Coronation Day, Stokesley Crescent in Billingham

This photograph was taken on June 2nd 1953 in Stokesley Crescent, Billingham. I only have very faint recollections of the day and the only people I can name are myself, the dismal looking squab with an eye patch in the middle of the second row from the front and the little head at the very bottom of the picture, Dave Willoughby. Fortunately another person in the photograph has a better memory than I have, she is Susan Lewis and the following are her words…

‘This was Coronation day in 1953, it rained heavily which is why we are all crammed into somebody’s house, I think it may have been the Stephenson’s house.

Viewing the photograph from left to right the back row has Hilton Brown at the left with a bugle affair, third from left is my brother Tony dressed as ‘Just William’ with Valentine Gallagher dressed as a washerwoman at the far right.

Second row from the back we have one of the Murray sisters at the far left, they were Yvonne and Sandra, the other sister is ‘Miss Britain’, I think Yvonne was the elder but I’m not certain.

I am the bewildered looking child with the big red, white and blue bullseye on my chest and head to the left of the front row, I remember the dye running from the crepe paper because of the rain.

Next to me is Hilton Browns sister, Hazel.

The three Wrench brothers, Derek, David and Barry are as follows, Derek is the cowboy with the brown waistcoat, David is half obscured in front of Val Gallagher and Barry is the unhappy looking ‘Blacked-up’ boy, the boys mother Renee is the dark haired woman to the right behind Robin Hood.

The girl in the pale blue hat and blue checked shirt is Marjorie Duncan and Robin Hood is one of the Stephenson boys, Joe I think, his mother is the sandy haired lady to the right of centre of the picture’.

Four of the children in this photograph became teachers, Susan Lewis, Tony Lewis, Joe Stephenson and myself Brian Storey. If anybody can add names to any of these faces then please do get in touch.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Storey, details courtesy of Brian Storey, Susan Lewis.

Susan is the author of ‘Home On The Range – Growing Up On Teesside In The 1950s & 60s’, Billingham Library have a copy in the local interest section.

4 thoughts on “Coronation Day, Stokesley Crescent in Billingham

  1. Can I add a couple of points? What I thought was a gun is a bow, held by another Robin Hood, so definitely not my brother Richard. My sister Pat confirms that Richard is the little boy with the eye-patch. She also tells me, very firmly, that the party was held at the Wrench’s house. Incidentally, the houses were ideal for postman’s knock type games: two front rooms, girls in one, boys in the other, each room with a door into the centre front porch in total darkness. Everyone was given a number, so in theory it was anonymous. That lasted about five minutes…


  2. I also have this photo, in black & white. I’m Joe Stephenson, as Robin Hood, the little patriotic fairy in tears is my youngest sister Jennifer. I’m pretty certain that the ‘little squab’ with the eyepatch is my brother Richard, then aged 6, who taught English in France for many years before becoming a professional translator, and now is semi-retired on the south coast. The lad between Hilton and Tony, I think is John Dobinson. My sister is being comforted, I think by Miss Twizle, next to her is my mother, Win Stephenson, next to her (dark hair) is Mrs Wrench. The party was definitely not in our house. We all went round, I believe, to Miss Twizle. Barry Wrench is the small blacked-up boy, and it’s Derek in front of Val Gallagher. My Dad, Jack Stephenson chaired the fund-raising committee, meetings held at the entrance to the grassed area called the square: we used to go round to the Wrench’s next door neighbour to watch children’s TV once a week, for a penny, and another for a piece of toffee made by my Dad in jam tart tins. I think they had the only TV in the street. On reflection, my brother could be the little lad with the gun. I’ll get him to add his two-pennorth. And my sister Pat, (now 88 and still in Billingham) who will probably be able to name all the adults. Lovely to see this and have some names added to the ones I remember.


  3. I have this photo. Actually Susan next to you is myself (Dorothy nee Brown) with my little sister Hazel. Third row up from left is Kay Appleby, Teresa McCabe and Coral Leybourne. The lady third from right is Margaret Twyzle (not sure of the spelling). It was a rainy day so street celebration was out and the party was in Mrs Stephenson’s house. I remember playing Postman’s Knock and I desperately wanted your brother Tony to pick me.


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