27 thoughts on “Robinsons Department Store

  1. Was the Ritz Hotel. London, the first steel framed building in Britain, or was it Matthias Robinsons Store in Stockton on Tees? In the book “The Deuelopment of Steel Framed Buildings in Britain 1880- 1905 by Alastair A Jackson, a W Basil Scott, architect, wrote that the first recorded steel framed building in the UK was in Stockton on Tees in 1898, it was built for Matthias Robinson, the major store owner in Hartlepool.

    On August 30, 2011. Brian Swales (a Fellow Forum Member) wrote the following information which adds credence to Basil Scott claim.

    Robinson’s department store was founded by Matthias Robinson in 1896. Mr Robinson opened his first modest shop in West Hartlepool in September 1875, he later bought adjoining shops adding new departments to his Hartlepool store. Because of his wife’s bronchial trouble the family moved to Stockton on doctors’ advice. In 1896 he bought numbers 149 and 150 Stockton High Street. He altered these two town houses, which adjoined the vicarage of the Parish Church, into his first Stockton department store – Robinson’s. Unfortunately three years later, and just three days before Christmas 1899, this store was completely destroyed by fire. Undaunted, Matthias Robinson and his eldest son, Arthur, prepared plans for a new larger store to be built on the original Stockton site. Throughout 1900 and early 1901 work continued on this new store, and when it was finished and opened to the public in May 1901, it was one of the largest department stores in the North of England having no less than 48 departments, a restaurant and a café. After his death the business continued to be family run, with the Stockton store being run by his son Cyril. In 1962 the Robinson empire was bought by the Debenham’s group in a £2.8m take-over, and ten years later the Matthias Robinson name disappeared altogether. B Swales. The architects of Robinsons store was Barnes and Coates of Sunderland.

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  2. According to the very detailed book “The Beatles UK Tours 1963-1965”, author Martin Creasy says the Beatles stayed at the Eden Arms Hotel, Rushyford that weekend, after they appeared at the Globe and also after they appeared at Newcastle’s City hall on the Saturday night.

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  3. Wow the Queens has burnt down! A lot of the big name artists did stay at the Queens and the Metropole my dad was a taxi driver in Stockton in the 60’s and often got the job of ferrying them back and forward, he was particularly unimpressed with Hermans Hermits when they tried to stiff him over the fare. My auntie Linda worked at the Queens so met lots of them as well, I always remember the huge collie they had at the Queens back in the mid 60’s.

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  4. I was at the Beatles’ 2nd appearance at the Globe with my then boyfriend Peter Sutcliffe (not the notorious one). We have both married other people now, and happily. He had paid lots for the tickets in those days, I rememeber being furious because we couldn’t hear the music for the screaming of the fans. Quite shocking way back then! Other stars stayed at the Queens Hotel in Bishopton Lane before it burned down. When Cliff and the Shadows playhed the Globe, I don’t know where Cliff stayed but the Shadows got lodgings at Ragworth in peoples’ houses, I knew a girl who lived in one of them so met the shadows in her kitchen one afternoon. Happy Days!

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  5. Regarding the hotel in which the Beatles stayed after their November 1963 gig at the Globe, I found the following quote on the web: ‘A highlight of the ’60s was The Beatles staying at The Alexandra Hotel in Saltburn before appearing at The Globe in Stockton…’

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  6. I am pretty sure the store was known as Robinsons well past 1962, I am not sure when the name changed to debenhams. I would guess at late 60’s possibly very early 70’s. Maybe somebody who worked there at the time would know.

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  7. You will see some of my recollections with some of the Robinson’s Photos. It was an excellent shop. Cyril Robinson was the Director. Mr(Ding Dog) Bell the LONDON trained manager. I think Mr Rose was Deputy Manager, My Chief was Mr Leslie Armour, Buyer of Mens Wear Department. Most departments in those days had their own buyer who was resposible for also running the department. His right hand was the First Sales, male or female, then second sales etc down to Junior Sales. This system was used many years ago when staff were paid commission on sales. Wo-betide any member who stepped forward out of turn.
    In my time 1946-7 we were not paid commission – we had a set wage.
    The people I knew were Joyce Bailes cash Dept a smart young lady and daughter of Detective Sergeant Bailes of Stockton Police. Miss Faulkener, Mr Gordon Mott who returned from demob and became a Councillor, Mr John Rain who was also demobbed and returned for a time to Robinsons before moving to Whitby.

    They were all good people to work with but competition was still about, but not in such a vicious way as “The Apprentice” today. To see that great shop today saddens me. It would be better knocked down than the mess of today.

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  8. With regard to pop stars staying at the Metropole – My mum worked at the Metropole in the 1960″s and was a great source of autographs for me. She liked Roy Orbison but couldn”t understand why he wore his dark glasses even at breakfast. Bobby Vee and Wayne Fontana were both “lovely young men”. I remember one day she was very late getting home because the hotel was besieged by fans. I wonder if it was the Searchers because around the same time I was nearly trampled at the top of Yarm Lane by a couple of Searchers who were being pursued by a screaming horde of girls. Mum also loved Des O”Connor because he was always charming with the waitresses. Smoothy! AND as well as the pop stars she got me LENNY THE LION”S autograph! I know, you”re all jealous!

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  9. The Beatles played the Globe for the second time on 15th october 1964, the same night Harold Wilson became Prime Minister for the first time.

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  10. The Beatles played at the Globe on both dates of: 22nd November 1963 and 15th October 1964. They also played at the Astoria Ballroom in Wilson Street, Middlesbrough on the 25th June 1963. Stockton was the last town in the North-East, that The Beatles visited and it was a hotel in Stockton that the Beatles stayed in 1964, in which their did a television interview with Tyne-Tees.

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  11. You see, I always thought the Beetles stayed at the Vane Arms Hotel. There is some Tyne Tees TV footage of the Beetles being interviewed before their show (and before the President was shot) and they are sitting in front of a large fireplace. I am sure the Vane Arms had beautiful rooms like this, I can”t remember the Queens Hotel having fireplaces but I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.

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  12. Robo – Gene Pitney and Tom Jones may have stayed in Yarm Road at some point but they never had the same star quality as the Beatles in November 1963 (we won”t go into the fact here that Gene Pitney was only just getting his UK chart career going in 1963 with “Tulsa” after having a brief flirtation with the UK charts in 1961 with “Love My Life Away” and Tom Jones was yet to cut a record). From the safety and security point of view of the Beatles, the Beatles fans, the owners of the Hotels etc and the staff who worked there and people nearby it was just not feasible for the Beatles to stay overnight in the vicinity of the venue where they had performed. Other people have mentioned the pandemonium that broke out in Stockton High Street that night when the Beatles performed in 1963 and it was true. No other entertainer or group of entertainers visiting Stockton had or has ever had such a welcome. Today”s stars are pale by comparison. The top-selling mp3/CD or whatever format artist could walk down Stockton High Street today and nobody would know who he/she/they were. Before the Beatles, during their period of fame and after the Beatles many, many entertainers and artists could and would walk around Stockton when they were playing in the town and many were recognised but none of them were mobbed by hysterical teenagers to the point where injury may have been caused.

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  13. Norman Kidd, as mentioned in my note on this site August 2004. Yes I knew Mr Beaton and the side passage and the staircase was not a very attractive entrance to his rooms. Also Mentioned was Frank E. Franks who appeared and organised the annual Pantomime. He was always slow at paying his bills and I cannot remember him ever paying his account off. When I was at Richard Hind Junior School we used to be sent by the school to a Dentist in Yarm Road, She was a large Russian woman who wore crape soled shoes that squeaked on the linoleum floor. Gave you the creeps before she got near you. Norman you certainly have done very well to say you had heart problems? Have you had any treatment for it? You have certainly livened up the Picture. Stockton site since you found it and you certainly have a great knowledge of STOCKTON and a jolly good memory. Yes I do read all the stories almost daily.

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  14. Robert (Bob) Dicken. I think I had two teeth taken out by Mr Beeton he was one of the “old school” known as a Registered Dentist not allowed now because of the Dentists Act 1921. However there was nothing wrong with the treatment I had except his wooden arm felt a bit hard when he leaned on you to extract. Did you read my other piece re “The Grange ICI”? My dental apprenticeship came after I had to leave Mathias Robinsons with heart trouble. In the end it made my life. I enjoyed working at Robinsons having also been at Doggarts when the “ticker” problems became bad. I learned many things that helped me in later life. Just meeting people and relating to them for one, it was a very broad spectrum of life. Cyril Robinson was the Director of the company and looked after the Stockton Branch. He lived at Hutton Rugby and he would have preferred to be a farmer full time, but like other relations of old Mathias his Dad,he had to put his shoulder to the wheel with the excellent business which they had built up from West Hartlepool. Leeds was their top shop run by Lionel Robinson who after demob came around the shops with his sketch board and made them into stores. We know the story after that. Mr Cyril once took the trouble to loan me a book called “The Endless Furrow” an allegorical story of farming. The thing is life is an Endless Furrow for us all which we plough each day. Keep ploughing. N.

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  15. BIT YOUNG FOR THIS BUT I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT WHEN ANY BIG GROUP LIKE THE BEATLES PLAYED HERE A GUEST HOUSE ON YARM ROAD NO 80 WAS WHERE THEY STAYED.ITS OPPOSITE RAGGY HIND! TOM JONES AND GENE PITNEY STAYED THERE. THERES SOMETHING ON THIS SITE WILL CONFIRM THIS,CROWDS OUTSIDE THE HOUSE WANTING AUTUGRAPHS SIGNING ETC ETC.

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  16. In about 1964 I remember seeing the late and great Roy Orbison leaving the Metropole Hotel after staying the night there following a show at the Globe or the Odeon. I was working at the old Evening Gazette office at the time,in Bridge Road. Later the office moved to Brunswick Street opposite the TITOS nightclub, I saw many a big star arriving at the club. We had a free pass and I would use it to see the big stars perform,Tom Jones,Englebert Humperdink,Tony Hancock,Dick Emery, etc etc. Great place Stockton in those days.It was Titos that I took my wife Dorothy on our first date to see PJ Proby,that was 40 years ago.

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  17. Sarah Sheraton – I don”t think The Beatles stayed at any of the hotels you mention in your other post. Visiting entertainers did stay at the Queen”s Hotel and indeed The Metropole Hotel, Bill Haley was there in early 1965. I can be contacted on de3de@hotmail.com.

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  18. The Globe was the home of the ABC Minors every Saturday morning. It cost sixpence to get in to see regulars like The Three Stooges, “Lash” Laroo, The Cisco Kid and lots of Looney Tunes cartoons. We had badges that glowed in the dark and sang the ABC Minors song at the start of each show to the tune of “The Marine”s Hymn”. “We are the boys and girls well known as, Minors of the ABC. Who every Saturday all line up, to see the films we like and shout aloud with glee…” Or words to that effect. Ha haa! Fond memories…

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  19. The Globe Theatre was the venue for two Beatles concerts. Their first visit was on 22nd November 1963 which was also the date of the release of their “With The Beatles” L.P. record. If the date seems familiar to you, it may be because it is also the date of the assassination of popular American President J. F. Kennedy. The other visit of the Beatles to The Globe was on 15th October 1964 (coincidentally my 4th birthday). If you attended either of these concerts I”d really like to hear about it; please contact me at sarahsheraton@ntlworld.com. 🙂

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  20. In the 1940s Frank.E.Franks produced and played in the pantomime each year at the Globe Theatre. A side door near the Globe led to the upstairs dental surgery. Mr Beaton the dentist only had one arm.

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