William Henry McDonnell, H.M.S. Calliope 1916

t14949This photograph shows my Grand-Uncle William Henry (Ernie) McDonnell in a Dunfermline Photographic Studio, before he joined the Light Cruiser H.M.S. Calliope in July 1915.

Ernie born c. May 1897 at 30 Maritime Street in Stockton-on-Tees, was the first son of George and Maria McDonnell. 5′ 4″ William Henry grew up in the old Quayside district of Stockton, living variously at 12 Smithfield, 26 Garden Place, 8 Commercial Street, 10 Tees Street and by 1914 at 3 Paradise Street.

He was a Stoker in the Royal Navy during the Great War; he served from July 1915 aboard HMS Calliope, a modern, oil fired, light cruiser, which was hit by shellfire from German battleships at The Battle of Jutland in May 1916. He was awarded chevrons for his part in the battle and was granted his 1st Good Conduct Badge in July 1918 for 3 years ‘VG’ conduct in service.

Photograph and details courtesy of Anthony Pearson and the McDonnell family of Stockton.

Workers, Currys Warehouse

This photograph was taken around 1948 at Curry’s warehouse in Castlegate. They stored and distributed foodstuff and other consumables around the area; they were later taken over by SPD who opened a new depot on the Quayside.  My mum is on the left with the red collar inside her overalls, and her name was Beatrice Adams.

Photograph and details courtesy of Jack Adams.

Lunchtime in Stockton

This shot is a recent addition to my collection, I consider it to be a superb image. When I received the picture the caption read “Stockton Lunchtime”, there was no further information.

I use visual clues to try to date photos and I think this is probably the 1940s, the hairstyles and clothing are from that period, it may even be in the war years, nobody is carrying a gas mask box so it will likely be the latter part of the war, say 1943/44, of course it could be later, even into the 1950s, but I think the earlier date is the most likely. It looks as if the women are returning to work after buying their lunch from the then equivalent of the modern day Greggs. The women at front left appears to be wearing an overall under her coat which may indicate the type of work she is doing. These women could well be Mothers, Grandmothers or Great Grandmothers of people still living in the Stockton area. The two women at the front of the group have spotted the photographer, the woman to the right is smiling into the camera, the woman to the left is looking away from the camera.

I have been taking photos for more than 60 years and recognise the signs of the woman on the right having a confident and outgoing personality and the woman on the left being more shy and introverted, the latter type are always more difficult to photograph, I know because I belong to the same group. On the right is a shop window that appears to have some framed portrait photographs on display, I was wondering if this may be Thirlwell’s, the photographers that have documented Stockton over many years. The location is readily recognised, the Empire theatre in the background with the High Street behind show it to be Bridge Road.I have used the word “Lunch” because it is captioned so, but, being a Billingham lad I have always called the mid day meal “Dinner”.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Royal Exchange Hotel

On 8th October 2021 Patricia Clarke asked if there were any photos of The Royal Exchange Hotel available, I knew I had one but it escaped my searches until now.

Patricia mentioned living there in the 1960s, this photo is a bit earlier than then, I have tried reading the wording on the canopy over the door to The Cinema as this often gives the earliest date if the name of the film can be read, I am not actually convinced that it a name of a film, I think the first three letters are “CON”, it is too early for a Confessions film so it probably reads something like “Continuous”, if anybody can make out the wording please send a comment.

I also noticed the Chain Library with a price of 2d over the window, I presume this is the cost of borrowing a book. I also remember the “Neville” shop mainly because of the Art Deco font used in the name.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

The Christmas Bus!

I am sure that many of the site visitors will remember seeing the Christmas Bus in their childhood. It was always a thrill to see it driving past as it showed Christmas was very near.

I worked in the electric shop at Teesside Municipal Transport in Church Road in the late 1960s and I remember the Christmas bus being prepared. It was a joint effort between the paint shop and the electric shop with help from the mechanical boys.

I wasn’t involved being third electrician, I got the cold and wet jobs alongside the apprentice, Bryan Archer, I know Bryan visits this site so if you see this Bryan send a comment!

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.