Stockton Sledging

Since the snow is with us I’d like to show you a picture from the early 1970s. It is of a group of friends from the Newtown area (photo actually taken in Mellor Street with the Rocket public house in the background) sitting on probably the largest sledge in the North East.

There is actually room for six kids on there. I remember once dragging it all the way from Newtown along the black path and on to Newham Grange park. It was an epic journey for us young’un’s as like now the sun beat down from a cloudless sky. When we eventually got there the sun had started to melt the snow and not more than two of us at any one time could ride it otherwise it just sunk. After about half an hour it was a mush fest so we left the park and trudged back home. It only ever came out once more when we persuaded my dad to drive us on the moors Road (A171) to that big hill a couple of miles past the Lockwood Beck Reservoir. That lasted even quicker than the park trip when the farmer came out and politely asked us to leave. So my sledge went back under my brother’s bed, never to see any more snow. The sledge was scrapped sometime in the late 1970s.

Photo and details courtesy of Michael Bellerby.

27 thoughts on “Stockton Sledging

  1. Hi Mike, just wondering if you are in this picture I know some time ago following a previous post I had figured out that we distantly related as my paternal grandfather’s mother was Bellerby.

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  2. Wow The Rocket, we used to go there and get a hot cheese and onion toastie from the little room on the right as you look at it, a sort of off license. That must have been in the late 60s when i was in my early teens, and they were a treat worth waiting for. We would get the money from taking pop bottles back to Jenny Buttress’ shop round the corner in Newtown Ave. I’m pretty sure there was a shop on the corner of your street, which if my memory serves me well, was called Halls. I seem to remember at some point, there was also a shop just along the street which i think was called Mellors.

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    • Hi Steve, I seem to remember Jenny’s also being called “the willow dairy”, and do you remember the home bakery just round the corner in Bedford Street? The best pies in Stockton.

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      • I was brought up on Wrensfield Road. Always new the shop mentioned as Jenny,s, I also remember the bakery. The other shops in the vicinity were Wardells on the bridge and Brocketts I think ? On Vicarage street, and obviously the Post Office near Hebron Hall.

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        • Hi Dave
          There was also the off license opposite which I seem to remember was run by an elderly couple who always seemed a little too stand offish to be in retail. They almost made you feel like you were intruding in their little world just by being there.
          Still remember going up Wrensfield Road on the back of your Yamaha YDS3 and you leaning into the bend near your house and leaving go off the handlebars to lift your goggles. I think the helmet was the old type with the leather side flaps, and I think it was Black with White shamrocks or something on it. The Lad called Butch who rode a 160cc Honda and I think lived in Wrynose Gardens had the opposite colours. I think you were working at Shields at the time and I was at Commodore. Happy days.

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          • Hi Steve,
            I’ve still got that helmet in the loft. What a memory you’ve got, yes it is black and white, with an ace of clubs on the front. I was into ( still am ) into bike racing, and the design was a mixture of two famous racers, ie Phil Read and Rod Gould. It is a Cromwell helmet, most of the racers wore them then before full face helmets came out. Butch, ie my best mate Pete Owen, lived at 5 Wrynose Gardens. I still see him when I’m up to see family and to go to Redcar Bears speedway. He’s still got a couple of bikes. I packed up riding them in my mid twenties, too dangerous. But those were the days, happy days.
            Dave.

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      • Hi Andrew
        Oh yes, on a Saturday we would all get a cake of our choice to have at tea time with some great home made bread, happy days. There was also the paper shop further up Bedford Street that was run by Gordon Jones the ex Boro defender. The shop directly across the road from it Im pretty sure was the scene of a murder in the 60s.

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        • Hi Steve,
          Glad to see you’re still around and obviously healthy, I hope . I was just 70 the other week, but have fond memories when we both worked @ MDS together. I have lived in Chester for 33 years and often (apart since COVID) come up to Stockton. Always visit this site, brings back a lot of good memories. Thanks to Picture Stockton, keep it up.
          Dave.

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        • We were very blessed with shops in Newtown with the VG (and Post Office) and the Off Beer Licence opposite each other at the top of Bedford St. Then we had a laundrette (later Spit and Polish) then the news agents that was Kerrs and later Harveys (I’m aware other owners had it before them) on Samuel St. Opposite was Gilbert’s green grocer which later became a hair salon. It was Barbara Gilbert that was murdered. 18 Mellor St the corner shop was run by the Holmes then the Banks and then the Tomlinsons. The other end of Mellor St number 34 was also a shop first being Wallaces and then Wards. On the corner of Durham Rd and Mellor Street was John Joyce’s betting shop (it had been a dry cleaners). The Rocket public house just over the road. Jenny’s on Newtown Avenue, as we remember it, had been Worrals then the Willow Dairy then Golden Movies video rental shop. Back into Bedford Street was Atkinsons bakery. On Durham Road we had a Shell and an Esso garage with a ladies hair salon opposite. Brian Reed’s barber shop was opposite the fish and chip shop. At the other end of the beck on Bishopton Road was Wardell’s and later Clay’s (as I said before I am aware of other people owning it but this is who I remember). Seems like we had much choice back then.

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  3. Michael did you ever use that sledge down the bank on Green lane? I seem to remember one very similar when we used to sledge there in the early 70s and remember thinking ‘thats massive’.I lived on Durham road back then and all the lads from round there used to hang about down ‘ the clay banks’ that,s the piece of land where the nursing home is now and after a good snowfall they’d be maybe 10 or 20 kids down there sledging ( not as much traffic then ). Some of the names I can remember were the Plimers (Les&Jes) and sometimes oldest brother John,Graham Boyer,Dave Harwood,Decca Beech ( who sadly died last year ) Carl Barton,Billy place,Mick Twentyman, who
    s mam had the shop in Stavordale road,Paul Stokes,Steven Ballentine.

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    • Hi Andrew, loved your reply. My best friend at Sheraton school was Jes Plimmer. I saw him not that long ago and he’s doing fine. Everybody thought we were brothers back then and this photo, also on this site, will show you why https://picturestocktonarchive.com/2015/04/20/mr-hewitts-class-sheraton-comprehensive-school-1973/ I am middle row third in from the left and Plim is middle row second in from the right.
      In answer to your question about whether the beast was ever unleashed on Green Lane the answer is that because you couldn’t steer it or slow it down you’d probably end up under a bus on Brown’s Bridge so if you did see it was never more than once.
      All the lads you mention, apart from a few, I know (or knew) and I can see them now at the Plimmer’s bondy on that very piece of land you mention. Our little ganglet used to play footy on the Wrensfield School site. The Wilsons (Terry and Dino The Sutty’s (Ian and John) and The Browns (Chris and Butter) and possibly a few I can’t remember, sorry guys.

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      • Hi Mike, a few names you mentioned there that I hadn’t thought about in years Big Chris Brown & Butter, the Sutcliffes I went to school with John, do you remember the twinnie’s Keith & Kevin,the wanless’s, Mally, Nigel ( aka funky Nige ) and Andrew I think. I can also remember the cut off car roof on the beck and a plasters tin bath! looking back it makes me wonder how any of us made it to adulthood. I realize now Mike after reading your previous post about Jes being your best mate at school that you must be the famous Bella that he was always on about, me and Bella did this,me and Bella did that and so on. I seem to remember him telling us a
        story about you ” heading” a piece of brick that someone threw in the air on the school field as you thought it was a piece of cardboard.

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        • Holly moly Andrew, I am indeed that head the ball (brick) Jes refers to. I’ll tell you that tale in a mo but first the extra names you provided. The last time I saw Ian and John was at Andy Fitzgibbon’s funeral not that long on from his older brother Neil. I don’t whether you saw this piece on The Gazette website about Nige https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/scotlands-footy-success-led-massive-19380390 Seems to be doing alright. Twig we see now and again if I need any flooring. Poor Kieth has been gone a while now. We were at school with his older brother John who now lives in the US. We, that’s Chris and myself, get together with John when he’s over visiting his family.
          I also have to mention the Pugh’s and the Roger’s. I still see Billy occasionally. And who din’t want a pair of Chelsea or Dealer boots from his dad?
          The tale of the brick is one of vanity and self preservation. When we found out that we weren’t just walking up Green Lane to Newham Grange school but would have to travel, by bus, to a far away place called Hardwick little did us Comprehensive lambs know what a lion’s den we were about to enter. My first introduction to Sheraton School was to see gangs of kids from different schools throwing missiles at each other across Durham Road. It was like a scene straight out of the Battle of Agincourt . So there we all were, blazers and ties with invisible victim signs painted large on our backs. So not wanting to attract any more attention than was absolutely necessary I refused to wear my spectacles. No good for seeing the blackboard but good for not standing out. The brick incident (it was actually a piece of tile with the concrete still attached) was thrown into the air by a pal and I gladly obliged in heading it thinking it was a piece of cardboard. This did have two effects, one was ‘Stay away from him he’s a nutter’ and the second was never to tell anyone that I wore glasses, a secret I only to Jes in our fifth year. Oh the 1970’s what a decade that was.

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          • Mike its so strange hearing forgotten names from the past and how they evoke such strong memories after all this time.’Darkie Roger’s I still remember going to his house on Durham Road for a pair of dealers! and John Pugh’s daughter Sherrie, lovely lass but a proper tomboy.I knew that Keith had passed a while ago but didn’t know about the Fitzey’s never really had much to do with them I seem to remember one of them joining the RAF but cant be sure,also there mam was called Audrey,what a random thing to recall! I also seem to remember Chris Brown being into his music and going to the youth club type thing in the Methodist church on Green Lane,though I could be thinking of someone else.One last thing Mike,Jes’s first car was a bright orange mk1 ford capri he didn’t have it very long it was found crashed on Roseworth ( I think ) the culprit ” Billy Roger’s “.
            Any Mike stay safe and keep your pictures and posts coming as I find this a brilliant site for memory jogging and,reminiscing.

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  4. The site of the former Rocket pub is just up the road from me, as I live near the former Newtown Infants School.

    I used to go to the pub when I was younger with my brother and parents (maybe early to late 90’s) before in was boarded up & knocked down. We used to play on the adjacent field or sit outside on the benches & enjoy the outdoor bbq laid on by the former landlord.

    Thanks

    Steve

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    • Hi Stephen, thanks for your reply. Our little gang used to play on the black rocks and pig pens behind the Rocket it was like our own secret playground. We were always wary of a character called Piggy Joe. I don’t think any of us actually saw him but it kept us on our toes. Later in life I frequented The Rocket when the Pugh’s had it. It was in staggering distance of home and more than once I made that stagger. Happy times.

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  5. Michael, that was quite a trek with a heavy sledge I used to walk along there with my Dog Benji, it is actually called a Green lane there were many of them around the area once. It would be disappointing pulling the sled all that way only to find the snow was useless.
    I was very lucky in that Dad made me a wooden sledge with steel runners just big enough for my Sister and i, Also lucky in that the Showfield or Sandpots were just outside our garden wall, I spent many hours sledging down the banks in those fields.
    People are comparing the snow and ice with the winter of 1962 well we saw many very bad winters 1940 and 44 being bad though 1947 took a lot of beating, as a young Squaddy we were digging trains out of cuttings and you had to dig down to see the roof of a coach.
    Sledging along with ice skating on the water meadows next to Billingham Beck were pure joy for us kids. Now they are trying to stop children having the fun we had, I understand the reason but children are missing out.
    Frank.

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    • Hi Frank, thanks for replying. When dad’s had a talent like ‘making a sledge’. Because of this post my wife said that her father had made them a sledge as kid’s and it brought back memories for her. The things we did as kid’s would never be allowed now. Lustrum beck was our playground and I nearly drowned twice as a child. Once when I was a toddler apparently I just ran straight down the bank and in and the second time I was about ten and fell in at the Durham Road end and luckily this guy at the bus stop ran down and dragged me out. As we became teenagers though we once had a sawn off car roof as a raft and would paddle it along and then we had tarzy swings that would go right out over the water that was very thrilling. We’d climb trees make dens and climb right along the fence adjacent to Newtown School climbing over the wall next to the bus stop on Durham Road. How we survived is anyone’s guess. Was it better than what the kids have today? I won’t get into that here but I survived to tell the tale didn’t I

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  6. Michael
    I loved your photo. These lads must now be around the 60 mark, I sincerely hope they are all still with us. I went to Newtown Junior School, 1949 to 1953. I walked to school every day along “the black path” as I lived in Commondale Avenue and went sledging in Newham Grange Park. As a youth, I cycled on the North Yorkshire Moors at weekends. Is the “big hill on the A171” called Birk Brow? I left Stockton in 1963 to move to London. I am now retired, living in Epsom, Surrey, but visited Stockton last year with my London-born wife. She thought Stockton was really nice and and admired the Town Hall.
    Best Wishes Michael, take care, stay safe.
    Roy

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