Distant view of Portrack and ICI c1972

t15119I waited a long time for the air to clear over Teesside, in the late summer of 1972, before driving up to the range of hills which overlooks Middlesbrough, going towards Eston. Even so the centre of Stockton is barely visible. It was probably about 6 miles from where I was. The long thin rectangle about one third from the left is the Malleable works. Just behind it is the gasholder in Portrack and Hume House can also be discerned. But there is another tall structure as well. The towers of the Newport Bridge are in the centre of the picture. To the right of these the silos, etc, of the south part of ICI Billingham can be seen.

I don’t know the exact location from where this picture was taken, but if anyone has the time it would be interesting to see how things have changed over the past 44 years.

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

1825 Walk at Preston Park, 23 October 2015

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The Stockton and Darlington Railway celebrates it’s bi-centenary in 2025 and although still ten years away plans are now being made not only to celebrate the occasion but to make sure that the events of nearly 200 years ago are recognised locally, nationally and internationally. Both borough councils as well as Durham County Council and the National Railway Museum have come together to ensure that the railway line receives the recognition it deserves and with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund a supporting group, the ‘Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway’ has been formed .

The Friends held their first workshop at the NRM Locomotion in Shildon back in June and are holding their second one at Preston Park Museum from 10am on Friday 6 November . As well as workshop discussions there will be an afternoon walk along the original 1825 track-bed which runs through Preston Park and which is the only significant remaining length of the original railway in the Stockton area. The track-bed runs parallel to the busy A135, Yarm Road, and is now the subject of a self-guided walk leaflet available from the museum and which points out the track route, it’s cuts and embankments, sidings and spurs and even a ramp and possible platform, the shape of which is now almost lost among the under growth.

As a precursor to the workshop the Friends arranged two guided walks on the 23 October which were both led by Robin Daniels of Tees Archaeology and who will also lead the November walk too. I went along on the morning walk and was one of a group of fifteen or so people who were keen to know more about this local gem sadly hidden from view by creeping undergrowth and a boundary hedge dividing main road from railway track, indeed a boundary hedge which probably has it’s roots, pun intended, in the original 1825 Preston Hall hedge!

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Memories of Seaton Carew c1965

We would like to thank Bruce Coleman who very kindly sent us the following in response to some of the comments on an earlier post ‘Memories of days out at Seaton Carew

t14498When I was a child in the early 1950s my Father was a member of the Haverton Hill Working mens Club, every year we had a trip from Billingham to Seaton Carew organised by the club, there were about 5 or six double decker buses full of parents and children each year, we received a packet of sandwiches and two half crowns in a brown envelope, the envelopes had holes in the front and were suspiciously like the Furness Shipyard pay packets, but that was possibly coincidental!, of course the sun always shone and my father and his cronies always disappeared into the Seaton Hotel at the first opportunity, my mother would sit on the beach all day only occasionally popping to the wooden hut to get a jug of boiling water to make a cup of tea, on one occasion a newspaper had a competition, they roped off a section of the beach and buried 5 “Gold” coins in the area, all of the kids were invited to dig for the coins, there were prizes for the finders but as is usual I didn’t win one and I never did find out what the prizes were, this is a bit like Willy Wonka, if anybody remembers this occasion and knows either who won or what they won I would be interested, I should imagine there are still a number of people that went on these trips who visit this site and can enlighten me.

Ropner Park c2004

t5153Ropner Park is one of the regions most impressive Victorian Parks, here we see work taking place on the lake c2004. The water was removed over a number of days and the fish taken to the Environment Agencys ponds at Pickering for a health check and for quarantine.

The silt that was built up in the lake t5154over the last fifty years was removed and stored in the Park. After 10-12 months when the silt had dried out it was used as compost for the flowerbeds.

Photographs courtesy of Parks & Countryside.