Norton Duck Pond and Village Pump, Early Twentieth Century

This postcard shows a child feeding ducks in the vicinity of the village pump. The pump is an interesting piece of cast ironwork, this is from a time when a simple utility item such as a pump would be made in a highly decorative form. Most village pumps were fairly plain castings or encased in a wooden box, as in Billingham. I know there was a foundry in Norton, it cast the first Big Ben bell, and wondered if they made this pump. I don’t remember ever seeing the pump, is it still there or has it gone to a museum or even been scrapped?. The postcard is a real photograph and shows a couple of people in front of the white building and another small group sitting on the bench surrounding the tree, as well as the small boy.

Image and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

9 thoughts on “Norton Duck Pond and Village Pump, Early Twentieth Century

  1. The Building on the right was the Blacksmiths and part that is out of the picture was Miss Forsters Newsagents and Sweetshop. Round the corner facing the “0” bus stop was a General Dealers belonging to the Hawses Farming Family, across the road the shop now Blackwells was Billy Toulson and next to them Geldart the Coal Merchant. Across from the Pump another General Dealer whose name escapes me and the Unicorn Pub on the corner of the Green and High Street.


      • Thanks Bob, how did I forget that? it was Reeds before and after the war.
        The Pond always had a clay base, the AFS would come with their trailer Pump and its Coventry engine to pump the water out and then all the broken glass would be swept up and the clay repaired if needed, the Top House must have had some rowdy nights the amount of glass removed.
        So many happy memories of the Green and the pond, paddling in hot weather, (very carefully did not want cut feet), Ice Skating in winter, went through more that once and our young courting days, what was not to love about the place.


  2. My Grandparents lived at 125 High Street, Norton in one of the Waterloo cottages. My Grandfather Edward (Eddie) Dick was gassed in WW1 and died in the 40’s. My Grandmother, Helena Dick spent a lot of time outside the house brushing the ‘flags’ off and was well known along the High Street.

    I have fond memories of Norton, the Green and sand pits, and sleeping over at 125 High Street in the 40s after my Grandfather died. We lived in Billingham at the top of the bank and often walked across Billingham bottoms to arrive at Norton. I remember one glorious summer day in the 40s sitting around the duck pond with my parents who were discussing a trip to London. I persuaded them to take me with them and I spent most of the time as a young boy picking up American cigarette packets with names like ‘Passing Clouds’ to show off to kids back in Billingham.


  3. Dear Bruce, The pump was in use in early 1930 I recall it being in use in my time. In these early days the pond was just mud or clay. I remember it being drained and concerted which showed for a long time

    I think the pump went about the same time. Wonderful picture. Regards, Norman.


  4. John Brewster 1829, Rector of Stockton claimed that Norton was originally called Normanorcum (root word Romanorum) that it had a corn mill with adjacent water well, with the water being accessible just 2-feet below the soil. John Hogg 1804, who owned the land surrounding the corn mill dug up a skull and some bones which was thought wrongly perhaps may have come from a warrior who was killed during the pitched battle with great loss of life, which had occurred when, discontented supporters of the assassinated King Ethelred (Corbridge 1795) led by Adulf, attacked Wada chief of the conspirators on valley land situated between Norton and Billingham. It’s possible this water pump in Norton as quite an ancient history, it may well be, but is very unlikely to be, the same water-well point referred to above in John Brewster writings.

    Bob Wilson (Five Lamps) 13-02 – 2019


  5. I do remember that pump although must admit it was normal to me as was the iron seat around the Elm Tree near the pond we all sat on as kids then young people dipping our toes in the hand holding courting we did back then.
    The story of the pond which was the main water supply for the Manor of Norton the senior Manor in the area for many years, Norton held a Market and the stall holders broke the law by trading on a Sunday. God caused a pit to open and swallow them up leaving the pond there, Norton has been dated back to Iron even Bronze age times with discovery’s on what was Fulthorpe Farm down Mill Lane.
    Pumps were in almost every yard behind the High Street at one time, we had one in Mill Lane behind numbers two and three which was working up to the war, Dad swore it was better water than the single cold water tap in each house. He could well have been right as that water came through lead pipes. The water was actually piped into the Village late 1800’s early 1900’s and I well remember the first electricity to our house in Mill Lane, we much preferred the Gas Light.
    All the cast lamp posts were fancy as were the poles left from the Tramway, some of the rails and gates in the village made from fancy cast iron too, I am sure the moulders must have let their artistic licence take over.
    The Pump at the pond vanished after the war after most of the rest of the iron in the village went for the war effort only to be discovered after the war stacked in the scrap yard as being un usable, some even got their gates back, at a price.


  6. I spent many hours at the duck pond when I lived in Norton. It was a place of fun and enjoyment and a central gathering place in the village. The picture brings back many fond memories. Thank you.


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