Photograph and details courtesy of Paul Simpson.
Ropery Street can be found between McColl’s and Greggs on the High Street. At one time this street stretched much further back and had a number of properties. Sadly because of so much High Street redevelopment the street has been reduced to a few yards.
Photographs and details courtesy of Alec Moody.
Regent Street plan as remembered, during the period 1946-54. What nowadays appears as a drab ‘service’ cul-de-sac was once a busy, cobble-stoned thoroughfare, housing an interesting variety of businesses. I am not a draughtsman, and I do not pretend that the buildings are shown to any matching scale. Simply an accurate listing, with question marks denoting any doubts.
A. During this period, my recollection is that this store was a DOGGARTS (?) However, whatever name it then bore, it evidently later become a Littlewoods. It had large show windows along the whole length, with a small side entrance about half way along; the main entrance being in the High Street. The ‘bend’ in the street at the end of the two stores certainly existed, but It may not have been as deep as at the opposite side, where vehicles parking at the Marks & Spencers’ delivery doors did not ‘stick out’ beyond the Public House. I remember that such vehicles did not block the street for others.
B & C. The majority of the buildings were terraced, and these two houses were unusual in that their upper stories met over a wide passageway with large double doors at the pavement end. These gave access to the large courtyard area shown for goods vehicles – collecting and delivering to the bakery at the rear.
D. Barrowcliffes or Barracloughs (?) bakery shop (I am not sure of the spelling). This sold produce of the bakery shown at E, which I believe also had wholesale delivery round (?)
F. A fireplace sales showroom. I don’t know whether all on show were made in the workshop at the rear, but I do recall that there only appeared to be one workman in there.
G. This building was number six (see note below) The front one being the house and the rear a large two-storey building consisting of a four-car-size garage, with workroom above. Previously, through the 1920’s and 30’s this had been the workshop for my father’s parents hosiery business, in which a number of female employees hand-worked circular knitting machines. Apart from a wholesale round amongst the surrounding towns/villages, the output retailed through two Stockton market stalls and a shop/office which was housed in the front room of the house – with a bay window onto Regent Street for display.
I was always rather impressed with this frontage as the main entrance was a portico; two large stone steps with round columns around a foot in diameter (which my father painted to closely resemble marble) and an extremely heavy door. Inside was a lobby with a door ahead leading into the living quarters, and one on the right into the front room. Next to this entrance was a single door opening into an enclosed passageway, running through to the back yard. The open stairway up to the studio was actually a set of ship’s stairs – having been salvaged from a liner.
The backstreet was paved with flat cobblestones, and still owned privately by an estate, and my grandfather had paid a ‘small fortune’ for access to it. Interestingly the garage door was a sliding affair, which I’ve never seen duplicated elsewhere. It consisted of upright, hinged wooden frames on steel tracks. These ran along the entrance and curved along inside the right-hand wall, so that when slid open the entire door stood along the wall. It had a small ‘personnel’ door fitted for foot access.
Apart from a normal ‘personnel’ door into the fireplace maker’s workshop, there was no other door in this part of the backstreet which continued on, to run behind businesses in the High Street (and bordering the school) – such as W.H.Smith. Some had access, though – as I frequently used this as a play area in school holidays, etc., I have no clear memory of delivery vehicles and, It being a private road, I remember several occasions when I had to explain to local ‘Bobbies’ that I actually had a right to be there – whereas other children, as trespassers, were warned away.
When my parents and I lived there (1946-54) the workroom became the studio for their ‘Ellena Williams Theatrical Studios’ business and, as video with commentary, on YouTube. The house front room still served as office, with the Bay window now displaying large photo displays of the shows which they presented.
H. I do not recall whether this was still the united Methodist Free Church, or by then (as another person stated) it had become the The Apostolic Church of Wales. I do remember that a married couple were the caretakers and the wife had a sister who was part of the Buckingham Palace staff.
I. I cannot recall whether The Regent Public House had its entrance on the corner, or in Nelson Terrace – but I think the latter (?)
J. The only remaining memory of the street. Unlike the store opposite, the side of this building was solid brick, apart from a set of loading/deliveries doors at far end, next to the Public House.
K. I don’t actually remember this public House being named the Little Regent, but another person has commented on this, so I take their word for it.
L. I remember this having a window full of lighting fittings – Table Lamps, etc.
M. Unlike the other buildings, the Technical School was set back from the pavement. It certainly had iron railings bordering the pavement, (how did they escape the wartime collection?) and I believe they were atop a low brick wall, with a gate midway along the front. (?)
N. The entrance to the School for the Deaf and Dumb was in Nelson Terrace. What is shown in Regent Street is the solid end wall of a brick building. I cannot remember if this was part of the main building, or a separate structure..
NUMBERING. The main entrance for the departmental store was, of course, in the High Street, but there was a small side entrance half way down the side of the building in Regent Street. If either this or the actual bakery (additionally to the shop) had a number, then this would explain why our property was numbered six. Otherwise, it was presumably a hangover from previous times, when the amount of properties in the street was different.
Image and details courtesy of Llewellyn Williams. October 2017.
This photograph was taken outside my Granny Dobson’s house at 32 Elliott Street, Portrack. The school at the bottom of the street can be easily seen. I think the caretaker of the school was Mr Lee, I seem to remember he lived in one of the houses showing on the left of the picture, close to the school. In the photograph is my late younger sister Margaret with her son Gary. My late eldest sister Mary and husband Charlie married in 1948 lived with my gran in that house until they could get a place of their own.
My sister Margaret and husband Herbert also lived with my gran until they too found a place of their own in which to live. I think back in those early days it was quite normal for newly married couples to live with relatives until such a time something else became available. It never ceases to amaze me how large families were brought up in these two up two down terraced houses. I was also brought up in a similar house in Buxton Street in the Garbutt Street area. So sad to see those communities lost when moved on to the newer modern estates. I think only St Anne’s Terrace at Portrack is the only original site that remains from those days. Such memories.
Photograph and details courtesy of John Robson.
My wife Liz asks if anyone can remember the other games that were played in the street, like Kingy or Queenie or can still recite the two baller rhymes.
In the background is Mr Laybourne’s lorry which I think is a Thames Trader from the Redland tip on Blakeston Lane.
Photograph and details courtesy of Norman Hill.