2 thoughts on “Remembering Thornaby Group

  1. Extracted from Bulmers 1890 Guide to England, now defunct.

    Thornaby on Tees parish lies on the south bank of the Tees opposite the town of Stockton. Its total area, including 59 acres of water surface, is 1,696 acres, and the number of inhabitants about 15,000. George Gilpin-Brown, Esq., of Scar House, Arkengarthdale, and the Earl of Harewood are the principal landowners, and the first named gentleman is the reputed lord of the manor. Thornaby was formerly a township under Stainton, but was made a seperate parish in 1844, it is divided into two Electoral divisions, named respectively Thornaby North and Thornaby South. The Thornaby (original) village consists of a number of houses scattered round a large green, about 1½ miles S. of Stockton. It is a place of considerable antiquity as is evidenced by its Danish name, but beyond two or three allusions in Domesday Book, scarcely anything is known of its ancient history. It had its chapel at the time of the Domesday Survey (A.D. 1086)

    It was made parochial in 1844, but was superseded by the erection of a new church at South Stockton in 1858. The living is a vicarage, gross annual value £329, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and held by the Rev. H. Mellowes. A cemetery containing six acres was formed in 1869 at a cost of £1,400. It contains two neat mortuary chapels, and is under the control of a Council Burial Board. It is situated on the south bank of the Tees with which it is connected by a stone bridge of five arches, commenced in 1764, and completed in 1771. The total cost was about £8,000, which was raised by subscription. In 1820, all incumbrances having been paid off, the bridge became toll-free. This bridge impeded the navigation of the river; an Act of Parliament was consequently obtained in 1881, and the erection of a new bridge commenced in 1886.It was formally opened on the 20th of June, 1887, and named, in commemoration of Her Majesty’s Jubilee, the Victoria Bridge. It spans the river by three arches. The highway causeway is 60 feet wide between the parapets, and is lighted by 14 lamps. The total cost of the bridge, exclusive of parliamentary expenses, was £61,646. The engineers were Mr. Harrison Hayter and Mr. Charles Neale.

    The town is governed by a Local Board, formed in 1863, and for parliamentary purposes is included in the Borough of Stockton. The Church of St. Paul was erected in 1858, on a site presented by the Earl of Harewood, and consecrated by the Archbishop of York. It is a neat stone structure, in the Early English style and contains two stained-glass memorial windows. There are 800 seats. This has been constituted the parish church of Thornaby, but the old (Norman) church in the village is still used for divine service. The Thornaby registers date from 1630. The living is in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and worth £315, with residence. A Mission Church, dedicated to St. Luke, was built in 1887-8, at a cost of about £1,200, exclusive of the site, which was (again) given by the Earl of Harewood. There are also Mission Rooms in Trafaigar Street and Queen Street. The National School was erected in 1846, and was also used for divine service previous to the consecration of St Pauls church. The school premises have been much enlarged and will now accommodate 472 children. A School Board was formed in 1871, and the following year the Westbury Street School was built for the teaching of 580 children. The great increase in the number of inhabitants necessitated the provision of more school accommodation, and, in 1884, further school premises were erected in Queen Street, capable of receiving nearly 1,000 children. The Catholic School in Westbury Street was built in 1872, for 390 children, and is also used as a R.C. chapel. The Wesleyan School?, which adjoins the chapel, was built in 1882, for the accommodation of 540 children. It has an average attendance of 360, and is entirely self-supporting.

    Previous to 1824 the district was farming and rural, and the population of the whole township did not exceed 200. In that year a pottery was commenced by Mr. William Smith, of Stockton, The works are now carried on by Ambrose Walker & Co., and give employment to between 300 and 400 hands. The quality of the pottery-ware rivals that produced in Staffordshire, and is in great demand. A glass bottle works was commenced in 1839, and a cotton factory the following year, but the latter was subsequently abandoned. It is due to the introduction of the iron trade and shipbuilding that Thornaby owes its prosperity, The South Stockton Iron Co., Limited, erected extensive works in Thornaby, in 1874, Messrs. William Whitwell & Co. commenced their works here with two furnaces. The Teesdale Iron and Engineering Works, belonging to Messrs. Head, Wrightson, & Co., are also on a similar extensive scale, and near these are the works of Messrs. Allan & Sons. Thornaby is home to two steel shipbuilding yards, each employing a considerable number of hands; a large flour mill, oil-cake and bone mills, saw-mills line the banks of the River Tees, with said river forming the boundary line between Counties Durham and Yorkshire. There is a busy rail station here on the Darlington to Middlesbrough section of the North Eastern Railway; and near the town is a sizable racecourse, covering 185 acres, where a three days’ meeting is held yearly in August.

    Bob Wilson (Five Lamps)

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  2. I went along last Saturday and had a great time. There was a ‘behind the scenes’ tour by the Mayor Of Thornaby Councillor Steve Walmsley while Councillor Mick Moore looked after the photographic exhibition on the ground floor. The photographs are excellent and well presented and easy to see too and cover all aspects of life in and around Thornaby.
    Recommended but don’t forget there are only two opportunities left, this Saturday the 17th and the following week the 24th. Well worth the effort if you have an interest in Thornaby or even if you don’t!

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