8 thoughts on “Corporation Quay, Stockton c1948

  1. Thanks for your comments J. May. Edit taken from the Stockton Herald, Saturday 20 March 1880.
    ‘The erection of the Corporation Warehouse at Stockton. On Friday week the men who have been employed in the erection of a large warehouse on the Quayside in connection with the Wharf Scheme were entertained at the Black Lion Hotel, High Street, in celebration of the ‘roofing in’ being completed. The guests numbered 130 to 140. The Mayor J.F. Craggs occupied the chair, surrounded by Mr W. Atkinson the Contractor, Mr Gibson the Clerk of Works, Mr James Hall the Borough Surveyor and Mr J. Whitworth the Managing Foreman of the Works. The main toast was the prosperity of the Wharf Scheme and the health of Messrs Hawkshaw and Haytor architects of the building. It is expected that the warehouse will be completed at the end of May or the beginning of June’. On 15 May 1880 a letter to the Herald reported ‘no truth that the North Eastern Railway had made overtures for buying the Wharf and Warehouse Scheme’ (whereas the more private council records suggest they had, and the vague offer was the subject of some council debate -AB). At the Town Council Meeting (TCM) of 10 July 1880, Councillor Brotherton asked when the new warehouse would be ready for occupation, but no date was offered. At the TCM of 11 September 1880 it was stated the warehouse had been insured for eight thousand pounds with the Yorkshire Fire Office, and that the Post Office was placing a telegraph in the north west corner of the building. A lifting equipment tender for the warehouse was discussed. On each of the four sides of the building there was to be a powerful winch and crane.


  2. Edited from the Stockton Herald newspaper 14 Aug 1880. The gigantic warehouse at the end of Silver Street which as taken many months to erect is now practically complete. The builders are now just giving it the finishing touches. It is expected that the architects certificate authorising its use will be issued in the next few days. The new warehouse forms part of a comprehensive scheme that Stockton Council has undertaken to develop the general shipping trade of the town. The new warehouse stands at the bottom of Silver Street on the site of old buildings that were occupied by the Town Clerks Department as offices. The huge proportion of the new warehouse can be gained from the statement that it covers a piece of ground twelve hundred yards (presumably square yards-AB) in size, and that it is six stories high. In order to ensure firm foundations the builder found it necessary to put down a solid concrete bed on the east side 20 feet deep and nine feet thick (elsewhere-AB?). On the south side the base of the walls is five feet thick and on the north side seven feet thick. The building is constructed from brick with stone facings.

    The principal entrance is on the side facing the river. A visitor entering it is struck by the general massiveness of everything he sees. The whole of the floors are supported by ponderous iron pillars, which rise from the basement to the roof. The first floor is arched over and is intended as a blending store. Going up the steps to the next floor the visitor finds it is paved with cement. This floor will be used to store general merchandise. All the other floors are made of wood. These departments will be devoted to the grain trade. There are partitions provided for the use of various grain merchants. The capacity of the upper four floors for the storage of grain is equal to 348, 000 superficial feet. If all four floors were filled with corn one foot thick the quantity of grain stored would be 3840 quarters. The grain storing departments are lighted by great windows opening on a quadrant to give adequate ventilation. Steam power will be used in the wharf to transport the grain to the warehouse.

    The warehouse building was designed by Messrs Hawkshaw, Son, Hayter, the eminent engineers of Great George Street, Westminster. Mr. W. C. Atkinson of Stockton is the contractor for the work. The cost to Stockton taxpayers is 12, 000 pounds.


    • What a building, the council obviously went for it big time! After all that effort I wonder whether it ever operated any where near it’s capacity. I guess the “use of steam” means by train, but once it got there how did it get to the top floor? That’s a long way up.

      As the building was so huge it really stands out and I had often wondered about it’s purpose, as it never really got a mention before unlike some of the other warehouses on the quayside.

      Thanks again Alan for the great research.


  3. The main concern about the huge fire at Stockton Corporation Warehouse Number One in the early hours of Thursday 11 November 1954 was 50 tons of Cymag, a pest destroyer, stored in many tin cans within the warehouse. It was claimed that Cymag released toxic and deadly gases on contact with water and heat, eg hydrogen cyanide. It was thought that the Cymag tins would burst open with the surrounding heat, or be crushed open by hot heavy debris. Fireman operating within the building were told they would be dead in about five seconds if their breathing apparatus failed. Attempts were made on Thursday afternoon to remove surviving Cymag containers, under the supervision of ICI Billingham experts, and to dispose of them at a place of safety.The fire closed Silver Street, and the east side of the High Street by Silver Street, for most of the morning. Traffic was diverted as the east side of the High Street was crossed by several large fire hoses and the parking of fire vehicles from all over County Durham.


  4. This huge six storey warehouse at the end of Silver Street was Stockton Corporation Warehouse Number One. It was used for the storage of goods for import and export through the port, and by 1954 was also leased out for industrial use. It was opened in 1880 by Councillor J.F. Craggs. It was 180 feet long and 80 feet wide, being located 30 feet from the river. It burned down on 11 November 1954 from about 3am causing one of the biggest fires Stockton had seen. The fire was still raging five hours later with 15 pumps and 120 fire crew in attendance. The fire spread rapidly as a large part of the warehouse contained rubber tyres, requiring ICI experts to monitor the disaster for the formation of hydrogen cyanide. The old warehouse was reduced to a burnt out shell and took some years to demolish then partly rebuild. The warehouse was rebuilt at a much reduced size as seen in more modern photographs on Picture Stockton. The rebuilt warehouse was completed in January 1957 with tenancies advertised locally in March 1957.


  5. This is not the old Remploy building which was further downstream at the end of Smithfield. The above huge warehouse was at the end of Silver Street (Stag Inn side). The warehouses at the end of Silver Street were the old bonded warehouses and grain stores associated with the council owned Corporation Quay. By the 1950’s they were let by Stockton Corporation to industrial concerns often connected with transport of river goods, but not exclusively so. Warehouse No.1 was damaged by fire in the early 1950’s. A photo of King George V and Queen Mary landing from the river at Stockton Corporation Quay in 1917 appears on the Middlesbrough Council Flickr site. Behind them is one of the finest and closest views of this huge warehouse. Its height was reduced towards the end of its existence, but it was a tremendously tall building in its heyday dominating the port skyline.


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