11 thoughts on “Victoria Bridge and the Endeavour

  1. Perhaps the most polluting source into the Tees in the 1950s was Billingham Beck, the extent of pollution could be seen from the road bridge that crossed the Beck on the way to Haverton Hill.

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    • Dr Starr, I would like to endorse your comments double fold, the River Tees’ water, mud and mudbanks smelled to high heaven of chemicals, one wonders what the water board was doing in those long gone days and if today, tests are rigorously carried out on the Tees River as a water supply source.

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      • Just to reassure you Bob, they don’t take water from the Tees in its lower reaches for drinking water. Broken Scar in Darlington is the nearest abstraction point to Stockton, the water is treated at Broken Scar works and it comes out as high quality drinking water.
        There are other works further west on the Tees like Lartington near Cotherstone, all using upland reservoirs fed from the Tees, and of course there is Cow Green reservoir built to supply water to the Tees Valley.

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  2. Derek, I’m certain like me as a child you used to like to roam the river banks on the Heads side of the Tees down to the Erimus ‘River’ (which was a bit of a misstatement) Like you, I once found a nice trout which I took home, after cooking it smelt strongly of chemicals whose source can only be guessed at. I am reminded by what you wrote that when you threw a stone in the 1950s in the Tees, the resulting bubbles had an ever-expanding seven-colours of the rainbow look about them which suggested oil product contamination. The situation was even worse when you looked at the river banks near the Transporter Bridge, the clart was so black and thick it was Teesside’s best-known version of quicksand, instant death if you dared to walk on it. *What does clart mean? a Northern England expression means thick mud, sticky mud, mire or filth, a muddy area that is unclean, a word I have not heard for over 70 years.

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    • Hello Bob, the only thing I used to do as a kid was walked down to the docks to look at ships being unloaded by the tall cranes, the steam trains that ran along side of the river to be loaded, it was such a different age we lived in compared to today, its hard to believe ships moored up back of town centre, now we have the barrage, water sports and a lovely area to walk for miles. As a young lad I would walk with my mates to look around the cattle market about where library is now, my memory from that was the awful smells, market days when Stockton high street seemed to have hundreds of stalls with old oil lamps and hardly any room to walk through the market, old Stockton swimming baths where you could smell the chlorine from Norton road, taking returnable bottles back to shops or empty beer bottle’s back to get a couple of coppers to pay for another session, sometimes if very, very lucky going to the baths 2-3-4 time a day, your eyes would be red raw with the chlorine. People our age have seen many changes and I think for the better, it would be nice if one day old film was found showing the old river side & stockton town on market days. The river tees is a bit cleaner than it used to be but we can always improve it, it would be nice if we could do the same for the planet, its all we’ve got!!
      All the best.
      Derek.

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      • Thank you, Derek, for your kind comments. Whilst reading them I strongly associated with what you wrote which reminded me of my own previous early life whilst residing in Stockton & Thornaby 1941- 1959, reinforcing the now fading memories we share concerning Stockton and the once famous Stockton Market, my parents Jacob 1896, and Elizabeth Wilson nee Bain (Edinburgh 1910), of Barnard Street, Thornaby were market traders who had a used clothes stall adjoining the Market Cross, two stall holders who attended Stockton Market as stallholders for over ten years every Wednesday and Saturday market days. Whilst they were so occupied, I used to wander off as a child down Finkle Street to the Docks, I recall timber ships probably from Scandinavia unloading timber there and the two cranes used to unload them. Chugging up and down was a lightweight railway engine that ran from there to the railway goods siding and yard adjoining St Johns Crossing and the Stockton Corporation bus shed.
        There was not much to do on the dockside, so I invariably visited the cattle market premises nearby and after 30 minutes or so there walked across the road to the Stockton Police Station to see what stray dogs they had collected in the dog-pound situated in the Police station yard. Occasionally I bought one especially if it was a greyhound for 5/-, it seems strange now but no one ever asked did you have your parent’s permission and consent, you paid the station desk clerk 5/- and took it home with an old collar and lead provided if you did not have one? Serious crime was never a problem, we had no murders, bank robberies, stabbings and illegal drug sales were unheard of, and so was immigration. In ten years of schooling, I saw just one immigrant – a fellow pupil. A lovely girl whose father was an Indian wrestler who wrestled as “The Shah” at Farrow Street Stadium, Middlesbrough, who later worked at Cork Insulation, Thornaby, and who I got to know well.
        Favourite spots for me then were the Empire Cinema, the Central Picture House and Stockton Dog track, Tilery, where children got in free, I enjoyed visiting both the Stockton and Thornaby libraries to borrow books which I spent many a long night reading, and I can still recall the first book I ever borrowed it was called “I walked by Night”, the true story in his own words of the now famous Frederick Rolfe, the King of the Norfolk Poachers, a story of great poverty, hardship and struggle written by a man who sold poached rabbits and hares he had caught to his neighbours who were destitute, often hungry and poor. There is a more true history of England in this one sad book than many others. Fred Rolfe was one of us, a true working-class hero. God Bless our England, and Her Majesty the Queen, whose subjects we so proudly are.

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        • Hi Bob, talking about Belvue dog track it was the place to be just before bonfire night, we would stand at the bottom of the bank leading up to the dog track with our guyfawkes, if we got a few bob of the dog men it was spent in Belvue fish n chip shop, we also stood outside the Brown Jug with our guys, us kids knew most who drank there as we were all mostly Swainby Road & Danby Road residents, my parents lived at the very end house of Swainby road, on dog nights as kids we would climb up the slanted post holding the tin sheeting up that surrounded the dog track and watch the greyhounds race, I think mid 50s Tumblety’s owned the dog track then. I also remember going to the gas house for cinders on winter mornings, me and my mates would go in a convoy of old prams, never, never failed to have great laugh on way there and back, not very P C those days, where you got your cinders were gas ovens and the phrase “a bobs worth” you could have pets put down, its hard to believe now but it did happen. The police dog pound yes I used to go there also, I remember my dad getting a bull terrier when the road we lived in was having gas meters broken into, we only had downstairs toilet in those days and if we wanted to use toilet during the night we had to get dad up as no one would go down stairs because of the dog, gas meter was safe though. Picture houses all over Stockton those days, plus 2 on Norton Avenue, as kids we lived at the old Stockton baths or picture houses, Flash Gordon, Laurel & Hardy, I still remember I think it was Odeon or Cinema when film broke off half way through and you got a teapot of tea, it was a very different world then, it wasn’t all good though but not bad either, glad I lived in those time but also very glad things moved on for my kids, grandchildren.
          All the best Bob.
          Derek.
          ps. I also remember going to Thornaby baths with my mate Freddy in mid 50s? It seemed like going to the far side of the world in them days, thats why old Stockton baths was my favourite, sore eyes or not I loved it.

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  3. Just about past Endeavour on other side of the river in 1975 (Headwrightson) I pulled a 27″ salmon out with a forked stick I found, salmon appeared healthy, with me David Harris, we had our photo taken by the gazette, I wished I’d bought a glossy photo from gazette at the time. Now today its nothing to see salmon jumping and seals popping up.
    If your out there David Harris I would live copy of the photograph if you got one.
    Derek.

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      • Hi, I’m almost certain salmon story appeared in the Evening Gazette 25 February 1975. One of my aunts passed away several years ago and when her belongings were went through among items was the article & photo, I did go down to Stockton library with the date and went straight to the gazette article, I got several print outs and put them safely away, so safe I cant find them still, but I’m certain of the dates 25th Feb 1975. If only we were gifted with hindsight!
        Many, many thanks with offer of help, it would be lovely if a glossy copy from that day would still be around.
        A the best.
        Derek.
        ps if you need my email I’m sure picturestockton team will provide it, if I could contact you I could send you the grainy image from the gazette.

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