The Globe: Hard Hat Heritage Tour, 30 November 2018

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; 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.

14 thoughts on “The Globe: Hard Hat Heritage Tour, 30 November 2018

  1. Whilst I am obviously delighted to see one of my childhood haunts being preserved and restored I must express my alarm and concern over how the cost of the restoration has risen from the promised £4 million of tax payers money to the nearly £20 million it is currently being forecast to cost.


    • I totally agree about the expenditure on this project. The money spent could probably have built a replacement theatre rather than preserve a derelict one.


      • For much less they could have retained the facia / facade and demolished the rest and built a new theatre, BUT that would then compete directly with the Arc and forum theatres!!


  2. Thanks so much. Brought back Happy memories. I too was an ABC minor and regularly went to the “Saturday morning flicks”. The highlight memory for me was to see Cliff Richard in Panto there.
    I moved from Stockton to Billingham in 1969. Then in 1972 moved near Cambridge. In 2007 I moved to Spain where in still live.


  3. David, thank you for sharing details of your visit. Those photos say a thousand words. I hope that the Council has received some lottery money to refurbish the theatre. I dread to think what it must be costing, and hopefully not all the expense is falling on the shoulders of Stockton “ratepayers”.


  4. I went to my First concert to see T.Rex with my first boyfriend Paul Dent and his sister & her boyfriend, the theatre was a perfect venue for the current bands of the day, but Marc Bolan was my all time hero. I will never forget that night in that beautiful theatre, I do not live in Stockton now, but would love to see it when it is redeveloped


    • It looks like it was in a bad way, worse than hoped. A big problem being that the floor level seen in these pictures is two storeys below street level. Lots of the damage was caused by water ingress from the surrounding land, and a leaking roof. Only made worse by the drainage pump being out of action for so long. I’m sure they’d have preferred not to gut it, they’ve just having to deal with the true state of the building.


  5. Wow!! what a lovely surprise to open my E Mail and see this update. I went to several panto’s at the Globe as a child, and movies as a teenager. I left Stockton in 1963 and now live in America. I have just discovered this sight and am enjoying the strolls down memory lane. I have been HOME several times over the years, visiting many wonderful places including Stockton. My brothers both lived there all of their lives. Sadly my brother Peter Lofthouse passed way last September youngest brother Allan Whitell still lives there. Keep up the good work and thank you Valerie Lofthouse Thompson.


  6. My father worked there as a doorman in the early fifties when I went to the Saturday morning pictures. I once presented a bouquet to a beauty queen for winning the competition. I remember going on the stage and took one look at the audience and ran thrust the flowers at her and ran quickly off the stage.


  7. High spot of our week – Saturday mornings
    Altogether now “We are the boys and girls well known as the minors of the ABC “
    Happy Days


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