Old South Bank
The 21st Century
Victoria Street School
Cromwell Road School
Princess Street School
St. Peter's RC Schools
The Boys Clubs
Ex - Pats Index
Maps & Aerial Pix
The Pubs and Clubs
Smiths Dock & Gala Days
More Slaggy Tales
Some Slaggy Islanders
Pub and Club Activities
Reunion 2002 Pics
More Slaggy Islanders
Smith Family Album
Yet More Slaggies
Reunion 2003 Pics
South Bank Football
South Bank Tomorrow
For All Ex-Pats!
Reunion 2004 pics
Reunion 2005 Pics
Rix Pix 2005
Tears for South Bank
This Is Your Life
Reunion 2006 pics
Reunion 2007 pix
Contact Information for South Bank Nostalgic Society
Links for South Bank Nostalgia Society
1. Teddy Boys
|Teddy Boy Ray Collins and the hidden camera
Jimmy's brother and the only pic of a Ted I've got. We were too busy combing our hair to pose!
Remember... the Teddy Boys? This was my era! I was a Teddy Boy when I got called up and joined the RAF. I had the sense to get my hair cut short before I went in but they still managed to find more to cut! I remember our first day at square bashing when we were marched to the barbers. Quite a few of us were Teds including a lad from Newcastle whose pride was obviously his hair the way he brought out his comb every five minutes. All the barbers made cracks at him, hoping to get the chance to scalp him and christening him "Audrey".
When it was his turn the barber who got him wore a fiendish grin of delight as he ushered him into the chair. After making a few jokes at Audrey's expense he took the shears right up the centre of his head and over the top and Audrey burst into tears!
In those days of long hair we would rather face the enemy than the barber, something today's yob culture of shaven heads wouldn't understand. What am I on about? The barber was the enemy!
Remember... crepe soled shoes? They were generally known as "brothel creepers" which squeaked by twisting your feet when you walked across a polished floor like in a library or on a dance floor. And how the crepe soles gradually spread with age until they looked like cow pats on your feet!
Remember... florescent socks? We got a craze for them and they practically dazzled you. You could certainly see them in the dark! Years later when my second daughter was about fourteen the craze returned, this time worn by the girls, and she didn't believe me when I said I used to wear them!
Remember... drainpipe trousers? (when we were thin!). They were preferably worn a bit short to show off the florescent socks!
Remember... drip dry shirts and the advert for them - "Raelbrook poplin, the shirt you don't iron". Great when in the forces for civvy wear.
Remember... finger tip length jackets? I could never beat Ged Wyke who had the longest jackets of all (and walked a bit like "Flash Harry" in St.Trinians!)
Remember... shoe-lace ties? When in the RAF and going out in civvies I've even ironed a lace out of my boots and worn it! In those days we wouldn't dream of going out without a tie! Seems strange now.
Remember... hair? Worn long, brylcreemed, well combed and in a D.A. (Duck's backside!) When I was in the RAF I had very long hair which I covered with Brylcreem on a morning, combed it up on my head and stuck my hat on which I kept on all day. Going out on the town at night I would wash off the grease and let it go wild, get into civvies, and out... We didn't want locals knowing we were in the forces. Ridiculous, eh! (In the course of my three years service I was actually marched to the barbers three times for a hair-cut and charged with "Being in need of a hair-cut!)
Remember... combs? No self respecting Ted would be without his comb to keep his D.A. looking right. I know one bloke who still carries his - no, not me!
This piece stirred memories for Michael McLoughlin in Oz:
Your story - Remembering - back to the crepe sole shoes days and those florescent socks -drain pipe jeans - and the Stores for a suit -bring back happy memories out of the store cupboard. Well done Dick!
Remember... the Army Navy Stores? Nextdoor to the Commercial, this was where we got those florescent socks! I can still remember that sort of leather smell in the shop and see Mr.Smollen with his brown dust coat, glasses and hearing aid.
The Co-op ("The Stores")
Remember... the Stores? I got my first Teddy Boy suit there and I remember the tailor with his tape measure round his neck shaking his head as I explained what I wanted.
When my mate Mack had decided to finish his apprenticeship early and go to Canada he decided to get a suit made at the Co-op and I remember when he picked it up. The trousers came half way up his chest but the quality was great! When in Canada in the winter he said the trousers kept his chest warm!
Remember... the change shuttle? When you paid for anything the money and receipt were put into a tube which was then closed and put into a pipe which whisked it away to the cashiers office where it was dealt with, replaced with the change, and sent back. It always fascinated me. Once, in the late eighties, when I was in Auckland, New Zealand, visiting my sister she took me to a department store called Grace Brothers (really!) who had the same system!
However, most people used the Stores for the "divi" (dividend) earned on purchases and paid quarterly which was about the only way some folk could save. A lot of people can still remember their divi number to this day!
|The Nab in 1930 - photographer unknown.
Remember... going up the hills? With Eston Hills on the doorstep it was a regular playground for kids while older lads walked their girl friends there for a quiet snog in the grass!
When young, we used to go to a dip near the Nab which we called "Cowboy Canyon" where we would light a fire and roast spuds - if we had remembered to take any! Not far away was a stream to quench our thirst with no fear of chemical pollutants. And in season we picked and ate bilberries.
|Barnaby Moor Mine - photographer unknown.
Remember... Slingem's Well? On the top of the hills was the remains of Barnaby Moor Mine with a capped shaft with enough room to chuck stones down which would bang from the sides with that hollow, echoing sound until finally, ages later, splashing down at the bottom with a whoo-o-osh! Awe inspiring!!
When I first went up there in the late forties, the row of miners cottages was still standing empty except one which was still occupied although I never saw anyone about.
Remember... the German plane crash? This was before I moved to South Bank but a lot of people still remember it.
Some time during the war (anyone provide a date?) a German Junkers 88 with a crew of four on board, was on a photo reconnaissance mission. It reached this country north of Sunderland and turned south down the coast but as it flew over the Tees estuary two spitfires from Catterick intercepted it and attacked with all guns firing. The Junkers 88 was badly damaged and swung over Redcar trailing smoke towards the Eston Hills.
One crew member tried to escape by parachute, but later he was found hanging from a tree, while the plane finally crashed into farmland on Barnaby Moor.
Local kids swarmed up the Hills to look for souvenirs and it was said that one lad actually found a glove with a hand in it! The RAF and police arrived much later and were hard pressed to recover bits to aid their investigation. There's probably still bits in South Bank!
I remember when a jet (Meteor?) crashed into the side of the hills in about 1950 it was the same, and I was one of the kids on the scene, getting myself a large piece of smooth moving intermeshed cogging. I don't know why I got it but it was stuck in our house for years until my mother must have thrown it out!
The Brickie Pond
Remember... the Brickie Pond? It was behind a small slag heap on the beginning of Skipper's Lane opposite the Old Brick Works.
We fished in the green waters of the pond with bent pins and worms and caught sticklebacks which we took home in jam jars. There was the top two feet of a telegraph pole sticking out of the water in the middle of the pond which may have been the attraction for the many lads who swam there, aiming to sit on it but quite a few drowned in the attempt or had narrow squeaks!
The Old Brick Works had become an adventure playground by 1946 when I first went there but the chimney still stood and we could wriggle through the old flues and into the base to stare up at the little square of light far above. The old kilns were also still intact and were sometimes used to park (council?) vehicles but were mainly used to play in when it rained.
Remember... the Pox? This was South Bank's own little Nature Reserve. It was an area of hawthorn covered hillocks and reed lined ponds which were home to frogs, newts, sticklebacks and water hens. I don't know where the name came from but the Pox was behind the gasworks allotments and bordered on the other side by the little used Eston railtrack which was our usual route to it.
I remember once getting into a fight with Pat Harrison along there and we rolled into the narrow ditch which ran parallel to the railway lines. A sharp grass seed went into my eye and I cried out. Pat immediately stopped the struggle and was concerned for my welfare. He gently removed the seed from my eye. We couldn't remember why we were fighting and joined forces for a great day in the Pox - and we've been friends ever since that day, over fifty years ago, even though I rarely see him. A gentleman.
Michael McLoughlin's memories go further back:
I did not know that those water holes, gained by going down that lane beside the old South Bank Gas Works leading from Normanby Road, was known by this name - "The Pox". I do remember this spot of kids delight - a treasure island -when there was no where else for us young kids of the 1930's and later to enjoy a few hours of fun away from the bare streets of South Bank.
I can still recall to this very day that on one visit with my late brother Jimmy, when he was standing on the waters edge, I decided on the spur of the moment to throw a piece of slag into the water - just to scare him. Alas I misjudged my aim and that missile landed on Jimmy's head. On seeing the blood spurt from his head wound I took off. Afterwards I walked the streets of South Bank, too scared to go home as I knew that my father would be after me, just to give this little street urchin one big walloping for this mischievous deed. My old man did eventually catch up with me outside the Vic pub - but a hiding I did not receive. The wound that Jimmy sustained was only minor.
A Mr Harrison had one of the allotments close to the water holes - him having a pony and cart. I've forgotten the name of the pony but I can remember his dog which was a stag and greyhound cross called Peter - a very biggish dog but a very friendly type. My dad being a mate of Harrison he seemed to spend a lot of time at this allotment. One of the fiddles my dad and Mr Harrison had going was the chopping up of firewood from which they made bundles of sticks, making Jimmy and I go around the streets of South Bank knocking on doors selling this ware from a large wheelbarrow at 1d a bundle. I cannot recall my brother and I ever being rewarded for our efforts for this hawking in all sorts of weather. But as they say-"those were the good old days"???
My thanks to Dick Fawcett for restoration of this memory-not only for me alone-but for those many other South Bankers-present and passed.
Michael's mention of Old Harrison brought back memories to me. The old gas holder was a regular daytime perch for hundreds of pigeons which spent the night in the open fronted sheds in in the compound of Harrison's allotment. He had an old fairground caravan in there where it was said he used to sleep. The trouble with the gasworks pigeons was that they used to attract others from their flight paths - meaning that if you had sent pigeons away for a race they stood a good chance of being distracted from their destination and perching on the gasometre!
This happened to me with one of my best young birds which I had sent to Doncaster and finished up in Harrison's place. I went to see him to get my pigeon back and he told me where to go. This incensed me and when it was getting dark I went back with a friend. We climbed into the compound and I crept up to the caravan and found the key was left in the lock. Quietly I turned it and then we flashed our torches into the sheds which were crammed with pigeons which were becoming unsettled. Spotting my bird which had distinctive markings, I grabbed at it startling the others which panicked and flew past our heads with what seemed to be a terrific noise. With that we panicked and took off - but not a sound came from the caravan! Was he in it?
A couple of weeks later that same pigeon returned to the gasworks and, presumably, Harrison's and I left it there.
Hospital on Nelson Street
Remember... the Dolls Hospital? It was opposite the Labour Exchange on Nelson Street and was more a labour of love than a viable business. However when the doll makers switched from pot to vynal for their product the "Hospital" finally closed its doors.
Then in about 1950 the premises was converted to an office with the grand title of "The Youth Employment Bureaux" run by a Mr.Kelly.
Remember... Readymix Concrete? They had a yard at the bottom of the bridge to Smith's Dock behind North Street.
My mate Allan Thompson was a driver for them. One day while driving a six-cubic-yard mixer up Normanby Road, passing the cemetery, he saw this big wheel pass him, going at a good lick. It suddenly struck him that it was off his wagon and he hurriedly stopped and leapt out of the cab, taking off after the runaway wheel. As he gained on it he could see that it was headed for a new parked car and he frantically tried to divert it by hitting at it as they both sped along.
A final push averted trouble and he gradually brought the wheel under control and then to a stop. The panic-driven sprint had taken a lot out of him and it took a while to regain his breath.
Eventually, Allan retuned to his vehicle to examine the damage and found that the bolts on one of the double wheels had sheered off. In order to stabilise the load he used the built-in jacks but the load was so heavy the jacks started to sink into the tarmac surface of the road.
Allan quickly got to a phone and called the office to explain the situation. He was told to get round all the nearby houses and give away the concrete to anyone who brought a barrow. This he quickly did and soon had a queue of people cheerfully benefitting from his misfortune. He was just pouring out the last of the six cubic yards when the van arrived from the yard.
There were words of recrimination flying around and the air got quite blue with the result that Allan was sacked, the firm deeming that it was the driver's fault that the bolts sheered. I think Allan's last words were "Stick your job and stick your wagon!" and something about monkeys and nuts as he walked away, leaving them to return the vehicle to the depot!
You don't mess with my mate!!
Ann Ward nee Bell
Remember... Ann Bell, now Ward.
If you do you might be able to help her...
My name was Ann Bell now Ward. I lived in Alan Street South Bank until about 1966 when we moved to Clynes Road in Grangetown. I spent more hours than I can remember at Phil Whitcombs Dance School, but I also spent many hours at St John's Church Youth Club. I am trying to find some old friends one who was the Leader named Trevor Payne he was also Clerk to the Court at South Bank Police station, also Jim Baines and Dave Porteous. Please can anyone help.
Thankyou Ann Ward
I remember when I lived in Aire Street and I was going home one afternoon via Alan Street when an alarm clock came crashing through a window just in front of me and was held in the net curtain which bulged through the hole! It was the end house nearest to Aire Street - was that yours?! Dick.
Ann assured me it wasn't her house! I wonder who it was?
|"Fatty" Phelps wasn't always so big as evidenced by this old portrait of him
Remember... Fatty Phelps? Edwin "Fatty" Phelps owned a paper shop in Queen Street which was the converted front room of his house. Large of girth and just as large of mirth,
he was the jolliest person I ever met, always smiling and joking.
He was often to be seen out on his bike, usually en route to or from his allotment.
Eileen Turner nee Patton
Remember... everything! I got a wonderful e-mail from Eileen which deserves to be displayed intact to trigger more memories...
Eugene McElvaney pointed me in the site's direction and, while nursing the nagging guilt at not writing to Hugh like I'd intended, I drifted further and further back into my childhood, things not remembered for decades flooding back. Haven't read it all but have to make a start.
Somewhere amongst everything (who brought it up? I'll have to look back) there was mention of a man on a bike who was hit by a tanker or something in the mid 1950's in North Street. It'll have been Alf Woods, husband of Margaret and dad to Peter, Paul, Pauline and Colin. I remember the news going round the street that there had been an accident and all us kids running to see it. I saw a man on a stretcher being put into an ambulance - sure I saw his face, but you know what memory is. Peter and Paul will probably have been with me, they were near my age, Peter slightly older, Paul about a year younger, and we were usually together when playing in the street. None of us knew who the man was and it was ages after, with a shock, that I put their dad's death together with the accident we'd seen.
Margaret then had to bring up four little kids. I remember she used to work at night as a barmaid. My Mam used to pop in from time to time to make sure they weren't up to any mischief. They generally were. I remember something or other about Paul's Christmas chemistry set that had Mam worried to death. The Woods kids (I always thought of them as a collective) lived next-door-but-one to me in Lower Princess Street, with the Harrington kids in between. I mainly remember Kevin Harrington as I was older than, and therefore far superior to, the others.
This was the gang I knocked around with until I grew up and went to St Anne's School (in it's first year) and knocked around more with lasses than lads (although that went into a bit of a reversal starting from the age of about 14 when we discovered some beautiful alter boys whose names I won't remember to protect their blushes). We did what everyone else seemed to have done - and I thought we were the only ones. How come so many people went down the Puddling when I hardly saw anyone else but us there? I wasn't allowed to go there because there were bad men around. I wasn't sure what bad men did but imagined sort of shadowy, hunched figures in the background. Never met any of them.
Another place I wasn't allowed to go was a scrapyard where we played on broken buses and where I paddled one day in a pond and gashed my foot on some rusty metal so badly I had to be half carried back by Peter and either Kevin or Paul. I wouldn't tell Mam because, after all, I never went to the scrapyard. Paul came and told her because he was worried and Mam painted my foot with iodine, all the time alternating between playing hell with me - saying "Oh, you poor wee thing" (she was born in Motherwell) - and telling me not to be mad at Paul as he had more sense than I ever had!
I wasn't allowed to go down Skipper's Lane either. Not sure why but Mam might have had the usual prejudice against Gypsies. I know we were all a bit scared of them but a bit fascinated too. They were so different and there were painted caravans around too. We caught sticklebacks and put them in jam jars and once 'borrowed' my dad's blunt axe and tried (very unsuccessfullly) to chop down a little tree - probably a hawthorn - to put on a bonfire.
Ah... the bonfires. The building season started as soon as the evenings started to draw in. Alex Jinks talks about the warfare (I remember a Jinxy - same one or one of the family? -I was born in 1950). Well if Alex was one of the thieves and briggands who raided our bommy at the bottom end of Lower Princess Street he was, and will remain, my mortal enemy. If, on the other hand he was one of the heroes who raided other bommys, particularly that feeble attempt at a titchy hearth fire near where the market was, then he is my eternal blood brother.
Somewhere else Mam didn't know about was the slag wool factory where you could get under the fence and have a whale of a time rolling around in the slag wool heaps outside the factory. You'd then itch for about three days. Lord knows what it did for our lungs. It used to 'rain' slag wool fairly often.
Why can I only remember playing in places I never went to? Honest Mam, I never went there!
I knocked about with girls at York Street and Napier Street schools, but lads in the street all except for Lesley Attwood who lived in the prefabs with her Mam and her brother Gary. Her dad died when she was a baby - another woman struggling to bring up kids alone. Lesley then moved to Steele Crescent (I think). Her Mam worked hard in kitchens at, I think the steelworks and then ICI so Gary and Lesley had the house to themselves in school holidays so I went there a lot then so that Gary could torment us and we could be real pains to him. Lesley went to Australia when she was about 18.
I should mention the family as some people might know them. Dad is Joe Patton from Belfast who now lives in a care home near me in Cumbria. Mam was a Nesbitt from Grangetown (earlier Motherwell, but parents from Ballymena, Northern Ireland). Mam's brother Gerry lived in one of the Dutch houses in South Bank and played football with Wilf Mannion (I know, I know, everyone did!). Then there was Uncles Bill and Tom and their families. Then Mam's five sisters, although the older ones settled in Scotland with a branch moving over to New York. Uncle Gerry's daughter Sheila heroically keeps thr threads of this scattered family together. Wait 'til she sees this website, if she hasn't already.
So much more but this would be a book. I left Lower Princess Street when I was 17 to live on the Whale Hill Estate in Eston - brand new, hot water, inside toilet, BATHROOM. Heaven! Am I allowed to say on this site that I didn't like our street when I was in my teens. A lot of different people came and there was often trouble. Police there when I was coming home on a Saturday night. Fights more violent. Whether it really did get rougher or whether I was moving into my sensitive period I don't know, but I was glad to move. What this site has done for me is to remind me of the earlier years when it was never boring, sometimes in trouble with Mam and Dad, sometimes having a fight with another kid (or kids), but always something going on and a freedom that would be really frowned on now.
So thank you Dick Fawcett for resurrecting all the happy memories and mending my image of a town.
Eileen Turner (nee Patton)
Thank you, Eileen, for such lucid memories. Dick.
Aw, shucks! Fame at last. Ta! Eileen.
| The Hall
Remember... the Hall in the park? I do. I came to live in South Bank in February 1946 at the age of ten and soon explored everywhere including the hills. However, I had never been to Stewarts Park until they had a firework display there later that year and my mother and Aunt took me and my sister Sylvia to see it.
I don't think it was November because it was quite warm - probably August - and we were sat on the steps of the Hall. Always curious, I wandered off to explore and when I returned they weren't there. I wasn't unduly bothered and walked to different vantage points for the displays.
Eventually it finished and as it was pointless looking for anyone in the crowds I went with the flow to the gates. When we had gone to the park it had been by bus - first to the Exchange in Wilson Street, Middlesbrough then a corporation bus to the park. I had no money so approached a policeman and asked him to lend me money for busfair. He told me to clear off but my mother had always told me to "ask a policeman" so I asked the way to South Bank! I got a curt "That way!" indicating Normanby and I set off walking in the dark, a ten year old not really knowing where I was.
Normanby top had a signpost pointing to South Bank and eventually I arrived home. There was hell on! No matter that they had moved from their seats - it was my fault and because they had reported me lost to the police I was dragged round to the Police Station to get another lecture. And they didn't want to know about the bobby who wouldn't lend me any money! Like my hero of the time William Brown, I felt aggrieved!
Remember... Basil Clark? I must admit I don't but I've been told he lived near the Cleveland and was always to be seen walking about wheeling a barrow in which his terrier would be sat.
(I wonder if it was that one that Chubby Brown used to use in his act?!)
Remember... the Slems? It was a marshy area of mudflats where clams and cockles flourished and wild fowl nested among the reeds. When times were hard my father in law Alf Nixon was a dab hand at finding the shell fish and sometimes would get ducks eggs or water hens eggs, all Natures food for the table.
British Oxygen put an end to all that when they filled in the site with slag and built their premises on it.
My Old Man's A Dustman
Remember... Lonnie Donnegan? In the sixties he bowled up to the Station Hotel in his pale blue open topped American car, dressed in a pale blue suit to match, and wearing the obligitary sunglasses. We stared in disbelief at the vision, then rushed to follow him inside. However he wasn't there to get the beer in - just to push the pile of pennies over for charity and within minutes he was off again, heading down Nelson Street. No one told him he was going the wrong way! He was appearing at the Fiesta and this was the usual publicity stunt for a host of stars appearing in the area.
Remember... the sort of food we ate back then? Where to begin?
Bread and dripping - nicer with a bit of the gravy brown.
Bread spread with sticky Nestles milk.
Rabbit or pigeon pie.
Sheep's head soup - lovely!
Wild "bluestalk" mushrooms.
Potato scones, hot and spread with butter.
Suet puddings - savory with gravy or sweet with treacle.
Semolina pudding or that other one that we called frogspawn!
Bonfire night spuds burnt black which we ate complete with the charcoal covering.
Bunjies or Snaggers (turnips or mangles) pinched from a field on our way up the hills and gnawed on practically all day!
What else that we don't seem to have now?
Remember... Kenny Reece? Even if the name means nothing to you I'll bet you saw him around. He was a joiner by trade, working at Smith's Docks, but at night he worked as a projectionist at all three of our picture houses at various times. When they finished he worked at the Sporting Club (formerly the Empire) as a general "Stepin Fetchitt".
He was easily recognisable with his curly hair, bottle-bottom glasses, a permanent nervous smile exposing his teeth and a slight hunch to his shoulders. Before leaving his Oliver Street home each day he had to stand still while his mother fastened his braces, straightened his tie and combed his hair even in his late forties!
He was once sent to the Labour Club in Fabian Road to replace a broken window in the door but as he was completing the job he accidently cracked the pane of glass.
"Well," he said, "It's better than it was!"
Remember... Joey McQuillen?
Joe was like a cat wih a good head for heights which was handy when he worked down Smith's Dock as a brush hand in the days before the rules of working practices were formulated and adhered to.
Blacksmith Jack Sowerby was once working on the deck of a ship and looked over into a hold. About ten feet down a girder crossed from one side to the other with a fifty foot drop below it. The beam was only six inches wide but walking nonchalantly across it while weilding a long scraper was Joe McQuillen, quite happy in his work. Jack can't stand heights and started to draw back when Joe spotted him.
"Alright, Jack!" called Joe and gave him a wave. This was too much for Jack who nearly passed out while Joe carried on, whistling while he worked!
Another time, while living in Aire Street, a woman asked Joe if some time he could clear the grass out of her gutters. Without hesitating Joe grasped the drain pipe and practically ran up it. At the top he swung his leg over the gutter and heaved himself up onto the sloping tiles of the roof. Walking along he started pulling the clumps of growth out of the gutter and, with a warning to those below, dropped it all down onto the pavement. Finishing in no time he swung himself back over the gutter and down the drainpipe as if he'd just walked over the road!
Joe was well liked and would do anyone a good turn. Sadly he called it a day about a year ago.
South Bank Motor Club
Remember... South Bank Motor Club? I don't, but I was talking to Ernie Crust who mentioned it during a conversation. I hadn't heard of it before but Ernie was positive about it's existence although he had no details or photographs.
Ernie is quite an authority on motor racing and is the author of "A Dash Between The Tides", a book about the sand racing, both car and motor bike, which took place in the area mainly between the wars and a little after the second. For anyone interested his book can be bought at Sotherans of Queen Street, Redcar.
If anyone has any information of this club please get in touch...
|Jack Sowerby and Ray Kilding in Hollywood
Remember... holidays in South Bank? During school holidays you might get the odd day to Redcar or go on a Mission trip to Marske but otherwise you played around the streets and slag tips or went up the hills.
Not now-a-days! The world is out there waiting. From Amsterdam to Australia; Belgium to Bangkok; Calais to Canada; New York to New Zealand; no limit.
However, for those of us who grew up addicted to the films shown at the Hippodrome, Empire and Majestic then Hollywood is the place to go. Ask Jack Sowerby!
Remember... this lot from Albert Mead who put this entry into the Guestbook which I think is worth putting here for those who haven't looked at or entered the Guestbook!
Hi, I was introduced to this site by Judith Sawyer (nee Montogomery) a friend of my wife - Pauline Oliver. I have been transported back into a wonderful period of time (well it seems so now). I was born in Cross Street. I'm the eldest of 8, 3 brothers - Alan,Bryan & Robert and 4 x sisters - Sylvia, Barbara, Susan and Mary.I went to Princess St. School and also to the Central having failed my 11 plus (second half). This site has brought back some wonderful memories - remember 'sooty Earl' the chimney sweep? Brick or stone fights down back alleys with the gangs from other areas? It was always a big day when the local clubs, Albion, Social etc. organised a day out to the seaside and have the local Brass Band lead all the coaches - there seemed to be hundreds of them - back into South Bank to the Club upon return. Remember the games we always played in the streets? Itchy Bay, Canon, Queenie Queenie who's got the ball?, and there was always a season for marbles, home made kites made from brown paper, bogies pushed with a brush handle. Funkies - a game of follow my leader. To posess a 'booler' was a prize item.I could go on, but I'd better stop, don't want to be a bore. Wonderful site - added to my favourites. Thank you for the memories.
The Smell Of The Coke Ovens!
Just for Sheila! Photo by Jack Wright of Redcar
Remember... that smell along Eston Road past Cleveland House? I must admit I'd forgotten how distinctive it was until I read Sheila(Nesbitt)Gallagher's entry in the Cardboard City Guestbook. Just in case you missed it or to wet your appetite I've copied part of it here:
I am having such a good time reading Slaggy Island and Cardboard City as I lived in both til I married at 19. Later I used to leave my home in Mbro and go back to drive along the road between South Bank and Grangetown with my windows down just so I could get high on the coke ovens!! I needed that fix. When I got home, my husband was always a happy man. He would say Have you been sniffing them bloody coke ovens again!!! we needed no viagra. Happy days!
Redcar historian and one time Grangetown school teacher Vera Robinson had her own views on the coke ovens fragrances. She maintained that it was the sulphur in the smoke that attracted some people but that the same conditions harmed others, causing bronchitis. She was of the first group claiming that she thrived on the fumes.
If you haven't had a look at the Grangetown site yet click on:
Evocative fog horns
Remember... fog and smog? We used to get some right pea soupers, so thick that you could barely see one of the amber anti-fog lights along Middlesbrough Road even if you were stood underneath one! And the coal smoke in the fog had people choking for breath. It was even given a new name - smog! But the thing I remember about it was the fog horns eerily echoing from the river.
Thinking about the fog horns reminds me of a song performed by the Teesside Fettlers called "Ore Boats". It was written by Gordon Steer (ex Cromwell Road) and had the following chorus:
"Ore boats hooting on the river,
Clatter of the rolling mills
Echoing across the valley
To the distant Eston Hills."
Remember... Handcarts? If you wanted to move anything (Yes, even complete house contents!) the cheapest way was to hire a handcart which you could do from a house in South Terrace (round the back, if you please!) between the Hippodrome and Kingy's Billiard Hall.
Remember... washdays? My Grandma always did the washing on a monday. She had a built-in boiler in the kitchen which had to be filled with water (with a bucket) and the fire lit beneath it. Clothes were boiled, fished out with a stick and dropped in a tub and possed! She used to let me have a go but it was never good enough and she'd retrieve the poss-stick (some stick!) to do it right. Then the clothes were put through the mangle (now there's an expression!) which was a huge affair with a geared turned handle which I used to tackle with gusto!
Of course there was more to it. The tub had to be emptied, stuff had to be rinsed and mangled again. I can see my Grandma now... sleeves rolled up, wearing a pinny with her hands on her hips, blowing a loose strand of hair of her face. Washday!
Tuesday was Ironing day. Big hefty smoothing iron - one the "irons" being heated up in the fire and one already in the iron.
Then she would have a day when she black-leaded the range (fireplace) and cleaned the brasses on the mantlepiece and the fender and fireside tools.
Not forgetting scouring the steps and cleaning the windows. Everything done to a strict unwritten timetable including meals on the table.
Another day was bread day. She had a big board which she put on the table and set to work. Dough rising in a huge bowl with a clean cloth over it. She would make loads of "fadgies", buns and loaves. Ah... the smell of fresh bread!!
Years later, the smells from Sands' bakery always reminded me of my Grandma and her bread, and even though Sands' made excellent bread, none could compare with my Grandma's. And wasn't that the same for everyone?
From the same era remember Root Beer and Ginger Beer in "stone" jars? Or lemonade in bottles with stone stoppers which could be used as spinning tops with the addition of coloured chalk on the top? Or milk delivered in churns by horse and cart which was ladled out in gills ito your jugs?
In fact, most things were delivered by horse and cart which was beneficial to the roses thanks to being sent to follow the cart armed with shovel and bucket! The coalman, fishmonger, butcher, greengrocer, lemonade man, ragman and Rington's tea all used horses with a variety of carts.
Remember... John (Snitch) Richards?
I've never really got the hang of the Message Board on this site, much preferring the straight forward Guestbook. However, I stumbled across a long letter on the Message Board and, because I'm sure there are many people like me, I'm putting it on here. Besides, I think it's a good read!
"A few more memories and jottings...
Found this site by accident when wandering round the net and am still recovering from the shock as the waves of disconnected memories wash over! But first: Pauline Holvanhill, do try again. Somehow your mail disappeared!
And two for the achievers list: John Elderfield, twin to Harry who left Eston Grammar around 1963 is now curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Marylin Whiteside [of whom fond memories as an early bopping partner!] is Clerk to The Tynwald Council IoM. Can't remember which street they lived in.
And Geoff Readman, younger brother of Bill who was music teacher at Eston Grammar, is Head of Drama at a the Island School in Hong Kong. He and I learnt to smoke together, aong other things!
My Grandfather, Richard Richards, was maintenance engineer at Dorman Long through the Depression and then the War. Overwork killed him in 1949 but some of the older readers may remeber him. His mother had lived at Clay Lane before the furnaces were built. And his father died in what is now Donetsk in the Ukraine where he'd gone to help build the first Russian blast furnaces and mills to make the tracks for the Trans Siberian Railway. The town then was called Hughesovka after a Welsh entrpreneur called Hughes who had the contract..! Kruschev worked in the mills pre-revolution.
My Dad, Rees Richards, was born and raised in Cromwell Road until 1939 when he married Norah Leng from Ruswarp. He worked for the Council at Cleveland House [the place that killed him in the end, along with most of his colleagues who all succumbed to some sort of heart/lung disease as a result of breathing the fumes from the coke ovens across the road. Slaggy Island wasn't ALL good...]. I remember there being a vast collection of model ships and locomotives scattered around the place. Whatever happened to them?
We lived in Westfield Gardens, Normanby, near Smiths Dock Park which I guess was pretty idyllic at the time. Arthur Richardson [?] used to deliver the milk ina trap, ladling it out of a churn into jugs. We used to meet him at he top of the [unmade] road and ride in the trap as he did the rounds. Leggets Grocers used to deliver too, every THursday as I recall.
We moved from there to Lyndhurst, a grand house opposite the Library in Normanby Road which we shared with my Dad's sister Jean and her daughter Carolyn [Owen]. We went to Teesville School. Names I remeber from there are Mrs Rosser [infants], Miss Brace [class 1], Miss Jackson [Headmistress], Draper twins, Stuart Pattison, Dave Bennet, Tommy Harkness, Billy Sinclair, Gavin Gough, Lindsay Hart, Zelda Jones, Sheila and Kathleen Rosser, David Ollis. News of them or anybody else of that era would be fascinating. We used to build land yachts out of Meccano and sail them in the playground.
I can remember trains running up the track behind the school along Skippers Lane to Eston.
We moved to Ravensworth Avenue. opposite the Cemetry in 1952. It still had nursery gardens behind the house where a Dutchman grew daffodils. When he left we got into terrible trouble for breaking all the glass houses just before they were to be demolished anyway. An insurance scam on his part I think in hindsight.
I watched Teesville East being built and played on the site at great risk, again in hindsight.
I made it to the Grammar along with 13 of my schoolmates and never looked back. That was a great school at least for the few years I was in it and I feel very lucky to have had that opportunty. Teachers I recall are Mr Kilner [head], Miss Pearson [senior mistress], Mr Harker, Bill Readman, Jack Carter [art and now quite famous], Mr Collinson [metalwork], Mr Pickthall, Mrs Allison, Mr Mace, Mr Lees, Miss Thompsett [French]. School dinners were great too.
Played endless tennis at Smiths Dock Park with Freddie Milburn, Dorothy Harrison and Margaret Haymonds, learnt cricket at Normanby Hall from a wily old spinner who's name escapes me but who was groundsman at Ayrsome Park.
My father was greatly relieved when the new offices were opened in Teesville East and spent the happiest years of his life working there. I remember Dickie Dawkins [a rival to Reg Boyle!] shoving bunches of used fivers into his top pocket in the Oak Leaf and asking him to make sure the rates got paid!! Dad was devasted when Teesside was formed and he was forced to work at Middlesbro' Town Hall, long the seat of the deadly enemy in the days of EUDC!
By the way, I think the photo of the councillors on Brian Briggs page includes council officers too as I recognise Gordon Dawson and Stan Johnson who worked there. Paul daniels is missing - he was a rent collector and practiced his tricks on my dad. As a young lad, he entertained at the annual Christmas party in the Coatham Hotel and at my 5th Birthday party! Later he honed his patter running the mobile shop around Teesviulle East - whenever I hear him perform I close my eyes and imagine him talking to a bunch of housewives in the back of his van.
My mother ran the Girls Club in Princess St School during the 50's and 60's and became a JP around 1960. Some of you may have been before you perhaps? No hanging judge she, though, one with great sympathy towards the plight of the young and feckless in those days.
Does anyone remember the Sunday School/Church trips to Redcar, Saltburn and I think once Blackall when the entire TRTB fleet of petrol buses seemed to gather in Normanby Road by the football ground and drive us all off to the sands? Or when the ShowBiz Eleven came to South Bank in 1964/5 and a youthful winger called David Frost broke his wrist? Dizzy Gillespie was in that team - I know, 'cos I blagged a ride down to London with them in their chartered Dakota from Middleton St George [now Teesside Airport!] Or when the Royal Yacht docked at Teesport, stands were erected, and we all went to wave flags and watch the Queen go aboard and sail away?
What about Titty Bottle Park? Still there I think, and still used for the same purpose I hope - to let toddlers take risks! Just above it, off Flatts Lane where the old brickworks were we used to go "tracking" on lethal, usually brakeless bikes with cow's horn handlebars, a form of two-wheel half-pipe skateboarding in up and down the sides of the old clay pits.
65-68 I worked for the Parks Department weeding roundabouts and verges as well as running the Skating Rink next to the Baths [a project mentioned in the trials of Poulson and T Dan Smith as I recall!]
But enough - I left to go to University in 1965 and for America in 1969. Came back, but my parents had retired to Ruswarp and we rarely returned to South Bank. I worked for while at Cleveland Tech [1971-1977] and may have bored some of you in my Liberal Studies or English classes. If you have read Wilt, that was me!
Now in London, missing the NE as ever. Get in touch if my memories have jogged yours or stareted a thred, as yours have jogged mine and got me thinking about 'the happiest days of my life'
John (Snitch) Richards"
The Gas Works
Remember... the Gas Works on Normanby Road? Here is an extract from a letter from Andrew Skillen, son of the late headmaster of St. Peter's school:
I enjoy looking at the old pictures of South Bank. In one of my recent visits to your web pages I came across a mention of the gas works on Normanby Road near where the Kiosk and Majestic Cinema were. I remember this as the South Bank Gas, Light and Coke Company and the manager was Mr JR Cleator who lived next door to us in Beech Grove. He was keen on football and was Chairman of the Northern League in the days when South Bank FC was still in existence.
I remember the Gas Works in the winter of 1947 when I had to drag a set of old pram wheels to the yard and have a sack filled with coke, tied on the frame, and dragged back to our house. I think it was 2/6.
Down At Heel
Remember... the pawn shops? I was under the impression there was only one - Finkies, but my wife told me otherwise.
Normally we are up early to do our daily stint of baby sitting until the kids go to school, leaving us free until the afternoon when we start again. (Who said "That's what grandparents are for!"?)
However, occasionlly we have a free day and the luxury of a cup of tea in bed and it was on one of these mornings that we could hear the wind making a moaning noise and my wife said that it reminded her of the pawn shops(!). It was then that I learnt that there had been three such shops - one on York Street, another on Nelson and, of course, Finkies.
The wind had reminded her of the York Street shop which, she said, was in the alley and on cold, miserable days when she was sent there, the wind would make such a noise. Of such things are memories triggered!
She had to stay off school on a Monday to "pop" her father's suit and/or shoes and hated having to go there. The woman in the shop would look at the shoes and ask how much she wanted.
"Half-a-crown" she would say, only for the woman to say that the heels were going down and give her "two bob"!
Friday or Saturday she'd be back to get them out so her father could look respectable in the pub. Such was the way of life in those days and Andy Capp had many brothers.
The Ellis Cup Winners
|South Bank Football Club won The Ellis Cup in 1946
A proud day for South Bank.
Back Row l-r: Lenny Robertson, Tommy Mullroy, Tommy Bunn, Dick Morris, "Bish" Bishop, Frank Fox, Fred Prest (Captain), Charlie Bugg.
Front Row l-r: Jack Robertson, Pat Curtis, Evan Jones, Jim Alexander, Roy Oliver, Gus Harrington, Mr.Curtis (Manager).
The mascot was Alan Prest, son of the captain. He'll be about sixty now - anyone know of his where-abouts?
|Jack Sowerby chats up a sheep in Heartbeat country
Remember... winkle pickers shoes?
The first time I saw winkle pickers was on Top Of The Pops on the telly and a young Jimmy Saville was wearing them! The fashion immediately took off, taking over from the old crepe sole "brothel creepers" and they were surprisingly comfortable. In the photo, Jack's shoes illustrate the style for those not old enough to remember them.
Remember... this story in the Gazette? Tommy Holvanhill reminded me...
In the early sixties a driver working for Joe's Taxis picked up a fare who asked to be taken to Cargo Fleet Wharf to rejoin his ship. After a short journey the cab swung round on the jetty and stopped alongside the river. Unfortunately the seaman got out of the taxi on the opposite side to that intended by the driver and stepped straight off the side of the jetty, dropping into the river with a huge splash!
The driver had to dive in and help his fare out of the water!!
Remember... King Georges Terrace? Joe Mason lived there and he remembers more in an e-mail:
"I was born in 1937 @ 8 King Georges Tce..The Burns were @ No 6 and Woodmansys @ No 10.
Donny Foreman was my cousin. He lived in Surrey St, also Ernie Bullock who I think was Station Master @ Middlesbrough for a while.
I attended Victoria St and I am 4th from left front row in the "1950 2a" photo.
Alec Hart who lived in Surrey St was a friend. and when his mum baked we all hung around the back door and she always gave us a warm bun, it was always great. There was Lol Burns, Gerald Moore, Alan Coaker, Aleck and Myself.
Was reading about gasworks and handcarts, I remember we used to go to Greens Woodyard near the Station Hotel. You could buy sticks there for the fire and also hire handcarts.
In the winter time we used to hire a handcart and go to the gasworks early, queue up for a ticket, and if I remember correctly we were allowed 2 bags of coke each. We then took the coke home, and shared it out, then took handcart back to collect our deposit.
Also just past Greens was the claypit and the brickworks was still operating, as kids we used to go to the brickworks and I learnt at an early age how to load and balance a one-wheeled brickbarrow, which for a young kid was no mean feat, but the reward was they would allow us to collect the breezecoke from newly opened kilns, which we would load onto our home-made bogies then race home, often the bogies would be ablaze as the coke was still glowing! As kids we had no fears at all, and no one ever said...
"Dont do that!"
I also remember there was a Dolls Hospital on Station Rd, near the Fish Shop... Rapers Grocery shop on one corner and Dolls Hospital on other.
The mention of the Pox brought back happy memories we used to go along the Eston railway line till we reached the allotments then crossed a ditch and into our secret playground.
Another thing, when I attended the Central, we used to go to the old gasworks and often there was a railway truck parked on the gantry... and yes, you guessed it.
We used to take the brake off, remove chock and push it to edge of the slope to the gasworks. The truck would roll down the slope on its own as we ran like the clappers while listening for it to crash into the buffers... little devils, eh?!
If I remember other stuff I will send it on.
Thanks for stirring happy memories.
More power to your elbow.
The Catamaran of South Bank
Remember... them trying to get a boat out of the old Boys Club at The Branch and having to demolish the building to do it?
There is a mention of this in the Boys Clubs page but now you can get things from the horses mouth in this e-mail I got from my old friend Pete Jezard, Jazz man extraordinaire! We became friends in the Hop and Grape pub in Redcar where Pete played trombone sang in his own highly individual way.
"Is that the same Dick Fawcett from the Tuesday jazz sessions at the Redcar Hop and Grape??
On South Bank Entertainers I was talking to Lee Vasey, another South Bank entertainer recently, he teaches music in Suffolk and still runs a band.
The Jezard is still busy - see enclosed (programme) and a happy new year."
The programme was for "Pete Jezard with the Blackwater Traditional Jazz Band in Sayers Jazz Club in the Isis Cellar Bar, High Street, Witham."
Surely it should be "Backwater Blues"! Sorry Pete!
He followed up with another email:
Back in the 1970s I bought the old scout hut (Boys Club) in Middlesbrough Road East (The Branch) and proceeded to build and subsequently launch a big catamaran, (as you do).
The problem was how to get the two 50 foot hulls from South Bank to the creek (now filled in)
at Cargo Fleet.
Ernie was a welder who had a little workshop opposite Cliff Herlinshaw's scrap yard in Station Road. That same Ernie is/was? an engineering genius with a heart of gold, one of the few, dead straight nature's gentlemen, that any man would be proud to call friend.
It was about Tuesday when I called round to his workshop and explained the problem.
Ernie, sort of smiled in the way of a craftsman just itching to be involved in the project.
Sunday of that same week, a freshly fabricated, painted trailer precisely designed to fit the boat and capable of carrying many tons was delivered.
I sailed the catamaran round to Larne in Ulster, from where rumour suggests that it went to America. I now live on a boat just off Mersea Island Essex. (Backwater? Dick.)
But does anyone know Ernie or how he is and, if he still is, where he is??
A Lick Of Paint
Remember... decorating in the old days? Just before Christmas my wife got me to decorate our staircase and hall (a task I'd been putting off almost six years) by the simple ruse of pulling off a large piece of wallpaper and leaving it hanging. After putting up with it for a while I did the job and it brought back to mind the days of distemper and stipple. The stippling was usually done with a rag but some people used half a potato and stencilled a pattern onto the distempered walls!
Remember... Cliffy's scrap yard? I was pleased to see him sign in the Guestbook and I replied but he stirred a couple of memory cells. He kept me on the road for years with tyres and bits and pieces but when I worked as a crane driver at Dorman's I bought a leather seat out of a Jag for cherry bobs from him and installed it in my cab. Sheer luxury!
Remember... Kenny Greenup and his "hoss" and cart? I knew Kenny well, always seeing him on his rounds and, occasionally, in "The Sporty". I was reminded of him by his son who signed in the Guestbook and I take a little of what he wrote to put here.
"I lived at 105 Cromwell Road with my parents Dot and Ken Greenup and my sister Anna. Ken was the local fruit and veg man travelling the town on his horse and cart with his faithfull dog Patch. After many years on the streets with the horse and cart he bought a Ford truck with curtain sides. After several years we bought a shop on Middlesbrough Road opposite St Peters church (Attewells). When the bulldozers started moving in we took over Millers on Uverdale Road. Mike Greenup."
Mike has a business on the Skippers Lane Industrial Estate and can see Cromwell Road from his office so he knows where his roots are!
Meanwhile Ken is still going strong in his seventies and re-married a couple of years ago. As he said, he was always fond of wedding cake!
|World Champion Jackie Smith leading in fashion
Remember... the mini skirt? The best fashion to ever excercise men's eyes! The fashion co-incided with Jackie's rise to fame as THE female member of the famous Red Devils Sky Diving team in 1971 and a World Champion to boot. Easy on the eye, she was also a target for photographers - naturally!
|Marion Wyke (nee Smith) and her mangle
Remember... mangles? Marion does 'cos she's got one! Not one of those great big ones that accomodated a wooden tub and big poss-stick, her's is a more modern one that had a metal tub with a fancy fluted design down the sides and a light weight poss-stick. And not that Marion ever used one but she likes her's as a garden decoration!!! I was going to say it takes all sorts but I'm thinking of John Kelly's dog! (If you're puzzled by the last bit look at 50 More Slaggy Islanders!)
A Whole Load Of Stuff
Remember... Ged Fleming? Well he remembers loads of stuff! Here's part of an e-mail he sent:
"Next time you see Jack Sowerby can you remind him of the time when it was all rock music and he asked me to go with him to see Louis Armstrong at Newcastle (not my scene) but what a brilliant night we had. 1961, and all for 75p plus petrol.
Some people I remember but do not seem to be on the site are - Tosha Stokes; Big Joe who would walk round the Market knitting all day; Crutchy who everyone remembers for his penny-a-ride.
I also remeber Rev WHITAKER the Baptist minister who entertained us left footers every Saturday morning with cartoons in the hall.
Then there was little Billy Russell and his little brother who were drowned in a clay pit at the end of Station Rd alongside the bridge.
Looking back I also recall being dragged out of bed maybe about 11.30 pm watch the Majestic on fire, this would be 1951. It was rebuilt and opened to commemorate the Coronation and both sides at the front had a plaque with 1953 on them. A raging argument is still simmering as to where the Majestic was. If a decent film was showing I remember waiting in a queue that
stretched onto waste ground that Dickie Dye built the Oak Leaf on. The remnants of the Majestic are still visible from Simpson Close and is now a garage.
I lived in South Bank from 1944 till 1966 and I have very happy memories of growing up in a small community where everyone looked after one another.
I was fortunate to know a fireman Mr. Gent who took us on a V.I.P. tour of the fire station and let us slide down the pole.I could write a book on the hilarious situations we found ourselves in over the years. Other characters were Fatty Phelps and Kathy Cotton who both kept a shop in Queen Street around the corner from the Hippodrome - speaking of which was my second home. If the weather was bad for 10d you could go first house at 5.30 and with a bit of
luck and cunning stay in till 9.0pm. The method was to arrange for your mates to come second house, first house would be issued with red tickets and second house blue tickets so you swapped with your mate when old Mr Moffat or Jack Warner came to inspect the tickets. Unfortunately both of them knew me so I was bundled down the stairs and thrown out in the rain. Good job I only lived round the corner.
I have loads more stories to tell if you would
like me to submit them. Keep up the good work it's a great site. Cheers Ged."
Remember...Diptheria? Jack Sowerby was reminded of it when I mentioned going for a flu jab. During the war there was a bit of an epidemic and when Jack caught it he was taken to the Isolation Hospital on Flats Lane. However he wasn't that islolated as Brian McTurk, Brian Green and Ray Simms were in at the same time and spent six and a half weeks fighting the disease. They were all lucky - they survived but plenty didn't.
Remember when having a flutter on the horses was against the law? Inveterate gamblers always managed to find a "bookie's runner" to place their bet - the runner passing the bet on to a bookmaker. The problem then was to find out which horse had won as there was no immediate publicity but the Albion Club had a ticker-tape machine on the premises which not only was the first in the area but for a long time it was the only one.
In those days it was illegal to pass on the information but it was often whispered.
However, one member was caught giving out the winners and was barred - an action which annoyed him somewhat. He went home and returned with some lengths of wood, hammer and nails and proceeded to nail up the entrance to the club.
"If I can't go in" he said, "they aren't coming out!"
Harry "Buster" Bailes told me that tale but I'm not sure of the outcome!