Regent Street Plan from 1946 – 1954

Regent Street plan as remembered, during the period 1946-54. What nowadays appears as a drab ‘service’ cul-de-sac was once a busy, cobble-stoned thoroughfare, housing an interesting variety of businesses. I am not a draughtsman, and I do not pretend that the buildings are shown to any matching scale. Simply an accurate listing, with question marks denoting any doubts.

 

 

 

 

 

A. During this period, my recollection is that this store was a DOGGARTS (?) However, whatever name it then bore, it evidently later become a Littlewoods. It had large show windows along the whole length, with a small side entrance about half way along; the main entrance being in the High Street. The ‘bend’ in the street at the end of the two stores certainly existed, but It may not have been as deep as at the opposite side, where vehicles parking at the Marks & Spencers’ delivery doors did not ‘stick out’ beyond the Public House. I remember that such vehicles did not block the street for others.

B & C. The majority of the buildings were terraced, and these two houses were unusual in that their upper stories met over a wide passageway with large double doors at the pavement end. These gave access to the large courtyard area shown for goods vehicles – collecting and delivering to the bakery at the rear.

D. Barrowcliffes or Barracloughs (?) bakery shop (I am not sure of the spelling). This sold produce of the bakery shown at E, which I believe also had wholesale delivery round (?)

F. A fireplace sales showroom. I don’t know whether all on show were made in the workshop at the rear, but I do recall that there only appeared to be one workman in there.

G. This building was number six (see note below) The front one being the house and the rear a large two-storey building consisting of a four-car-size garage, with workroom above. Previously, through the 1920’s and 30’s this had been the workshop for my father’s parents hosiery business, in which a number of female employees hand-worked circular knitting machines. Apart from a wholesale round amongst the surrounding towns/villages, the output retailed through two Stockton market stalls and a shop/office which was housed in the front room of the house – with a bay window onto Regent Street for display.
I was always rather impressed with this frontage as the main entrance was a portico; two large stone steps with round columns around a foot in diameter (which my father painted to closely resemble marble) and an extremely heavy door. Inside was a lobby with a door ahead leading into the living quarters, and one on the right into the front room. Next to this entrance was a single door opening into an enclosed passageway, running through to the back yard. The open stairway up to the studio was actually a set of ship’s stairs – having been salvaged from a liner.
The backstreet was paved with flat cobblestones, and still owned privately by an estate, and my grandfather had paid a ‘small fortune’ for access to it. Interestingly the garage door was a sliding affair, which I’ve never seen duplicated elsewhere. It consisted of upright, hinged wooden frames on steel tracks. These ran along the entrance and curved along inside the right-hand wall, so that when slid open the entire door stood along the wall. It had a small ‘personnel’ door fitted for foot access.
Apart from a normal ‘personnel’ door into the fireplace maker’s workshop, there was no other door in this part of the backstreet which continued on, to run behind businesses in the High Street (and bordering the school) – such as W.H.Smith. Some had access, though – as I frequently used this as a play area in school holidays, etc., I have no clear memory of delivery vehicles and, It being a private road, I remember several occasions when I had to explain to local ‘Bobbies’ that I actually had a right to be there – whereas other children, as trespassers, were warned away.
When my parents and I lived there (1946-54) the workroom became the studio for their ‘Ellena Williams Theatrical Studios’ business and, as video with commentary, on YouTube. The house front room still served as office, with the Bay window now displaying large photo displays of the shows which they presented.

H. I do not recall whether this was still the united Methodist Free Church, or by then (as another person stated) it had become the The Apostolic Church of Wales. I do remember that a married couple were the caretakers and the wife had a sister who was part of the Buckingham Palace staff.

I. I cannot recall whether The Regent Public House had its entrance on the corner, or in Nelson Terrace – but I think the latter (?)

J. The only remaining memory of the street. Unlike the store opposite, the side of this building was solid brick, apart from a set of loading/deliveries doors at far end, next to the Public House.

K. I don’t actually remember this public House being named the Little Regent, but another person has commented on this, so I take their word for it.

L. I remember this having a window full of lighting fittings – Table Lamps, etc.

M. Unlike the other buildings, the Technical School was set back from the pavement. It certainly had iron railings bordering the pavement, (how did they escape the wartime collection?) and I believe they were atop a low brick wall, with a gate midway along the front. (?)

N. The entrance to the School for the Deaf and Dumb was in Nelson Terrace. What is shown in Regent Street is the solid end wall of a brick building. I cannot remember if this was part of the main building, or a separate structure..

NUMBERING. The main entrance for the departmental store was, of course, in the High Street, but there was a small side entrance half way down the side of the building in Regent Street. If either this or the actual bakery (additionally to the shop) had a number, then this would explain why our property was numbered six. Otherwise, it was presumably a hangover from previous times, when the amount of properties in the street was different.

Image and details courtesy of Llewellyn Williams. October 2017.

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.

Two Baller Game, Rostrevor Avenue, Roseworth c1965

This photograph shows my wife’s sister Kathleen Hindmarsh playing two baller in Rostrevor Avenue, Roseworth in about 1965.

My wife Liz asks if anyone can remember the other games that were played in the street, like Kingy or Queenie or can still recite the two baller rhymes.

In the background is Mr Laybourne’s lorry which I think is a Thames Trader from the Redland tip on Blakeston Lane.

Photograph and details courtesy of Norman Hill.

West Row, Stockton c2017

Again rather like North Street these are a 1985 to 2017 comparison and although Russell the printers is now the UVS barbers shop there has been little change except for the windows and the lack of a chimney pot! The adjacent block on the corner of Ship Inn Yard is interesting with seemingly very little or no restoration of the first building and the former (?) SBC office still having it’s lifting or davit arm in place which doubt was once used to haul stock up to the first floor?
The buildings with Dobson the glass merchant to one end looks to be of the same period although in a poorer condition but has the addition of a third floor and a Georgian box window. Interestingly this area is now home to several wine bars and micro-breweries and is being dubbed as Stocktons Cultural Quarter so perhaps these buildings may still have the chance of a future after all?

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Coronation Day, Billingham c1953

This is a photograph of the Coronation celebrations on the 2nd June 1953, it was taken by Jack Ollett from the bedroom of his house in Cotswold Crescent Billingham.

As can be seen it was a small cul-de-sac off the main road, there were
12 houses in all, the residents were Hough, Armstrong, Kellett, Ollett, Robinson, Pike, Spensley, Smith, Clark, Coleman, Lonsdale, Jones. The lady in the large overcoat looking straight towards the camera is my mother Margo, she was pregnant with one of my sisters when this photo was taken, my sister was born just over a month later.

The grassed oval was our football/cricket pitch, tennis court, camping area, where we built our snowmen and always played our games, this accounts for the bald patches in the grass. The telephone box was the email of its day, nobody had a home phone in those days so people would ring the phone box and ask whoever answered to take a message to one of the people living in the area, many is the time I have run along the street with a message for somebody, Cotswold Crescent is a very long street, about 300 houses, so it could be quite a trek to deliver some of the messages.

As children we had everything we needed where we lived, behind the cul-de-sac was a railway line with pigeon lofts running alongside it, three ponds, swings, a slide and a see-saw, at the top end of the street was woodland that stretched as far as Cowpen village in one direction and to Wolviston in another, we knew this as ‘The Foxy’, at the bottom end of the street was access to Billingham Station, Billingham Beck and a bridleway to Norton and on to Thorpe Thewles, we roamed far and wide, staying out until hunger or darkness drove us home.

Photograph and details Bruce Coleman.

North Street, Stockton c2017

When I saw the recent post of North Street c1980’s I recognised the buildings straight away as I often use the Wellington Street car park which strangely enough has North Street to it’s north! So, some thirty years later on the 1 July 2017 I went along and found that one of the featured buildings is now a gents hair stylist, barbers as was, whilst the rest of the row is easily recognisable although some of the window positions have altered and their frames are now made from upvc rather than wood. It’s nice to see that the original street nameplate is still in position and made from stone unlike the later enamel or cast metal ones or even the pressed steel or plastic ones of today . Interesting too is the width of the houses, I’m assuming that North Street and Bishopton Lane were built back-to back with the only access through a front door?

Photograph and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Road works in Norton

Some recent road resurfacing work in the Hallifield and Edgar Street area of Norton has exposed the original cobble or more precisely brick road surface which was probably first tarmaced over in the 1960’s both as a cost saving measure and as an easy option to save the hard work of digging the road up.

These blue bricks are scoria bricks and were made from blast furnace slag which was a by-product, actually a waste product of the iron and steel foundrys which once employed many men in the Stockton area. The bricks were so successful that they were actually exported around the world and in 1912 alone over 62,000 tons of scoria bricks were shipped from the River Tees to countries including Canada and the West Indies to Belgium and Holland in Europe and even as far as South Africa were roads made from Teesside scoria brick can still be seen today and not just covered by tarmac. Truly another great Teesside export story!

The only road I know of within the Stockton Borough were the scoria bricks remain uncovered is Mill Street off Norton High Street? I always find the architecture of this street fascinating and the name alone gives a nod to what once stood at the top of it’s bank and perhaps the bricks have been left with it’s history in mind? Well, I like to think so anyway.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.