This is one of those posts that was lost when we moved to the new site.
This wonderful photograph shows the Imperial Garage that was on the junction of Norton Road and Imperial Avenue c1933.
Photograph and details courtesy of Gary Adcock.
We have tried to re create as many of the original comments as possible…
I remember living in Granville Grove until about 1962 when we moved to Oxbridge Lane in Stockton. I remember one of our favourite places to play was ‘The Puggy’. This was in Imperial Avenue. There were a few garages there and it backed onto the railway line. We spent many a happy hour jumping across the garage roofs and making dens on the railway enbankment, we always had to hide if we heard a train coming!
Very good site as I am new to the area of 20yrs. It’s lovely reading all the comments and memories
I remember this garage well. In the 70’s it was a Toyota dealership and my bedroom overlooked it. I lived at No 1 Imperial Avenue on the other corner. My mother ran a day nursery in a room at home and the house had some interesting history. it was named Burnhamthorpe and was reputedly built for a relative of Lord Nelson (who’s family seat is Burnhamthorpe House in Norfolk). I am sceptical. The house is, despite it’s grandeur, a semi. To me, as a child, it was huge and terrifying at times. Full of ghosts and nasties It’s unlit box room became my prison at the hands of my ‘evil’ older brother! The house was often mistaken as the vicarage as the next building up the avenue was St Michaels and all Angels church.
My husband Robert ( B0B) was 12yrs old when he started to deliver milk for Blue Hall Dairy in 1955, he used to take his wages back to mum. Our house is at the back of the picture of Wiggins Garage, He was a choir boy at Saint Michaels All Saints Church in 1953. If he did the services on Sunday he was paid 6d for each session, if you did all 3 you got a florin.
Does anyone remember LORDONS Grocery Shop on the corner of Wesley Terrace ? Thomsons Printers ? The Wood Yard in Napier Street ?
The Pottery track goes under our garage to the railway track
Lordons on the corner of Wesley Terrace. I walk past it often and can see where the entrance from Wesley Terrace is now bricked up. Mrs Thompson, as well as owning the printers in Napier Sreet, owned the shop at the front on Norton Road which is now a newsagents and general store. They did use the shop at one time. I believe she died recently. As for the wood yard, I can’t remember that.
Mrs Thompson (my aunt Margaret) was the wife of George Thompson who set up and ran the Carlton Press, with the stationery shop as a front outlet. George had started his printing in the garden shed of his mother’s house behind Wiggins Garage at the bottom of Imperial Avenue. George was also a drummer with the RAF band during the war and later with the Jack Marwood band. On retirement George and Margaret moved to Junction Road.
Mike Freeman (son of May, George’s sister, who married Harry Freeman)
I always knew this garage to be called Wiggins. Their name is on the Garage as well as the truck to the right.
Wasn’t there a small dairy next door to this?
The dairy is now a taxi company. I remember the spikes on the Wiggins Garage chains. There was a low wall beneath the chains that we’d try to walk along the risk being that if you slipped the spikes would get you. The wall isn’t there in the photo. The workshop round the side had a combined pit and hydraulic lift that was a source of fascination until the mechanics chased you away.
My husband Dave took a job early mornings delivering milk as well as his day job to save up and buy an engagement ring for me! It was called Kirby’s Dairy then think the owner was Bill Kirby.
The Taxi Company is Arrowsmiths. Before that it was Kirby’s Dairy. Is that the one you are thinking of Mike? There could have been another Dairy Company before that one.
Thanks to one and all for the extra information and yes Bob it most certainly was.
Kirby’s Dairy gave its name to the bus stop outside Brown’s barber shop between Imperial Avenue and Hallifield Street. It was always (maybe still is) called Kirby’s Corner. My Grandmother whose maiden name was Kirby claimed it was called after her father but he’s not mentioned at the house in Hallifield Street in any of the census records. He lived in Norton village.
Kirby’s Corner was in existence long before Bill Kirby bought the Dairy next to Wiggins Garage.
Hmm that’s interesting. Maybe Gran was right and it is named after Frank Kirby?
What a wealth of period detail in the photo. The petrol pumps appear to be the old mechanical type before electrically operated pumps came in – lots of hard work winding them for the pump attendant. The Morris Bull Nose pick up illustrates what garages often used in those days usually converted from an older but still reliable car. By 1933 the Morris would have been somewhat dated so would be ripe for this kind of conversion.
Kirby’s Corner possibly associated with Thomas and Rose Kirby who were grocers at Cambridge Terrace (by Norton Road) next to Hallifield Street from Victorian times. Other Kirby families lived down Hallifield Street and in nearby streets from Victorian times as well.
Of course Blue Hall Dairy should have remembered that. Yes Peter we still recall you and in fact we went to your wedding to Julie at Norton Methodist church back in the 70s. Does anyone remember the Red Stamp Stores which was on the corner of Hallifield Street and Norton Road in the 50s? They sold butter bacon groceries etc and the smell was gorgeous as you went in. Flour dried fruit sugar etc were all in large sacks on the floor and were made up into bags as required (suppose it is a bit like the Weigh and Save now!)
Pat Pattison (nee Beard)
Pat, who could forget the Red Stamp Stores? My mother used to shop there if it wasn’t Saturday when we would go up town. Your comment about the smell brings back memories of the Maypole along with the Home and Colonial. Hams hanging, coffee being freshly ground and cheese. I can almost smell the places now. Peter well done wouldn’t have remembered that one. Have to say I always thought that Blue Hall was down the bottom of Norton Avenue but memory isn’t always what it should be.
Snowdens the off licence where we got cream soda and a bag of crisps on a Saturday night any flavour you liked as long as it was plain with a blue bag of salt. Now they are trying to take the salt out of things then they used to put extra in! A few doors along was the fish and chip shop think it was the XL that was a Friday treat a bag of chips with scraps on. The Malleable club stood opposite our house my Grandad Will Storr was the caretaker after he retired from being a tram driver. A few doors further along Norton Road was Forrest Wompra’s photographic studio the family lived upstairs and I used to play with Ann Wompra. I still have a photo of one of her birthday parties which Mr Wompra took in 1949. Around the corner in Hallifield Street was the Connelly’s corner shop I used to play with Joan and Joyce Connelly the twins and still know them today. The manager of the Red Stamp Stores was called Mr Fenwick in my time it was Mike Renwick’s posting which jogged the memory on this one as the names are similar. Are you the Mike who goes in the Penny Black and used to work in a bank?
Pat Pattison (nee Beard)
Pat another name to conjure with Forrest Wompra – had my preschool starting photograph taken there wearing my new Tilery Road rigout. As to your question no I moved with ICI to Scotland some thirty years ago. Incidentally my father was a member of the Malleable club he worked there before it shut down but stayed in the steel industry moving to Dorman Long after a short stint at Billingham ICI.
Another favourite place to play was opposite the Brown Jug used to be the Pottery fields as we called it now with nursing homes on the site all humps and bumps and great to ride on bikes we put together with any parts we could get hold of in those days – odd wheels no brakes no cares in the world then. We played out till nearly dark then when light nights seemed to last for ages or is the memory playing tricks.
Talking of the railway line next to the Dairy, in the late 80’s maybe early 90’s. The great train robbery or were they re-enacting the old westerns. Just after the bridge all sorts was laid across the line to stop the train. Then when it stopped the raiders arrived from out of Blue Hall. What did they get? The raided the Newcastle Brown Ale truck and took away loads of ‘booze’. This consignment had been watched before hand at the Marshalling Yard which is now the Prison. I wonder if anyone did get caught for doing this?
I lived in Blue Hall dairy with my parents who were Charlie and Florence Atkinson. We lived there from about 1945 to 1954 I remember the garage well. My mum and I even went on a bus trip with garage employees. My dad collected the milk from a farm at Billingham bottoms and we bottled it in our dairy. Sarah Burns helped my dad deliver the milk. When we first lived there we had a horse and cart that we used to deliver the milk but my dad sold it and bought a bike with a cart on the front used to deliver the milk. Some of the people living behind the garage in Granville Grove were the Wilson`s who owned Billingham Press the Smiths Taylor`s and Williams also a lady who was matron of Shotley Bridge Hospital
Joyce Jobling (nee Atkinson)
My name used to be June Williams and I lived in Granville Grove until about 1960 I lived there with my parents and younger brother and sister Tony and Margaret. We lived at number 8 and my best friend at the time was Carol Wilson who lived at number 2. We were often sent on errands to ‘ the dairy ‘. I can still remember the names of all the people who lived in Granville Grove. As well as the people mentioned above there were the Watson,the Hodgsons,the Halls and next door to us the Murrays.
Is this the Carol Wilson that went to Richard Hind School & was the daughter of Harry Wilson the football referee?