showfield and next to Crooksbarn Lane. He left the gardens behind Ragworth Hall to start his business in Jersey probably in the late 50’s.


  4. My family lived in Ragworth Hall in the mid 1950s. I would love to be able to see pictures of it and find out its history. I remember the Duck Pond with glee, and there was a sweet shop across the road from Ragworth Hall owned by the Wozniak family. I came to visit the Hall but it had been torn down by the time I got back, there was however a trace of the splendid old garden. A Farmer Webster farmed the land behind the garden. If you have any more information, or links to information and pictures of Ragworth Hall and its history, I would love very much to receive them. Thank you for this site. mjm

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  5. Mr. Harbron – As youngsters on bikes, a friend and I used to ride down Blakeston Lane to a wonderfully steep slope we called “Devil”s Dip”. There we would let go of the pedals and ride down, gathering tremendous speed. Great fun. Is this the same “Devil”s Dip” you refer to? Did you sledge down the same slope? I”ve tried trying to find the slope on Google Earth”s images now but can”t find it, unfortunately. 🙂 Thank you very much for your informative and entertaining contributions to this site. 🙂


  6. Following on from Bob”s comments about the snow & cold. I remember travelling from Roseworth to Frederick Nattress school (before the Roseworth Sec. was built) and having snowball fights and slides on the pond before school,lunchtimes and afternoons waiting for the bus to take us back home. One time in particular sticks in my mind – I think it was either the winter of 58/9 or 59/60 I was about 13 – we were sliding on the pond at lunchtime and I managed to find a small hole in the ice which my left leg nicely fitted into. Hence I went back to school with a very wet leg and had to sit beside those big radiators trying to dry my trousers off. If I had got home with them wet my mam would have skleped me. Happy Days?


  7. Bob Harbron paints a poignant picture of the cold winter days I remember as a child and youth. The mention of “welly-rash” and chilblains evoke unpleasant memories of my childhood. I suffered from chilblains as a kid every winter. The medical definition of chilblains is an inflamed condition of the skin, which is related to poor circulation and cold weather. Whilst there were various propriatary preparations to treat the condition, Snowfire being one of them, none could replace the preventative measure of warm clothing and footwear. That said, my toes were subjected to chilblains every winter and were the cause of severe pain, as I would rub the skin off trying to relieve the constant itch. All eight toes (I never suffered chilblains on my big toes)would have to be separately bandaged each night after the application of Snowfire. Into bed with one of those old stone hot-water bottles (does anybody remember them?)and hope that I could manage to sleep without kicking the stone bottle with my injured toes. I remember one year, my grandmother came up with an old wife`s tale for treatment of chilblains. She advised rubbing fresh snow into them. This was done and several of my toes went sceptic. I went off my grandma that year. Despite this annual torture there was no way that I would miss out on the sledging and snowball fights in the snow that seemed to last for weeks – a definite masochist.


  8. Norton Duck Pond I couldn”t agree more with Tim”s comment on the Duck-Pond for over a thousand year”s a WORKING POND for the Church and Village, a link with our ancient past not an enhanced “Water-feature”, what next “Decking” round the Pond”. The ducks never liked the 1970,s fountain, at a wind change they all moved from the spray area.


  9. The fountain plinth in the centre of the pond has now been replaced. The new fountain was operated for the first time on Monday 13th March 2006 and consists of a single vertical plume of water which is illuminated during darkness. This would be very nice if the fountain was anywhere else other than a traditional village duck pond. When I was young, my brother and I used to sail model yachts on the pond, the Mk.1 fountain and its large plinth was added in the early 1960″s and put a stop to that.


  10. Yes, Bob, I remember one winter in particular – it may have “46/7 – when we sledged every day for ever, had massive snowball fights at school, building snow walls to duck behind and specialising in those particularly hard, much massaged snow missiles. I remember too the slides we used to make in the playground stretching about ten feet to the annoyance of our teachers. If I remember rightly the girls used to take great pride in building their snowmen and the boys would wait till it was about finished and then smash it just as the bell went. As a teacher I learned to try to keep students eyes away from the window because as soon as the first snowflake was spotted everyone rushed to the windows with eyes as big as saucepan lids anticipating the fun ahead. I wasn”t often far behind!


  11. Duck Pond The snow on Mr Guirguis photo lasted one day , I wonder how many of you remember snow which covered the district for weeks, I believe anybody below the age of thirty has never seen snow which required a shovel at the front and back door to get out onto a icy-iron pavement, when buses had to stop at any bank or hill, when thousands had to walk into work for days, some from Harlepool to I.C.I , when the back of your legs got “Welly-Rash”from the constant need to wear them. The snow was just part of the problem , the slush of the days traffic turned by hard-frosts into iron hard tracks making cycling, even walking, hazardous In the works it took weeks for product lines to be thawed out , while burst high pressure water pipes turned buildings into ice-castles and pipe bridges across the roads into crystal walls and gates . Home made sledges came into their own with hundred on the Show-field, Norton ( now Red-House field ) with the “Devils-Dip” for the brave , a 20 ft almost vertical slide , a hump at the bottom which sent the sledge and occupants airborne to finish on the ice covered floor of the clay-pit. Remember the application of “Snowfire ” on those chilblains , caused by sitting too long in front of an open coal fire after hours in the cold . What are your Memories ??


  12. Duck Pond 2006 –  George has captured over 200 years of history on his photo. At the rear far right the end of Red-House school hall 1982 on the site of the mid 1700 “Vicars-Barn” Two cream coloured cottages of the original Bath-Cottage (1804)Vicars Row, the remaining 5 were purchased by Mr Kirk-Lascelle, fronted and named The White-House” 1880. In 2006 the interior being restored to its Victorian splendour. Darlington Lane is next and for 80 years was dominated by Ragworth Hall. A line of late 1700 early 1800 “Conscience -Cottage” was built by land owners at the bequest of the Rev Christopher Anstey to improve the lot of farm-workers and villagers. Mid 1980″s saw the devastion of Dutch Elm Disease, which casused 50% tree loss in the village. A prompt tree planting programme by Stockton Council saw dozens of new trees planted in the late 1980″s, a number can be seen to the left and perimeter of the Green. While the Pond is being serviced the ducks have taken up residence on the Norton-Hall Ponds and Billingham Beck Valley Park


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