Dovecot Street. Early 20th Century

This picture of Dovecot Street shows it as it was in the early twentieth century, a number of these buildings survived into the 1950s and beyond. We start with Collingwood’s which frequently features in pictures of Stockton, next is Gourmet Cafe Temperance Hotel, the name Fothergill appears at the left hand side, I presume this to be the owner. The Lit & Phil Institute building has a mansard roof with oval windows, the Ketton Ox in Yarm has similar openings on its upper floor. In the case of the Ketton Ox this room was used for cock fighting, I doubt such activities took place at the Lit & Phil.
When I was a schoolboy I used to go straight from school to the Lit & Phil in Stockton to play chess against members of a chess club, most of my opponents were at least 40 years older than me and experience always won out, I never won a game.
The Alma Hotel advertising Bass Beers has its lower windows partially obscured to prevent the passing public from seeing what went on inside, I don’t know if this was a law but I think all pubs had frosted glass or name signs in the windows. Kay’s Spreadeagle Hotel is a very narrow building, the bay window and pillars on the upper floors look to be pre-Victorian. I can’t read the sign on the next building but I think the second word may be “Fleece”, this is followed by another bay windowed frontage. The building with Martin Tailor on its side also has an advert which appears to read ‘RATTER and MEN’S’ something, I know my eyes are not brilliant but it still looks to me like ‘RATTER’. There are a few more unreadable signs beyond the Tailor’s shop and at the very back left is a pale building with “THEA” on its front, I presume this to be a theatre. I would be interested if anybody with keener eyes or a knowledge of these buildings can add any more names.

Image and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Billingham Town Centre, late 1960s

When I was a schoolboy in the early 1950s I remember the excitement of the new shops being built, initially where the photographer was standing was a road known as Queensway, there were only shops along the right hand side of this photograph, the building at the bottom was yet to be built, if you could have stood in the same spot in 1953 you would be able to see along the length of Roseberry Road as far as Wolviston Road/ Billingham Bypass, if you were to walk to the fence alongside the bypass and look across the open land you would see the “Russian’s” farm on Sandy Lane, the next village would be Thorpe Thewles, amazingly if you stood in the same spot now you would see the “Russians” farm is no more and the land is a golf course but there are still open fields, woodland and meadows as far as Thorpe, this area was my playground as I was growing up.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.