The Odeon, mid 1960s

In this photograph the film being shown was released in 1966, this may be a pointer to the year the shot was taken. It looks as if there is an empty plot beyond the cinema, this may be the time between the pub being demolished and the insurance office being built, another pointer to the year.

In the 1960s I was a regular and frequent cinema goer, I also went to many pop shows in both the Odeon and the Globe, in earlier times I also visited the other cinemas in Stockton.

The Empire, The Hippodrome, The Essoldo and even the Turner, these are the names I knew them by, I believe that some had changed their names over the years, The Hippodrome was always at Christmas to see the pantomime on an ICI trip.

Billingham Picture House was our main venue for the Saturday morning matinee throughout the 1950s.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Bridge Street Doctors Surgery

Thought I’d send a recent picture of the old doctor’s surgery on Bridge Road, before it’s gone! It’s always surprised me how this building has survived while those around it have come and gone. It even survived having the rest of the adjoining terrace demolished.

Sadly, its time is up, and being considered of little importance, this and the surrounding buildings are now fenced off awaiting demolition.

Shame the developers couldn’t be stretched to a bit of “facadism” (

Also going is… the SoTBC training centre next door (previously the site of Thirlwell photographers, Martins garage, Archon 2000)…

No.27 (formerly Bridge Street Motors, Chaplin’s bar, L’Allegria restaurant.)

No.33 (Riverside House) won’t be missed 😊

Photograph and details courtesy of Jonathan May.

St Johns Crossing, late 1960s

I found this photograph in my late brothers effects, written on the back are the words ‘St Johns Crossing, Stockton-on-Tees in 1968’, I am not familiar with Stockton as I lived and worked mainly in Middlesbrough and didn’t visit Stockton very often, also I have lived abroad since the late 1970s, I do remember the flour mill but not the rest of the area shown in this picture.

Photograph and details courtesy of Jerry Clarke.

Teesside Airport Control Tower c1960s

This photograph of the control tower at Tees-Side airport was taken just a few years after it was taken under the control of the local councils. I thought it very apt as the wheel has turned full circle and it is once again under local council control.

The original spelling was with a hyphen, this was of course later changed to a single word. The building its self has a definite 1930s look about it, the curved corners and windows have an Art Deco feel about them.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Almshouses, Norton

My first introduction to Norton was in 1956, my school, Billingham North Junior, walked all the 10 and 11 year pupils to Junction Road to see the Queen during her visit in 1956.
I was so taken with the Green and Duck Pond area I became a frequent visitor.

A couple of years later I bought my first camera, a Houghton-Butcher box camera, my first port of call was to Norton to photograph the Green and High Street, it was then I discovered Norton’s hidden gem, the Almshouses.

Unfortunately I made a complete mess of using the camera and the images were not very good, I still have the negatives but after 60 years they have faded to nothing. Recently I was sent some scans of postcards of the Stockton area and amongst them were a couple of Norton’s Almshouses, I was more than pleased as I have never re-visited them since that first day.

Image and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Walton Court, Portrack c1970

This is a typical view of the area in Portrack that was built in the mid 1960s, on what was a large chicken farm between Campbell Street and Walton Street. Walton Court along with Campbell Court were built to house elderly couples and middle aged single people who had lived in the terraced houses of Old Portrack.

Note that the heating was supplied by coal fires, with smoke drifting northwards from the chimneys. Completely unacceptable today. The TV aerials are also a vestige of the past. The older longer wave VHF and newer (BBC2 only) UHF aerials can be discerned. They were commonly referred to as 405 and 625 line channels.

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr: