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No flush toilet or hot water taps for Winnie and family.

Byline: Lee Maddison

WINNIE Cliff had many vivid memories of growing up in Stockton in the early part of the 20th century.

Born in 1912, Winifred (nee Hudson) was raised in a terraced house in Norfolk Street, Oxbridge, Stockton, with her three younger sisters and her brother. Her father was a boilersmith at the Riley Brothers fabrication works, near Light Pipe Hall Road.

"Our toilet was an earth closet in the back yard. I never saw a flush toilet until I was in my teens," the 93-year-old recalled back in 2005.

"The floors of the rooms in our house were covered with square carpets and pieces of linoleum.

"In the kitchen there was the range, which was cleaned by brushing it with a liquid black lead. One side of the range was used to heat the contents of a water tank, useful for heating the water for a tin bath on Friday bath nights, no hot water tap!" Monday meant washday, for which copious amount of boiling water were supplied from an in-built copper in the back kitchen. Washday also meant hard work, with Winnie's mother pounding the clothes in the tub before grinding them through a huge mangle with wooden rollers. The wash was then hung out to dry in the back arch.

Horses were much in evidence about the town, thanks to the rag and bone man and the milkman.

They could also be seen when the coalman and his horse and cart came clattering down the back lanes.

The era of the horse was already passing, however. Electric trams - gleaming, amazing new technology - glided back and forth between Norton and Middlesbrough.

The views afforded by the River Tees, were also very different.

"The waterside view from Victoria Bridge didn't have the idyllic aspect of today," said Winnie. "It was a lot dirtier and smellier at low tide when the mud banks were exposed.

"The clattering of the riveters' tools and hammers could be heard from the slipway of Craig Taylor's yard on the Thornaby river bank where ships were under construction whilst the hum of giant cranes on the quayside on the Stockton shore could be heard as ships were loaded and unloaded. And there was a rowing boat, operating from the end of Finkle Street, which ferried workers across the Tees to Thornaby for 1d."

Read about Winnie's adult years in tomorrow's Remember When.


Old Stockton High Street, when various modes of transport were in use

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Apr 27, 2016
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