Elephants In Stockton

This picture shows Elephants from Billy Smart’s Circus travelling along Norton Road toward the High Street. I don’t have a date but somebody with a knowledge of Stockton may recognise the building next to the railway bridge with the writing on the roof. The car parked near to the shops certainly has a 1950s look about it.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

25 thoughts on “Elephants In Stockton

  1. Talking about the Circuses that used to camp on Tilery Rec, I remember seeing a side show at one of the Fairs where they had performing fleas doing all sorts of tricks like pulling small chariots sward fencing with small needles, tight rope walking, it was amazing to see but I can not get any one to verify my tale of the flea Circus. Anyone out there remember these flea circuses..???

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  2. Those kids scooters were awful things. They were really designed for children of about 3 or 4, whose legs were not strong enough to push the pedals. Older children found the pedals too short. Much more fun to get an old pram and turn it into a bogie.

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    • A bogie…. remember them well, hacksaw the axles off an old pram… if you could get hold of an old silver cross job with the big leaf springs you could leave the front ones attached and use them for steering… then nail the rear axles to a scaffold plank, nail the front ones to a suitable length of 4″ wide wood with a hole bored out in the centre for a bolt to pass through and into the front of the plank to articulate the front wheels… and off you went, all the kids had one. You would never see one today… there’s no “App” to construct one ;¬)

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  3. There were circuses in Tilery Rec around 1950. I know this as our class of about 8/9 year olds went to a performance, and is one that sticks in my mind. But not for reasons you might think.

    After a bit, when I had seen the strong man doing a not very convincing display with an iron bar, I got up and left.

    Back in school, the next day, we had to write a “composition” about what we had seen. I couldn’t say very much, of course, having left early. The teacher asked why did I go home. “Because it was boring” was the essence of my reply. I have never been much interested in animals or dance routines.

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  4. Agree it is Tilery Road corner with Hill’s Doors opposite. I can remember going to Billy Smart’s Circus on Tilery Rec and it would have been 1959 I think. My grandparents, Jack and Mary Jefferson, lived at 12 Douglas Street which was off Tilery Road and it ran down to the Rec. I was mesmerised by the trapeze artists for some reason.

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  5. That is Tilery Corner, the bridge ahead towards Stockton has the Doctors on the upper part. Dr Clouston I believe. If my memory serves me well I went to the Circus about 1959

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  6. This looks like they are heading through Tilery up to Stockton. Could the building on the right be part of Hill’s wood yard?

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  7. Possibly 1955-56. The circus used to graze them on Tilery Recreation ground. Me and a few mates of mine, used to feed them by pulling up the grass and placing it on the tip of their upturned trunks. They then lifted it up into their mouths. We used to have laugh by running under their belly’s whilst they grazed. We were subsequently told off by the handlers. Their trunks felt like heavy tree bark and just as rough. Billy Smarts Circus Big-Top was erected on the Rec’s football field.

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  8. This is them walking past F Hills & Sons Ltd on Norton Road going down from Tilery to Stockton centre & agree it’s late 50’s or early 60’s

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  9. See what you mean about the car, Bruce. The haircuts look pretty 50s too. The clothes on the bloke on the left are more early 60s, though.

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  10. Looks like Tilery Road on the left and Hill’s Doors on the right in the foreground. I vaguely remember going to Billy Smart’s Circus on Tilery Rec in 1958/1959 I think. My grandparents lived at 12 Douglas Street which was off Tilery Road and ran down to the Rec.

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  11. Looks like a Jaguar MK 7 built in the early 50’s. Photo looks like the Tilery area, there used to be a railway bridge over Norton Road.

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  12. The factory on the right is F Hills, joinery and specialising in doors. The photo is taken from the end of Tilery Road looking toward the town. The bridge used to be called Gandy bridge as it advertised Gandy linings, maybe around mid 50’s-ish as the lighting on Norton Road is electric.
    So many memories of this area. The coop Store was just on Norton Road as was Grubs hair dresser, Palmers paper shop who also re-charged accumulators, to name but a few shops.
    J.

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  13. Late 50s when Billy Smart’s circus came to tilery rec, at this time part of the rec nearer to Blackets brick yard was on higher ground, my mam & dad lived at 155, Swainby Road, I can remember Lemurs’s feeding, also an enclosure where you payed to view animals, I never went to the circus but remember Billy Smart in white suit and Stetson.
    All the best.
    Derek

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  14. Picture taken from the end of Tilery Road looking up the bank towards St Mary’s Church. Buildings on the right is Hills

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  15. I remember seeing the elephants in Stockton and later going to the circus. I must have been 4/5 yrs at the time so that would have been 1956/7.

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  16. Picture taken as the elephants pass Hills woodworking company on Tilery Bank, on thee bank top is St Mary’s Church. Looking at the picture makes me think that it was taken from in front of the Turks Head pub.

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    • Peter the pub would have been the Wild Ox, top of Tilery bank was on the left and Pickerings lift & Clarkys scrap yard, to right of railway bridge was 2 foundries, top on fakneys (spelling?) Bottom foundry Downings iron foundry, served my time as apprentice moulder, next to our foundry the coal yard, any one remember elephant on stage at the hippodrome pictures.
      All the best.
      Derek.

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      • Hello Derek.
        I worked for the garage that supplied one of ‘Nick Downings’ cars, met him several times. Just near the foundry was Strikes mission.
        The juvenile court was on the left at the top of Tilery Bank.
        J.

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