‘The Old Order Changeth’

These two shots show the South East section of the High Street between Finkle Street and Castlegate, the first shot is of the old part that was demolished in the late 1960s, some of the shops have their windows whitewashed in readiness.

The second shot is of the replacement Castlegate Centre under construction. I understand that the Castlegate Centre is its self to be demolished.

I am interested in architecture and there were some very interesting frontages amongst the old buildings, the Castlegate Centre is very much of its time, its main saving grace was the use of bricks for the main frontage, this softens the more intrusive concrete.

One of the things I liked about the old style of shops were the window displays, nowadays there are large glass fronts mainly plastered with posters and notices, shops inside of malls have glass fronts even though there is no natural light outside, the tradition of having shop windows is alive and well but the use as display areas has just about disappeared.

Images and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

8 thoughts on “‘The Old Order Changeth’

  1. I do not know how long T Dan Smith and John Paulson served in prison but how ever long it was it was not long enough for what they did to Stockton High Street, and the appearance of the Town, which should have been a wonderful piece of History for future generations. I believe many others were involved in this stealing of the funds for the Project but they were the main contributors for this disgraceful episode. We can only hope that the new Project leaves Stockton with an area to be proud of, like the South Bank area instead of being ashamed of the High Streets appearance every time a visitor visits Stockton in the future. Congratulations to the Stockton Council for having the initiative to go ahead with this destruction of this monumental eyesore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ben Brown – I’m not sure about length of imprisonment but think it was 6 years. They did similar things, in Newcastle, got even more greedy as they tried it on in Hull – where they were imprisoned. They had the cheek to give ‘bungs’. to demolition companies. I too feel ashamed of our High St – it should have been a place to be proud of like Northallerton and York. No, I doubt if the ‘new’ project will be anything to be proud of.. it’s already lead to loss of jobs, and many think (including me) that the so called ‘Urban Park’ will become a place for drunkards and druggies. There’ll be cans and needles littering it. I’ve now been told the market is to be re-sited – WHY? I’ve yet to get a response after asking those in ‘high places’… I went to the market yesterday, and was pleased to say even in November that it was very busy. Some people think markets are a thing of the past – NO they are NOT. Oh, and I’d like to see a museum – but fat chance of that!
      Again, I’m not sure but the back of my brain thinks Stockton was approached way back to have an open air museum probably along the Riverside before the East side was demolished but guess what. The council turned it down and look how popular Beamish is!


      • Thanks for the upgrade on the situation Mandy Wood I as not aware of the situation at Newcastle and Hull. Six years does not seem an appropriate Prison sentence for the magnitude of their wrong doings. I think you are of he same opinion as myself as to the Stockton High street, it could have been a very well loved and treasured part of Stockton, and a place to be proud of. Let us hope the new team on the development get it right a we can once again be proud of Stockton


  2. I cannot believe that some, perhaps many, of the buildings in the lower end of High Street were not listed. The Vane Arms, the Black Bull, the William IV pub, Clinkards, Mastermans and Rossi’s Ice cream parlour. These buildings were a kaleidoscope of styles, rich in character and aesthetic appeal. The Castlegate Centre is an example of the brutalism of late 20th century modernity, repetitious and boring. To shop in the Centre is an anemic experience. Similar developments occurred in our cities that were bombed during the war but this can’t be blamed on an enemy. I have heard a rumour that the Castlegate Centre is to be demolished. Is that true?
    Thank you Bruce for the images, they do have a didactic function…


    • The Castlegate Centre was the product of corruption – John Pouslon (architect) and T. Dan Smith (Tyneside councillor / developer) both went to prison over it. It is an eyesore, and a monumental disgrace….


      • John Poulson, by his own admission, never formerly qualified as an architect. He was certainly involved with T Dan Smith who wanted to revitalise the centre of Newcastle. Both men, along with others, ended up in prison for corruption. The firm started by Poulson was involved with Castlegate but Poulson was NOT part of the company by then. He had been removed from the company in 1969.


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