Walton Court, Portrack c1970

This is a typical view of the area in Portrack that was built in the mid 1960s, on what was a large chicken farm between Campbell Street and Walton Street. Walton Court along with Campbell Court were built to house elderly couples and middle aged single people who had lived in the terraced houses of Old Portrack.

Note that the heating was supplied by coal fires, with smoke drifting northwards from the chimneys. Completely unacceptable today. The TV aerials are also a vestige of the past. The older longer wave VHF and newer (BBC2 only) UHF aerials can be discerned. They were commonly referred to as 405 and 625 line channels.

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr:

Yarm Town Gas Holder c1950’s

Before we took our gas supplies from a national network each town had their own supply of ‘town gas’ of which both Stockton and Yarm did and the Yarm gasometer or holder was off West Street opposite St Marys Church. The former site has been built upon now but I seem to remember that not too long ago the land had to be cleaned and decontaminated because of possible contamination?.

Of all the local town gas gasometers only the one in Middlesbrough next to the A66 still survives but that too is due for demolition and with it goes another local landmark!.

Photograph and details courtesy of David Thompson.

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.

A view of Stockton taken from the north end of the town

My Great Grandmother used to herd pigs to market in Stockton. This is an old print that I have from my Great Aunt who had a millinery shop in Stockton when I was just a kid in the 1940’s. I was born in West Hartlepool and emigrated to Canada in 1963. I hope that your visitors find this old print interesting. The drawing was by one Stockton’s famous artists and furniture designer Thomas Sheraton (1751 – 1806).

Image and details courtesy of Eric Mudd.