GRANGETOWN IN TIMES PAST
St Marys School
Mick Traynor - Boer War Recruit + Others
Streets and Buildings
World War One 1914 -18
Parish, Priests and Processions
Street Stories + Characters
1925 Ladies Parish Outing + More
A Tale from the Duckie + other stories
World War Two 1939 - 45
Messages from Home & Abroad
Shops and Shopkeepers
The World of Work
Upstairs and Downstairs...
The Board School
Pochin Road Infants School
Leisure & Sports
Grangetown Boys' Club
Sir Wm Worsley School
Maps, Plans & Aerial Photos
St Peter's Senior School
St Matthew's Parish
Eston Grammar School
Trolley Buses TRTB
Grangetown Methodist Church
Contact Information for Grangetown in Times Past
Links for Grangetown in Times Past
Major Ted Colley of Whitworth Road
| photo courtesy of Sheila Barker
Young Ted Colley seemed deemed to be a butcher on Whitworth Rd. But he had other ideas, and ran away from home at the age of sixteen to join the army.
Joseph P Thomas of 36 Bessemer Street
|Cutting and details - courtesy of Jim White[
Joseph was born at 36 Bessemer St. in 1923 son of Dai Thomas and Mary Ellen nee Welsh
Councillor Gordon Hodgson M.B.E
|Evening Gazette story by Malcolm Race
Councillor Gordon Hodgson and wife Olly.
FOR 42 years without a break, Gordon Hodgson represented the Grangetown area on County and District councils, making him the longest-serving councillor over a wide area. Now and the only councillor actually living in Grangetown, he is respected and held in affection by his Labour colleagues and political opponents alike.
In this interview he recalls the appalling social conditions of the Teesside of 60 years ago and the hardships which set him on his political path.
AS THE ELDEST of a family of nine, Gordon Hodgson had a pretty tough upbringing in the Grangetown of the First World War and the years which followed it.His father, a blastfurnaceman. had been a professional soldier, seeing service In the Boer war and the Boxer Rising and then volunteering for Kitchener's Army In the first war, in which he suffered serious wounds.
In 1920, when Gordon was still at school, his family, like many others; had a struggle simply to survive he recalls.
“I never had any boots on my feet as a boy. We went along to the board school for jam and bread.
The poverty was bad. The limit on the amount the Guardians could pay out in those days was 28 shillings a week. There was a very high death rate among the working class. Every year there were outbreaks of scarlet fever and diptheria - and 'consumption' was rampant in most houses."
It was living in this environment, Gordon reflects, that gave him his class conviction and channelled him into the Labour Party.
Eventually, he began work on the blastfurnaces at Cleveland Works as a labourer at £2 a week.
Then in 1928, as a powerfully built young man of 19, and with the board of guardians refusing to give his mother any money to help her bring up the family because Gordon was working, he went down to the docks and got a job as a stoker
His wage was £9.10s a month.
In 1930 Gordon returned to shore and to the blastfurnaces, where he remained until 65. for many years holding a top job as blastfurnace keeper.
For 12 years he was delegate for the National Union of Blastfurnacemen.
He recalls with pride that in his 12 years as a local leader he never had a single strike.
"I always managed to get an early warning to the management in time and they always gave way," he explains.
He worked a seven-day week right up to 1935. When a union official informed him and his colleagues that they were to get a day off each week they could hardly believe it.
It was in June 1940 that Gordon began his marathon local government career, winning his way straight into the record books by being the first Labour councillor to be returned to the North Riding County Council.
There was no loss of earnings allowance In those days and his firm not only stopped a day's wage two or three times a week when he was on council business. but also deleted a percentage of his holiday entitlement.
He became secretary at the first Labour group on the county council, formed early in 1941, and eventually was appointed its chairman.
"There were only 22 of us, out of a council of about 90. he recalls. "Mind you the Conservative group was not much bigger. The rest were anti-working class - sirs, Lords and so on."
Nevertheless, he cherishes happy memories of many of the landed gentry with whom he rubbed shoulders on the North Riding.
"They were gentlemen and acted like gentlemen. We got on very well."
He became a familiar figure as he rode to meetings at Northallerton or Scarborough on his Panther 600 motorcycle
Gordon also became a member of Eston Urban council.
Several times he was offered a place on the aldermanic bench at Northallerton but each time he turned it down until he knew he was In his final year on the county council.
With the 1968 loval government reorganisation Gordon became a member of the new Teesside County Borough Council and then with the break up of Teesside In 1974. he moved over to the new Cleveland County Council and to Langbaurgh Borough Council.
He was the first chairman of Langbaurgh Council. He became Langbaurgh's first Mayor.
in the New Year Honours List of 1971. In the time of the Ted Heath Government he received the British Empire Medal - somewhat to his disgust, "I had always been against honours.” he says bluntly. But he was given virtually no opportunity to say no.
He learned later that the award was in recognition of his trade union services.
Even Gordon's wedding. at St, Marys Roman Catholic Church at Grangetown in November, 1941 had a touch of trauma about it. "An air-raid was in progress." he remembers ruefully," and the church was shaking.
We got on a train afterwards and went to Blackpool. Next morning I read In the newspapers that one of my workmates had been killed when a German plane bombed the blast furnaces at Warrenby. The undermanager, Major Scott, was also among those killed."
He and his wife.Olive. always known as Olly, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last year and he reflects:
"I have had a marvellous married life!' The couple have four sons and a daughter.
A couple of weeks ago Gordon had a grim reminder of his two years at sea. "The Tarao was sunk during the world war by the Graf Spee, Off Buenos Aires." he says. "But the funnel is still sticking up above the water and I saw it on some film of the Argentine crisis on TV.
By Malcolm Race, Municipal Editor
THE GRANGETOWN LORDS
|Newspaper Cutting - courtesy of Vera Robinson MBE
Many years ago, the Rt Hon. Horace King, spoke to the children of Grangetown and this is a transcript of his talk.
MEMORIES OF GRANGETOWN
by Rt, Hon. Horace King. Speaker of the House of Commons.
The Grangetown I knew sixty years ago was much smaller than it is now. It finished at Alexandra Road Estonwards. Beyond that street were Scott's farm and fields reaching to the hills.
We went as children out for the day, pushing our younger brothers and sisters in perambulators, taking sandwiches and a bottle of water and played in the fields. Sometimes we climbed to Eston Nab and picked bilberries.
Pochin Road was another boundary Redcarwards. Beyond it were hundreds of allotments. Most of Grangetown consisted of small two bedroomed houses. Stapylton St., ( where I was born), Vaughan St., Holden St. etc..Here the men who worked at Bolckow-Vaughan brought up large families. Most of the men built an extension in the back yard which gave them another room. The little houses were kept spotlessly clean - unless there was drunkenness in the home. Then they were not so homelike.
Little trains ran from Bolckow Vaughan's works to Eston iron mines and often an ambulance train took someone to Eston Hospital who had been badly injured in the works, for the steel industry was both exacting and dangerous.
We went anywhere by train. There were not motor cars. If you were rich. you could take a horse drawn coach to Grangetown railway station for a penny. Most of us couldn't afford that and walked - quite a way - to take the train to Redcar or Middlesbrough. Indeed we walked usually, by the side of the railway lines to Redcar.
Beyond the railway was a mudbank called the 'Slems'. There we found shellfish. Between the works and Grangetown was the football field -for the local team.
Men who obtained good jobs at the works – ‘Gaffers jobs’ - we called them - moved out of the small houses into larger houses like those Bolckow Road, or even on the edge of the then tiny village of Eston
Friday was market day. 'The Square’ with a huge public house at one end and a workmen's Club at the other was packed with stalls. At night they were lit with oil-flares and I can still recall the pleasant smell of burning oil.
Occasionally we had a cinema show. A tent was erected. You paid a penny to go in. A man turned a handle and pictures moved on a screen. We called them 'living pictures' and thought them wonderful.
On one corner of the Square was a corrugated iron building. Here for, a time I went to school. We called it the 'Tin School'.
Later it became a cinema and there we began to see even more wonderful films than had been shown in the tents.
The blast furnaces worked all night and when you were in bed you would often see a mighty flare in the sky as a furnace tipped out it molten metal.
None of the vast array of factories that now stretch out into Grangetown itself and along to Redcar were there then. Bolckow Vaughan's was just one line of.furnaces. Between that and Redcar there was nothing but one small works - Lackenby. They were building a new model town called Dormanstown.
Ice-cream men came round the streets. A sandwich cost a halfpenny. For a penny you got an extra thick one. For twopence the men filled your cup and you took it home for the family. Sweets were four ounces a penny. Liver was fourpence a pound. Oranges. on occasions were as cheap as sixty for a shilling.
Men were paid on Friday night. So that evening you went round to your relatives hopefully. If they were in a good mood they might you a 'Friday penny'.
Apart from church we had little music. But in church there was occasionally a cantata and there was a great musician, Gavin Kay, who arranged concerts and introduced many of us to the wonder of music.
Nobody was very rich - in fact, most of us poor but we made lots of happiness for ourselves. We played a whole series of street games which varied with the seasons.
There was, however, much real poverty and in those days there was little help for the widow or the fatherless or the unemployed.
Sanitation was primitive. There were no water closets.
But Grangetown was then, as now, a town of warm-hearted people.. They helped each other in time of trouble and a widow would find both relatives and neighbours coming to her aid despite slender purses.
Sunday was quiet. Almost everybody went to church or chapel, with Sunday-School morning and afternoon.
Shops were open very late and shop assistants had terribly long hours, some keeping open until 12 on Friday and Saturday. Those long hours have now gone. The men at Bolckow Vaughan's worked long hours too - we were still a long way from the eight hour day and the five day week
We walked a lot, talked a lot, played a lot. But we worked a lot. We had many friends - and, friendship is about the most important thing in life.
John Quinn of 50 Vaughan Street
|Article by Evening Gazette
What the article does not tell you, is that John Quinn born in Ireland in 1878, arrived barefoot as a young boy of six years with his immigrant parents and four brothers and sisters to settle; first in Eston Junction in 1884 and a year later in 50 Vaughan Street; where he attended St Mary's School as a student before becoming a pupil teacher at the same school.
|Doctor McAvoy - courtesy of Sheila Barker
I have heard parents talk about Doctor McAvoy with affection tinged with sadness. Now I know why.
Bill Herlingshaw and Col. Sir William Worsley 1960
|Bill Herlingshaw and Col. Sir William Worsley - courtesy of Bill Herlingshaw Penrith
Providing a tremendous boost to the leisure facilities for Grangetown and others in the Eston area, Councillor Bill Herlingshaw is pictured with Sir William Worsley at the official opening of Eston Baths in October 1960 - a scheme which he helped to promote with other well known and respected Councillors of our dynamic and vibrant Eston Urban District Council - unpaid as well.
Wally K Daly Playwright
|Wally K Daly Playwright
Wally has written much more since this piece by Bob Woodhouse in 1991 and says he will be in touch.
Horace King of Stapylton Street
|Horace King of Stapylton Street 1901-1986
Born in 1901, Horace King was later educated in Stockton and Kings College London where he obtained a First class Honours Degree and a PhD. After becoming a Headmaster in Southampton, he became a County Councillor, then M.P. for Itchen and was installed as Speaker of the House of Commons at the age of 65. He received a life peerage, becoming known as Lord Maybray King and died on Sept 3rd 1986 after a long illness.
Jack Collins (One-arm Collins)
Jack Collins (known as ‘one –arm Collins) was born at Lingdale in 1881 and came with his parents to live in Grangetown in 1887. He attended ‘T’ Board School which had just become free, up till ?. Scholars had to pay 2d a week (hence the name ‘T’ Board School). He was obviously good at English, as when he recorded his life story, he was well-spoken.
On leaving school, Jack became an errand boy, earning the princely sum of 2s 6d a week. He enlisted in the Green Howards at 17 years, although he had to give a false date of birth, as 18 years was the earliest one could join.
He was sent to Africa and spent the next nine months there. He always said it was really a ‘cavalry’ war.
When the Green Howards returned to Grangetown, a silver band was there to greet them as they marched from the station. Jack said about 15 men returned.
He served throughout the 1914-18 war, being wounded one month before the armistice, injuring his arm ( hence his nickname ‘one-arm Collins). He received a war injury pension. Jack then returned to the steelworks where he was highly thought of. His job was a rail straightener.
When the 1939-45 war broke out, he was recalled to the army, owing to his expertise, as a bomb and rifle instructor. He was proud of the fact that one of the lads he trained, rose to a high station in the army. After the war, he enrolled as a special policeman and only retired at 75 years of age. He was a founder member and president of Grangetown British Legion Club. Thus Jack Collins served his country in three wars.
Vera Robinson MBE