A Transport of Delight

With thanks to Flanders & Swann.

When I first received this picture it brought back so many memories of my childhood and beyond.

My late friend Brian Storey and I were great ramblers from a fairly early age, we walked from our homes in Billingham to places such as Thorpe Thewles, following the beck, or to Greatham Beck and across to the old brickyard and Cowpen marshes.

When we went to “The Big School” at the age of eleven we were both given bikes, from then on we cycled to places such as Guisborough, Eston and Great Ayton so we could wander around the hills.

As we grew older the Cleveland Hills became our target, this is where Crowe Brothers came into their own, we would set out early on a Saturday morning from Billingham and catch the Crowes bus to Clack Lane Ends at Osmotherly, a climb into the village followed by a good walk along Black Hambleton to Sutton Bank or across the escarpment to Hasty Bank and a walk into Great Broughton to catch a Middlesbrough bus, great days.

In 1960 Brian read about a walk across the highest and widest part of the North York Moors and we decided to give it a try, every opportunity during the Summer holidays we travelled to Osmotherly on a Crowes bus and walked a little further every time, once we had managed the walk from Osmotherly to Castleton we decided we would be able to complete the walk.

In the October (Tatie Picking) holidays we set of on the 5pm Crowes bus out of Stockton, I seem to remember it was almost a full hour to get to Osmotherly in those days, at about 6:30 in the evening we set off from the Trig point above Mount Grace Priory, our school had provided a map and compass and we had our army surplus haversacks and water bottles and mothers sarnies, it was an excellent crossing which we both enjoyed and when we reached the Trig point above Ravenscar we whirled each other around in glee, that was the first of many “Lyke Wake Walks”.

In later years when Brian was teaching at Sheraton Comprehensive School he would organise hiking trips for the pupils and I would be seconded to act as marshall and back marker so that we didn’t lose too many pupils, nowadays, of course , this wouldn’t be allowed, but life was simpler then.

We continued our rambling for many years taking in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales as well as the North York Moors, Brian continued organising outdoor pursuits and qualified to teach rock climbing and canoeing, he also organised the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme at his school and I acted as marshall and timekeeper when needed.

Workload, marriage, mortgages and children certainly restricted our hiking days but we did manage quite a few walks before age took its toll.

Our last “Lyke Wake” was in the 1980s but I have many terrific memories of the many crossings we made.

Details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Thornaby Aerodrome

The shot is dated 1934 and shows the layout of what was to become RAF Thornaby.

The information I received with this picture says that the cluster of buildings disappearing off the top of the picture belonged to Stainsby Grange Farm, I think this places it at the top of the Acklam Road area of Middlesbrough.

The area at the bottom shows the river and Thornaby Village, complete with The Green and The Church, it is still a very pleasant enclave to this day.

Also in the picture is Millbank Lane which runs along the left hand side of the aerodrome, backing on to this road are a series of buildings that as far as I am aware are still there.

One of the buildings became the Thornaby Conservative Club (Non-Political), that sign always amused me, I had a number of pleasant evenings there on concert nights, another building is the Green Baize snooker hall, I have had many equally pleasant afternoons in there, it may even be the same building, does anybody know?.

The aerodrome its self had a very short concrete area, I presume it was for taxiing before take off and the grassed area was the runway, there are a few aircraft dotted about the area, all relatively small as was the case in the 1930s so grass runways were not unusual.

My Grandfather was stationed at RAF Thornaby during the Second World War, he had been in the RAF in the 1920s and was a reservist, even though he was over 40 at the time, he was a non combatant and my Aunt tells me he was involved in making dummy aircraft for standing around the airfield to give an impression of strength, I know this did happen but don’t know for sure it happened at Thornaby, he also served in Italy very late in the war after the Italian surrender.

Photo and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman

Thorpe Thewles Viaduct Demolition 1979

Four photos of the demolition of the viaduct. They are taken from the public viewing area and give an impression of what an event it was.

Photos and details courtesy of Sue Wright.

Update: And in response to a comment about never having seen a photograph of trains on the viaduct we’re very grateful to Garth McLean for sending us these two photos from 1966.

Norton-on-Tees Signal Box, June 2020

Some images of the Norton-on-Tees signal box, which is at the bottom of Station Road, Norton.

When those photos were taken Network Rail had commenced a project to re-signal the Durham Coast Line between Norton South signal box and Billingham. As a consequence of this work the crossing gates will be automated with a flashing red lights system fitted.

I have also included an image of the Norton Tavern sign, which depicts the signal box.

Photos and details courtesy of Alex Moody.

Stockton North Shore Branch

I took these photos of Stockton North Shore Branch in August 1968. North Shore Goods Station had closed in January 1968, having been built as the Stockton & Hartlepool Railway’s station in 1841. Passenger trains were diverted to the present station, which the Leeds Northern Railway opened in 1852, in 1853.

Originally Norton Road was crossed on the level and trains ran into the station on the left of the view of the office block. By 1968 a concrete bridge took the railway across the road. I also include the view from that bridge, looking north, to Clarence Coal Depots, Stockton Gas Works, and the railway to North Shore signal box on the main line. You can see Stockton North Marshalling Yard in the distance. Clarence Coal Depots were on or near the site of the Clarence Railway’s station, which had opened for passengers in 1835, and was replaced by the later stations.

Photographs and details courtesy of Brian Johnson

Model of Stockton Station – Canopy Removed 1979

This really was the start of the model railway four years ago and inspired by my trip on a train from Stockton to Newcastle in December 1978. The desolate views really were depressing given a cold winters day. This model still requires more detailing in the station area as time permits. I therefore recreated in the model a brighter time in the days of Stockton Station.

First photo is of an A2 Locomotive at Stockton pulling ‘Cream and Maroon’ carriages (MK1 British Railways).

Second photo is a Diesel Railcar set Class 101 showing a head-code bound for Middlesbrough which I think many Stocktonians will have travelled on.  The model is a depiction of rather than accurate copy of Stockton Station pre-1978/79.  Hope it stirs some more happy memories for visitors to the site

Photograph and details courtesy of Alan Davis.

Stockton Station and Stamp Street

A view of Stockton Station seen from the back of Stamp Street.

Image and details courtesy of Gordon Armes.

Model of Stockton Station and Stamp Street

Having only the pictures on the Picture Stockton site I scaled down to 00 scale as much of the main building I could fit into the model. Houses around the station (Stamp Street – to be improved accuracy) are not in the correct location but models placed to add to the feel of the area. Taken around 3 years spare time for the whole model. The area was where my mother’s family started in Frederick Street. Fond memories of train spotting in late 50s and was so disappointed in 1978/79 to see the roof of the station removed, as can be done on the model. Next job is to improve the accuracy of the station with additional photos. Living in Australia this model reminds me daily of our childhood days. More photos if anybody interested.

Photographs and details courtesy of Alan Davis.