19 thoughts on “The Red Lion, Ramsgate

  1. The shop opposite the Red Lion is the place I bought my first drape jacket, as it was a second hand clothes shop. About 1978 or slightly earlier.

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  2. My 4th great grandmother was Publican in the Red Lion Inn, Ramsgate in 1800’s, Elizabeth Todd (1778-1851), this is confirmed in the 1841 census, she was 64 years old, she was born in 1778 in Summerhouse, Gainford and married John Todd (profession-Sadler), she died in 1851, her son George Todd was a butcher in West Row and Richard Todd was a Shoemaker, they lived and worked in West Row (Ramsgate), Stockton-on-Tees. I would be very interested if anyone can add to the history of the area and the public house.

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    • The Red lion dates back to at least 1827. Although the present building has been altered or rebuilt at some point. The licensees, taken from trade directories, between 1827 and 1900 are as follows:
      1827, 1829 John Todd
      1834, 1841 Elizabeth Todd
      1847, 1848 George Todd
      1851 – 1876 John Bourne
      1879 – 1890 John McIsaac
      1894 Robert Doughty
      1898-1900 Peter McCauley

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  3. I also started drinking in that pub. I was only fifteen, and had a part time job at my uncle Jims fruit and veg warehouse in West Row. Me and the other employee Gerald “gez” Patterson would slip down to the Red Lion at dinnertime on Saturdays occasionally. The full pint glasses looked enormous to me. I can’t remember whether I ever managed to finish a full pint off, but within a year I was a regular drinker in Stockton, as were a number of my mates. The Garrick, and Brunswick, and sometimes the Unicorn (for a game of darts) was a usual Saturday night out in 1963/64. I’ve never had a drink in Stockton for nearly forty years now, having lived in Redcar since 1983, and Staithes for three years before that. Must try it again sometime.

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  4. The Red Lion was a good old fashioned pub but I always preferred the Green Tree, it is nice to read more of the history of Stockton through Franks colourful memories and he is correct the Tees Barrage has cleaned up the Tees beyond belief and restored it to the wonderful waterway it must have been. I disagree with Franks comment that you could not navigate a boat up the Tees to Yarm in his earlier days or pre barrage after all Yarm was once one of the Tees premier ports and having been a boat owner since I was young myself could always get up to Yarm, but I am sure if Frank says it could not be done then I am sure it is based on his own experience and memory, as regards Stockton improving for the better and the high street being better then I will stick to my own memories and my own thoughts on the matter and on this site we are allowed to air these opinions, being a Norton lad myself, then I agree it has changed very little and whenever I go through Norton I can still see all the old familiar places of my youth.

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    • Gordon, I only ever put posts on here where I experienced it myself. Yes Yarm was once the Port for Grains and Farm stocks.
      My Son Michael had a boat and would often go on the River. We would go up towards Yarm dodging floating logs and debris being washed down the river, we never got beyond Preston Park.
      There are a series of horse shoe bend up to Yarm they had become shallow with reed beds catching and holding the floating debris, we could possibly have forced a way through but my son thought too much of his boat, we never did get it up to speed as some of those logs would be just below the water you only saw them at the last minute.
      As for the rest my memories are quite vivid because of the times I lived through, being clasped firmly by the throat and shoved up against a wall in the black out is something you will always remember, I was 10 when the war started, 16 when it ended then the Army at 18 and places I had only ever read about all fill your memory.
      At my good age my Daughters ask me when the birthdays are due and we have many, I can real them off with remarks such as how on earth can you remember them I cannot remember what I had for breakfast, I do not say but neither can I.
      History to me is not a list of dry facts it is alive and you lived it, I try to get some of the fear joy and excitement into my writings. I often feel it has all been said and may pull back leaving this forum to the today posters, you have to know when you have outlived your usefulness.
      Frank.

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      • Mr Mee, the images in this site are nothing without the memories and stories from people such as yourself. For those of us who never saw the area many years ago you help complete the pictures, I personally look forward to reading your contributions.

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      • Like I said Frank I enjoy reading your memories and as you say history is the living and zest of yesterday, but sometimes the facts get blurred. I have been a angler all my life and can’t remember the time when I could not take a boat up to Yarm and still do, the biggest hurdle was the slate bed on the bend just below Yarm and you needed quite a bit of water to navigate through, something you have constantly now because of the barrage, once past these you were into deep slow water past the mouth of the Leven down towards Preston Park then the river drops to about 10 feet deep, these are not memories Frank but experience. I too am lucky to have clear memories of times I experienced through my life and like you Frank am lucky in that I have been blessed with a long life, I would think it a shame if you did not continue to share these with us, its just sometimes our memories are not the same as others who went through similar times and that’s fine otherwise how would we be able to have such diverse memories of times past? I would not contradict anyone’s perception of the past because that is their memory as they see it and it is their entitlement to express it. Keep well Frank and keep the stories coming I look forward to them.

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  5. One evening in 1969 I was in the Red Lion. Just as I was about to leave a mate came in, ordered a pint of Exhibition for himself and brought one over for me which I did not really want. Spying an ‘old gadgie’ in the corner I carried it over and said “There you go mate” and put it down in front of him, explaining the circumstances. His reply was, “Why? What’s the marrer with it?”. Guess you can’t win, though I suppose it does pay to be careful.

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  6. Roy and Dave, You will find many changes yet much seems the same. The High Street is vastly improved though some think not, the River cleaned and now a fresh water lake with River walks lovely Iconic foot bridges and water sports, the barrage with its white water runs, you can even take a boat up to Yarm now something you could not do when I was younger.
    Memories in that picture for me too. The Building up the street left of picture towards Prince Regent Street was Brown’s Sheet Iron and Wire Works with the stockyard between the two buildings, I started work there at sixteen from Richard Hind School and got a fairly rough inauguration, I was among lads who left school at 13 or even less who took umbrage at this posh so and so from Norton Green taking a position they all hankered for. Four bare fist fights later they discovered I had boxed for years and was not the pushover they thought, I made many friends, some lasted a lifetime.
    One Friday night I was getting some bars from the stock yard it was pitch black no lights when I was grasped firmly round the throat by a well known Lady of the Night. That Ginger (long list of language that scorched my ears) had his fun in the stock yard on tick I want my money, give me what you have. She was shaking me like a rat because I had none when Arthur Brown came round the corner and rescued me, it seemed Ginger had seen her hanging around and scarpered. Not sure now but I think Arthur paid her off told her never to come round again and took it out of Gingers wages.
    The Red Lion and Green Tree were a couple of my under age drinking experiences, at sixteen to seventeen it was a war time rule you had to work two half shifts until seven, at seventeen you worked until eight, that meant you left with the men who would dash straight into one of those pubs and slake their thirst dragging us reluctant lads with them. I was only slung out once and that was because a couple of Policemen were having a crafty drink in the back room, the Landlord said scoot before they see you.
    There are still buildings in those narrow streets and alley’s that you will recognise, even a walk to the end of Dovecote Street will bring back memories as you pass what was the old Palais de Dance Skinner Street, it was still there when I last went that way although I believe a furniture shop, though a lot is being finally cleared for new housing. A visit to Norton Green will be a step back in time as it has changed very little apart from becoming a large car park, the old ICI club for the Managers is now flats yet the top end and Mill Lane are much the same.
    I often went to London to stay with relatives top of Brixton Hill as it went down to Streatham, they had moved from Stockton and hankered after it though they never did come back to live. Must admit I loved London but always heaved a sigh as I got back into Stockton Station probably because the journey took between nine and eleven hours depending on repairs breakdowns and traffic, a lot of the carriages with no corridor so a big bottle came in handy. Well it did anyway because even trains with corridors and toilets you would find service people fast asleep on all the floor space.
    So many things change often for the worse in my opinion Stockton has changed for the better.
    Frank.

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    • Frank you comment many times about how people say that Stockton High Street has been spoiled. You and I must read their comments in a different way, I read that they don’t want to bring back the dirt, derelict buildings, Rickets and other diseases. What we are saying is, wouldn’t it have been nice if instead of pulling down the old buildings, Vane Arms, Black Lion and the old Theaters and stores etc. the money could have been put into refurbishing and modernizing even just the facades. Stockton High Street would have been one incredible tourist attraction. I could even see it being used as a movie and Television location at times. Yes the riverfront is beautiful, yes the new pools and improvements in the centre of the street are nice, but imagine it all with the old style buildings on both sides of the street. I would not like to see the same thing done to Yarm High Street and I hope you wouldn’t too. I understand we all have our opinions and people don’t always agree, but I just wanted to share mine.

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      • Ian and good for you expressing that opinion, that is always the best way discuss things. I do not know how old you are, I saw Stockton pre-war during the war and after. I worked in Stockton Centre round the dock area and behind those old facades. If they had not been knocked down they would have fallen and one did when I was less than fifty yards from it luckily no one was hurt, they were badly maintained wrecks, every brick would have had to come down and be rebuilt from bottom up.
        Then there was the cost, America withdrew all aid until 1947 when the Marshall Plan went into operation and most of the money went into Europe as the Americans wanted to build a buffer between Russia and the rest of the Continent funds were very short as we were still Policing an Empire which was a burden on already depleted coffers.
        When an effort was made to tidy up the Town we were taken for a ride by people who ended up in prison. The only money available for years after the war was used to build basic buildings, there was none left for titivations. In Europe they moved whole towns and villages rebuilding the facades as they had been brick by brick, I saw some of that it was American money that did it.
        Lastly I can never speak for everyone but most people I knew had had enough of the old, the old went out the door and new came in, G plan? My Father would take truck loads of thrown out furniture to the council yard to be burnt or scrapped, if we had it now we would be on the Antiques show. People who had lived in Street houses some of them back to back wanted out into the fresh new houses with gardens away from a smokey old town, Bathrooms, no more tin bath on the wall and inside toilets no more down the yard on cold and frosty nights and singing because the door had gone on the fire in the bad times.
        Hind sight is a wonderful thing with “if only” people my age knew how bad it had been pre-war no work no dole, those of us who had anything giving to those with absolutely nothing. Six years of war with rationing, then another six years of austerity and things rationed that had not been, we had all had enough.
        We all see history as we lived it, we grew up in close knit communities and heard the grown ups talking, they wanted what they saw on the Pictures of American homes all mod cons cars and food in plenty all things my parents and others yearned for.
        My Grandchildren think Stockton is great as it is, they never saw it as it was.
        Frank

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  7. In the first photo of the shop in the mid 50’s was almost as derelict. From memory there was material being sold. Then there was a tobacconist/sweet shop run by a lovely lady Mrs Barnes. I always bought my favourite Mars Bar from her. The Red Lion looks as it did in the 50’s and 60’s.

    The second photo with the waste land was a greengrocer Tucks and Ellis’s bread shop was next to it. Great iced buns.

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    • Ellis’s Bakers would be my next call after the cigarette hunt as a new starter at Brown’s, they opened at nine although you could smell the fresh bread as you walked from the bus to work. They would give me buns for Mrs Brown and some for the lads though they were rationed out to make them go round, two little old Ladies ran it back then and they always saved me an iced bun as you say they were fantastic. At break time a couple of lads would cook bloaters on a shovel over the forge fire then stuff them in the fresh buns, we had our own pigs so I would also refresh the bacon in mothers sandwiches on a shovel, (the things we remember) for some reason it always tasted better.
      Arthur Brown always gave us young lads the four pence to go for a meal at the British Restaurant in Alma Street, St John’s Hall, a cooked dinner pudding and tea, I can never remember being hungry during the war years.
      Frank.

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  8. I am hoping to come to Stockton this year and bring my wife, born and bread in London. I am sure when I stroll round these street it will bring back many memories, some too emotional to recall. My sister worked at Maddox’s, next to the Fire Station, in West Row until she joined the WRNS at 21. She died in 2009 at the age of 80. I always thought Ramsgate was an exciting little street for some reason and remember Curry’s at the junction with the High Street. Like Dave Day, I too peruse this great website everyday. Please keep it going.

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  9. The Red Lion brings back long forgotten memories, it was where my friends and myself first started drinking, we thought we were so cool drinking our pint touches and playing darts and dominoes. I hope it is still in business as it is many years since I lived in Stockton but I still keep in touch through this excellent website which I peruse every day.

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    • When Stockton races were on it was a regular place for jockeys to stay there. The main one was Walter Swinburn. I think the Landlady had a fancy for him.

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