Llanfairpwllgwyngyll c1970s

A group of Sheraton Comprehensive students visit that well known but nearly unpronounceable Welsh railway station Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch during a field expedition in the 1970s.

These trips were organised by the then geography teacher Brian Storey, he also took the photograph. These students will now be nearing their 60th birthday.

Details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

ICI heritage event, Sunday 14 October 2018

A ‘Memories of ICI’ event was held in the High Grange Community Centre in Billingham on Sunday 14 October 2018 which was organised by Billingham North Ward councillors Chris Barlow and Lauriane Povey and supported by the Billingham Legacy Foundation . Together they had managed to loan some of the Teesside Archives collection relating to the three local ICI sites at Billingham, North Tees and Wilton and had on display bound copies of the various ICI in-house newspapers and magazines such as the ‘Billingham Post’ as well as a vast collection of photographs, training manuals and technical drawings. There were also several loaned items from retired company workers including both long service medals and watches.

Because of the success of this first event another one is taking place at the same venue on Sunday 10 March, 10am to 4pm with free tea, coffee and cake too – a must for any former ICI employee or anyone interested in local history. Highly recommended!
For more details contact Cllr Chris Barlow; chris.barlow@stockton.gov.uk

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

‘Sugar Loaf’ by Arthur Simpson c1920s

This is a watercolour by the Thornaby (?) artist Arthur Simpson who was capturing local scenes in the 1920s. He titled this work as “Sugar loaf ” but what he was painting is the passage which ran off the south-east corner of Thistle Green and was called called Sugarhouse Open.  This is a view from the eastern end of the passage.
The Baltic Tavern is just out of sight on the right of the scene, but next to the Tavern was a warehouse which does appear in the painting.
The wall to the left of the passage is covered in advertising posters.
This scene was also captured in the photograph which appears on Picture Stockton titled The Baltic Tavern, Stockton c1928

Details courtesy of Cliff Thornton. Image courtesy of Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. www.somersetandwood.com

Volunteers needed for exciting heritage project!

We’re looking to recruit a team of volunteers to conserve, catalogue and digitise an important collection of over 16,000 photographic negatives.  The photos detail the work carried out by Head Wrightson, the major industrial company based in Thornaby-on-Tees, from 1958-1978.  The collection was donated to Stockton Library Service by Company Photographer Alan Simpson in 2012 and contains hundreds of images of employees and social events, providing a fascinating visual insight into the culture of the company and of the time.

Thanks to a National Lottery grant this unique archive can now be conserved and made available online.  Training will be provided by Teesside Archives and Stockton Library service.  We do not require volunteers to have special skills or experience, but the role would suit someone who is literate and numerate and comfortable with using IT.

If you’d like to play a part in the preservation of our area’s industrial heritage please contact Stockton Reference Library on 01642 528079 email: reference.library@stockton.gov.uk

Norton Duck Pond and Village Pump, Early Twentieth Century

This postcard shows a child feeding ducks in the vicinity of the village pump. The pump is an interesting piece of cast ironwork, this is from a time when a simple utility item such as a pump would be made in a highly decorative form. Most village pumps were fairly plain castings or encased in a wooden box, as in Billingham. I know there was a foundry in Norton, it cast the first Big Ben bell, and wondered if they made this pump. I don’t remember ever seeing the pump, is it still there or has it gone to a museum or even been scrapped?. The postcard is a real photograph and shows a couple of people in front of the white building and another small group sitting on the bench surrounding the tree, as well as the small boy.

Image and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Venator Site Under Construction

This was taken from the Hartlepool to Port Clarence road, the same day as I took the picture of the first of the Hartlepool reactors being built. This can be made out in the far distance. I believe that the photograph shows the initial stages of construction at the Venator site. It would have been one of the first chemical plants to be built in this area, which was nothing more than a desolate, swampy, windswept and totally uninteresting section of land that was being reclaimed from the Tees estuary.

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

The Globe: Hard Hat Heritage Tour, 30 November 2018

I was lucky enough to go on a ‘Behind The Scenes Tour’ of The Globe , it’s now official name but a shame to drop the ‘Theatre’ part , back in June as reported here on ‘Picture Stockton’ and I was back again in November on a ‘Hard Hat Heritage Tour’ with tales of the ABC Minors and weekly birthdays! Outwardly and to the untrained eye not a lot seems to have happened since June although this time we did visit the old bar area sadly devoid of alcohol and indeed also devoid of its fixtures and fittings. However while in the bar those immortal words ‘Dorman Long’ could be seen on the steel joist helping to keep the building up, indeed – propping the bar up !

The recent press coverage of The Globe, some good and some not so good, brought lots of questions from our group about the rebuilding work and the opening date has been put back to Spring 2020 to accommodate these works with an obvious push being given to No153 The High Street, the self-contained arts centre which will sit between The Globe and Debenhams. Any technical questions were well fielded by Chris and Steve from builders Willmott Dixon while our host Sophie from SBC took us on a magical history tour from the first Globe of 1926 to the present one which was opened in 1935 by two brothers who also ran a butchers shop on the site and who continued to trade even as the new building went up around them ! In keeping with the seasonal theme there is a display of panto costumes and memorabilia in the ‘meet and greet’ area were the tours begin, oh no there isn’t – oh yes there is, and these will eventually move into Stockton Rediscovered with another Globe exhibition due to be housed in Preston Park Museum next July to September .

Some of our group wore their ABC Minors badges with pride, they were luminous, lumi…. glowed in the dark , which was a revelation to some 50 years later having been kept in the dark about them all that time! Sneaking in through side doors was another obvious pastime during the Saturday morning clubs while others recalled Zorro and Gene Autry, Flash Gordon and being called up onto the stage to celebrate your birthday were some faces became just a bit too familiar with almost weekly birthdays! Sadly the stage is long gone, not so much demolished more like sunk were the water had leaked in over the years while The Globe had stood empty but once refurbished the main auditorium will have a capacity of 3,000 and shimmer again in its original art-deco colours of gold, green and pink .

So thanks to Sophie and her team of helpers who kitted us out in the now obligatory ‘elf and safety kit and who chipped in with memories and story-boards as we toured this theatre of former wonders one Friday afternoon in November. A big thank you to Barry, Elaine, Gloria, Jan, Steve and Tim who as volunteers all deserve our thanks for their time and dedication to the project and as ever you can keep up to date on the restoration of The Globe through its Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/TheGlobeStockton/ and you don’t need to be a Facebook user to view it or alternatively visit Rediscover Stockton in The High Street to enquire about the 2019 tours which are booking up now.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Can you help?

We recently had the above set of postcards donated to the Reference Library. Two of the postcards are hand painted images of flowers, and date back to early 1900’s.

One is addressed to Master Ernest Jewitt at the Post Office on the High Street at Norton. The other is addressed to Master Harry Jewitt, also at the Post Office, and sent to him by Ethel. One other postcard is addressed to Miss Elsie Roper at 68 High Street, Norton, from Isaac Cook.

After conducting our own research we found that Harry and Ernest were the sons of George Jewitt and his wife Jane (Jennie), who in 1901 was the post mistress at the Post Office, at no. 71 Norton High Street. George was born on the in Stamfordham, in Northumberland about 1864, and at the time the 1901 Census was taken his occupation was an engineman. George married Jane Moore in 1890, in Hexham, and Matthew Henry Jewitt (Harry) was born a year later in 1891, at Norton.

George Ernest Jewitt (Ernest), was also born in Norton on the 18th January 1893, and in 1900 a sister, Annie Lilian was born there also. Ernest grew up to become an accounts chief clerk, and in 1924 married Elsie Roper, who was almost the girl next door, as she lived at 68 High Street, Norton. Ernest and Elsie had 2 children – Margaret E. Jewitt, who was born in Stockton in 1924 and George R. Jewitt, born in 1932, also in Stockton.

We would love to give the postcards to a relative of Ernest or Harry. If you think you may be related to the brothers, please contact Stockton Reference Library 01642 528079 / reference.library@stockton.gov.uk

Richard Ridley of Yarm, Embroidery Sampler

Richard Ridley is buried in St John the Baptist Church burial ground, Egglescliffe. Grave number 332598. The actual date of birth is not officially recorded, this tapestry embroidery sampler states it was February 15, 1808, date of death January 10, 1870. Richard Ridley calculated age at death was 61. On Richard Ridley gravestone the grave occupants including two infants, are listed below.
The words on this tapestry say: “In Memory of Richard Ridley, Yarm, Born February 15 1808, Died January 10 1870. The righteous are taken from the evil to come (they) Pass a few swiftly – fleeting years. And all that now in bodies live, Shall quit like me this vale of tears. Their righteous sentence to receive, But all, before they hence remove, May mansions for themselves prepare, In that eternal house above, And O’ My God, Shall I be there?”

I found this tapestry embroidery sampler in a junk shop in Leeds. I purchased it because of its Yarm and Stockton connection. It appears to have been the custom then, in some denominations, Stockton 1870, to have a burial tapestry made to record a loved one’s memory and passing. I have traced the author of the prayer on it, to John Wesley, Editor-Poet-Priest, 1782, the Methodist Church founder, and horseback travelling famous Northern missionary.

Image and details courtesy of Bob Wilson.

Construction of Hartlepool AGR Nuclear Reactor, 1969

These two pictures show the first of the two Hartlepool Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors, under construction around 1969. But I understand that it took until 1984 before the reactors went into service. This was typical of the building time of the AGRs, and was one reason why this British approach to nuclear energy fell out of favour. Since then the nuclear programme in Britain has been rudderless. Nevertheless the reactors at Hartlepool have been given a life extension until the mid 2020s.

The AGRs were the most efficient type of nuclear plant, turning more than 40% of the energy in nuclear fuel into electricity. But this required them to run at over 600 deg centigrade and resulted in a new form of high temperature corrosion. This was the second reason for the AGR programme being chopped.

Photographs and details courtesy of Fred Starr.