Chapter 9


Back Home


On returning back to Middlesborough we were very unsettled and presented ourselves  with a difficult decision, pass a driving test, buy a car and move back to Wheatley Hill and help settle Mother down and get Violet back closer to her Mother, or try and buy a house on Teesside and live as we were. We decided to go for the former so I booked in at the East Yorkshire School of Motoring for driving lessons and put in for a driving test immediately. Luckily I passed the test after just six lessons.

We had a chat with my Mother and after a lot of deliberation we decided to move back home to Wheatley Hill and live with her, after all she was on her own and couldn’t settle in her new house in Henderson Ave and we were unsettled.Money was very tight and we struggled to make ends meet, everyone was in the same predicament there was a government pay freeze.

After moving back home I re-joined Houghton Rugby Club and soon established myself in the first team and later became Captain 


            We had paid off our furniture bill and were now looking for a car; I went to W.G. Lintons at Thornley one Saturday morning and saw a Red Mini with black roof, a real gem at £ 315 and only eighteen months old. Reg. number 4210 UP

I had to secure the car quickly and rushed home to see Violet she suggested we put a deposit down, which we did; we borrowed some of the money from Evelyn until the end of the month and took the car on Hire Purchase.

I got the car on a Friday night and it was in the February with ice on the roads and I very carefully drove it over to Ludworth to show it to Violet.

We were now mobile and travelling was no longer a problem. I was still working at Dorman Long but with the pay freeze in operation I began to look elsewhere for a change of job to try and get more money.

I got an interview with the Power Gas Corporation in Stockton and was offered £5 a week pay rise to work for them which I accepted, they paid wages directly into a Bank Account and therefore I had no option but to open my first Bank Account and chose Lloyds for no particular reason other than the name. My Boss at Dorman Long was very unhappy to lose me to another company but he didn’t have to worry for long. The Section Leader Draughtsman who was there when I left became unsettled and also decided to leave. That left a vacancy. I was very surprised to receive a phone call from Dorman Longs Senior Engineer just 5 months after leaving them to be told that they were recruiting extra staff and that I was being offered the vacant job of Section Leader Draughtsman and was to be given a pay increase of a further £5 per week which I accepted, after all the wage freeze was still on and I’d managed to raise my wages by £10 pounds a week which was an awful lot of money in those days.

On the Friday I was to leave Power Gas I travelled down to Hornsea near Hull in the mini to stay overnight and bring Violets Mother, Evelyn and her daughter Margaret back home, I’d taken them down there the previous week to spend a holiday in a friends caravan. When I arrived back home on the Saturday lunchtime I went straight down to Houghton to take part in pre-season training.

We lived with my mother for about a year and she seemed to settle down and we were now back home and much happier. We told Mother that we now needed to find a place of our own

We moved to Ludworth and rented a small detached house called Roseville owned by a woman called Rosie Mayor, buying a house wasn’t yet a priority. Violet was expecting our second baby and at about 10 o’clock on the night of the 3rd of Nov. Violet went into Labour. I rushed along to the telephone box at the end of the street to phone for an ambulance but the phone had been vandalised. I managed to get Jack Briggs a local shopkeeper to make the phone call. The ambulance arrived just in time and our Paul was born in the early hours on November 4th 1966 we were delighted and in particular our Ian who used to sit and nurse him.

We put our names on the Council housing list at Wheatley Hill and in those days you took what was given to you and could wait for anything up to three years.

























We lived in Roseville for two years Ian started school in 1967 and we were very happy, Violet’s Mother and Father moved into a Bungalow and lived just 50 yards away up the street. We once had a wheel stolen off our car when it was parked outside Roseville and in order to get to work I had to use the spare with only three nuts on each wheel. I went to Lintons garage and bought 3 nuts. I was offered a full set of new wheels from a friend of the family, which I great fully accepted.

            We were offered a Council house in 90 Wordsworth Ave, Wheatley Hill. It was in a dirty condition the old man Jos.Burdon who previously lived there on his own wasn’t very clean and it took an awful amount of work to sort it out, we were helped by Bob & Mary Morgan. Old Jos. had kept pigeons and the outside window cills were still their roosting place, the ground floor rooms were infested with Cockroaches and it took a lot of work to get rid of them. The windows and doors were still the original and had never been painted inside and with a fresh coat of paint looked smart. Our next door neighbours were lovely people and we lived there until early1972 and saw the passing away of Mr Evans one of our neighbours who thought the world of our Paul.


1968 saw the formation of the British Steel Corporation and the burdening of the steel companies with all manner of created departments. The education and training dept. for instance grew from a few to an “Empire.” we were over- run with administrative assistants.



1969 was the year in which I had an accident playing rugby and had a slipped disk in my lower back. It was very painful and that was the end of my sporting activities. I went to Sedgefield Hospital and was put into a plaster cast from my arm pits to the bottom of my spine. Our Paul was only about 2 years old and wasn’t very happy about it. He had always sat on my knee and cuddled into me and gone to sleep but now this awful hard plaster was no longer very comfortable. The plaster cast was with me for 6 weeks and when it was removed I wasn’t any better. I went back to hospital and the Surgeon decided that an operation would be needed and made arrangements to operate in 3 months time if there was no improvement. I was in such agony and was so desperate to find relief that I took advice from one of my work colleagues and went to see an Osteopath called Rex Shaw who lived in Middlesbrough. After four hands on Manipulation sessions I felt greatly relieved and made great progress, I only felt slight twinges but I was still under the Surgeon at the Hospital and when I received a letter from the Hospital to go in for the operation I did so without hesitation because I had been told by others that the relief that I now had would be short term only. I kissed Violet goodbye and went in for the operation. I was prepared by the nurses the day before the intended surgery and waited the arrival of the Surgeon to examine me before next days intended operation. He did a physical examination to which I responded to very well and he said I’m going to cancel the operation because there has been a great improvement. I lay quietly on the bed and didn’t dare tell him that I’d been to see an Osteopath after all It was generally known that Doctors didn’t recognise their work. I now know that Hospitals these days have quite large Physiotherapy Units who carry out hands on manipulation similar to what Rex Shaw had done for me 38 years ago. Complimentary Medical Practice is now common place. I was discharged and much to everyone’s surprise especially Violet I came home and knocked on the window to draw her attention, she let me in and I told her the story. I still have occasional problems with my back, but nothing like as bad as it was in those days.


I was promoted at work and now worked in the Design Development office and was effectively joint second in charge of the Architectural Department and felt secure in my job and loved going to work Violet had just started to work at the local factory where they made Adidas shirts. The money she earned made a big difference.

It was about this time that I’d stopped playing rugby and instead took up sea fishing.

My first fishing rod and reel was bought out of a catalogue and cost about £15. I became absolutely engrossed in fishing and caught lots of codling off the piers and beaches and spent hours with my friends Bill Jones, Tommy Hodgson and his younger brother Jeff. I never dreamt that in the near future Jeff would take his own life at only 20 years of age. It was an awful tragedy and left everybody stunned.