Air Force Football Team c1940s

This is a photograph of an RAF football team based at Thornaby during the Second World War, the man in uniform at the left is my Grandfather Sydney H Leek, he lived in Billingham and because he had served in the RAF in the 1920s he was called up as a reserve, I should imagine quite a few of this team were conscripted reserves, my Grandfather would have been about 40 years of age when this photograph was taken and most of the back row look to be around the same age.

I have no idea whether they just played their matches against other RAF teams or went out and played against local teams, I don’t know where this photograph was taken but it seems to be a fairly large sports area, there are rugby posts in the background and a huge amount of empty space beyond them. Unfortunately, as is often the case with old photographs, there is nobody to ask about the whens and wheres. This photograph was taken over 70 years ago and it is very unlikely any of these people are still with us, also with them being in the armed forces they may not all be locals.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Lost Thornaby Riverside c1990

This picture is looking up river from the Victoria Bridge. I think that the bridge in the distance is the new A66 bypass around South Stockton. All the industrial buildings and warehouses on either side of the river have been replaced. The brick building on the right has a sign which seems to say WLFURN Engineering. The one on the left, close to the road bridge also has a sign, but I cannot make this out. However, judging by the funny chimneys on the crown of the roof, it looks like it was doing metal work. Hot forging or casting?

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

Elliott Street, Portrack

This photograph was taken outside my Granny Dobson’s house at 32 Elliott Street, Portrack. The school at the bottom of the street can be easily seen. I think the caretaker of the school was Mr Lee, I seem to remember he lived in one of the houses showing on the left of the picture, close to the school. In the photograph is my late younger sister Margaret with her son Gary. My late eldest sister Mary and husband Charlie married in 1948 lived with my gran in that house until they could get a place of their own.

My sister Margaret and husband Herbert also lived with my gran until they too found a place of their own in which to live. I think back in those early days it was quite normal for newly married couples to live with relatives until such a time something else became available. It never ceases to amaze me how large families were brought up in these two up two down terraced houses. I was also brought up in a similar house in Buxton Street in the Garbutt Street area. So sad to see those communities lost when moved on to the newer modern estates. I think only St Anne’s Terrace at Portrack is the only original site that remains from those days. Such memories.

Photograph and details courtesy of John Robson.

Bob Harbron

October 2017 has seen the loss of one of Stockton and Norton’s most well-known, and also much-loved, characters.

Mr. Robert Harbron, known simply as Bob, was a local historian. But he was not just a local historian, he was Norton and Stockton’s most passionate and knowledgeable supporter of their heritage. Bob was a founder and contributor to the Norton Heritage organisation, and over the years has provided Stockton Library Service with a complete set of their books with countless updates.

As a regular visitor to Stockton Reference Library, Bob always had a smile and a cheery hello for our staff, who when asked any question about Norton that they were unable to answer, would guarantee that Bob would ‘come up trumps’ with the information required as his knowledge of Norton was second to none.

He will be greatly missed by everyone. R.I.P. Bob Harbron.

Stephenson Hall School Magazine 1961

These are two pages from a Billingham school magazine, I am sure there will be many people who remember the companies who advertised in these pages.
The magazine contains an editorial, a letters page, some photographs, articles written by pupils and a couple of quizzes, I think it is an excellent example of social history and well worth reading.

Download the complete magazine in PDF format

My thanks go to Mike Atherton who loaned me the magazine. Details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.