On the Buses and in Woolworths

My uncle, Jack Bailey, is the conductor shown in this photograph. He was born in 1905 and worked, ”on the buses” from aged 14, when he started as a tram conductor, until his retirement as a bus inspector, as did his older brother Frank and younger brother Billy.

Supervisors from Woolworths in Stockton. My mum, Eileen Southall (nee Bailey) is the lady on the right. This would have been taken in the early 1950s in the Parish Gardens. The ladies’ very smart uniforms were made by my grandmother Lillie Bailey.

Photographs and details courtesy of Jan Hemblade.

King George V Coronation 1911

This “Coronation” picture has me puzzled, does anybody have any idea about what could be happening, there are an awful lot of people, all men, standing around a bus, there are far too many to all get aboard.

Also there are no signs of street decoration that normally accompany such events, the only thing I am sure of is the pickup point was in the high street outside the alleyway leading to the Blue Post Hotel. Judging by the way the men are dressed I would say that 1911 is a very likely date for the picture.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Memories of the Green Howards WWII

The 50th (Northumbrian) Division included the Infantry Brigades 149th, 150th (4th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 4th and 5th Green Howards and 5th Durham Light Infantry) and 151st. The division was mobilised on 1st September 1939 and in October 1939 was under the command of Major-General Giffard Le Quesne Martel, focused on training in the Cotswolds. Then in January 1940 embarked to France to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). My father (Pte RL Hymer), in the 4th Green Howards fought in France and retreated to Dunkirk. After which was sent to North Africa and in the Battle of Gazala, Rommel surrounded the 150th Brigade Box known as the Cauldron until it was gradually reduced over a stubborn defence and overrun by noon on 1st June 1942. Prisoners were then taken through Italy to German camps and Stalag XVII B [Pottenbrunn, Austria] is where he was taken. His mother, Margaret Hymer (21 Salisbury Street, Thornaby-on-Tees) sent a parcel to him on the 31st December 1944, rather than the Red Cross. Home from the battlefields, the Green Howards honoured with the freedom of Middlesbrough – 1946.

Photographs and details courtesy of Michael Hymer.

Reflection on Pickering Lifts, 1971

The introduction to engineering draughting after a selection process started at Pickerings Lifts in 1971.

Two apprentices for the drawing office were taken on that year, where I participated with memorable moments in a professional career. The first year of my apprenticeship was an initiation to drawing office procedures of drawing and documentation. Manufacturing courses in the second year were at the Engineering Industry Training Board in Billingham. Unfortunately, I was instructed to try harder as the time went on. A project of manufacturing a set of gauge of guides for Pickerings Lifts did not meet the required standard, sadly I accepted the verdict from my apprentice partner from Pickerings. At least I managed to attain the EITB certification. We went on to Stockton & Billingham College for the engineering qualifications. There is abundance of admiration I hold dear to the staff at Pickerings Lifts. (In the photograph, that is me in the middle).

My reflection on life in my career and ancestry started in 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer. Two surgical operations later (left & right dissections; partial tongue removal), 60 treatments of radiotherapy and 6 regimes of chemotherapy, hope the coronavirus does not get me. Still my wife who I met at Pickerings Lifts looks after me and me to her.

Images and details courtesy of Michael Hymer.

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.

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.

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.