Preserved Class 56 at Phoenix Sidings, Easter 2015

t14428 t14429 t14430This preserved and privately owned Class 56 diesel locomotive 56301 was stabled at Phoenix Sidings over Easter 2015. It was on hire to Devon and Cornwall Railways Limited (DCR) and worked the 6Z36 Stockton T.J. Thomson to Cardiff Tidal Sidings scrap train at 1730 hours on 7 April 2015. The faded name of a former owner Fastline was visible on the side of the locomotive.

Photograph and details courtesy of Alan Boardman.

Norton Cricket Club ‘Golden Oldies’ Invites

t14408 t14408bA regular feature in Stockton Archives are pictures relating to Harkers Engineering which existed for such a long time in the town. The boss for many years was Freddie Harker. In his younger days Mr Harker played cricket for the Norton club. In the years before and after World War 2, he was a regular in the very powerful Norton team which played in the North Yorkshire and South Durham league.

In the early 1990s, many years after he had retired from the playing side, Mr Harker held several open days at his lovely house ‘Lyn Ridge’ which was situated in Nunthorpe village. He called them his Norton Golden Oldies days and he invited along the players and wives from his time at Norton. You could bring your swimming gear and swim in Freddies indoor pool. It really was a lovely house and grounds.

These two invites were sent to my parents, Tom and Doreen, who were more than happy to attend. You can see they are a work of art in themselves.

Images and details courtesy of Martin Birtle.

Community Archaeology at Egglescliffe Village

The archaeological dig organised by Tees Archaeology in and around Egglescliffe village. This is part of the River Tees Rediscovered project. Residents carried out a building recording project in May. This will be followed by a test pit excavation between the 13th and 16th July with the aim of recovering information about the medieval settlement at Egglescliffe and also English Civil War Activity. The results so far are a lot of medieval pottery shards, especially Tees Valley ware. Two flints from a flintlock firearm and evidence of medieval structures.

Photograph 1: Dave Errickson, Teesside University PhD Researcher working with Tees Archaeology, (front right). Adam Mead Uni Durham Archaeologist (rear right), Photograph 2: A view across Smith’s farm toward the old farmhouse, about to be renovated.
Photograph 3: Trench in the back garden of Mr & Mrs Merrits house. Lorraine Watkinson Archaeologist (front right,) Robin Daniels Archaeology Officer Tees Archaeology (centre) Lauren Walker, volunteer (rear).
Photograph 4: Back garden of ‘Kirklands’ Gordon Ford (volunteer), Arlene Ellis.
Photograph 5: Back garden ‘White House’ Robin Daniels explains an interesting find to volunteers and residents. Left clockwise: Gordon Ford, Robin Daniels, Paul Boden (volunteer), ?, ?, Dave Blakey (Dunelm Metal Detectors), Dave Errickson, ?.

Photographs and details courtesy of Anthony Bonner.

Kerb stones on Norton Green

t14420These inserts into the kerb appear to me to be wartime additions to aid traffic at night but that’s a guess… Perhaps some of the older members can enlighten me?

The kerb stones can be found on the corner between what are now known as Beaconsfield Road and The Green.

Photograph and details courtesy of Derek Graham.

Stafford Place Methodist Chapel, Sun Street, Thornaby

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I had a walk down Sun Street and was very disappointed with myself for not taking this walk ten years ago or possibly even less when the old pottery factory still stood and the chapel would have been in a much better condition that it is now.

The name Stafford Place still survives on a sign on the back wall of the chapel as does ‘Gearboxes’ on the roof which until the new houses went up alongside the pub was easily seen from Thornaby Road. Mention of which I noticed a ‘Stafford Terrace’ nameplate on the last house in Thornaby Road and it would appear that the terrace is now part of Thornaby Road and seems to have disappeared as an address in it’s own right . Without doubt, a sign of the times! Taken Sunday 5 July 2015.

Photograph and details courtesy of David Thompson.

North Tees A Power Station and Cross Section

t14385North Tees A was one of the most advanced power stations in the world when it came into use in 1924. It required reheat on account of the steam pressure being so high. The station was kept in use until 1959. Another important feature was that the electricity it generated was at a frequency of 40 Hz (forty cycles per second). This was the frequency throughout the North East, with the main power stations being on the Tyne and River Tees. The North East was the first place in the country which had a proper network.

t14386The large building on the left of the cross section is the boiler house in which the steam is being generated in Babcock and Wilcox tubular boilers. The firing of the coal appears to be done using chain grate stokers. These look a bit like a moving belt made of sections of cast iron, in which the coal is dumped at the front end. As the coal is carried along the belt it soon catches fire. By the end of the belt, the coal has finished burning and all that is left is ash, which falls down into a water filled pit. The station ran until 1959, although by then it was just kept on standby.

Does anyone know when Teesside switched over to the now standard 50Hz?

Photograph and image courtesy of Fred Starr.

Water colour scene of Norton

t14409This water colour scene of Norton was used as a carriage picture for the LNER in the 1920s. To the rear right of the central tree is the Tannery. In 1928 the cottages along the front were removed as Norton Hall was extended for ICI.

Image and details courtesy of Bob Harbron.

The Royal George, Thornaby Road c2015

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Another local landmark succumbs to the developers and yet another block of student accommodation rises from a former public house. There is very little left of this part of ‘old’ Thornaby except for the former Methodist chapel on Sun Street yet at one time it was a hive of industrial activity and the home of the Thornaby Pottery Works. Taken Sunday 5 July 2015.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Billingham Station (Stockton & Hartlepool Branch)

IH0123The Clarence Railway was built to provide a more direct route for coal traffic from the Shildon area to the River Tees, in competition with the S&D Railway which made a big sweep to the south to serve Darlington and Yarm. The line was opened in 1833 but the station illustrated was built in 1866.  It was renamed Billingham Junction in 1878, reverted to Billingham in 1893, and changed to Billingham-on-Tees in 1926.  The photograph was taken around the turn of the century, before the signal box was replaced by a larger and much taller structure.

Photograph and details courtesy of Ivan Harrington.

Ropner Park Cannon c1940

t14387This is a photograph of my mother-in-law Jean Riley (nee White) in Ropner Park when she was a little girl about 75 years ago, c1940. It shows her standing on the old cannon which used to be situated next to the fountain. The cannon was captured in about 1885 at Sevastopol in the Crimean war and was brought to Ropner Park to be displayed to the public.

Photograph and details courtesy of John Callender.

Bonfire, Portrack c1972

t14371This bonfire night photograph was taken on the large open space, between Devonport and Warrenport Roads, on the “new” Portrack estate. Campbell Court can be seen in the background.

Although it looks dramatic, it was a shadow of what was the main bonfire in Portrack in the 1950’s. The bushes, trees and waste timber took about a week to set up on Portrack Common, where the bus depot now stands. By the time it was finished it would be about 15-20 ft high and 30 ft in diameter. The teenagers and young men, from the Canns, Larges and Mannion families, were the people who built it.

After the bonfire being lit it took 20 minutes for it to get going. At its peak, the radiation, from what was an inferno, was so intense it was impossible to get much closer than 30 yards. People like Derek Wade will bear out this story.

Every “gang” in Portrack had their own bonfire, but obviously a lot smaller than the one on the Common. I used to join in with the kids from Barrett Street. We had ours on an open space next to the Old Peoples Home (Portrack Hospital, formerly the Workhouse). But the same thing went on all over Stockton.

The weather always seemed to be fairly miserable on Guy Fawkes Night, but this made the event even more memorable at a time when the only street lighting was by gas, and nights were dark … At one point, during the evening, someone would say “Look Up”, and one would see a bright-red overcast, the clouds reflecting back the light from the bonfires. It was one of the weirdest things I remember, although it must have been familiar to anyone who had been in a bombing attack in WWII.

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

Freedom Parade – Armed Forces Day Event, June 2015

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As part of national Armed Forces Week, serving troops, veterans and local residents came along to support the Freedom Parade through Stockton High Street on Thursday 25 June 2015. Men and women of 1 Close Support Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) marched through the High Street with colours flying and bayonets fixed.

Stockton & Thornaby Hospital & Queen’s Nursing Home, 1911 Coronation Picture Postcard

t14361As a young lad I had a number of visits to the Stockton and Thornaby hospital on Bowesfield Lane, all for various injuries received whilst playing in the street with my friends. I remember once when I was about ten years old I had been taken by ambulance to have a plaster removed from a broken toe and after the plaster had been removed I was told I could go home. I had no money and it looked like a four hour walk back to Billingham, I was standing outside looking lost when a nurse coming on duty asked if I was alright, I told her what had happened and she gave me threepence for my bus fare home, I have always remembered that very kind act even now sixty years later.

Image and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.