Blyth Valley writer Barry Stone, Oxbridge Lane School c1995

For 2 weeks in February 1995, Blyth Valley writer Barry Stone was writer-in-residence at Oxbridge Lane Primary School, Stockton. During that time pupils, parents and teachers were encouraged to write poems on the them of ‘Children’s Games’. A poetry booklet titled ‘Dress Rehearsals’ was produced.

Photographs courtesy of Margaret Williams, teacher at Oxbridge Primary School from 1972 – 1998.

Grangefield Grammar School for Girls, Golden Jubilee 1965

Are you or anyone you know in this photograph?

A photograph of Grangefield Grammar School for Girls, Stockton in 1965. Teachers (l-r): Mr Ellis, 2 secretaries, Miss Stainsby, Miss Wheelwright, Miss Newman, Mrs Perry, Mr Atkinson, Mrs Atkinson, Mr Jeffreys, Mr Buckle, Mr Nutall, Mr Wood, Mrs Estruck, Miss Dubbin, Miss Stevens, Miss Coster, Miss Styan, Mr Hodgson, Mr Brady, Mr O’Brian, Mr Price, Mrs Oxley, Mrs Thersby, Miss French, Mrs Lucus, Mr ?, Mr Brooks, Mr Grace, Mr Everett, Mr O’Neill, Mrs Moss, Mademoiselle, Miss Fleck, Miss Thomas (Mrs O’Neill), Miss Leicester, Fraulein.

Photograph courtesy of Gillian Brookes.

Large Load on Belasis Avenue, Billingham

This is a group of four images of one of the many large loads that were transported into I.C.I. Billingham. They were taken on Belasis Ave, Billingham as the load negotiates the various obstacles, and attracted a large crowd. We have this dated around 1983/1984, only because I was using slide film at that time.

Photograph and details courtesy of Alec Moody.

The Former Mr Reynolds Hardware Shop on Mandale Road, Thornaby

In its day this small shop was the most famous shop in Thornaby-on-Tees, its owner and proprietor Mr Reynolds from Acklam, Middlesbrough cycled to it each day on a pedal bike. I can recall two assistants who worked there, and knew one of them – Brian Robinson, who I went to school with. Pumphreys next door tried to buy this shop several times but Mr Reynolds refused to sell it, so they built their then new icing sugar works around him. This shop then stood empty for a number of years closed and forgotten. I would hazard a guess that there was not a ‘old-time family’ in Thornaby who have not purchased goods from this once famous and well respected shop.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bob Wilson.

Schematic of Products from ICI Billingham, 1939

The sketch shows an outline of what was being manufactured at ICI Billingham in 1939. But the same processes would have been used up to the 1950s. As originally set up, Billingham ‘synthesised’ ammonia using the Haber Bosch process, in which a key feature was the production of hydrogen and nitrogen from water and producer gas units. Billingham at this time was a glorified gasworks. The ammonia was mainly used for fertiliser as ammonium sulphate, by reacting it with sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid came from the use of anhydrite, that had been fortuitously discovered to lie beneath the ICI site. But the ammonia could also be used to make nitric acid and urea. Drikold was solid carbon dioxide, or dry ice, which was a byproduct from making the hydrogen and nitrogen.

More complex fertilisers could be made by bringing in potash and phosphate rock. I would guess that these would need to be imported at the time. The chalk would have come by rail from the south. And as mentioned recently Billingham was making petrol from coal, but creosote was also being used as it greatly increased the output. Some of this probably came from the gasworks on site.

Every pupil at Richard Hind Boys in the 1950s will remember the chemistry master, Mr Dee, explaining how the Stocktonian name for ICI Billingham, the ‘Synthetic’, had come about from its use of the Haber Bosch process.

Image and details courtesy of Fred Starr.