13 thoughts on “End of War Party, Bickersteth Street c1918

  1. WW1 ended in November 1918 but the official peace day celebration was in July 1919 when the weather was warmer. The people in the picture are wearing more summery clothes so it is likely that this was taken in the summer of 1919.
    I have a similar photograph of my mother at a street party in Finsbury Street, Middlesbrough and it has the date on the back… 19th.July 1919.

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  2. A real puzzler: Have a good look at the far rear of this photograph; whose Stockton company’s huge chimney stacks are shown in the background ?

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    • It puzzled me too! Looks like it might be the Clevo Flour Mill, which couldn’t be seen from Bickersteth Street. In fact as I remember it there was a goods yard at the bottom, behind which was Bridge Road.

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      • My old maps show that from the East end of Bickersteth Street you could see straight across Bridge Road across what were the Co-op and Station stables the River to the Clevo and beyond the the Iron works. That would make the buildings part of the Clevo and part of the old iron works.
        Frank.

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        • Frank, you are right. I just checked my old (1937) Stockton street map and the Clevo could be seen in the distance from Bickersteth Street. I stand corrected!

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    • Indeed they were Margaret. They had seen four years of war, imagine our feeling after six years of war came to an end, the European Part anyway and Mr Churchill said we could all reward ourselves with a day off. The street parties erupted most streets set up tables food came out of hidden hoards, the old piano would come out of a house and people let their hair down.
      We as a group of boys and girls walked into Stockton to the Dance we were let in free only there was no space to breath so dancing was out. We danced all the way back to Norton to a bonfire at the top of Beaconsfield Street and danced round that every one kissing each other, I drew the line at bearded men but the odd Grandmother got kissed. Again food came from everywhere we roasted potato’s in the fire, talked laughed some cried and as the fire turned to ashes we went home to bed.
      The Day after we turned up for work and were standing in groups chatting about the mad parties when Dick Brown came out of the Office and bellowed, “Right Back to Work you lot the war is not over yet”, in our joy we had forgotten all about the war in the far east.
      That was May 8th 1945, August 13th 1945 we did it all again not knowing what was coming, we thought the worst is over only it was just starting.
      Frank.

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  3. The BBC should do a program on the Top Twenty photographs, taken during an end of war street party. This photo could be a finalist? One wonder’s does any other nation do street parties. or are we the only ones. This great photograph sums up the England we all love, remember and worship. I can recall shortly after WW2 ended, walking down George Street, Thornaby to go to school and saw on every end of terrace blank wall space – it had a ‘Welcome Home message’ painted on it, in white lime-wash paint. This message was for returning troops coming back from overseas duty and POW camps. I used to get free school dinners, real proper meals with carrots and peas, and custard and jelly, and hell of a carry on if any was left uneaten, the dinner ladies made sure every child ate up, and if you didn’t you got lectured about the war food shortages, starving people, rationing books, and they’d bully you to eat the lot, We ‘dined; in the Congregational Church Hall in Mandale Road, so every day a Police officer would be stationed at Westbury Street corner to stop the traffic as we crossed the busy road. A gaggle of children maybe 50 yards long. all being ushered along like sheep by two teachers. A strange thing is: I have no memories whatsoever of it ever raining.?

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  4. Great photo! I’m wondering if my great grandma is behind Florence – I’ve forwarded it to my grandma to see what she thinks.

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    • The lady in black behind my grandma is Sarah Wheeler (her Grandma) who lived at 58 and my grandma I think lived at 62

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      • My grandad and grandma also lived in Bickersteth Street at this time although I don’t know the number. They were William and Edith Atkinson (nee Hudson). They would have been in their mid twenties and my grandad just home from the war. I wonder if my grandma is in this picture?
        Linda Taylor

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  5. Pride of place the Samovar some one must have been very proud of owning that.
    I can feel the joy having had two end of war parties myself, May 8th 1945 and August 13th 1945.
    The feeling it was all over and the good times coming, the joyful madness of letting your hair down as we sang danced and just let it wash over us.
    How wrong we were, the good times were still far distant and as those of us who went in the forces well knew the wars were definitely not over, they are still not over, it appears to be more dangerous now than the 1939-45 war years and what came after.
    We had our mad momentous party’s as they did in the many street parties held at the time then back to the grind.
    A lot of those people probably emigrated as did my Fathers Family and that happened after both world wars, within a decade from the picture my Parents knew the WW1 was only on hold, they feared for the future, the same fears now being headlined by the news media today.
    Makes you wonder if it will ever end although like the people in the picture for at least a short while we were all excitedly happy and captured the moment of joy and fun as a memory we never forgot.
    Frank.

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  6. Today, we can only imagine what this must have felt like over 100 years ago when this most inhumane war ended. All the people, young and old, in this photo must have died by now but lets us remember the young men who lived in Bickersteth Street but never returned. War should never be the answer to disagreement, reconciliation must prevail.

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