Ashtree Farm, Stockton-on-Tees c1940’s

Ashtree Farm was off Oxbridge Lane accessed by a lane between Raby Road and the Ashmores recreational ground. My family had owned the farm after moving from The Grange Farm. Ashtree farm comprised of a strip of land which ran between the back gardens of Raby Road houses and Ashmores and Grangefield School with a farm house and out buildings and stables at the top of the lane. There was a cottage halfway up the lane which was originally a market garden, not to be confused with Dixon’s market garden which was on the other side of Ashmores path.

My Grandparents, who owned the farm, had purchased the cottage with some land bordering Oxbridge Lane. My Grandmother eventually moving into the cottage when my father took over the farm. It was originally a dairy farm with a small herd of cows which grazed on land that was compulsory purchased and became part of Grangefield school and then on land that was on the other side of the Cuckoo railway at the top of Grosvenor Road. There was a strip of land that ran between Ashmores playing field and Grangefield and a bridge over the railway where we would walk the cows in for milking. Milk was pasteurised in a small dairy on the farm, hand bottled and delivered to surrounding houses by horse and cart. The herd eventual having to be sold off in the late 50’s when the owner of the land on the other side of the railway, a Mrs Fenney, sold the land to the council.

We continued with the milk business now motorised and buying milk in from Northern Dairy’s and went into pig farming this continued until the early 70’s when the farm was sold after the death of my father. My mother not wanting to continue with the farm and moving into the cottage down the lane. The first photograph of the horse and cart was taken in the farm yard with stables at Ashtree. In the second photograph my father is on the right and I believe the man on the left was a German prisoner of War that was seconded to work on the farm during the Second World War, the third photograph shows my father at the wheel of the old Lanchester.

Photographs and details courtesy of Stuart Kidd.

11 thoughts on “Ashtree Farm, Stockton-on-Tees c1940’s

  1. Hi Stuart, I remember your father very well in the early 60s. I lived at Redmire Road and a few of us lads used to come up to the farm at weekends and summer evenings coming from grange field estate up the side of the grammar school playing fields and into the farm over the wall. I must have known you as we often played around the farm yard and outbuildings, I know you had a sister. Your father often collared a couple of us to help him deliver milk which seemed to take ages as he spent a lot of time talking to customers, he even seemed to catch us coming home from school (Fairfield sec.) at dinner time saying he would give us a lift home if we helped him deliver some milk to customers on the way . Great days to be young
    A really nice family to know.

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    • Hi Colin, yes I remember you and your family very well especially John and Mick and I think your youngest brother Chris who went to school with my sister Rosemary. Do you remember Dicky Hutton? I think he lived around the corner from you, I seem to remember that he used to come to the farm and catch pigeons that used to roost in the buildings and pay my dad half a crown each but as they were homing pigeons they used to fly back. I remember a group of lads from Grangefield estate helping around the farm and on the milk round I think I must of been around 8,9,10 years old around that time. We used to play hide and seek in the farm buildings and hay stacks and played on a rope swing on a pear tree in the orchard happy days.

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  2. I remember it well. My house backed onto the lane and we used it as a short cut to school at Grangefield. I remember the pigs and the abandoned tractors, as well as buying veg at Dixon’s.

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  3. An interesting piece of history, thank you. My grandparents Everett and Maud Jones lived in Raby Road from 1914 through to their deaths in 1969 and 1970. In his family history, my father Trevor recalled the time around the early 1920s when Raby Road was surrounded by farmland. Mention is made of Oxbridge and Fairfield Farms by name, and he also referred to the cornfields of another farm which were later converted to pasture and later still (1970s) was being used as school playing fields. Might this have been Ashtree Farm? My own recollections from the 1950s and 1960s include cows in the fields on either side of the railway line, crossing the line by way of a stile and path (rather than a bridge) and putting old pennies on the line to be squashed by the giant steam engines which hauled the freight trains along the line. Not very H & S conscious, but then you could hear the engines and trucks approaching slowly from miles away!

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  4. I used to go to Kidds farm with my father in the 40s and 50s I vaguely remember the original Mr and Mrs Kidd but mostly their son George. I think my father went to school with him. I last saw him at Kenny Vickers in the early 60s . I remember taking their bull for a drink in a bath on the lane just on a piece of Charlie band. Happy days

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    • Just remembered on the 27 July 1963 I went with my brother John to the farm to see George, we were stopping with my aunt in Fairfield. Must have been early morning as I got married at 11.30am

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    • Hi David, yes I remember Kenny Vickers and his mother very well we delivered milk to them on Grangefield Road and as they were old friends of my dad he always used to stop off for a cup of tea and a natter except they could talk for England! I used to get fed up after an hour and walk home, which I didn’t mind as I had already been paid my shilling for helping with the round and spent most of it up the road in Billy Howes shop.

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      • I have told my brother who has lived in the USA for 53 years and we talked for a long time about our visits there. Seems like yesterday but I have been married 56 years. Happy memories

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        • My Brother Colin and a few other lads from Fairfield used to go to Stuarts and play on the railway line. There was an old brick bridge over the line close to the farm, happy days back in the 60’s

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