7 thoughts on “The Co-op, Billingham c1950s

  1. One evening, in the terrible winter of 1947 my mother was on her way home – she had, for a while, the sewing accessories shop called ‘The Top Shop’, which was, I think, part of the Picture House building at the top of Mill Lane. She saw some children dump a bag in the doorway of the Co-op, realised as she passed that it was moving, and found a tiny tortoiseshell kitten inside. It had a very pink nose, and ‘Pinkie’ lived with us for another fifteen years or so, through all our house moves, timid but affectionate.
    I seem to remember that my mother did her weekly shop in the 1940s at the Co-op ‘over the station’? We went to Mr Blake’s shop The Dairy on Teesdale Avenue for bits and pieces. Do others remember these?


    • Hi Joe: I too remember the harsh Winter of 1947 and the very hot summer that followed. I can’t remember ‘The Top Shop’ unfortunately, but as I indicate below I do recall clearly a lot going on down Mill Lane.

      We lived at 11 West Avenue Billingham from when I was born, in June 1939, until we emigrated to Canada in 1954. I have very fond memories of Teeside during those years, the Co-op where my mother shopped and the stores all down Mill Lane. My sisters did ballet lessons on the upper floor of the Co-op. I remember the Household Store next to the Picture House they had a slogan ‘We lead others Follow’, a Chemists shop nearby and half way down The Wireless Shop.
      When I was around 9 or 10, I along with dozens of other kids used to go to the Picture House for Saturday matinees. They showed a lot of cowboy films, Johnny McBrown and Roy Rogers. The kids sat in the front 3 rows on wooden benches and tried to push each other off the end of the bench.

      Going along Billingham Road there was a popular Sweet Shop can’t remember its name but I remember lining up in the late 40’s to buy sweets once the ration book was not needed. Opposite the sweet shop was a favorite Fish and Chip shop.

      I went to the Church of England infants school with teachers Mrs Bateman, Miss Gibson and Miss Liverseed all lovely people then the ‘School on the Green’ and eventually the South Modern near the Billingham Baths. Such wonderful memories of those years


  2. And like the Co-op Store in Leven Road Norton had a lovely dance floor upstairs, I did learn to dance in the Norton Co-op Hall at a very young age.
    The Co-ops were the Supermarkets of the day before they were invented and quite uipmarket too, that area of Billingham, the Green and Station road were vibrant shopping areas the same as Norton High Street and part of Leven Road, people shopped near home back then and a lot of the produce was local.
    We walked that way to Billingham baths very modern and well used by the locals which included us Norton lot walking down the Mill Lane up across Bllingham Green passing that store, then walking back, we never even thought of getting the bus.


    • I worked at 30 Branch 1955 straight from school. It was a very busy store with travellers covering all of Billingham taking orders, which were delivered by Harry Chapman with his horse and cart. Every month we used to supply I.C.I with tea and sugar rations to their employees, this was quite an ordeal when you think of the large number working there at that time.


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