25 thoughts on “High Street, Norton

  1. I was told that both my great grandfathers were blacksmiths. Definitely one in Norton other could have been Billingham or Sadberge. Hall was my Grandmothers maiden name, so this would have been early 1900s and probably at Norton. Chapman was my other Grandmothers maiden name. Can anyone confirm these details? Thanks

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    • Derek, look at the stories about Norton Green on this site the Blacksmith features in a lot of them mainly written by me.
      I remember it well from pre-war to well after until as so many local crafts it did not pay to keep it on. The Blacksmith who was originally a Mr Samson (Samuels) and later a German POW who married one of the Blacksmiths Daughters who used to strike for him during the war, he then opened Stockton Flanges at Tilery.
      I think it was watching the Blacksmith repairing my Father’s truck springs and putting tyres on waggon wheels that got me interested in Engineering which I did become. The open fire the smell of horses being shoed the wonder of making hot metal do what you wanted it to do and the fun of running a hot wheel across the road into the pond and watching the steam rise, it got into the blood.
      Frank.

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    • Every elder member of PS should remember this. I was always near to the Blacksmiths when he was shoeing horses or putting steel rims onto the wooden wheels on carts.

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  2. Does any one know the Wilson family who lived in Hallifield Street in 1900’s. This is my great great grandfather. His name was Edward and married Sarah Ann Just who are both buried in the grounds of Norton church.

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  3. It still looks like a village – the difference is the number of cars that litter the roads paths etc, especially down this part of the High Street

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    • The village was an amazing place to grow up in. Does anyone remember Drew’s record shop, Harrison’s paint shop, Brough’s supermarket (one of the first Laverick’s cake shop, Trotters, Spark’s cake shop, the co-op butchers, old Mr Bedford (watch repairs) Walter Wilson’s? The list just goes on an on. Also on the scene was PC Gibson the village copper, many a clip round the ear, circa 1961. The most wonderful village and so many happy memories.

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  4. When they took those railings for scrap in the early days of the war not all were taken, it was the first time I had seen acetylene burning as the men came round with a lorry burnt the rails off at the base and put them on the truck.
    What we did not know at the time was it being a ploy to make everyone feel they were involved and doing their bit, the rails were found from schools private houses factories plus all the metal gates stacked at the back of scrap yards never used in the fifties and sixties they were sold back to those who wanted them, most of the High Street rails around the grassed areas went back in the High Street refurbishment in the late 1950-60’s.
    The same thing happened with the aluminium for spitfires 1941-42 they collected all the aluminium pans in a massive call in and years later we discovered that to had been a ploy as the aluminium was no use for that purpose.
    During the war as Scouts Army Cadets and other youth groups we collected masses of paper glass old iron and wood, a lot of the paper was made into brickets and sold back as fuel during the coal shortage.
    That picture has not got a single car in view and I do know for a fact there were a couple along that side, some people got a petrol ration if they were in special jobs. The clue would be if the picture had shown the entrance to the old Tram Shed, the rails were still there long after the war although the High Street rails were lifted around 1933-4 the wood blocks removed and the road tarred.
    We all collected conkers along the High Street and on the green they were needed as were rose hips, we drank the rose hip syrup but never found out why they needed the conkers, another wartime mystery.

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    • Frank, your mention of the “0” bus and the old tram shed sparked my interest in Norton once again when I came back to the High Street, Norton site today to see if I had received any replies to my posting back in 2013 which mentioned a few Norton girls I had known in the 1950s. I had no luck with that posting, so want to ask if you knew any of the boys I remember: Jeff Sidebottom, John Crow and Tony Bradley. I did have another on my list: Alan Darley, but learned recently that he was killed in an ICI works accident.
      The “0” bus featured in my life as a newspaper delivery boy working out of the newsagents opposite the Duck Pond. I used to offer to do extra rounds to earn more wages to feed my Woodbine habit. Often that meant I had to cut things really tight to reach Stockton Grammar as the minutes ticked towards 9 o’clock, with prospects of detention if I was late yet again. The “0” bus saved my skin on several occasions. (Somewhat ironically I ended up writing for newspapers as a living.)
      Teddy Fletcher

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      • I remember Tony Bradley. lived in Elcoat Road. His father wass in the same darts team as me at the Red Lion. His sister was killed in a road accident near to Thorpe when they broke down and while she was standing nearby the car was run over. Alan Darley was a good mate of mine. I was working at ICI when I realised I was on the same maintenance squad as him. It was when I left ICI that he had his accident. He was a bricklayer and working in one of the coke ovens when leaving the oven he was hit by the moving crane which did not have an audible alarm sounding whilst in motion. He received many injuries which included internal ones He didn’t die through these injuries but in later years died of a brain hemorrhage.

        Remembering now it was while I was at the ICI in 1961 that the accident happened.

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      • Teddy – I knew Bill Darley from Mill Street and met him again many years later when we played bowls against Norton Bowling Club and some good nights socialising in the club. Still the same cheeky lad quick with a wise crack I was sorry to see he had died a year or so back.
        The girls you mentioned probably after my time, my time was Sheila Carrigan, Samual’s Girl from Summerset Yard and across the road the cottages next to the tram sheds a Samualson no relation. Skip the Coal Merchants girl went to school with me, Doreen Stephenson, the Lumleys and my future wife though I did not know it at the time Joan Wiley. My best Pal was Dennis Goldsbrough who had a sister older than us, they also lived in Summerset Yard though mainly the ones I knew came from around the Green, Doreen Henderson, Sheila Carbro and the Yorks.
        The paper shop would be Miss Foster’s and my mother would often sort the papers for delivery. The “0” bus often saved my skin too, our school bus left Norton Green and if you missed that a fast run down the High Street would get you on the Billingham to Richard Hind Bus, if you missed that the “0” bus to Parliament Street and then a very fast gallop to school would if you were lucky get you in for the first hymn, if not then six of the best.
        I often wonder why I look back thinking they were wonderful times, I mean, war, rationing, working holidays, six of the best many times yet they were fun days, why.

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        • There was a Darley’s girl from Mill Street who worked in the Chain Library in Norton High Street. She had a brother called Ken who was as a cartwright at the ICI. I think that he died in the last few years. All the Darleys (2 families) lived in Mill Street.

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          • Hi Bob I was related by sorts to the Darley’s in Mill street.My auntie/sister was married to Malcom for several years.There was only 13 months difference between me and Pat,so hence we grew up as sisters.Alan Darley’s was one of the nicest men you could wish to meet,always had a smile for you.There was also Dennis the middle brother and they had a sister called Mabel who worked for W.H.Smith in town.I also remember Ken Darley’s as well.I remember Malcolm giving me a go on his motorbike which was acJames 197,Needless to say we were all into motor bikes then.We went pillion with no crash helmet as they were not enforced then.Lots of the other lads had Triumphs,either the tiger club or a 350 which Malcolm eventually owned.Did you know Tony Winchester too,a really big biker who was sadly killed on his bike at Norton Green,very sad

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            • Not aware of Tony although Alan was a good friend of mine. When I worked at ICI I realised one day in my early time there he worked on the same maintenance building department. He was a bricklayer working on the Coke Ovens when one day there was a serious accident there which he was involved in. They were slowly closing down the ovens in 1961. He had been working in one of the empty ovens and on exiting it the crane which rammed the ovens caught him, spinning him around and pushed him into the next empty oven. He sustained multiple injuries which included internal ones. He eventually got married but died as a young man from a brain hemorrhage. When I knew him he owned a AJS m’cycle together with a few more who we all went out together. Yes he was a nice lad and always was full of fun. He liked to be called Nala Yelrad which is his name spelt backover.

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              • Hi, I know this thread is a few years old and you may not pick this up, but I’m Alan’s granddaughter, I googled his name in the hopes of finding something, and I found this. I was only 2 when he passed away, and it’s been very nice to read your stories about him. My Mam, Alan’s daughter, has a thing for calling herself by her name spelt backwards too. Thank you πŸ™‚

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            • An age gap there Sandra, I knew Bill Darley and he had an older brother.
              Bill a keen bowler often played against me and we had some good old chinwags.
              Eddie Winchester and his sister Marie were around my age though Marie probably older, they lived in Beaconsfield Road. Eddie had bad asthma so although he sat and watched us lads play cricket he could not indulge. He had a little dog who had been injured in a road accident it back legs were useless he made a little trolley to strap on and they walked miles together. Marie fell for me literally. Called to the packing sheds ICI one Christmas Eve to check out a breakdown I got to the bottom of the steep stairs as Marie came out the top well oiled after the girls had a party in the canteen, the first I knew was a fur coat flying through the air and landing on me smashing me onto the loading dock which luckily was wood, a loader innocently asked what we were up to only to hear a mouthful of army language and get her off me, Marie totally unhurt and feeling amorous took some getting off and as I was bleeding took off the medical room.
              Now at ICI all accidents had to be reported so the Nurse after checking me out started to write it up, what happened? “I was hit by a flying fur coat, there did happen to be a woman in it” have you been drinking? no but she had, report rapidly wiped out and ended up as slipping on loose product on the landing dock.
              I had a motor bike a 125 New Imperial that had raced on the Isle of Man, dad took it in part exchange for a job he did. It was all in bits in a box, there play with that he said and went off up his garden, one week later a mad rush into the garage as I kicked it over without the exhaust on. The first of many riding my BSA from Aldershot home every weekend through a cold winter, my wife often had to prise me off the bike and put me in a warm bath then back to Aldershot on the Sunday. That BSA never missed a beat unlike the Triumph that hated corners.
              Bicycles were the main mode of transport for us lads often with a girl on the cross bar, apart from Dancing it was the only way we got within touching distance and was usually a shaky relationship as the girls wriggled and we fell off in a heap.
              We kids had a free and easy war as Parents went out to war work, we would break free of the draconian discipline of school for a few hours freedom fun and laughter, I do not think todays children would understand.

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        • There was a Bill Darley who worked at I.C.I. & played bowls, that lived near the Oxbridge roundabout, near Hartburn Avenue, it was a shock when he died because he kept himself fit in the Swallow gym.

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  5. I remember jumping over those railings (or ones nearby) to collect conkers blown from the High Street’s magnificent trees. In my teens I also did my share of chatting up the girls while strolling between Yatto’s coffee bar and the Norton Green Cow Shed in the 1950s. Where are you Barbara Hughes, Anne Welch, Virginia Harrison, Hazel Parsons, Pat Walker, Marge Ratray .. and the rest? Teddy Fletcher is now bald and wizzened… but the memories linger on.

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  6. This Picture has me puzzled, the 1950-60 date cannot be right, more like during the war 1939-45.
    It is taken from the Mill Street side and the entrance to the old tram sheds would be just right of the picture although during the war it held AFS and Air Raid Wardens vehicles..
    The iron railings apart from one house have gone for wartime scrap, the lone cyclist has the white patch we had on out bikes and what good they did I do not know, a lot of people were killed by traffic at night during the war.
    The main thing is no cars, that side of the High Street which remains much as it was when I walked past them each day to Norton board School and then by bus to Richard Hind School. By 1950-60 were slowly being acquired by ICI and they were moving plant Managers into them although one or two remained in private hands.
    Shortage of petrol during the war years and after meant very few private cars on the road, like our own cars they were locked away, if we travelled to relatives or a brief break we went in the truck, a long bench seat held four of us in comfort and usually included dropping or picking up a load.
    Nothing on the road either? It was very early in the day probably, the 0 bus ran five minute interval services from early morning to late at night, all a bit strange, β€œor” did they have a man at each end of the Hight Street blocking the road after pushing any vehicles into the pond?

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    • At the bottom left of the picture there seem to be some of the railings I remember being brought back in the 40/50’s?. So could this be the late 40’s? I remember walking all the way back towards Norton Board School after hearing a car had crashed into a tree near the chip shop. Seeing cars was a rare thing even just after the war.

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  7. Aye, did a lot of my courting and hanging out walking up and down this High Street, meeting up with friends near the duck pond, calling at Norton Fisheries for the usual with scraps on.

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