12 thoughts on “Was this your local Co-op?

  1. This Co-op shop was sold for £4000 about 40 years ago, my sister lived opposite it in 5 Allendale Road, Rita Wood (nee Wilson) married to Norman Wood, an ICI plumber, it faced Billingham Station railway crossing and the best fish and chip shop in Billingham. Rita got married in 1955, St, Cuthberts Church, The Green, Billingham, her wedding reception was in the upstairs room in the Station Hotel, I was very fond of Norman Woods brother Tom Wood and wife, who ran the newsagents shop, Darlington Road, Hartburn, near the Stockton Arms. Does anyone remember Colin who frequented the Station Hotel, dressed in Scots Highland dress complete with Kilt?

    In 1955 Billingham was famous as the home of ICI, who had dominated the Teesside industry since 1920 when Brunner Mond purchased Grange Farm, Billingham has the chosen site for a chemical works to produce Ammonium Nitrates. By 1932 the plant employed 5000 workers. A little known fact: During WW2, RAF high-powered aircraft could not fly on ordinary petrol only synthetic petrol made from coal, and ICI Billingham, was the only company in the UK who produced it. In the Second World War, ICI atomic research took place on the site, under the misleading codename Tube Alloys.

    Tube Alloys was the code name of the research and development program authorised by the United Kingdom, with participation from Canada, to develop nuclear weapons during the Second World War. This program commenced before the more famous Manhattan Project in the United States, the British efforts were kept secret and never publicised, even within the highest circles of government. At the University of Birmingham, Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch co-wrote a thesis explaining how a small mass of pure uranium-235 could be used to produce a chain reaction in a bomb with the power of thousands of tons of TNT. This work led to an all-out effort to develop British nuclear weapons. My eldest son studied physics at Birmingham University, he was awarded a 1st Phd in Physics, which makes me immensely proud. From Barnard Street, Thornaby to a 1st Phd in Physics, in one generation sure is something.

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    • I remember Colin Campbell very well, he along with Tommy Liddle were the local eccentrics, Colin lived in Stokesley Crescent and one Winter he ran out of coal so he burnt his furniture to keep warm and finished up burning his floorboards as well, my late friend Brian Storey lived opposite to Colin and used to visit him and keep an eye on him, Brian was also a regular at the Station Hotel and he told me this tale about Colin.

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      • Funny how a name can bring back a raft of memories. Colin Campbell lived on Norton Green when I lived in Mill Lane Norton, he had a Sister Jean and his Grandparents Mr and Mrs Edwards had a big house in Norton High Street, I believe he was an Insurance Agent.
        Colin went to Norton Board School and we all played together on the Green, my lasting memory is of him hitting me with a plank of wood, a nail in the wood went into my hand, the scar is still visible after all these years. After Dad removed the wood plus nail and patched me up with the usual Iodine and plaster that stung more than the nail embedded in my hand he asked Colin why, his reply “he felt like it” end of close friendship. Mind I got off piano practice for a few days, an hour extra playtime on the Green.
        I did see him about over the years dressed in all the Highland Regalia also his sister Jean walking in Norton always dressed to the nines. Colin’s Mother would walk past the queue’s in the local shops to the front and get served, no one argued I always wondered why as your place in a food queue was sacrosanct during the war.
        I suppose memories are made of this, they should write a song about it.
        Frank.

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      • Colin Campbell: I recall Colin sitting in the Station Arms in is his Scots Kilt, the Laird of all he surveyed, Colin was too poor to buy a Dirk, so he had a cut-down bread knife inside his socks as his badge of honour.

        A dirk is a long thrusting dagger associated with Scotland from about 1600. The term is used for “dagger”, especially in the context of ceremonial dress daggers. Historically, it was issued to the officers, pipers, and drummers of Highland regiments around 1800 onwards. The Scottish dirk became symbolic of a Highland man’s honour and oaths were sworn on the steel, binding oaths involving supernatural penalties for breaking such an oath. “Amongst the Gaels the oath of loyalty to Scotland was along the lines of “… and if I do break this oath so may I be cursed in my undertakings, family and property, may I be killed in battle as a coward, and lie without burial in a strange land (they meant England) far from the graves of my forefathers” Authors comment: Never more truer strange words have been spoken about England..

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  2. This was one of the Billingham Branches. It was on Station Road, over the road from The Station Hotel. It was my families local Co-op and after 60 odd years I can still remember my Mams Divi Number.

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    • I can remember our divi nos for both Stockton and Middlesbrough! My most vivid recollection was the Co-Op butchers on the corner of Wellington Street and Nelson Terrace, Stockton, almost opposite the Tab.

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  3. This was situated on the corner of Cheviot Crescent and Station Road in Billingham, just out of picture to the right is the Station Hotel.

    I remember the butchery department had marble counters and the doors were chrome plated iron work, there was no glass in the doors, it was open to the weather.

    To the right of the co-op was the Baptist church, this was on Cheviot Crescent.

    If you were to stand with your back to the provisions department you would be able to see Billingham Railway Station to the left and also the coalyard, to the right were the Station Road shops, newsagent, chip shop, chemist etc.

    Billingham butcher Gordon Richardson took over the butchery department when the co-op closed down.

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  4. This is Billingham on the corner of Station Road and Cheviot Crescent opposite both the ‘old’ Billingham railway station and The Station Hotel .
    I’m sure that you will get lots of replies for this one!

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