The bridge was opened on 20th June 1887 by Alderman Joseph Richardson, named the Victoria Bridge after the Queen as that day was the 50th anniversary of her reign.
The other plaque records that the Stockton Bridge Act was passed on the 18th July 1881 and the bridge was a joint effort between the Stockton Corporation and the South Stockton Local Board
Despite the huge amount of local industry it was actually built by Whitaker Brothers of Leeds, something reflected in the lamps that were cast by John Butler at the Stanningley Ironworks near Leeds.
Another interesting observation is that parts of the bridge still carry damage from the Second World War bombing of Stockton.
I never personally got around to asking for a look in their basement and ‘Past Times’ has since closed making that currently impossible.
Fortunately for us all, professional photographer Andrew Davies got these excellent shots and has kindly given me permission to share them here.
There was a report in the Gazette in 2007, but they never gained access to get any photos, as the report point out this original shelter was for 367 people and would have covered the basements of numerous shops, although after the war it seems logical that they would have been seperated again so the remaining area is not the full size.
On close inspection this sign mentions ‘Defence Regulation 23a’ this appears to tie in directly with an entry from Hansard from 23rd November 1939 which mentions that regulation being about the provision of air-raid shelters.
A recently published book ‘Defence of the UK – Middlebrough’ suggests the rear building was a clothing factory owned by Dorman Stewart the rainwear makers. The book goes on to list numerous other converted basements used as shelters even larger than this one.
The ‘New Emporium’ and ‘Green Market’ each had room for 700, while the shelter under J. Newhouses shop another 400.
Images supplied courtesy of North East wedding photographer Andrew Davies , www.andrew-davies.com
The radar station was constructed in 1941 as part of the Coastal Defence/Chain Home Low early warning system. It was designated site M47 and the original radar was mounted on top of the semi-circular transmitter and receiving hut as shown in the illustration.
The site was later upgraded to be part of the Chain Home Extra Low system and was redesignated K47, with a new Transmitter and Receiving block.
There are two smaller buildings, one of which housed a generator and the other a fuel store.
At the other end of the field near the old railway, the bases of several accommodation blocks can be see, but none of the structure remains.
This memorial is considerably more elaborate than most in the area.
The panel is carved by Sir William Reynold-Stephens
The memorial was unveiled by Major General Sir Percy Wilkinson on 14th November 1920, it was comissioned by Mr and Mrs Littleboy parents of Wilfred E Littleboy, who was killed at Ypres.
This metal pin is another part of the extensive network on anti-landing measures around Greatham Creek.
It was the mounting point for a Spigot Mortar or Blacker Bombard which would have been able to fire a 20lb anti-tank explosive approximately 100 yards, presumably at any invading force on the nearby bridge.
The original bridge which has since been replaced, was itself mined to allow its total destruction
After a little more research and some input from readers i’m now confident these are the remains of a QF decoy site called Greenabella. These sites lit controlled fires during air raids to appear as targets struck by bombs. This location was a civil decoy for Middlesbrough.
I think the larger structure with the holes for pipes and a chimney is likely to be the generator building, with the smaller structure the shelter.
Other decoy sites in the area also have unusual structures.
Theres an interesting comment on the Picture Stockton website by Martin Jones who states :-
My Grandfather Oswald Bell used to help man the pillbox as part of the 19th Stockton Battalion Home Guard, they kept their ammo in one of the Vinegar Brewery room