Eaglescliffe Railway Station c1930

A ships rudder weighing 54 Tons is seen here at Eaglescliffe Railway Station on the 8 May 1930 on it’s way from the Darlington Forge Works to Middlesbrough Docks.
The new replacement rudder for the RMS Aquitania measured 19 x 28 feet and over-hung the flat railcar by 13 feet which gave little room for manoeuvre when the train passed signal posts, loading ramps and passenger platforms along it’s route and it was here at Eaglescliffe were the rudder came closest to a signal only missing it by 3 inches! Interestingly the press report states both Eagles Cliff and the Port Of Middlesbrough from were the rudder was loaded onto a cargo ship which took it down to Southampton.

Photograph and details courtesy of David Thompson and Charles Young.

Stockton Corporation Bus in Middlesbrough

This Stockton Corporation Bus is pictured in the Wilson Street side of Exchange Place, this was the bus station for Middlesbrough Corporation buses, I was born and raised in Billingham and never knew that there was a Stockton bus that ran from Billingham to Middlesbrough, I know the “O” bus ran from Stockton to Middlesbrough, it is possible that this service ran from Billingham Stores and didn’t serve the estates north of the railway, our service was run by United and ran from Hartlepool to Eston Square.

Exchange Place, Exchange Buildings and part of Marton Road disappeared when the A66 flyover road was built.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Thornaby Airfield c1958

This photograph of Thornaby Airfield in 1958 reminded me of a visit to an airshow there with my father in the 1950s.

Two thing stick in my mind about that day out, the first was standing under the open bomb doors of an airplane and looking up at the racks, it seemed to me to be a huge space, it was about the same size as my mothers living room, the second thing was watching a jet plane taxiing along the runway, as it reached the end it turned ready for take off, the runway was edged in cinders and the crowd, myself included, was treated to a shot blasting session as the exhaust pointed toward us.

Another thing I remember at an airshow was an English Electric Lightning doing a fly past and going into a vertical climb and we were looking straight up its exhaust, I am not certain this was at Thornaby as I have been to many airshows over the years, does anybody know if a Lightning ever flew at Thornaby around about 1956.

I have no idea what type of plane this is in the photograph but I am sure somebody will know.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Steam Loco Gradwell

Gradwell in the yard with George and Tom.

She was built by the Sentinel Waggon Co., works (No. 9377) in 1947 for Bolton Gas Works, who sold her in the early 1950s to Whittingham Asylum Railway in Lancashire, where she worked passenger trains. They sold her in 1958 to the Tyne Tees Shipping Co., where she worked until 1965.

Photograph and details courtesy of John.

No. 7016 at Stockton Quay c1943

No. 7016 in 1943, is leaving the yard for the Quay with scrap wagons. Where the points ended, was the border between BR and Stockton Corporation. The building on the left was owned by the T.T.S Co., and known as the coffee warehouse due to it storing Nescafe there, which apparently the staff were never short of.

Photograph and details courtesy of John.

Coffee Pot Locomotives, Thornaby

Three photographs of the Head Wrightson Coffeepot locomotives on display at Teesdale Iron Works, Thornaby.

Photographs and details courtesy of Peter H Rigg.

The Head of Steam Museum, Darlington, 25 May 2018

The Head of Steam Museum in Darlington is situated at North Road Station on the route of the Stockton & Darlington Railway. Although predominantly focussing on the Darlington connections with the line there are still several mentions of ‘the other end of the line’ at Stockton with the star of the show being the original Locomotion steam engine. One of the pieces of artwork on show ‘Service To Industry’ features a huge Deltic locomotive in the sidings at ICI Billingham. Those sidings, although long abandoned well overgrown, and that pipebridge still exist today and can be seen from Haverton Hill Road close to were the car and van scrap yard is now. Interesting too that the railway sleepers at the Darlington end of the line were made from stone yet those at the Stockton end were made of wood!

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

The Norton Magical Mystery History Tour, 26 May 2018

Roll up, roll up, for the Mystery Tour, step right this way… and we did as we crossed Norton High Street to our Cleveland Transit double decker bus time machine in the company of our Time Lord for the tour, Martin Peagam. Our first stop was to Norton Road to what most people will have known as Hill’s but which was originally a flour and saw mill until it was bought by Thomas Hackworth and George Fossick and made into an engine works were they built steam locomotives, one being named ‘The Stockton’. They also built ships steam engines and eventually marine engineering became their main line of business. It then became Blair’s Engine Works and with Hill’s now long demolished it is now the site of a new housing development opposite the North Shore Academy, itself built on the site of the former Tilery Sports Centre.

We went to Alberto Street next and heard the tale of a ‘lady of the night’ and her death in a boarding house which once stood there although the area is now a large car park and only the street name remains!

The Daylight Bakery was our next stop and little did Ralph Spark and Sons know that some of Stockton’s greatest footballers would train and hone their dribbling skills under the floodlights at the front of this superb art-deco building . Apparently the bright lights at the front of the building would attract youngsters from around the area so that they could extend their playtime hours in near daylight all year round such was the brilliance of the lights but whether or not this accounts for the ‘Daylight’ title I’m not sure but it certainly was an illuminating tale!

Mr Fossick got his second mention of the tour just a little bit further up the ring road at what is now known as the ‘Blue Bridge’ because simply put, it’s painted blue. This new bridge was built to allow the then new ring road to go under the railway line but at the same time the original Fossick’s Bridge was filled in and buried under the railway embankment leaving no trace at all except for the road to nowhere which still remains Darlington Road while the ring road became the Ring Road or if you prefer, the A1027?

Our next and last stop was to the site of the former Norton Iron Works on Calf Fallow Lane were the original ‘Big Ben’ bell was cast. Sadly though it’s not the Stockton bell which now rings out from the Houses Of Parliament today as our bell cracked when a larger than required clapper was used and a new bell was recast by another company. Perhaps that story chimes with you?

On the way back to Norton the bus took a short detour through Stockton High Street and so fulfilled it’s mystery tour billing much to the amusement of both it’s passengers and the public it passed who rarely if ever these days see a double decker bus, not even a green Cleveland Transit one. Roll up for the Mystery Tour, roll up, satisfaction guaranteed…. and indeed it was.

Photograph and details courtesy of David Thompson.