A view of Stockton taken from the north end of the town

My Great Grandmother used to herd pigs to market in Stockton. This is an old print that I have from my Great Aunt who had a millinery shop in Stockton when I was just a kid in the 1940’s. I was born in West Hartlepool and emigrated to Canada in 1963. I hope that your visitors find this old print interesting. The drawing was by one Stockton’s famous artists and furniture designer Thomas Sheraton (1751 – 1806).

Image and details courtesy of Eric Mudd.

32 thoughts on “A view of Stockton taken from the north end of the town

  1. I thought the main reason was that enabled the people who were living locally to move themselves and their livestock into an enclosure that could be easily fortified against gangs of marauders coming from less prosperous places. Like those up in Durham, Northumberland and Scotland!

    Of course, as Derek Graham says, the town centre could also be used as a cattle market. However, once the cattle market got to an appreciable size, the animal “refuse” problem would have been unacceptable even by medieval standards. Especially, keeping in mind, the absence of a good supply of water.

    Like

  2. As well as the Parish Church and the Town Hall, it’s amazing to see that No.s 147 – The Hub (St. John’s House) and 148 & 9 – Costa & Evans (Old Vicarage) are in this view (both 3 storeys, 5 windows wide). These are both listed buildings.

    Like

  3. Thank you for the interesting picture. Can anyone solve a question that has long puzzled me. Why was Stockton High Street built as wide as it was. I think it was the widest High Street in the country, if not the world although I’m probably wrong. So over to you, chaps.Why was it so wide?

    Like

  4. What I miss about Stockton is the market, it was a human-interest story held twice a week with a stage full of characters that William Shakespeare would have been proud to have been associated with, if our Noble Bard had been born in Stockton, and lived in Yarm Lane, he could have used the Globe Theatre to produce his plays, ‘The Merry Wives of Stockton’ ‘The Merchants of Stockton, A Market Man’s Dream, An High Street Lost a/kas The Comedy of Errors, or Romeo and Juliet meet Giggy Moon. Without doubt Shakespeare would have been a much better writer if he had been brought up in Yarm Lane, and had met our wandering Minstrel Sir Jimmy James and his faithful valet ‘Our Eli,’ (a simple soul who always carried his pet giraffe with him in a shoe box) they could have played to packed houses with their new plays “Over the Garden Wall”, followed by ‘In The Mayors Parlour” and who knows William might have met Stockton’s very own Margaret Nicholson, who in 1786 attempted to assassinate George III by stabbing him and for some strange reason was declared insane. Love to all, Bob Wilson, now stranded in Leeds with a suitcase of memories and surrounded by people with strange accents?

    Like

    • Excellent detail, thank you for posting the link to the image at the British Library.
      I thought that it was a private coach (lower left) but now I can see it appears to be pulled by 3 pairs of horses, it must be one of the long distance public stagecoaches that stopped at Stockton.

      Like

  5. I don’t remember any pigs, but I do remember small herds of cows being taken from the Cattle Market across Church Road to what I guess was the slaughter house. Am I right in thinking this?
    If so, where was it? Over to you Frank Mee!

    Like

    • Gee thanks Fred. No idea.
      Depends on your age really, in my time every butcher slaughtered their own so a killing house behind each shop, we were allowed to kill our animals on our own premisses up to around 1950.
      There were quite a few Butchers around that area of Stockton, I do remember Mr Lewis next to the Globe I believe he became Mayor.
      Most Butchers only killed a one at a time, I did watch Billy Toulson in Norton who usually killed only the one in a day, the animal would be cut up and hung in a cool store to mature, we never ate red meat as they do today.
      Tommy Hutchinson butchered our pigs and we salted the hams shoulders and sides down and then they were hung until matured or cured before we cut into them. Everything that came out was eaten including the blood as black pudding.
      I do know the Government brought in Hygiene Rules and the big companies took over the killing, if there was a slaughter house near the cattle market I have no idea where.
      As to the argument to be or not to be meat eaters I back away, it is a personal choice, to my age it was the natural way of things the animals lived longer than today and doing it on the premises meant no long haul making the animals frightened and tense, plus it was quick.
      Frank.
      Next Fred?

      Like

    • Fred there was a slaughter house in Laing Street just off Norton Road the animals were taken down the little back street right at the back of Laing Street, at the end of this was the slaughter house the animals were kept there until they were slaughtered but they also had some holding pens at the top of the back street it wasn’t unknown for the odd animal to escape and cause ructions. At the top end of Laing Street there was also a a meat wholesalers a lot of the animals slaughter were taken there to be sold not sure of the street name it could have been Laing but the slaughter house faced down Allison Street

      Like

      • Gordon, as you walked down Tennant Street from Allison St. on the right about opposite Airton St. was where Marks hung the slaughtered beast, further down on the left past Farrer St. was Weedals the meat wholesalers, this is from my memory when we roamed the Gashouse area as boys.

        Like

    • Marks Slaughter House was in Laing Street, the side of Norton Road Congregational Church & they used to drive cattle & sheep through the streets from the goods yard to the Co-op Slaughter House in California Street.

      Like

    • Many of the animals were sent to the Co-op slaughter house in California Street, just off Dixon Street. During my years working for the Stockton Co-op building department I regularly worked at the slaughter house for maintenance purposes. The work was carried out on a Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday when the premises was closed for business. At times we arrived early for preparation work at such times we witnessed the slaughter of the cattle, sheep & pigs, not a pleasant experience by any means. The stables for the horses used by the Co-op for milk and coal rounds were also in California Street. The bakery was situated in Dixon Street and the old dairy was in Durham Street below the Jubilee Hall. The Co-op employed many people back in those days, sadly today just a pale shadow of what it once was.

      Like

  6. A great print and so nice to see. I enjoy seeing the old pictures of the town I grew up in. I was sad to hear of destruction of Grangefield GS (for girls when I was there.) It was in the 1960s a very high achieving school. I lived off Yarm Road and used to walk to the market. Old memories

    Like

  7. Very interesting, thanks. When exactly did your gran herd her pigs to market? I’m interested because my gran used to drive from Crakehall to Bedale in a pony and trap to sell her eggs and butter until 1928 (when my granddad died and she had to leave the farm) but I don’t know how long she’d been doing it for.

    Like

  8. I love this picture, it is so different to the others posted here. Thank you Eric. Just one point, I may be wrong but Stockton high street runs East/West – this print is showing the town from the eastern end. Before it was knocked about in the late 1960’s we used to shop on the sunny side ie the side facing South towards the river, the other side was always gloomy and chilly even on a sunny day because it faces north but the planners did not take that into consideration when they built the awful redbrick covered Mall monstrosity!! This pic looks like a gentler age, thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Picture is correctly orientated from the North looking South towards the Town Hall the view being from what is now Maxwells Corner. The River bends 90 degrees at what were the Shipbuilding yards and runs almost parallel to the High Street N-S. the Sun Rise in the East would shine on the Right of the picture as we see it and move through the day to light up the left side of the picture as it moved towards evening.
      I went through the High Street continuously for seven years and do not remember it being gloomy apart from fog rolling up from the river mixing with the smoke from the coal fires in every building and almost closing the High Street down until it burned off.
      My Mother loved the Mall, it was warm bright and in those days had every shop she needed from the Gas and Electric Offices and shop to her favourite needlework shops, best of all it had a roof, I can see people asking some years from now “why did they knock it down” my answer would be progress.
      Frank.

      Like

    • VRP please check on any streetmap and you will see that Stockton High Street runs straight as a die, North to South. If it was always sunny on your side of the High Street when you did your shopping, it suggests that you shopped in the morning when the sun was in the South East.

      Like

  9. A picture that brings a smile to my face and at the same time makes me wonder, what if Stockton had just stayed like that. No emporiums or Victorian buildings no River enhancement, the Pumps in the Street and the cobbles. Did those coming after rue the loss of the Town Houses and the out of town movement that went on after this print was made probably not.
    People say my generation desecrated the High Street, I think that happened long before my or my Fathers time, the refurbishment of the globe with its ever rising cost and still a wreck inside makes me think we got it right, out with the old and decrepit in with the new.
    My 90th birthday was last week and seeing Norton and Stockton change in that time, Norton still looking in parts as it did in my school days at Norton Board apart from being overwhelmed by vehicles, Stockton with huge changes and in my opinion for the better. The Council do their best to bring the High Street alive now most of the Emporiums have gone to retail parks, the businesses know where the money is made.
    We will see that picture come back to life as Town Houses come back, the old street houses replaced by new and with entertainment on tap plus further development of the River side for leisure, maybe not in the time I may have left but certainly in my Grandchildren’s time.
    Stockton will live on.
    Frank.

    Like

    • I also know there will be lots of people who disagree. I won’t bother cherry picking the good or bad points of the way Stockton has changed through the years we move on I am prepared to read peoples opinions as long as people realise that other people may think differently as regards the restoration of the Globe well as I say we know you are opposed to it but there is a lot of support for it. I won’t go on as I think this subject of the High Street whether good or bad and the regeneration of the Globe has been exhausted. Happy belated birthday Frank.

      Like

      • Thank you for the kind wishes Gordon.
        90 years of Norton and Stockton plus the odd Continent in-between and I still think it the best place in the world to be.
        Being brought up in a far more parsimonious world when a penny was two ounces of sweets at Miss Fosters on the Green, we were always told “never throw good money after bad” my Mother being a Yorkshire Lass it was rubbed into me.
        Money spent should be profitable and on some projects I cannot see any profit especially as we are told this very day our Rates are going up again in April.
        My life has taught me the past is past move on, I write History on here with a sadness knowing full well the young never learn from the past mistakes we and our forbears made.
        The twelve days of partying for me by the extended Family was quite eye opening, talking to relatives in Canada by Skype, watching young fingers flashing over electronic devices and being told for one present I was now on Netflix and at the push of one button on the TV I was???
        The old Red Phone box next to the pond is old hat as am I, we can only hope that at some future date these musings will be read and seen as Stockton and its tough hard working people pulling themselves up from a deprived period through war and austerity to a sunny plateau. My thoughts are Stockton will continue to develop to a place my Great Grandchildren will recognise and love as much as I do.
        Frank.

        Like

    • I love to read your posts as they are so interesting, but I am not in total agreement with you that all of Stockton’s changes are progress. I have lived in Surrey now for almost 30 years and when I visit Stockton I always leave a bit sad and disappointed. After reading your post I am going to try and see the changes as progress and stop seeing Stockton through (possibly) sentimental eyes. I am moving back to the North permanently quite soon so I shall look at things with your views in my mind. So thank you for your positive words.

      Like

      • Julie, You do not have to agree it is my opinion and I always stress opinions differ, take Brexit?? well best not then, not the best example.
        I always say never go back as things change, I spent a lot of my army time in Hampshire a Garrison Town called Bordon the REME School of Engineering was a small part of a huge Garrison, we could dance every night in one or other of all the large Naafi’s, that was 1947. Over thirty years it vanished, the huge Blocks knocked down and new housing built, now the Huge place I trained over the years is a few buildings more a museum. I have happy memories of what it was not what it became.
        Stockton to me was exactly that, a scruffy place with badly maintained buildings because of recession and war then austerity, well over twenty odd years of neglect but so full of wonderful memories of growing up schooling and working there.
        Then came all the changes in the late fifties and early sixties, money was tight but people did what they thought was the best at the time, they had a small purse to work with and massive inflation I remember interest rates of 18%.
        That was my generation and we have been blamed for the ruination of Stockton ever since, they were not there and did not have to make the choices we had to.
        People for the first time moved to new housing with gardens instead of yards, inside toilets and bath rooms instead of a single cold water tap per house (most of them plus outdoor toilets), open spaces for children to play and rows of shops on the estates so they did not need travel to town for everything. Schools on the doorstep bright open unlike the brick prisons we went to and the clean air bill, that alone must have saved many lives.
        Things changed that is the way life evolves, the Emporiums moved out of Town and reaped the rewards now they are screaming because shopping is moving on line, even I at my age can do that, it is progress and as we were demonised for wrecking Stockton our Grandchildren will be demonised for ruining shopping as we know it now.
        My thoughts today! why spend millions on a ruined place we once went to for our entertainment, it has had its time, cannot bring back the past so knock the place down build something more in keeping with todays needs at half the price and twice the benefit to our future generation.
        Frank.
        PS. Only my opinion you do not have to agree.
        Welcome Home when you come back Julie.

        Like

  10. A really fabulous picture. As I have remarked on several occasions, Stockton High Street before it began to be urbanised after the 1930s, must have looked something like Yarm. It was something that the Arts Master at Stockton Grammar used to mention, wishing it had not lost its character.

    However, he was no old foggie. He like the new Council Offices on Church Road.

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.