A watercolour of Thornaby Green

t14620This watercolour was given as a gift to my mum by a neighbour, Mrs Atkinson of no. 9 Grange Road, Thornaby. It was painted by R. Laws and shows the cottage on Thornaby Green. The cottage is no longer there (a modern detached house stands there now) but the large tree is, just near St Peter’s Church.

Image and details courtesy of Judy Heslop

26 thoughts on “A watercolour of Thornaby Green

  1. Wow! I believe this must have been the cottage that was there before the house we live in now was built. My mam and dad bought the house about 30 years ago but we knew there was a cottage previously (we used to find terracotta tiles in the ground when digging in the summer holidays!)

    I absolutely love this painting and would love to be able to get a copy of it (or even buy it if you were willing to sell).

    Thanks!

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    • Hello Joe, thanks for your reply. I’m so pleased to be getting this feedback but I won’t be selling it, but I could scan in and make a copy… as it is out of the frame at the moment. I wanted to see if there were any other clues on the back. You never know I could start a business, limited edition copies I’m sure there would be a market or calendars… the world is my oyster.
      I have often thought about knocking on your door to see if you knew anything about it. I think you may know Mary Frankland as I helped her to put a mattress in storage for her charity a few years ago in your parents house garage. If your parents are still there!

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      • Thanks Judy, we do indeed know Mary very well. If it’s possible we’d love to get a copy of the painting! And yes you should start a business – you’d have custom from us. Do you have other paintings/pictures of Thornaby by any chance? I’m always really interested.

        Thanks,

        Joe

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        • I seem to remember seeing some wonderful paintings of Thornaby by Denis Smith a few years ago; unfortunately I can’t remember whether they were online or whether I visited somewhere to see them. Some were of the railway station, in Barnard Street and the Victoria bridge. I seem to remember at least one of them having a relative of the artist on it. I’d love to see them again but can’t seem to track them down online.

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          • Hello, I also remember them, I always wish I had bought some, I have just had a little search and found some info. he must be Derek Smith’s Dad, the photographer who put on the Barnard St exhibition at Preston Hall. If you type in, “not forgotten” exhibition Preston Park. You should find out, maybe that is where you saw them. Derek has been in touch with me about a photo I put on this website. If he sees this maybe he will get in touch with you. If you are from Barnard St you will probably know him. Regards Judy

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            • Thanks for the info Judy – you’re probably right in saying it would have been Preston park museum where I saw the paintings. I lived in Barnard street in the early fifties and vaguely remember Derek as a baby. Hopefully we will discover where the paintings are now. It would be nice to see them in the Town Hall either alongside the forthcoming ‘Victory’s Children’ exhibition or as a separate exhibit at a later date.

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    • Hi Joe, You may have seen my comment below about asking if it was Laburnum Cottage and the fact that there now bungalows where that cottage was. Is that where you live or is it another cottage?

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      • Hi Val, I believe that there used to be 2 cottages on the land where our house is now. I think the house we live in now was built around the early 70’s.

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    • I’m sorry I don’t know if that is the name of the cottage hopefully we may find out soon from responses. Are you in Thornaby now ? I think the knocked them down in the sixties . I think the painting was done in the thirties .regards Judy heslop

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      • Yes – I live on The Green now. Laburnum Cottage was knocked down sometime in the sixties after my great aunt died and the land was sold – it was an orchard which went through to Thornaby Road. I used to play there as a child. There are now several bungalows built on the land where the access is Thornaby Road but 2 or 3 of the bungalows look onto The Green. My father used to ring the bells in St Peter’s Church when he was a teenager. I may have some photos of The Green around this time but would have to delve into a big box!

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    • Hi Val, you and I are related via my mother, who was the daughter of George Edward Smales. The cottage, if it is Laburnum Cottage was my (or ours!!) Aunt Edie. Your grandfather, Albert, was my mother’s brother.

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        • Judy, if you would like copies of the school photo’s with Robert on from Robert Atkinson school let me know via email and Stockton pictures will give you it . John.

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          • Thanks John I already have a few I can’t remember much about him when we were kids, nine year difference then he was off to that there London. To uni, still lives in Surrey became a physics teacher retired now but still working on computers. You would not recognise him now he used to be quite good looking and smart .

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      • WOW! Yes it was Aunt Edie’s cottage I was talking about! My father was also Albert so were you his cousin? He passed away in 1996 but my mother is still alive and now 97. Allan, my father’s brother is also still alive. Do you live in Thornaby? Is there any way we can get in touch?

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        • Val, you can contact me by email – email Picture Stockton (pictures@stockton.gov.uk) and they will forward it on. I live in Wolviston Court, Billingham. I see Allan fairly often.

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  2. There used to be two paintings by this artist in Thornaby Central Library before the makeover in Thornaby Town Centre. One was a painting of St Paul’s Church taken from the cornfield, the other was haystacks in the cornfield opposite the church. I would love to know where the paintings are now as they should be back in the library… I have asked in the staff in the library but to no avail I wonder if anyone at Picture Stockton could help?
    I’m sure I saw a similar picture recently but can’t remember where I saw it .

    Mrs Atkinson’s daughter Margaret McQuade used to live on the Green but she has gone now. She had a son Alec and daughter Lesley who is also gone.

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    • Hi Judy, My Great Uncle – through marriage – was Robert Laws, 1868-1952, lived in the Stockton area all his life, being a Mechanical Engineer. The 1911 census states he was living at 55 Grange Rd. Thornaby, He did a lot of painting whilst in retirement. I have one of his paintings being of Norton Church, dated 1944, before the lych gate was added, when he lived in Station Rd, Norton till he died. Will ask my Mother, who’s 95, if she can recall any of the pictures you mention. I can only agree that these pictures should be found and exhibited.

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    • Hi Judy, My Mother knew Margaret McQuade and her two Children. Margaret is of the same generation as my Mother and I am the same generation as Alec and Lesley.
      My Mother thinks the pictures probably hung in the library in George Street, which was next to the Police and Fire Stations. You say you have asked the staff in the library, which library is that? Are there two libraries in Thornaby? I know there is one in Queen Street / Gilmour Street that used to be Queen Street School, is there also one in the new Town Centre near the Thornaby Pavilion?
      My mother knows that Robert used to sell the paintings in a shop situated at the top end of Norton high street, which was selling other items. Both my Aunts have several paintings, but I don’t know where they are now.
      Will keep on investigating.

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      • Hi Martin , thanks for reply , the paintings were in Thornaby town centre library. My husband made enquiry at the library again this week. one lady remembered them ,and said, they were lovely pictures , said she would ask the lady who had been there forever, she came back saying “she wouldn’t like to say “!!!!!!!! So ,they could be anywhere, Town clerk said to enquire at Stockton library so I will try them next. it is interesting to know that Robert used to sell his paintings. I didn’t know there was a library in Queen Street school. That would be a trip down memory lane. Mm. I tried scanning but because of the mount it is too large to fit, so I will try to get someone with a bigger scanner. My son says it will still be under copyright until the artist has been dead for seventy years so a while to go before I can make my fortune in the calendar business. Regards Judy

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        • The paintings are still in Thornaby Central Library, though not on public show at the moment. If anyone wants to see these paintings if they ask a member of staff they will be brought out.

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          • Wow thanks Shelagh that is brilliant. Thank you ever so much, I’m sure everyone will be down to see them and hopefully they will be back on show very soon. I’m over the moon.

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          • Many thanks Shelagh, its good to know they are there, I did ask about them at Stockton Library and they were going to make some inquiries. Next time i’m out and about in the car I’ll have a drive over and ask about them. Well done to all concerned.

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            • Hello Martin , I have taken my picture to be reframed, to Denis firman photographic in linthorpe village, I asked about getting copies professionally done for Joe Hammill ,as he would love a copy ,trouble is we need permission from the family of the artist ,due to copyrite issues , do you know the nearest relative who would be able to give that permission or would that be you . it would be OK for it be given by letter or E mail ? He will start to put it back in the frame next week so ,if its to get done it needs permission soon . he would print it onto water colour paper to highest standard . the price is £33 each so I need to ask Joe if he wants to go ahead any way first as its not cheap . I am sure it would be an exact replica . colours differ in real life to my photo . and also if you wanted one ? If you can let me know by Monday Tuesday . regards judy

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