Sand Pits and Show Field, Norton

A view of the sand pits and show field in Norton taken from the top of our garden wall in Mill Lane, dad up a ladder with a box brownie and I sledging with some friends in not that you can pick me out. It is now the Red House School playing field.

Photograph and details courtesy Frank Mee.

11 thoughts on “Sand Pits and Show Field, Norton

  1. As a young boy just after the war I spent many a day at the Sand Pitts rolling Easter eggs or sledging down the slopes. My grandmother lived on the High Street No. 155 I think, and I often walked across Billingham Bottoms past the Sand Pitts to our house just up Billingham bank. Are they still there? Intuition tells me they have long ago been built on.

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    • The Sand Pits were levelled and are now the Red House School playing field.
      The Ring Road cuts across the top of what was once the Show field and crosses the main A19 across Billingham bottoms.
      What is left of the walk we once did to Chapel Road and on to Billingham green is now an Ecology Park.
      You would still recognise Norton Green and High Street although both are now massive car parks. I often go for a meal in one of the many Cafes that have taken over what were once shops, must admit they are very nice places to sit and watch the world I once knew pass in front of my eye’s. You can still get all your shopping needs in the High Street, Norton has kept its character, my Father would recognise it still.
      Frank.

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  2. Frank Mee – My late maternal grandfather used to attend Norton Show back in the early 1930’s often winning the W Walker Challenge Cup for the Best Working Horse in Show. Do you have any photo’s or details of Norton Show?

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    • Michael, Sorry no more photo’s, film was rationed during the war and pre-war few people had camera’s.
      My Father although born in North Shields lived in Norton from being a lad he told me they had held shows in that field for many years although the 1929 crash had stopped them happening the money was not there. He also told me the local myth was the Barnum and Bailey travelling show had performed there in the early part of the 20th Century, I cannot confirm that.
      The Sand pits with its banks was ideal for sledging, also egg jarping at Easter, we all had home made sleds no plastic bags as you see today they had not been invented. There was a Pond to the left we sailed our home made rafts on and often got wet.
      The flat bit at the top or the show field was used by a Rugby Club at one end and the Tykes Cricket Club at the other in-between we played football.
      The fields came alive on Bank Holidays as the Bus brought people from the Town to the Green and spilled over into the Sand Pits. We got the Stop me and Buy One Ice cream carts, roundabouts and stalls it was a real let your hair down time the clean lungs of the area. When you consider the Streets of Houses all with coal fires the number of works in Town spewing out smoke and fume it was needed.
      That field was my play area, battle training area for the Army Cadets, and holding hands sweetheart Sunday Night walks.There were often cattle on it Les Barker would tell me a football covered in cow muck scored better goals, another local myth methinks.
      The picture was taken in 1944.
      Frank.

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  3. Can’t quite fathom the angle of this photo. Is it looking east towards I.C.I. ? Would the top of ROSEBERRY Road go off to the right at the end of the wooden fence?

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    • Jean this photo would have been taken near the fence to the field from Mill Lane. The few houses on the right in Mill Lane would be in front of the Bradbury Road leading to Roseberry Road. On the field to the right of the photo is the fencing to Chesterfield House.

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    • Norton Green into Mill Lane, 5 Mill Lane was our house the wall the picture was taken from was the North end of the Garden. On the corner of our wall and the field it was a sharp right turn towards the old mill and just Past Chesterfield House (still there, Miss Goottey lived there) it turned North again to Crooksbarn Lane and Redwing Lane since much extended.
      Bradbiury Road was to the right off the Green just before Mill Lane and Rosebury Road was at the top of that road.
      Had you walked across the Show field and the next field you would come to Norton Station and the Railway. Keep on walking as we often did you came to Carlton.
      Frank.

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        • Sarah, Ken called me Philip among other things. The Farm on Crooksbarn was the last building the rest was all fields before Swallow lane and the School were built. You could walk across the fields backing Station Road to the Station if you so wished.
          Went to sleep at night listening to the Coal Trains that ran a good part of the night, when I went to the Farm near Hart Village, Haymaking Harvesting, all hands on then, I could not get to sleep it was too quiet.
          Only a small section of Rosebury Road had been built and Fulthorpe Farm was on the rest of that area. The ring Road was not there and you could walk to Billingham across fields or turn along what we called the Willow Garth and come out near the concrete works on Calf Fallow Lane, crossing the railway lines and back up Station Road to the Green a favourite Sunday night walk for our crowd Ken, Ray Pigg, Ian Downs, John Dent, Billy Watson, June and Elsie Robinson, Jean Dent, Christine Pollard, Elsie Watson Ruth and Bruce Edwards myself and your Mum often joined by others.
          We had a freedom modern children do not have, everything was outside the house, we walked for miles played our games and looked out for each other, it was war time the Adults had other things to do.
          Frank (Philip).

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      • Aah, this photo brings back memories of my childhood, sledging down the slopes of what we called ‘The show field’ before it was filled in to provide a playing field for Red House school. I also remember walking across it in the summer with my school-friend Glenys in the 50’s. We took a short cut to get to Wm Newton school on Junction Road. I remember ‘stroking’ cows while they were grazing!. I wish I had my own photos of it but film was expensive then… My sister Janet used to chat to the old lady at the Mill. Jan was much more outgoing than me I was too shy – much to my regret now. I was known then by my birth name – Marilyn (nee Miller) my friends call me Mandy now. 🙂 It’s the only time I’ve seen a photo of it, thanks.

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