2 thoughts on “A watercolour painting of the archway at Thistle Green

  1. I have reservations about the claimed location of this c.1920 Batty painting said to be a view from Thistle Green down Sugarhouse Open showing Wilkinson’s general dealers shop on the left at 34 Thistle Green. The near view through the arch should show Sugarhouse Open Yard on the left sloping from left to right towards the river with the passageway bending slightly right towards the Quayside. However, the Thistle Green entrance to Sugarhouse Open by the shop can be viewed in photo s500 of c.1925, but the entrance is clearly an open passageway here and not the enclosed arch depicted in the above painting. I suppose it could have been an arch in an earlier period, but the old maps are not that detailed. The topography of Sugarhouse Open can be seen in aerial view of the River Tees photo t2030 from c.1922, but it is a poor match with the whole background seen through the arch. The painting shows a series of staggered houses (of decreasing height) beyond the arch not conforming to the 1925 map or other aerial photos like t50. A tall, thin warehouse with facing stairs followed by the Baltic Tavern should be the largest buildings visible past the arch, both flush with each other at the bottom of the passageway as seen in s336, t2141. The view from the Baltic Tavern up Sugarhouse Open towards Thistle Green can be seen in photos t1449, s336, painting t2141 and drawing s715. These show the layout of buildings and chimneys to be different from the background and rooflines seen in the Batty painting. Most buildings and doorways in Sugarhouse Open Yard are aligned parallel to the river in the old photos, see s336, and maps, but not all staggered perpendicular to the river as in the above painting. The tall, thin warehouse to the left of the Baltic Tavern(18 Quayside) can be easily picked out in aerial photo t2030 and Quayside views s114 = t1990, t1449, s336, but this dominant warehouse is absent in the Batty painting. The tall, thin buiding seen on the left side through the arch has the wrong orientation, height and chimney location to match anything in the old photos, especially the noted warehouse or the largest building in nearby Bolton House Yard (t6626). I accept Batty sometimes distorts the size of buildings and streets to cram more into his paintings. Batty has also painted the view from the Baltic Tavern up to the old Customs House in s476, which is a good match with aerial photo t2030. The old Customs House was a large building in this area of Stockton, but too far north to be the tallest building seen in the above painting. The far background through the painted arch does not match the photographed view seen in t5244 titled Waterloo Mills. Batty’s paintings on Picture Stockton are mainly of the Thistle Green and Quayside areas, so if the above painting is not of Sugarhouse Open the question remains where was this archway?


  2. Happy Christmas everyone. I have come across the address of “Sugar House Open” during my family history research, the Sugar House bit I assume is obvious, but is anyone able to explain what Open means ?


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