Excuse me but where is Middlesbrough?
Walk from North Ormesby
Sources and Resources
Only a Short Time in History
Memories of Parliament Road
Football on the Roof
St Patrick's Church
The Tees (Newport) Bridge
Don't Mention the War?
Laws Street Block
Albert Park and 'Owld 'Enry
An Ayresome Childhood
St Paul's School
Victoria St/Greta St Now
The 'New' Newport School
Newport Bombing 15 April 1942
Closing of St Paul's School
More Memories of Parliament Rd.
Round and About King George Street
Memories of Duncombe Street
Honeymans of Cannon Street
Sun Sea & Sand
Fox Heads Page 1
Why DOGGY Town??
Fox Heads Page 2
Memories of St Paul's
A Mohawk in Middlesbrough
Remembering Craven Street
Marsh Road School
Luftwaffe Over Middlesbrough
First World War Shell Explodes in Middlesbrough
Queries:Can You Help?
St Columba's Parish in the Sixties
More Street Games
Memories Baxter Street
Judith's Middlesbrough Childhood
Links for Newport, Middlesbrough
A Walk from North Ormesby to Middlesbrough Centre by Bob Norlund
|I was born very close to North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, in December of 1944. I lived in my grandparents' house with my mother,father, and two sisters until just before my eighth birthday, when we moved as a family to our first oouncil house in Grove Hill. But I have many memories of the area where I was born and first raised. It was along Smeaton Street, in North Ormesby Market Square and the surrounding area that I formed lasting memories of the shops and people who helped to make the area what it once was, at least in the 1950's and on into the 1960s. So I invite those of you who remember the area (and those who were never fortunate enough to know it as it was)..to join me in a litle walk along one of my memory lanes.
Blacksmith, Pub and Toy Shop
|Starting at the very beginning of Smeaton Street, as it joined North Ormesby Road, and walking towards Middlesbrough town centre, there was the blacksmiths that was at the comer of Smeaton Street and North Ormesby Road (T.P.DUNNS). They were there for a long while but moved out when the area was being cleared ready to build the A66. They moved to Tollesby Hall but moved out when the builders bought the land there for housing development I think they are out of business now.
Just past the blacksmiths, if you were heading toward the old railway level crossing, was a little toy and model shop.In that shop window was where I saw my first Hornby '00' train set. Just before it was the Langbaurgh Hotel, which was my grandfather's favourite watering hole on Sunday lunch times. Across the road from the Langbaurgh was a brick built, open roofed gentleman's toilet carrying on along that side of the road, there was the level crossing itself, then the Corporation slaughter house. It was at this slaughter house, with the continuing bellowing of the beasts in the holding pens, that I saw my first ever live cattle
The Level Crossing
At the level crossing, when a train was coming, as kids we used to scamper up the steps of the old crossing bridge just to stand in the smoke that came up from between the boards, despite shouted threats of retribution from our mother. I can almost smell the smoke now. My friend remembers the old crossing in North Ormesby very well. His cousin was a signalman there and when he was on the right shift he used to sneak in to see him. It was fascinating seeing all the kit they had in there and he even got the chance to operate the gates when a train was coming. Only the pedestrian gate,though, because he never had the strength to operate the main gates which were opened and closed by turning a wheel (a bit like a ship's wheel). A big one for the main gate and a small one for the pedestrian gates. He did on some occasions try to operate 'the signals but was never strong enough. Everything was operated by direct mechanical linkage, so brute force was required, not like today's electronic systems.
Shops on North Ormesby Rd
Continuing on after the crossing, on the Langbaurgh side and almost facing the end of Borough Road was the pawn shop with its classic three brass ball symbol hanging outside. On the opposite side, after Tunnel's Newsagent's on the comer, which was where I used to buy my Dandy and Beano and later the Eagle, was a little shop that sold leather. I don't know who the proprietor was, but it was always known as the "Leather Shop" to us kids. That's where my grandfather bought leather to repair his boots and shoes. A dark little shop but the smell of leather was always one I liked. On the same side a little further along was Thompson's flower shop. If you turned left on to Borough Road, immediately left was Saltwells Road, named from when the area was covered with producing salt wells. Going across the little tidal beck and past the coal yard on the left you came to Ely Street. Immediately right off that was Lytton Street, where I was born at number 45. Further down that street was the T.A. barracks and Price's Factory at the far end. The old T.A. centre in Lytton Street has long since gone and, in its place, is an old folks' home and some pensioners' apartments.
Price's factory was demolished a number of years ago and houses built on the site, the area is now known as Colliers Green (if you remember, John Colliers took over the factory from Prices). How many of us would sneak round the back of the factory to where the old air raid shelters were? I can remember a gang of us going over there to look for gas masks, etc., that some told us had been left in there. I think we got chased by one of their security staff and never managed to find any 'treasures.'
More North Ormesby Rd Shops
|Back at North Ormesby Road, across from Tunnels the newsagents, etc., was the Post
Office. It was owned by George WARD whose son was still alive up to a few years ago. He sent my friend's mother some photos of the area now it has been redeveloped. Just past the post office on the same side, heading toward town, just as the road turned slightly to the right, was a fish and chip shop and a coal yard. I still remember the 'chippy' would sell you a penny's worth of chips and throw in 'scraps' left from the battered fish.
Across the road from there was where several streets met to join North Ormesby Road. On one comer was a shop owned by Mr. GARSIDE, the 'general dea1er.. On another comer was Charlie McMANN's ice cream shop. I still remember him coming round the streets in a horse drawn ice cream cart. My friend's grandparents' shop was on the comer of Colne Street and North Ormesby Road (H.J.RUDLAND, Painter & Decorator). They used to have a window display showing rolls of wallpaper tastefully arranged with bottles of turps and tins of paint. I remember the little sweet shop on the same row. It was a couple of doors from my friend's gran's and run by a little old lady called Nelly BULMER. My friend used to go there with the ration book to buy sweets while they were still on ration only. It must have 'been around 1952 or so. I used to go to the little sweet shop near Marton Road School with my coupons from the ration book. I can still remember the day sweets came off ration and I got to the shop late and all they had left were sherbet flying saucers and licorice root!
|If we go back to the Post Office side of North Ormesby Road, further along was a baker's shop -Upex -that made amongst other things the most marvelous rabbit pies. I think they are still in the area, but they don't make those pies anymore. All these buildings are gone now, replaced with some quite nice housing called St. John's Gate,
The church which sits at the junction of North Ormesby Road, Corporation Road and Marton Road, St.John the Evangelist is where my sisters and I were christened.
Walking Along Marton Road to the Exchange
If you continued along the right fork, at St Johns,(i.e along Marton Rd) heading toward the Exchange Buildings, the only 'shop' I remember was the Chinese laundry. But at that end of the road was the magnificent Exchange Buildings and a wonderfully decorated public house / hotel known as the Star and Garter.
Taking the left fork at St Johns Church (i.e. along Corporation Rd), the Co-op was immediately on the left, where I used to go to queue up with mum for the 'divi.' Further down was Uptons, opposite the Odeon.
So Little Left
Today there is so little of the street, buildings and shops of my youth. The building of the A66 bypass which to me appears to bypass very little and connect nothing with nowhere proved to be the end of many of the buildings I remember. Gone are the magnificent Exchange Buildings, the Star and Garter, the railway crossing, the blacksmiths and most of Smeaton Street and the North Ormesby I knew. But all still live on in my memory.
Bob Norlund, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
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