For a Darlington lad like me, Middlesbrough – or Middles-rough – was well-and-truly in bandit country over the state line a few miles east of Stockton-On-Tees. Colloquially known as The Boro (pron:burra), the threat of being sent there often put the fear of God into me. I still chuckle at the memory of my brother and I arguing during school holidays, and my mum shutting us both up in rigid fear with the cry of, ‘behave yourselves or I’ll leave you both in Middlesbrough.’ What happy halcyon days of growing up in the north…
Joking aside, though, The Boro was once a very prosperous and important gateway to the world. Sitting close to the mouth of the mighty River Tees, its port once exported colossal volumes of coal, iron, steel and other engineering-led products from once mighty companies such as Dorman – Long and Whessoe Engineering. The above location of Linthorpe Road is one of the major through arteries of the town, although today its part pedestrianised, part commercial and part residential. In fact, a great deal of it is almost unrecognisable owing to major redevelopment. Back then, it seemed to be of endless length and constantly buzzing with shoppers, pedestrians and countless buses.
So, tell us about the cars… and buses
What is quite rare for the above picture, which was taken from the top floor of a shop in Corporation Street, is how BLARG-light the vehicle types are. Only a solitary Mini and the two buses – a Bristol RE of the United fleet and the Cleveland Transit Daimler Fleetline decker – offer us a flavour of British Leyland’s finest. Viewers of taste will appreciate the Darlington-registered (Mill Garages no doubt) Volkswagen Passat, Bedford HA van, Ford Escort Mk2 and Mk3, Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 taxi and a Saab 99 Combi coupe that’s overrun the stop line. However, what has caught my eye is the customised Opel Manta A creeping up behind the taxi – lovely!
If I was teleported back in time, I would certainly enjoy a browse around the audio shop next door to Ron Goodman furnishings. Just look at the glorious RSC branding – a veritable doyen of decks they were. Cammy Rea’s cafe and ice cream parlour can be seen to the extreme right of the picture. Note the name? Well, you would be right as Camillo Rea, an Italian immigrant, had seven sons – one of whom was called Chris and you know the rest.
One of his hit recordings Stainsby Girls was written about his wife Joan, who attended the local Stainsby Secondary Modern school when she was a girl. If you enjoyed this, let us know in the comments and, if you have any pictures you’d like featuring, drop me a line via the link below.