I was lucky enough to go on a ‘Behind The Scenes Tour’ of The Globe , it’s now official name but a shame to drop the ‘Theatre’ part , back in June as reported here on ‘Picture Stockton’ and I was back again in November on a ‘Hard Hat Heritage Tour’ with tales of the ABC Minors and weekly birthdays! Outwardly and to the untrained eye not a lot seems to have happened since June although this time we did visit the old bar area sadly devoid of alcohol and indeed also devoid of its fixtures and fittings. However while in the bar those immortal words ‘Dorman Long’ could be seen on the steel joist helping to keep the building up, indeed – propping the bar up !
The recent press coverage of The Globe, some good and some not so good, brought lots of questions from our group about the rebuilding work and the opening date has been put back to Spring 2020 to accommodate these works with an obvious push being given to No153 The High Street, the self-contained arts centre which will sit between The Globe and Debenhams. Any technical questions were well fielded by Chris and Steve from builders Willmott Dixon while our host Sophie from SBC took us on a magical history tour from the first Globe of 1926 to the present one which was opened in 1935 by two brothers who also ran a butchers shop on the site and who continued to trade even as the new building went up around them ! In keeping with the seasonal theme there is a display of panto costumes and memorabilia in the ‘meet and greet’ area were the tours begin, oh no there isn’t – oh yes there is, and these will eventually move into Stockton Rediscovered with another Globe exhibition due to be housed in Preston Park Museum next July to September .
Some of our group wore their ABC Minors badges with pride, they were luminous, lumi…. glowed in the dark , which was a revelation to some 50 years later having been kept in the dark about them all that time! Sneaking in through side doors was another obvious pastime during the Saturday morning clubs while others recalled Zorro and Gene Autry, Flash Gordon and being called up onto the stage to celebrate your birthday were some faces became just a bit too familiar with almost weekly birthdays! Sadly the stage is long gone, not so much demolished more like sunk were the water had leaked in over the years while The Globe had stood empty but once refurbished the main auditorium will have a capacity of 3,000 and shimmer again in its original art-deco colours of gold, green and pink .
So thanks to Sophie and her team of helpers who kitted us out in the now obligatory ‘elf and safety kit and who chipped in with memories and story-boards as we toured this theatre of former wonders one Friday afternoon in November. A big thank you to Barry, Elaine, Gloria, Jan, Steve and Tim who as volunteers all deserve our thanks for their time and dedication to the project and as ever you can keep up to date on the restoration of The Globe through its Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/TheGlobeStockton/ and you don’t need to be a Facebook user to view it or alternatively visit Rediscover Stockton in The High Street to enquire about the 2019 tours which are booking up now.
Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.