Map of the Month 001: Housewife Lane Improvement Order Scheme 1925

December 1, 2017 3 comments

In the first of our regular new series we’re opening up the map chest and transporting you back in time with a look at some of our cartographical curios. This month we examine one of the key areas in Stockton for urban redevelopment and public health improvements.

The area of Cherry Lane, Housewife Lane and Thistle Green, together with various yards is believed to be one of the oldest settlement areas in Stockton, at least 18th century in origin if not earlier.

Entire area was criticised in the Ranger Report of 1850 (or, to give it its full title: Report to the General Board of Health on a preliminary inquiry into the sewerage, drainage, and supply of water, and the sanitary condition of the inhabitants of the town and borough of Stockton-on-Tees in the County of Durham).  Sanitation was abysmal and occasionally non-existent. As a result of the report great improvements were made but by the 1920s the area had once again deteriorated:

Thistle Green itself was a tumbledown, ill maintained cobbled area graced by a dilapidated, cast iron Victorian urinal.



As a result of an inquiry in the early 1920s it became clear that this area had to be demolished. Housewife Lane Improvement Order was obtained and the area was demolished in 1927.

Waterloo Mills was previously The Sugar House, a refinery built in 1780 – “the only one between the Tyne and the Humber” and was later used as a warehouse and granary. The Building was demolished in 1929

The Baltic Tavern was once known as the Blue Anchor Tavern , the name change is thought to reflect huge amounts of trade which was conducted with the Baltic States at the time. It was demolished in 1969.




Burton House was at one time the home of the Tees Conservancy Commissioners and Tees Navigation Co.

The name of the Three Tuns Inn reflects the fact that it had been passed by customs to sell wine in Tuns. During the months of October and November Irish drovers brought hundreds of ducks and geese to Thistle Green. Local people used to bring out buckets and tin baths full of water for the birds to drink from. The drovers then housed the birds in the yard of the inn until they were sold to local butchers to fatten up for Chirstmas. The inn was closed in 1977 and reopened that year as the Riverside.


Until 1875 livestock was sold in the high street. The public health act of 1875 meant that the Cattle Market had to be moved to the Square (where the library now stands!). It was held every Wednesday until it was closed in 1959.


There are 3 comments. Add yours.

  1. Susan

    During the 1970s, I went to Holy Trinity School where the headmaster, Mr Brown, used to tell us about when he went to the old Trinity School in the town. I would guess that must have been in the 1920s when he started school. He told us his family lived in Church Road. On his way to and from school, he was supposed to stick to the main road and go along by the parish church, but he used to cut through the lanes instead, because it was a bit of a dare and a bit scary as a kid. To put it in context, he was telling us these stories at a time when the Castlegate Centre had just opened and the redevelopment of the Green Dragon Yard was just starting. Until I saw this map, I didn’t really understand how he could have ‘cut through’ the lanes, but now I can see routes through.

  2. Jonathan May

    Very interesting map, thanks for sharing it.
    The “Book of Reference”, listing all the properties, would be very interesting too, does it still exist?

    • Matthew, Stockton Reference Library

      Thanks for your comment – Unfortunately the Book of Reference is now lost. The Cleveland and Teesside Local History Society produced a guide to key maps of the area and said “strangely enough the Schedule of Properties to which the numbering on this map refers is not now in being”. A bit of a mystery!

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