This is one of those posts that was lost when we moved to the new site.
This shows the 1st Norton Boys Brigade from Norton Methodist Church, taken in 1942 outside Frederick Nattrass School.
Photograph courtesy of Robert Boardman.
We have tried to recreate as many of the original comments as possible…
The above photo was taken at the Frederick Nattrass School soon after the company formed. Their normal residence at the Methodist Hall was needed for essential war work. Parents and church members funded the instruments. To the recent commentators the 1st Norton Boys Brigade its band Life Boys and associated Girls Brigade were still marching up and down Norton High Street in the 1960’s and early 1970’s when I was a band member. We formed up one Sunday morning a month at West Row Norton Green opposite Jesmond House and marched down the High Street to the Methodist Church for the main service returning from Keithlands Road opposite the church (or sometimes the church car-park) about 1.5 hours later. You would get about six tunes out of your bugle before you completed the Green to church journey. We marched all the year round and I hated doing it when caught by the rain or snow because you had to sit through the church service cold and wet. Playing a cold bugle with frosty hands was no fun either. The band practised in the Methodist Hall at least one night a week so called band night. We knew about a dozen tunes. The bands best drummers graduated to the local rock groups and some became semi-professional musicians. Sid Bell with considerable help from other officers ran the senior boys company and similarly Olive Shaw ran the girls company for years. Tom Parkin and Don Jackson tackled the younger boys. The 1st Nortons were very successful in many Teesside and some national BB competitions in the early 1970’s their main local rivals from memory being the 2nd Middlesbrough Company. Blue Hall lads (Norton Board and Frederick Nattrass Schools) and a sprinkling of grammar school types staffed the 1st Nortons around 1970. The teenage team of Clive Bell Alan Boardman and Colin Wennington were runners up in the BB national chess competition of 1972 and quarter finalists in 1973 (narrowly losing at about 3 am somewhere in Scotland after a marathon evening session) the first feat attracting the attention of the Evening Gazette as I still have the article. Indeed the Gazette published the weekly local BB notices in this era. One night this chess team trashed the senior managers of ICI Billingham 9-0. Sid Bell ran the chess team like a professional football manager. He drove the team all over the UK and really felt the match tension success and failure. The Blue Hall lads were very competitive especially at marching sport first- aid and band competitions once they played the wrong tune in a local competition but still won.
The chap in the front row, in the middle with the stick was the Major (if that’s what you call the leader)? He lived in Sutherland Grove off Station Road. What was his name? I was recently talking to Don Jackson. He was attending the reunion of the Co-op Youth Club at the Stockton Cricket Ground. He was a member there just after the WW11. He was telling me that he was now 81 years old.
Captain R.H. ‘Dick’ Watchorn lived at 5 Sutherland Grove and ran the 1st Norton BB company for many years including 1956. By the late 1960’s the Girls Brigade contributed to the band. When Teesside was formed I think the 1st Norton BB company became the 11th Teesside BB company for some years also I seem to remember a 2nd Norton company at one of the churches south of Norton Avenue.