9 thoughts on “Riverside Inn and Parish Gardens, Stockton c2019

  1. My mother Elizabeth Wilson, (nee Lizzie Bain from Edinburgh) used to visit the Parish Church Gardens in the late 1940S, to sit on the four benches there to talk to locals, whilst my brother Tom Wilson and I, Bob Wilson, ran wild running in and out of the bushes playing hide and seek. On the right and concealed amongst the then overgrown bushes was a small derelict brick shed in which the long-gone gardeners and grave diggers had once kept their tools, the door to this tool shed was missing so you could go inside it. The gardens themselves were built in a horizontal square with a walkway path adjoining, in the late 1940s the centre-piece area contained a large number of graves whose Yorkshire Sandstone – tombstones were laid flat, none were marble stone, most were damaged and laid higgledy-piggledy, those gravestones adjoining the outer walls where still upright then and in their original graveside positions. Sometime during the 1952-3 period? these gardens were cleaned up at great cost, the paths where tarmacked and the centre-piece grass area was landscaped with the 100 or so, former graves all grassed over. The remaining gravestones were gathered together and stood upright leaning against the walls, and the public house rear wall. There was some attempt at planting new bushes, but eventually, these gardens fell into disuse and went downhill.

    * Gravestones are believed to date back as far as 3,000 B.C. to the Roman and Celtic cultures. Public cemeteries did not exist and people instead had burial plots near their homes where all their family members would be buried together. Churchyard burials began to become popular in the 1650s, gravestones and monuments made from slate or sandstone were put up to commemorate the deceased and from this point inscriptions were carved on them. In the 19th century the importance of gravestones to honour the dead increased and gravestones now started to include a few words about the deceased, this information included details about life, date of birth, date of death and the name of the deceased. During the Victorian era more elaborate monuments and gravestones began to appear. Poorer people began to commemorate the dead and gone were the days where only the upper class could afford to commemorate the deceased. After the Boer War, statues and monuments were erected to celebrate the lives of soldiers from that district who were killed. This led to Cenotaph War Memorials being created for the First World War, Second World War. Since the days of the humble loosely laid stones grave markers, modern gravestones have developed to include the likes of statues, crosses, plaques and kerb markers.

    Bob Wilson (Five Lamps)


  2. Hello Len and Dave
    Thanks very much, I remember it now as the Three Tuns and you’re right Dave, from there you would have seen the R&D Dept at Head Wrightsons.


  3. Extremely saddened that this has been allowed to happen, with generations of family members being buried in the grounds….. History can not be replaced.
    Shame shame shame


    • It is only the public house three tuns / Riverside Inn that is being redeveloped, having been empty for quite a while. The main structure is being saved as part of the scheme.


  4. I am indebted to Brendan for these images. I am struggling to remember where this Inn was. Although I left Stockton in 1963, I was in the town with my wife (a Londoner) all last week, We stayed at the Hamilton by Hilton Hotel in Church Road. I am delighted to say she was impressed by what she saw especially the ‘new’ High Street. So was I, but unfortunately I was saddened by what I didn’t see. Blackett’s has been saved and floodlit but what of the lovely architecture from Blackett’s to the Empire? The tiled surface of the High Street and the designer bus shelters were attractive but when I stood in front of the Royal Oak and Sun Inn, pubs where my father liked a pint, I saw, what looked liked, young peoples nightclubs with ‘heavies’ on the door who would probably have not let me in as I am too old. Perhaps I am being naive for thinking these pubs would be just the way I remember them in the late Forties.
    But let me be positive. The High Street does look lovely especially at night. The lit-up Town Hall is still the jewel in the crown or should I say the flag on the castle and anchor. I was moved to tears when my wife paid a compliment to the view from our 4th floor hotel window. It looked out over the Tees with a very modern double loop-span bridge in the distance. Each morning the sun rose over this bridge. We took photos many times. In October, we were in Malta. From our bedroom window we could see the Mediterranean Sea but my wife preferred the morning sun over the Tees.
    I urge Stocktonians to be proud of their town.


    • Roy, The Riverside used to be the Three Tuns which backed onto the back of the Parish Church gardens, the front was opposite the Police Station, in our days Tony Callaghan lived there.


    • Roy, most old time Stockton folk are proud of our Town, I travelled on four Continents but never felt at home until I got to Thirsk and thirty minutes from the only place I ever wanted to stay, still living here says it all.
      The part of town you mention could never have been saved even if the money had been available, it was not so it became a bit make and mend, do the best with the money we had.
      I happened to be in Town walking towards the Empire when the front of one of those buildings just collapsed onto the road luckily no one was under it at the time and I got the cloud of dust but none of the bricks. Many people regret what they called vandalism in not retaining that frontage but when you consider what is being spent on the Globe, back in the days the Castlegate Centre was built it would have been beyond the pockets of the Rate payers.
      Progress can never be stopped and give the Town Council its due they have in my opinion made a good job of it. My family young and old like what has been done, we were on TV Country-file last night with people talking about the dead river it once was, working on the banks as a youth we had clothes round our faces against the stink that rose during low tide in summer, it was truly awful. A comment last night was we now have one of the best fishing rivers upstream and the Seals are back right up to the Barrage a sign of clean water.
      I commented on a post last week I grew up seeing the worst of Stockton and the best plus the bits in between, we live in a lovely green area, a good river and a good place for my Grandchildren to grow up in, what more could you wish for.


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