Billingham South Modern Staff c1951

I started school (Billingham Intermediate School) in September 1942. There were three intake and leaving times in the school year. The new school term started in the Autumn, any child who reached their fifth birthday before the end of the term started school during that term. The Winter term started after the Christmas holidays and continued until the Easter Holidays, the last term ran from the end of the Easter Holidays until the start of the long Summer holidays. I don’t remember anything of my first day at school but I do know my teacher was a Miss Keep, she was still there as headmistress when my eldest son started at the school in September 1968.

The children came from a very large area, even as far as Trimdon, Greatham and Sedgefield, they came by normal service buses and when they got off at the Green they had to race to get to school on time, this worked fine in the warmer weather but in the Winter it was not unusual to have them arrive as late as 10:30, these children were allowed to leave an hour earlier than the local children so they could catch their buses and get home safely.

Another thing that comes to mind is the whole class walking to the Green area and having our lunch in the British Civic Restaurant, which was next to the Methodist Central Hall, why we did this I don’t know as there were school dinners available within the school, I do remember having my dinner in the school whilst sitting at my desk, once again I don’t know why. We spent time (girls only) in ‘The Flat’ in the school to learn cooking and ‘Washing’, we had to take a handkerchief and a sock and we were taught how to wash and iron them, to this day I can still remember how to iron a sock but have never done it since leaving school.We also cooked a main meal and invited our favourite teachers to share it with us. – Freda McCorkell, nee Leek

I too was at the South Modern from September 1957 until July 1958 before moving the new Stephenson Hall school on the Billingham Campus site.Mr Martindale (Head), Mr Laws, Miss Dent, Miss Wood, Miss Fletcher, Mr Cowperthwaite and Mr Wilkinson were still teaching while I was there, the latter three came to the Campus when we went there.I mentioned to my aunt that Miss Fletcher, the art mistress, had a wonderful way of sorting the wheat from the chaff, our first lesson with her we were asked to draw a person and a house, she took one look at my effort and that was it, she never spoke to me or any other of the no hopers for the rest of our time at school, our weekly art lesson was a double period of sitting in silence while leafing through back issues of
Country Life, my aunt suffered the same fate but without the benefit of the Country Life magazine, admittedly those with artistic talents were encouraged all the way.My late friend Brian Storey thought the un-named teacher was a Mr Milburn. – Bruce Coleman

I have posted this on behalf of my aunt, Freda McCorkell, nee Leek. Courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Can anyone identify this Stockton Mayor?

A genealogist suggested to me that the chain my ancestor is wearing looks to be “of the Mayor of Stockton”. My father was born in Acklam, Middlesbrough and I know that some of our ancestors came from the Stockton area. My father left Yorkshire for New Zealand in 1925 so I’m assuming he brought the photo with him. It looks like an official portrait photo. Any help in identifying this person would be much appreciated.

Photograph and details courtesy of David Sickling.

Thornaby Cricket Club c1970

A photograph of Thornaby Cricket Club first team circa 1970. The photo was taken at Darlington CC, team is as follows, back row left to right. George Bell, Ian Hunter, Harry McCewan, Benny Cross, Geoff Aston, Neil Pearson, front row left to right, Reggie Reece, Norman Toulson, Barry Smith (Capt), Billy Hornby (wicket keeper), David Mills.

Photograph and details courtesy of Neal Toulson.

Model of Stockton Station and Stamp Street

Having only the pictures on the Picture Stockton site I scaled down to 00 scale as much of the main building I could fit into the model. Houses around the station (Stamp Street – to be improved accuracy) are not in the correct location but models placed to add to the feel of the area. Taken around 3 years spare time for the whole model. The area was where my mother’s family started in Frederick Street. Fond memories of train spotting in late 50s and was so disappointed in 1978/79 to see the roof of the station removed, as can be done on the model. Next job is to improve the accuracy of the station with additional photos. Living in Australia this model reminds me daily of our childhood days. More photos if anybody interested.

Photographs and details courtesy of Alan Davis.

Lads From Robert Atkinson School, Thornaby c1972

The photograph is from around 1972, and it was taken while the group were at Lanehead Outdoor Pursuit Centre near Coniston in Cumbria, hence the matching anoraks. Starting bottom left, going clockwise the group is Paul (Billy) Gorthorpe, Anthony (Bomber) Boult, Shakir Rajput, Neal (Nelly) Toulson, Tony Lonsdale, Dave Elliot, Mike Reed, Alan Walton.

Photograph and details courtesy of Neal Toulson.

Old Coatham Bridge c2020

I took these photographs on Saturday 4 July 2020 of the old Coatham Bridge on Durham Lane near Elton.

Photograph and details courtesy of Tony Cooney.

Kettlewells Shop, Haverton Hill

This “Corner Shop” belonged to William Herbert Kettlewell and was at number 32 Cowpen Bewley Road in Haverton Hill, my thanks to Cliff Thornton for this information.

From Victorian times these types of general dealer shops were built on almost every housing development, they were usually known as corner shops even if they were in the middle of a terrace. I was brought up on the Junction Estate in Billingham and there was a parade of four shops on the estate and one of them was similar to this in what it sold, there was also a news agent and fish and chip shop, the fourth shop was at different times a greengrocer,  a butcher, a DIY shop , a motorcycle dealer and others I can’t remember. The shop in this photo was trading before the Furness Estate was built in Haverton Hill, I knew the area as Old Haverton.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Old Billingham Station, 1966

This photograph was taken on 4th November 1966 on the last day of working at the old Billingham station before closure. It shows diesel D5159 based at Thornaby Sheds. Although the station was closed the goods yard stayed in operation until 1979 mainly doing work for the London Brick Company.

Details courtesy of Martin Birtle, photograph courtesy of John Hardy.

Mary Jane Redican

This is an image of my maternal grandmother, Mary Jane Redican (1886-1912). She is also the grandmother of my cousin Jim McCurley, who is a regular contributor to this site. Mary Jane married Andrew McCurley, after whom I was named, in 1905. They had two other children apart from my mother and Jim’s father. Mary Jane died of rheumatic fever during 1912, aged just 25. Andrew McCurley died in 1916. The Evening Gazette of 26 December 1916 reported, “Fatal accident at Stockton”. A verdict of death caused by being run over by a cab, was returned at an inquest in Stockton today on Andrew McCurley, of 37 Waverley Street, who died at the hospital. It appears that on Friday night the deceased, when in Hartington Road, stepped off the pavement in front of an approaching cab, and before the driver could avoid the accident the wheel of the vehicle passed over Mr McCurley”. The cab was horse-drawn.
Folklore claims that Andrew had just left the Clarendon public house on Dovecot Street
As a consequence, all four children were orphaned, the eldest, Jim’s dad, was ten years of age and the youngest just five.
In those days there were only two options open to orphaned children, the workhouse/orphanage or be ‘taken in’ by the extended family. Fortunately, the latter was the choice for these four children. That did not mean that there were not hard times ahead, there were plenty, but it was far better than the alternative.

Photograph and details courtesy of Andrew Wood.

Stockton Amateur Stage Society

This is a picture of a Stockton Amateur Stage Society production, probably during the 1950s. While my mother-in-law Joyce Bullock (then Croft) was a member of the Society, we cannot see her among the cast. So, afraid we don’t know anything more about the image. Costumes are interesting to say the least, looking at the set and costumes I wonder whether this was a production of Heidi?

Photograph and details courtesy of Tony Meehan

Norton Cricket Club c1946

A team picture from Norton Cricket Club this time from 1946. The line up is as follows. Back Row (L-R: S Forster (scorer), Basil McQuillan, Tom Birtle, Harry Thompson, George Carter, Wilf Lawson

Front row (L-R): Dick Spooner, Freddie Harker, David Walford, David Townsend (captain), Jimmy Grigor, Edgar Manners.

David Townsend had played for England in the 1930s and Dick Spooner went on to play 7 test matches for England in the 1950s. A very strong team which won the league in 1946.

Photograph and details courtesy of Martin Birtle.

Billingham Football Club 1934/35

This photo is in an unusual format, it is a folded card the same as any greeting card with the image on the front and the players and officials names on the back, the inside is blank, possibly for a message.

It is titled Billingham Football Club but it doesn’t specify if it is The Synthonia or another Billingham Club. I remember the Synthonia and North End were the two teams in the 1950s and 1960s, the North End played on a pitch where the Forum now stands but in 1935 the ICI houses in the Pentland Avenue area were still under construction so that team were probably not yet formed. If anybody knows differently then please let me know.

Back Row L-R: Thompson (Secretary), Finlayson, Simpson (Captain), Redpath, Bains, Walker, Lowes, Ferguson (Trainer), Front Row L-R: Skeldon, Downs, McLean, Harforth (President), Thompson, Anderson. Unfortunately the name of the dog was omitted!

This picture is from 85 years ago and many of the people in it will have been born before the First World War. This card is one of a series all showing small town football teams such as Shildon and St. Helens, I wonder if they were for presentation to the players.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.