3 thoughts on “Reed Street, Thornaby c1977

  1. Thanks, Eric your 100% correct, it is Rea, and whilst acting as undertakers they have buried at least 6 members of my family including the collection of my sister’s body from London one Christmas at very short notice for which we were eternally grateful. No London firm of undertakers would undertake this job until the New Year. Regards Bob.


  2. Thomas Rhea & Sons, Thornaby Funeral Directors, established 1928, has buried a large percentage of Thornaby citizens including for many their grandparents, parents and siblings. I can remember this company being based in Eldon Street, Thornaby, and recall the company founder Tommy Rhea, was also a builder and joiner by trade who built houses in Thornaby, including the Vicarage in Lanehouse Road. He had a son ‘Vincent’ who took over the business when he passed on, aided by a nephew called Michael. I often wondered if the name Rhea was of Italian origin, it is not and, I must have got it confused, with the ‘Rea of Teeside ice cream fame’, including Chris Rea the singer. The name Rhea is of Scots origin, this surname is said to describe someone who lived by a stream, examples of early recordings of this name include that of Ralph de la Reye, known as ‘The Hammer of the Scots’ 1272 – 1307.

    *In this photo I’m certain that the building on the right is the old Billiard Hall in Reed Street, Thornaby, behind this hall was a back alley in which the then illegal back-street bookmakers stood taking bets, the only bookmaker’s names I can remember are “Old Tally, and “Joe Mallon”. These bookies had a lookout stood on the corner with Mandale Road, and “when the shout of Police went up” they scarpered into the Reed Street terrace houses that backed onto their bookies’ pitch. They were stood in the backyards of these houses. Thornaby Police often turned a blind eye to these men’s activities and many an old time copper had ways and means of placing a bet with them without being seen. It was a bit of fun for all especially on Derby Day, and the National at Aintree. The King of Jockeys then was Gordon Richards, the number 2 jockey was the immortal Manny Mercer.


    • Bob, Thomas Rea, is the spelling I always remember. My grandmother was friends with old Mrs Rea who I think lived in one of the large old houses just opposite the Harewood Arms where Mandale Road merged with Acklam Road. She always told me that her name was pronounced ‘Ray’ and not Rhea.


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