12 thoughts on “The demolition of Thorpe Thewles Railway Viaduct.

  1. The lady who pressed the button to demolish the Viaduct at Thorpe Thewles was married to a workmate of mine. I remember him telling me that his wife had won the prize in a raffle organised by Stockton Round Table, of which he was a member. His name is Jim Grainger and he owns ‘Stockton Office Services’ and/or ‘Mowbrays Office Equipment’ also in Stockton. I also remember cursing him roundly at the time for being such a vandal! If anyone is really interested I am sure Jim would be happy to relate the tale.

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  2. The old lady who lived in the tarred shack beside the old three arches on the Wynyard Road was Mary Bottomley, nee Taylor. She was the widow of Herbert Bottomley, a policeman. Her sister, Jemimah Howe, bought chocolates in Stockton and Mary individually wrapped them and sold them, and lemonade, to people who were passing by. Mary left the shack and ran the old post office and ‘general dealers’ two doors from the Vane Arms. Mary died circa the fifties. She was my mother’s aunt. Jemimah was my grandmother. I don’t know of a tarred shack being beside the twenty arches. Never heard it called the twentyone arches. In 1942 or thereabouts, a dead porpoise was found under the twenty arches. It had swum up the beck. Mr Swinbank, who lived on the corner opposite the Hamilton Russell Arms in Thorpe, put it on his manure heap. Tiny wild strawberries grew on the ‘battery side’ at the three arches. My cousin and I sometimes put our heads on the line there, to hear if a train was coming. Men on a man-powered bogey often journeyed up and down the line. Two men pumped a handle up and down to make the wheels go round. I often saw it crossing the twenty arches when I was a child.

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  3. From the age of three memories of my aunt Dorothy and uncle Joe Parker lived at the Old Woodside Farm at the top of the station road in 1953. I spent year after year visiting my aunt and uncle until into my teens when I started my apprenticeship at Aycliffe Industrial Estate.
    In 1979 I started my own small engineering business, repairing anything that had to be welded and made of steel.
    I was a approached by a friend a Rock Driller and Blaster from Shildon called `Lol Guthrie` and he referred to the 3+20 Arches were to be demolished by his associates from Darlington who had the main contract. He asked me if I could build a Drill Rig to accommodate the drilling of the main pillars, and so I did with old parts from old drill rigs (scrapheap challenge!) this we applied to the 3 Arches with great success and then onto 20 Arches.
    After all those years and a coincidence that I would help to condemn a landmark that was part of my youth. My aunt would say “Do not go over the arches as you will get in trouble with the railway police”, so I never did until the day we started drilling!

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  4. I can remember the Arches very well but, going back 40 years, but can any of you remember the old lady that lived beside the Viaduct? She lived in an old shed with a pitch roof and was covered in black tar. I always wonderd what happened to her when it was brought down, does anyone have any idea? If so I’d love to know more.

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  5. I was ten years old when this bridge was demolished. I remember the day clearly although I did not see it. I sure heard it! I was riding my bike along the pavement at the junction of Harrowgate Lane and Letch Lane and when the explosives went off I fell off!

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  6. I watched the bridge fall. A very sad day. 5 years of hard work destroyed in seconds. The 21 arches were a work of art, pulled down to make way for a dual carriageway that has been reduced to a single carriageway anyway.

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  7. The viaduct was demolished on 03/06/79 – the three arch bridge spanning the Wynyard road had previously been demolished on 01/04/79

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  8. I remember many people, myself among them, walking up to Thorpe one Sunday morning in 1979 (June I think)to see the demolition. We were kept about a quarter of a mile away for safety reasons. It looked spectacular, though I believe that the piers of the “21 arches”, as they were known locally did not all come down as planned and the remainder were demolished later .The person “pushing the button” had ,I think, won this as a prize, possibly as some kind of charity raffle.The viaduct was a graceful and prominent local landmark and it was sad to see it go, but being brick built one could see the effects of years of rain and frost damage on some of the arches and piers and it would have been costly to maintain it, merely as part of a walkway.

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  9. Living on Grangefield Rd for many years up to the age of 15, we often used to walk past the Grammar School,over the fields and train spot on the line commonly known as the “Cuckoo railway”.Anybody know why it had that name?

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  10. I was very interested to see this picture. This viaduct was a major local landmark and I remember being amazed to learn of its demolition. It must have been a very costly process and presumably was partly justified to allow upgrading of the main A177 Stockton to Durham road. My uncle had his company garage in Thorpe Thewles where his trucks were maintained. The railway continued south past the playing fields of Grangefield Grammar School, where I studied for GCEs and did occasional train spotting! Like many before me, I did put a penny on the track and waited for the next train to run over it. However the next train was not the usual coal train but a special track testing vehicle – the driver had spotted me and I was admonished for potentially damaging the testing equipment.

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