Stockton and Darlington Railway ‘Yarm Branch’

The Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway are holding their second survey walk and social meeting on Wednesday 26 June, meeting at Allens West Junction at 6pm and as ever, all are welcome to come along. We will be walking along Durham Lane to The Cleveland Bay, the worlds first railway pub and it’s original name gives a clue and it will be revealed on the night !

We will be passing the original station keepers house next to Allens West and also the S&DR agents house with it’s distinctive D13 plaque still in place.

Light refreshments will be available and a model of the 1825 Yarm Depot will also be on display.

Co-op Preserves Factory Fire Brigade c1967

t13361 t13362In 1967 the Stockton Co-operative Society preserves factory fire brigade won the Northern Shield at the 13th national Co-op works fire brigade competition. They beat thirty-seven other teams.

The successful seven (l-r): John Pollock (captain), Ken Rose, John Lillico, Ted Patterson, Bob Kitchen, Jim Greenan and George Coulson.

Photograph and details courtesy of Julie Allinson.

Heavisides – The Gondolier

t6411Extract taken from Heavisides Almanac (part 2)…

‘Reaching now the last few miles of the river, I come to the end of my rambles, if one can ramble on the water. It is a bright afternoon, as the mater and I step on board a fine-lined steam yacht called the Gondolier, lying alongside a Stockton landing. At the appointed time, all being in readiness, our little vessel is soon speeding along in good style. Old Stockton is best seen from the river, and is said to be Dutch-like in character. Centuries ago history tells us the district traded a great deal with the Dutch, and our forefathers no doubt gathered many ideas from their intercourse with the Hollanders. We interestingly watch the movement of the numerous workmen busily engaged in the shipbuilding yards of Messrs. Craig, Taylor & Co., Messrs Ropner & Son and Messrs. Richardson, Duck & Co. Several leviathans are in the river nearing completion, and will soon proceed on their voyages to various parts of the world’.

Photograph taken with a No. 5 Poco Camera by Michael Heavisides.

Stockton and Darlington Railway Stockton Walk

“The Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway have organised a survey/walk/social event in Stockton on Wednesday 12 June starting at 6pm from the Town Hall to try and drum up some steam or rather support for the bi-centenary of the S&DR in 2025. The walk is being organised by Friends who live in the Stockton area as this end of the line is often overshadowed by Darlington but there is still much to see which connects Stockton to the worlds first fare paying passenger railway, regardless of what other towns may claim ! We’ll depart the station known as the Town Hall at 6pm and end not too late in The Hope & Union in Silver Street.

Our guide for the walk is Stockton’s very own Time Traveller, Martin Pegam who is known for his Magical Mystery History Tours and perhaps more so for his Dr Who like scarf. Dr Who?

The walk is being supported by Steve Thompson who runs the Stockton Digital Village from his studio in the Green Dragon Yard and material gathered during the walk will be used to produce a multi-media presentation some of which may air on Radio Stockton . What, you’ve never heard of Radio Stockton? Then see or rather hear here; http://www.radiostockton.co.uk/.

Two more Friends walks are also planned for Wednesday 26 June, walking from Allens West railway station to survey the Yarm Branch followed by a social in The Cleveland Bay and secondly on Wednesday 3 July to explore the S&DR track-bed which runs through Preston Park, and not many people know that! The walks are free so please come along and support them and hopefully learn more about this historical railway line much of which still remains, if you know where to look!”

The Kirk

The mid 1960s saw the rise in popularity of nightclubs and bowling alleys, they have both nearly disappeared in the intervening years, there are still some around but not nearly as many as there were. The “Kirk” or the Kirklevington Country Club was one of a number in the Stockton area, other clubs I remember are, The Marimba and The Contessa in Middlesbrough, The La Ronde in Billingham and the best known of all The Fiesta in Norton.

These clubs offered top class entertainment, including many international acts, youngsters from this time were not overly interested in pubs and social or working men’s clubs, beer and bingo were becoming old hat, the dance halls which had been a mainstay of evening entertainment alongside the cinema, were in decline in the 1960s. The “Kirk” was one of two popular clubs in the Yarm area, the other being “Club M” at the Tall Trees Hotel, both of these sites have housing on them now.

The “Bongo Club” deserves a special mention, one of the very first in the area, I know it lost its licence a couple of years ago but I have seen reports that it is in the throes of being reopened, it may already be open. These clubs were very much a part of the industrial north, from Sheffield to Newcastle in the east and Liverpool and Manchester in the west, Batley was particularly well known nationwide.

I have no doubt there are many people who have fond memories of places such as The “Kirk” and have a story or two to tell. My only interest in these clubs is from a social history point of view, I have never been in a nightclub in my life, pubs, cinemas and theatres were part of my social whirl and, yes, I did go ten pin bowling.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.