33 thoughts on “Aerial view of Stockton Quay c1953

  1. Those cranes bring back memories, my elder brother Curley was one of the crane drivers for over forty years there until he was transferred to Middlesbrough docks until retirement. One of the biggest jobs they used to do was the unloading of scrap metal from the war. I do not know where it went to from the docks, but the crane drivers always got big bonuses when doing this job. there was also perks such as cigarettes and spirits from the ships for the workers. I must say the docks area looks great now and the South Bank is a show piece as what can be achieved with the right sort of planning, when compared to the shambolic planning and design of the Castle Gate complex, which is a total eyesore.

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  2. Almost top left are the reflections of the cranes on Corporation Quay. Whilst still a pupil at Holy Trinity I often walked down Finkle Street to see the coasters and other small ships. Often bringing timber from Scandinavia. Fascinating for youngsters.

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  3. I notice you did not mention any Machine Shop personnel where you came as Pauline Green as well as ginger Margaret, Josie who married Alan Mawby, Dot Good who married Tony Flynn & Dot Miller to name a few who came to the offices to deliver the mail etc. The dances that were held in Teasdale Hall were great occasions.

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  4. Have just happened on this photograph of Head Wrightson Teesdale where I worked from l958 to 1966. I started as a messenger there so was familar with all the workshops in the photo. Alf Littlewood was in charge of the template shop, I am not sure where Dave Littlewood worked but his twin brother Charlie worked in the Planning Department, where Tommy Frier was the boss at the time, then followed by John Jeffels. This was a new building behind the main HWT office block, but we moved later to the old offices above the drawing office in the main building. Does nobody rememeber Mr Purnell, Mr Sturgess who were both directors and worked in the new building, Sir John Wrightson and Sir Guy would make appearances from time to time. There was Big Tom the doorman and Johnny Ambrosie was a chauffer there at this time. My uncle was foreman of the Bridge Yard (Les Howe) George Cain was Bridge Yard Manager, and Tommy Hall was the Works Manager. This photograph brings back so many good memories especially all the great Christmas dances that were held in the canteen. Head Wrightson was a great place to work and I made many good lifelong friends there.

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  5. Bob – The Stoves’ family used to live in Seamer Grove, Hartburn in the 60’s and 70’s, three lads, with Nigel being the eldest. I used to knock about with Andrew and the younger brother was called Philip. Nigel now lives just around the corner from his childhood home, Andrew lives in Hartburn and not sure about young Philip. John & Jean (the parents) werre keen caraveners and John bought his first car, a blue Vauxhall Cresta (big finned model), from Eddie Church (Church’s gents outfitters. Bowesfield Lane) who also lived in our road – Happy days.

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  6. Yes Peter Chapman does have a brother called Mick, Peter is the father-in-law of Nigel Stoves who has the heating installation business.J ohn Lawson now lives in Norton. When we went inside the reactor at Oldbury Power Station, Bristol, it was just like working at home with personnel from Head Wrightsons & Darchem Engineering, Stillington.

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  7. I do remember John Lawson, a Norton lad. Before marriage lived in Beaconsfield Road. Pete Chapman, did he have a brother called Mick? If so he recently attended the Co-op reunion at the Stockton Cricket club which I also attended. Our time goes back to the mid 50’s.

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  8. Hi Bob, sorry don’t remember Jack Whitaker. I worked on the detail drawings for the Graphite Reactor Core on Oldbury Power Station – did actually have a visit to the site with Dennis Turner when we had trouble with the jacking arrangements for the very large support plates that the core was built on.

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  9. I remember quite a few of the guys you mention
    they used to come into the Machine Shop from time to time. Dennis Turner was actually on the job with us at Oldbury Power Station, Bristol, we stayed at the Royal Hotel, Bristol in 1966.

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  10. Kenneth, when the Friarage was changed from residential to Offices I was the 1st joiner or workman to go there. Together with another joiner we opened up the premises. The Gardener there was a man called Evans. Whilst doing the alterations the man in charge of all the work was called Jack Whitaker. He was on the Friarage payroll. He lived in Junction Road, Norton. Was he still there when you worked there?

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  11. I love all these stories about Head Wrightson. I was an apprentice draughtsman starting in the Apprentice school in 1961 and very proud to have worked for Heads, one of the really great Northeast companies. I often feel very sorry for the youth of today who will never have the opportunity to have the sort of training/apprenticeship that we had. Also very interesting about Bert Waller, my father Merv Lee was a friend of Bert Waller, also a pianist he played all his life in various pubs and clubs in Stockton. Finally, some of the people who I worked with at Heads are Pete Chapman, Barry Robson-cross, Alan Collier, Dennis Sizer, Ronnie Miller, Ken Nixon, John Lawson, Dennis Turner, Eric Lockney to name but a few – Anybody else remember these names?

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  12. With reference to the comments in October 2007, the company was called “Cork Insulation and Asbestos Co., Limited. This was a “Vestey” company. I worked there until it ceased manufacture of mineral fibre insulation as well as various asbestos products which were used for high temperature work in electricity stations. The trade name of the product was “Kalsil”. The fibrous material trade name was “Fiberoc” in rolls for house insulation, slabs and pipe sections.

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  13. Just in front and to the right of the Heavy Machine Shop was the Medical Centre. I believe a man called Morley was the Ambulance man. He lived in a small wooden bungalow on the road from Yarm to Urlay Nook. I remember working one Sunday on the Dock Gates. The Foreman asked me to retrieve some rope from under the gate. As I was bending down to get it, he, the Foreman pulled on the rope, it caught under my neck and banging my head against the metal work on the gate. I was concussed and taken to the Ambulance Room, given some Salvalattae(excuse spelling)to drink and spent the rest of the day asleep on the bed. All at double time.

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  14. My father was a plater (boilermaker”s union ) at the malleable works and they made ship”s hatch covers. John George (jack ) Wake was my great grand father and Bert Waller was my mother”s cousin and yes he was pianist for Frankie Vaughan. It”s a small electronic world.

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  15. Peter, The map that I referred to is available from Alan Godfrey Maps, Prospect Business Park, Leadgate, Consett. DH8 7PW or wwwalangodfreymaps.co.uk The particular map you will need to ask for is Stockton (North) 1899. I don”t remember any ships being built at Stockton as I think by the time I was living there the shipyard had closed down and moved down river to Haverton Hill/Port Clarence. I believe, from what my father said, that in the Malleable Steel works there was the job of plater and I think that their job was to mark out the plates of steel ready for whatever purpose they were going to be used for. Various people have listed vessels on this webpage that had been built at Haverton Hill and I think you will need to go as far back as you can or look in the archives. It”s little bit of a coincidence that we both have links with Stockton-on-Tees and with South Africa. If February 2007 I made a visit to South Africa to meet up with some Rotarians that I know from dealings we have had with them through my own Rotary club. Regards.

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  16. Hi George. I recently found a copy of my grandparents marriage certificate and John Dawsons address is No 5 Pine Street and he was shown as an apprentice riveter in 1907. My grandmother was Annie Maria O”Neil and her father was living in No 6 Haffron Street. Her father is shown as a riveter in 1907, (promoted?). My great grandfather, also a John Dawson (5 Pine St), and his occupation was as a Moulder. My father was Ernest Dawson and in 1944 his marriage certificate also shows him as a riviter. I seem to remember that in the mid 50″s my father was a plater. Do you know if this was a shipyard trade? This map you mentioned has my interest, do you know if a copy is available?, (both sides). I was born in “51 in the south of England but from a young age I grew up in South Africa however I am now of the age where I am realising that I know very little of my parents backgrounds and I would love to know where my “roots” came from. Given the streets they lived in and the trades carried out, were there many shipyards and companies. Also was it just the one Malleable Iron Works? Also were there any vessels of note constructed in these shipyards? From the addresses it looks like had it not been for the war we may have also been neighbours. Regards

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  17. Peter Dawson. Peter, on a copy of the 1899 Map of Stockton (North) Pine Street is shown to be behind Paradise Row, Now called Church Road. Pine Street ran between Portrack Lane and Bay Street and would have only been a few minutes walk from the North shore Ship Yard. On the reverse of the map various streets are listed with their occupants. At No 5 Pine Street was a J Dawson (Moulder) and at No 19 Paradise Street was a T O”Neill (Labourer). Paradise Street was a continuation of Paradise Row and went towards the railway that fed into the shipyard and the Malleable Iron Works. I was brought up in the Portrack area, albeit from 1946 until 1963 and off the Portrack Lane East area.

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  18. My father spent his teenage, (and possibly his younger years), working in the shipyards. He worked as a riveter, rivet heater, plater and iron moulder as did his brothers, father, grandfather (Dawsons) and father-in-law (Tom O”Neil). I have never been to Stockton and never knew his family but these men must of been real men. Any ideas as to where Pine Street was in relation to the ship yards? Maybe one of the older shipyard workers may remember the Dawson family.

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  19. Hi Bob the building opposite the Template Shop housed the Template Loft & on the ground floor was the Bridgeyard toilets,showers & George the beltman.The Maintenance Drawing Office you refer to is in the bottom right hand side of the photo with smaller building attached.Jimmy(STICKER)Dickenson was another draughtman who worked in the office.

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  20. Ken. Jack Wake in his younger years was quite a good musician and played the trumpet in local bands. He was related either by cousin or brother in law to Bert Waller who was the pianist for Frankie Vaughan. (Green Door and the rest).

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  21. Hi Ken. Yes the Joiner was Jack Wake. He was loaned to Stockton Steel. It was easy for him to work there as he only lived in Wren Street and then Windermere Road. He would come over to Thornaby to machine wood for the jobs over there. Don was a chap called Don LaRoche. Yes he had a business selling milk and then sold it and bought out the Marimba Club in the Boro. He was always at the Eaglescliffe Foundry. Funny story. When I first worked at HW he came down from Eaglescliffe to get materials for a job up there. I knew him from my younger years and he had a “nick name” which I can”t remember now, but I called him by this name and he gave me a swift kick up the backside, and it hurt. I left HW in 1962 and met up again with Jack Wake at Hills in 1973. It”s all true Ken. I think Don had the run of the works at Eaglescliffe and had many excuses for leaving the pre,mises.

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  22. Bob. Thanks for the reminder of Cork Insulation. When I was at Stockton Steel Foundry we had a joiner working in the pattern shop called Jack Wake I believe and when Jack was on the sick or on holiday we had a chap called Don who in the mornings had a milk round around Hartburn and Fairfield before he came to work. Is this correct or were these just tales passed around from the different foundrys?

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  23. Ken Rhodes. The Company you are referring to is Cork Insulation. Because of the type of product they manufactured I would say you are right that it wasn”t Crosthwaites.

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    • Do you have any further information about the products that were manufactured at the Cork Insulation and Asbestos Co. factory, and whether these actually contained asbestos? I have been searching for more details about “Kalsil”, “Fiberoc” and “Eldorite” and the presence of asbetos on the Thornaby Works site but have been unable to find very much information online. Any information would be very much appreciated.

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  24. Hello Bob and Len. Bob I may be wrong but I think the Asbestos you talked about came not from Croswaites but from the small firm around the corner from the main HW offices who dealt with Asbestos and other dodgy materials. The old memory is playing up again and I cant remember its name even though I passed it twice a day going to and from work at Croswaites for a year before going to work at Heads for the next forty odd years. When I was at Heads Training Centre we were the last group of Heads staff to be evicted from the Teesdale site. All around the centre had been excavated to a depth of between ten to fifteen feet to get to solid clay for the concrete foundations so we were left on an island with narrow paths to get out to the road that was left. The council made us move out and we went to a site on the Bon Lea traiding estate. On the great photo I can see the Training Centre, the Steel foundry and many other buildings that bring back memories of my working life at Heads.

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  25. Len Nicholson. When I fisrt started at HW the Stampings Shop that eventually moved to Hartlepool was sited where the Template Shop is. We, the Joiners built the Template floor. In charge of the Template Shop was a chap called Dave Littlewood and I believe his twin brother worked there with him. After about 11 years I again met up with Dave and became very friendly with him. Opposite the the Template Shop was the offices of what was Whitwells and was the Engineer Bill Hutchinsons Office along with the Maintenance Drawing Office. 2 of the Draughtsmen there were Doug Merryweather and Terry McCabe, both cricketers for Thornaby in the NY&SD League. In the Stock Yard was a chap called John Goode who drove the overhead crane. When you think of the aerial photo and what the present land looks like today, I think it is very sad. Len, on the photo where do you think the new University would be? I was thinking it would be just along from the Joiners Shop but into the Crossthwaites Land. When they were excavating the ground for the Uni. it was all roped off because Asbestos being found and this would coincide with Crossthwaites.

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  26. Hi Bob,Jack Wellam was the boss of the Heat Exchange Shops,the grey coloured building which is behind the Joiners Shop is the Site Shop which is not completed in this photo.

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  27. Hi Len. I think one of the buildings on the River end of the BridgeYard was Jack Wellans shop. They did the boilers there. Another building I could not recognise is the grey coloured building which is behind the Joiners Shop and near to where they built the Dock Gates. This building was not there when I left.

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  28. Bob you are right regarding the car park. The two shops in the foreground next to the offices were the Fitting Shop & Machine Shop,the small shop to the right was the Tool-room,the two shops at right angle to the Machine Shop were the Light Machine Shop,then a Bar Storage Shop,the next two were the Template Shop,then the Stockyard,the big building to the right of the Heavy Plate Shop are the rest of the Bridgeyard Shops,the two shops at the top right of the Bridgeyard at an angle were the Heat Exchange,the two long buildings on the left of Trafalgar Street were the Foundry. The building with flat-roof, left of the car park was the old Apprentice School which was on the back of Teasdale Hall.

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  29. Eric I always find air views fascinating , so much to see Craig-taylors shipyard is to the left above “Heads” complex Ropners across the river, the Office Block only remaining , later Rembrandt Fashion , then “REmploy” For lifting Marine engines , “Blairs Shear-Legs”stood alongside the small brick structure far right alongside the railway line which was bridged in Tilery on Norton Road ,to transport the engines from “Blairs” , later F Hills The Corporation Wharf 6 cranes are reflected in river. Just showing on the edge top left is the frontage of M Robinsons The black “I” shape in front of the tower of the Parish Church, to right of which the white front of The Castle & Anchor block In the top left corner is Dovecot Street with the dark bulk of Stockton Technical school Is the long white roof , alongside the river behind the cranes Joshua Wilsons or some other wholesale merchants which was alongside the Plaza ?? The reason I ask is there”s no “Bishops Landing” inlet on this photo to line me up

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  30. Eric Collins. I started HW in 1953 as a 16 year old Apprentice. In the right of centre of the picture you see a Factory Shop roof which is black and white edges. This is the Heavy Plate Shop but it was not built until approx. 1956 so this picture was taken after the date given. On the top right of the picture 2 1/4″ down and 1″ in you see a very small building with about 8 windows showing, this was the Joiners Shop that I worked in. Directly behind this building was a slipway that belonged to Richardson Ducks who were a Shipbuilding Company. HW used this slipway when launching Dock Gates. If you look directly to the opposite side of the photo you can see the waste ground of the Craig Taylor slipway but the slipway has gone. Another clue to the age of the photo is a car park at the bottom on the L/H side which is opposite the main Office. When I left in 1962 this space were cottages which had offices in them. Probably Len Nicholson can help me with these sitings. I can say that it a wonderful photo and brings back lots of memories. I can see work that I have done on some of the buildings.

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  31. What a fantastic view! – & taken in the year I was born. Head Wrightson”s looks prosperous – and is there evidence of some old slipways belonging to the long gone shipyards just on the edge of the south bank? (Craig Taylor”s or Ropner”s?). The cattle market is just discernable behind the Parish Church, and the council”s housing department in the prefab style buildings.

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