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
Eston Technical School
Contact Information for Grangetown in Times Past
Links for Grangetown in Times Past
Collin Whiles of Bessemer Street 1931
|Collin Whiles of Bessemer Street 1931 -courtesy of Brian Crowther
A studio portrait of Collin aged 27.
Mother and Son 1937
|Elizabeth Burke & Michael Burke 1937 - courtesy of Brian Crowther|
The Soup Kitchen 1933
|The Soup Kitchen of the Thirties - Alan Aungiers of Eston
Alan's grandfather is on the extreme left of the picture. Sid Walker is also present.
Evening Gazette February,1933 Northern Notes
Though the direct result of unemployed social service schemes on Tees-side cannot illustrate fully the benefits of the schemes, they go a long way towards helping outsiders to realize the value of the work that is being done. The newly opened service scheme at the Paragon, Grangetown, which Prince George inspected yesterday for instance was only started in October last year. It now has 370 members each paying one penny weekly. The men have completely reconditioned the hall, repaired 700 pairs of boots and shoes, and since December 7 last year 1,100 gallons of soup have been issued free. The aims that the organisers of the scheme have in mind are to encourage work and recreation, to continue to assist members by the issue of free soup etc and to commence smallholding for growing produce for soup. They also hope to obtain land and erect a permanent hall and social centre for Grangetown. Everybody will wish this scheme and others the success they deserve.
Researched by Jim White
Who are they?
|Who are they? - courtesy of Alan Aungiers of Eston.
Grangetown children enjoying the tasty soup served up to hungry youngsters of the thirties in the Paragon Hall of Pochin Road - once a cinema and later a Garage directly opposite the Grangetown Boys Club.
Bill Barnes is on the left, Alan Merryweather, and an unidentified girl.
90 yr old Joe Holmes of Grosmont Place Eston describes the soup kitchen and its connection with the dedicated Pastor Humphreys in the Remember When's first edition for 2003.
Veterans on Parade 1933
|Veterans on Parade 1933 - courtesy of Sheila Barker
Grangetown men on parade being inspected by the Prince George (later Duke of Kent) Second on the front row, wearing a cap, is Jack Nicolson and behind the Prince, introducing the members of the British Legion - hardly visible - is my grandfather Patrick O'Neill.
Veterans on Parade 2 1933
|Veterans on Parade 2 1933
George Windsor’s visit to the Paragon - Gerald O'Neill
Said George Windsor to his Papa one day,
“I’m going to work I’m fed up with play,
Can you think of a useful hobby?
That I could take up, something like Eddie.
For he travels the country wide visiting people,
His popularity is as high as a steeple”.
His Pa looked at him straight in the eye,
“Am I hearing right? OK give it a try.
If you are serious go and see Remploy,
They’ll have something to suit a playboy?”
The PM so sceptical, tongue in cheek,
Promised to find him a job in a week.
The call came soon,” Up in the North East,
There’s a place on Teesside could do with a visit”
“Its people are worthy souls, give it your best shot
Say how we hope to stop the rot”
“You may find it hard to put over the word,
There may be some trouble; you could get the bird,
For life has been hard in that corner of the land,
Since the War to end Wars came to its end”
“Its men are the remnants left after the chaos,
They expected us to the fulfil our promise,
To pass on to their eager, youthful offspring,
After putting their lives on line for God, Country and King,
Go off to the North with your entourage Do!
We’ll foot all the bills for the Limo and you.
It wasn’t long before the mission did grace,
Our noble Paragon in Grangetown market place.
Through sullen crowd the Bentley eased its way,
Forward where the legion men that day,
Would face his critical gaze and demand,
A boost for our corner of the land.
Security men scanned for signs of action,
From the malcontented faction,
Within those thousands there collected,
Reactions sour were to be expected.
It was not long before he heard,
The caterwauls and boos and jeers,
That came out of many a subject’s throat,
In differing chants and keys and notes.
A clemmy from a disenfranchised source,
Sailed overhead accompanied by applause,
The car was stopped at pre-marked place,
Bearing a prince royal of our race.
With hesitant step and troubled mien,
The Duke descended from within,
Escorted close by personal aides,
To begin inspecting that parade,
Big Pat, smartly at attention took,
The proffered hand, with reassuring look,
Said “Don’t pay heed to that loud session,
It’s just hot air and democratic expression”
Our heroes in their proud array,
Stood straight as if on combat day,
Awaiting him their bodies alert,
Looks impassive but expectancies great.
When asked if all his problems were sorted?
Intrepid Billy Noteyoung retorted,
With “Work Milord that’s all we lack
We hope you take the message back!”
The company he left with great commendation,
He praised them all and their worth to the nation,
He shook Pat’s hand firmly “I’ll do what they say”
Then entered his car, which drew swiftly away.
Thus ended the visit of the well-intentioned Royal,
To Grangetown with its inhabitants loyal,
For that very same offspring were first in line,
To join in the fray in ’39!
Gerald O'Neill 2004
Gerald, a retired Headmaster now living in Norton, is an old Grangetowner and prolific writer who regularly contributes to Remember When and the Evening Gazette Letters pages. He has written many stories - some of which appear in the stories section of this site.
Celebration Market Square
|Celebration Market Square - courtesy of Jim White
Because Mary Jane Thomas was the oldest resident of the street in 1935, she was invited to cut the cake at the official celebrations of King George V Jubilee. The pillar behind looks familiar to the Market Square.
The Hustings - Vaughan Street Style 1936
The Hustings - Vaughan Street Style 1936 Gerald O'Neill
Election time in 1936 was a time of great interest and excitement to us as children of the street. Among the adults fierce arguments raged about the merits of the Labour and Conservative candidates. Oh yes! Despite the poverty of the area there were people whose vote went to the right-wing candidate. The reason was simplicity itself: The Catholics in the street, i.e. those of Irish descent voted Labour, and the families with more visible means of support, i.e. those with a worker in the house, the teetotallers, any of the meticulous rent or tally payers, the frugal, those of any other religious views, or even those households boasting a stair carpet or a matching three piece suite, voted for the other candidate.
That is how it appeared to us as children when we made our marches up and down waving our homemade banners and with the poster of our candidate stuck on the front of our boxwood frame. Families who were on best terms in normal every day life, people who would share their last penny, folk who would help each other at any other time, would now put up the barricades and promote their own candidate with fervour and commitment.
We children had no idea of the differences in political ideology of the candidates. All we knew was that Mr. Mansfield was for us and if he ‘Got in’, he would help to transform our lives and take us to the Promised Land, and that Mr. Bower would deprive us of all our life’s advantages.
Thus, we marched up and down the street with our motley bands of supporters comprising adult males mostly unemployed, females of all ages, and we boys hitting our dustbin lids with sticks, blowing our paper and comb bazuccers, rattling our tied together tin cans, or any other contraption that would contribute to our noisy procession, while at the same time we sang our ‘Anthem’ with the fervour of the best Welsh choirs:
“Who’s that knocking at the window?
Who’s that knocking at the door?
If it’s Bower and his wife,
We will stab them with a knife,
And they won’t go voting anymore”.
This was, of course, sung to the tune of a well know hymn, what else? All the while stopping in front of each of our rivals’ houses, where the opposition window posters were displayed and taunting each and every one with more decibels.
The opposition, not to be outdone, carried out their own versions of support for their candidate, but I believe, that our displays for our candidate were the most effective and certainly the most professionally organised. This was even accepted by the opposition members of the street. At least that’s what my father said after one of his frequent visits to the local British Legion Club and obtaining the views of his counterparts.
Public meeting were held in the Market Place, and if wet, above the Co-op stores and at all these we supported our candidate with our noisy presence. It was a heady time for us as children, just like supporting Middlesbrough at a Cup match!
So, it was with tremendous disappointment that when the results were finally counted, we found that our man had been beaten by a small margin. I couldn’t understand this because the majority in our town was so obviously for the Labour candidate. My father tried to explain to me that the Conservatives had a great hold in the rural areas of Cleveland and that they had swung it for Bower.
It was particularly galling to view the ‘Victory March’ of the opposition in the street. They paraded with their hero’s image to the fore led by their most vociferous female supporter. We peeped despondently through our front room blinds, which had been closed on this occasion as though it was for a wake. After passing up and down triumphantly, some three or four times the procession was suddenly stopped and confronted by my mother and her mates.
Arms akimbo, she faced her counterpart who, in usual circumstances was a great friend of hers, “Never mind Mary Ellen, you might do better next time.” She said. “Oh, that’s all right Rachel, but did you know that Bower was a Catholic?” retorted my Mother. At this gem of information, the smile on the face of her rival faded. Accusations and counter accusations were flung from one side to the other, and the procession broke up in disorder and recrimination.
Thus, I learned my first political lesson and the meaning of ‘It’s not over ‘till the fat lady sings’.
Ged O'Neill 2004
Mr and Mrs Cripps of Alexandra Rd 1935
|Mr and Mrs Cripps of Alexandra Rd - courtesy of Ron Vickers 1935|
Ken Lightfoot during theThirties
|Ken Lightfoot during the thirties
If you have come across the latest story on the People page, it's all about Ken Lightfoot's memories from his birth in 1922. This picture shows his commitment to his religion and his skills on the drums during the thirties just before the breakout of World War Two. A fine testimony of a hard-working business man who is still travelling in Canada at the age of 82.
As children staring through his well-stocked window full of toys and games, we can only marvel at his entrepeneurial spirit and his gentle jolly nature behind the counter. And he cycled home from Blackpool in a day. (Read it)