G. Neilson Wholesale Grocer & Confectioner

These two photographs were taken during WW2, hence the ‘address’ on the van. My mother, Betty Hill, standing next to the man in glasses worked for the firm as a secretary. I believe her boss is the man on the right on the same picture. Regretfully I don’t know any of the other staff, but would be delighted to hear any information about the staff and/or the firm.

Photographs and details courtesy of Maggie

Dovecot Street, Stockton

This picture shows Dovecot Street around the middle of the Victorian era. The building that was later to be called Lit & Phil is named Mechanics Institute, this was originally the Corporation Hall built around 1840, it was sold on around 1850 and became the Mechanics Institute, it had another change of name around about 1880, this points to a date of around 1860 for the picture.

The buildings are of a Georgian style possibly early Georgian, mid 1700s, The Alma Hotel may be named after the Crimean battle of the same name in 1854, of course it may have had its name changed at some time so it doesn’t date it accurately. The Telegraph Office points to there being no telephones at the time, they arrived in late Victorian times. An interesting view of a long lost street.

Image and details courtesy of Anon.

Sun Inn, Knowles Street

I believe this is the Sun Inn, in Knowles Street, Stockton. Some of the building features are clearly still on view today, but the archway and the sign along the roof line, advertising Dents (Dents what?), are no longer visible on today’s building. Possibly the Dents sign was a wooden board that could be easily removed. I have no idea who the two gents or the child are, and there is no date.

Image and details courtesy of Alex Moody and a family friend who lives in Canada.

Stockton High Street, mid 1980’s

The photograph shows the block of buildings to the left of Ramsgate (to the right in the image). The roof line on the right is Stewarts Clothing, Tees House, which is on the corner of Ramsgate. Manorgrove is now a Bet Fred bookies shop and the pub is now the George Pub and Grill. Of interest, the Manorgrove building was once two shop’s 104 & 105 High Street and if you look carefully at the building, just above the M on the sign is a round mark. It is a plaque that states, ‘John Walker’s Birthplace. 29th May 1781’. I think the photograph is mid to late 1980’s as Mr Trims occupied the upstairs shop from 1981, although the frontage looks a little worse for wear in this image. Also I believe on of the parked cars is a Mini Metro.

Photograph and details courtesy of Alec Moody.

Advert for Isaac Robson & Co Ltd on Bridge Road

A 1934 advertisement/postcard showing the smart premises of Isaac Robson & Co Ltd, 24 & 26 Bridge Road (corner of Villiers Street.), Stockton. With Holy Trinity Spire in the background. The same site can be seen on ‘Bridge Road, Stockton c1970s’ . I wonder if the the business was still in the family in the 1970’s, as it is then called “Sankey Robsons”?

Image courtesy of Jonathan May.

Royal Exchange Hotel

On 8th October 2021 Patricia Clarke asked if there were any photos of The Royal Exchange Hotel available, I knew I had one but it escaped my searches until now.

Patricia mentioned living there in the 1960s, this photo is a bit earlier than then, I have tried reading the wording on the canopy over the door to The Cinema as this often gives the earliest date if the name of the film can be read, I am not actually convinced that it a name of a film, I think the first three letters are “CON”, it is too early for a Confessions film so it probably reads something like “Continuous”, if anybody can make out the wording please send a comment.

I also noticed the Chain Library with a price of 2d over the window, I presume this is the cost of borrowing a book. I also remember the “Neville” shop mainly because of the Art Deco font used in the name.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

95 Wellington Street

A view of No. 95 Wellington Street (corner of Wellington Street and Dixon Street) which looks like it was an off-licence. I couldn’t see it in any directories, but a 1914 directory showed: (Mrs.) Sarah Strathern, beer retailer, 93 Wellington Street (which is pretty close?)

Behind it are the buildings of the large Laundry and Dye works on Dixon Street. This area can be seen on the Britain from Above website. (If you zoom in you can even see a similar Vaux advert painted on the wall)

Photograph and details courtesy of Jonathan May.

Dickie Smiths, Billingham Green

In the 1950s and 1960s “Dickie Smiths” newsagent shop was known by practically every person living in Billingham.

I was brought up on the Junction Estate on the north side of the railway but my Mother paid a weekly visit to the Co-op on Belasis Avenue for the shopping, this was because we were registered there for our food that was still on ration, she continued doing that even when the rationing came to an end, when the new town centre started to come on line she switched to Broughs, this will have been in the late 1950s, during our visits to the Co-op we passed Dickie Smiths, I had a year at Billingham South Modern School and visited either Dickie Smiths on the Green or Jack Bruces in Mill lane for my sweets.

During those times there were quite a few newsagents in Billingham but “Dickie Smiths” was probably the best known, its location on the Green close to St Cuthberts Church, the Methodist Central Hall, the main Co-op and the Picture House on Belasis Avenue as well as three pubs and a social club meant there were always people in the area.

The whole area was thriving, there were more shops close by in Mill Lane and Station Road as well as on the North and South sides of the Green.

The catchment area for newspaper deliveries was very large, stretching from the Railway Station in the North to the Green in the South, I knew about half a dozen of my peers who delivered newspapers for “Dickie Smiths”.

The road outside of the shop was known as West Row, since renamed West Road, there was also a North Row and an East Row, the latter housing the brewery, I believe the buildings on the South side were just known as The Green, they backed on to a row of very old cottages known as South View, these were built long before ICI appeared so they had an uninterrupted view down to the River Tees.

At the far end of the shops was the Half Moon Cafe, we had a couple of family get togethers in the room above the cafe.

The two bus shelters have since been replaced by a single shelter and been moved nearer to the church lych gate, I don’t know why there were two bus shelters outside this parade of shops, during the 1960s there were two operators stopping at the Green, United and Durham District Services, United went from Hartlepool to Middlesbrough and DDS from Sedgefield to Stockton, most of the other services ran along Belasis Avenue.

I think this photo is from the mid 1960s, the cigarettes being advertised are from that period, the YZ chewing gum machine is also typical of that time as is the weighing machine on the pavement, does anybody else remember trying to weigh a bunch of mates for a single penny?, the first would get on and put the penny in, the next would put his foot on the platform and press down while the first got off, this continued until we had all been weighed, when the last one stepped of the scales would lock until another penny was put in.

Kids never miss a trick do they?.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.