Billingham Carnival Queen 1954

t15080This is a photograph from Colin Hatton’s collection, which I am slowly working my way through renovating them for him and this is one of my favourites.

This picture was taken on Cowpen Lane between Central Avenue and Belasis Avenue, in the backgroud are the old Billingham Baths and the low light coloured building is the dreaded “Clinic”, this is where the school children of Billingham went for their Polio jabs amongst other equally unpleasant events, the baths are long gone but I believe the clinic buildings are still there and are used as industrial units.

The wagon behind the young ladies has a sign above it, the I think the first word is “Lime” and the second may be “Orange”, this leads me to think it is a “Pop” delivery wagon, the company could possibly be Somebody & Sons, has anybody any recollections of such a company?

Behind the car is a man on a bike with a child sitting on the crossbar , in Billingham this form of giving a lift was called “A Croggy”, across the great divide in Middlesbrough this was known as “A Tan”, were there any other variations around this area?.

I think this was a photo stop, possibly for the local press, the girls are all smiling toward somebody or something just out of shot to the left, also there is no driver, the man to the right looks as if he may have a notebook in his hand, a Billingham Express reporter perhaps, the person who took this photo was likely part of the crowd and was lucky to be at the right place at the right time, a very nice piece of social history.

Details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

14 thoughts on “Billingham Carnival Queen 1954

  1. bruce coleman. billingham folk have started a fb group called “billingham in photographs” would you like to join and paticipate. regards john booth


  2. I was born in Middlesbrough, and ‘yes’ the cross-bar riding phenomenon was referred to as a ‘Tan’ (tho’ I can offer no reason why!). It wasn’t until I started dating a girl from Stockton, that I first heard it referred to as a ‘Croggy’. By the same token, she’d say ‘Herry-up!’ and I’d say ‘Urry-up’. Ain’t dialect, just 5 miles apart, wonderful?


  3. A word in defence of the clinic. it was also the source of NHS orange juice, available for young children in rationing Britain. Probably a banned substance now..
    “Croggy” was the bike sharing of the under 11s. Whitehead Park, trainspotting, at the old station and the new bridge, and building sites were top of the prefered destinations.


  4. Croggy was the name I knew in Stockton. The three baths at that time were Stockton (deep end 6′, Thornaby deep end 9′, and Billingham 7’6″ deep end. Roughly, the deep end determined which Baths you liked the best i.e. Thornaby, Billingham and Stockton in that order!


  5. My pals and I in the 1950s would ride from Norton to Billingham Baths where we all learnt to swim. There was a mchine outside that used to dispense a blob of Brylcreem and another a cup of hot Bovril. Lovely memories


    • That has just prompted a memory, there was a firm in Billingham during the 50s and 60s called Donaldsons, they were dairymen.


  6. Strange that the photo opportunity is almost on the doorstep of where the Agricultural Division office block was to be built. Gone now of course.

    I went to the ‘baths’ in the early 60’s regularly without ever learning to swim. That came later. Many people will have taken their Personal Survival tests there. I only managed bronze. Although one lunchtime, in 1968 I nipped over from R building and Swam my first mile. Yes, I was late back but not disciplined as we all shared our achievements.

    Many years after that I ran a 10k from HOC up to Haverton, Cowpen Bewley etc and was shocked to see how little of my old stomping grounds remained. I also learned that it’s not a good idea to spend the afternoon in the Swan the day before a race.


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