Municipal Buildings, Official Opening Ceremony Bowls

t14638This is one of a number of bowls made from the clay excavated from the basement and foundations of the Municipal Buildings in Church Road, Stockton-on-Tees. The bowls were presented to guests at the Official opening ceremony. The throwing, if that is the correct word, of the bowls was organised by the head of the Art Department at Constantine Technical College, Middlesbrough. I received one having been involved in the design of the buildings when working in the Borough Architects Department. At that time we were housed in the single storey prefab shared with the Corporation Housing Department on Thistle Green. The bowls were of special interest to me as the clay used was possibly under, or very close to, the site of my great grandmother’s shop on Thistle Green circa 1900. She was Lucy Wilkinson born in 1847. The bowls probably have very little value but the provenance of mine is priceless.

Photograph and details courtesy of James Bridge.

7 thoughts on “Municipal Buildings, Official Opening Ceremony Bowls

  1. I was a junior clerk in the Housing Department, we shared the building with the Borough Architects . Every morning the juniors from all the departments of Stockton Borough Council would meet in the Municipal building and distribute the “internal mail”. Les Bennet (Blue Caps) was a junior from the Harbour office which was somewhere near the Green Dragon Yard. Happy Days! Pat Corking (nee Bennington)


  2. I appreciate and thank Cliff Thornton for the information regarding the brick clay used in the production of Linthorpe Pottery and I was also pleased that the article was of some interest to your readers.and I would like to thank them for their comments. Having mentioned Thistle Green I wondered if anyone could help determine the exact location of addresses given only as Thistle Green. The Old Ordnance Survey Maps for Stockton (North) 1899 and Stockton-on Tees & Thornaby 1897 are of little help due to the scale of the maps.
    In the 1899-1900 Stockton and Thornaby District Directory my Great Grandfather John Wilkinson is listed as Shop Keeper 33, 34, 35, 36 Thistle Green and my Great Grandmother Mrs Lucy Wilkinson 17, Thistle Green.
    I know that their daughter, my Grandmother Mrs Elizabeth Caton, owned property on Thistle Green, being possibly in the vanguard of the “Buy to Let” Brigade. The venture did not appear to turn out well as under a blanket Slum Clearance Order, date unknown, she lost her complete portfolio of dwellings. I was told that the fee in compensation for each property, regardless of condition, was two pounds. Is anyone able to verify this?


    • James,
      As one who left Stockton nearly 50 years ago, I do not have any specific knowledge of Thistle green. However, I am aware from my own work in local government that slum clearance compensation only reflected site value and I was aware of many cases in the 1970s where an owner only received £5. From about 1969 onwards an owner-occupier of an unfit dwelling who had two years ownership and residence received a supplement which raised their level of compensation to the market value of the house.
      The paltry level of compensation which you refer to may well therefore be correct.


    • James, you can view an 1890s map of Stockton on-line, go to, and enlarge it.
      Thistle Green is clearly marked, lying between the parish church and the river.
      It may have been a “green” at one time, but by the 1890s it was an open area that had been cobbled over. Photos of Thistle Green are available on Picture Stockton. Use the site’s search facility to find old photos e.g.


  3. It was Dr Christopher Dresser, the victorian designer involved with the Linthorpe Pottery, who said that the highest form of art is made from the most basic of materials. In the case of Linthorpe Pottery, the vases etc. were made from brick-clay. So your bowl is in good company.


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