6 thoughts on “On the ice near Billingham c1906

  1. I can remember one Winter when Billingham bottoms flooded and iced over, me and my mates skated on the ice, we had a free session as we were regulars at the Forum Ice rink.
    Bryan Archer

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  2. Billingham bottoms always flooded. Going along Billingham bypass, the flooded bottoms looked like a lake. Sometimes even the road from Billingham bank to Norton was under several inches of water. How on Earth did we walk through it? When I was young, my family lived at no 1 Beaconsfield, and my mother used to talk about skating on the frozen bottoms, when she was a school girl coming home from the Church of England School on Billingham green.

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  3. Thank you for that picture it proves my story of skating on the Billingham Bottoms every year as a lad to be true, people who are born long after the war would not know that. The flood shown in the picture must have been on a par with last years floods in Cumbria as I never saw it that bad though at times the walk along Mill lane to Billingham Baths had to be down Beaconsfield Street as it then was and along Norton Billingham Road, the mill path did flood.

    The fields across from Beaconsfield Street were water meadows with cattle on them spring and summer, they had to be brought off in winter as the meadows would flood to around four to six inches then freeze. Dad would take out the skates and polish them then off we went skating on the bottoms and often on our bottoms as we chased each other about. There were no lights when it got dark so you would see torches flashing although apart from crashing into a hedge or fence we could see our way around.

    A couple of times I saw the adults skating and some one would light a brazier and roast chestnuts and even potatoes, it was fun and us kids loved it, never seemed to feel the cold but then we had no central heating so would be used to it.

    Dad who had lived in Norton nearly all his life, he was born in Prudhoe, did tell me when the Norton Tea rooms were open, there were two of them, one at the Red Lion and one at the bottom of Beaconsfield, they would drink hot tea between the skating sessions. I do not remember the tea room being open it was a store for Mr Arrowsmiths furniture business when I knew it, the India Style Verandah always intrigued me.

    A row of houses was built at the bottom of Tanners Bank and the builders were told they would flood, and they did, several times they had to be dried out before the bottoms were drained and ICI put in their water extraction pumps at the Concrete Bridge on the Mill lane Path from Norton to Billingham, we still managed to skate though the floods were lower and we tripped on tufts of grass.

    Gone now and forgotten apart from a few of us ancient Britons still around. All that exercise as kids all outdoor, wartime diet, sweets rationed along with sugar, I do think my generation got it right.

    Frank.

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  4. It looks like the whole of the Billingham Beck area was flooded then and, this must of been before ICI setup shop in Billingham.

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