35 – 37 High Street, Stockton
Since the late 1800s, the premises at 35-37 High Street have housed a drapers and department store, with a brief spell as a house furnishers, health and beauty store, and even for a short time, as a Job Centre…
William Weldon ran a draper’s business, ‘William Weldon & Co.’ from 32 & 33 High Street Stockton until around 1862, when the business changed its name to ‘Wm. Weldon, Carter and Co.’, after William’s nephews, William Weldon Carter and Thomas Vincent Carter, became business partners. William Weldon withdrew from the partnership in 1870 – Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between the undersigned, William Weldon, William Weldon Carter, and Thomas Vincent Carter, carrying on business as Drapers, at Stockton, in the county of Durham, under the style or firm of Weldon, Carter and Co., is this day dissolved by mutual consent … (Source: The London Gazette, 1 April 1870).
The firm became known as ‘Carter and Co’ (although they also appear to have traded as Carter Bros., for a short time). In 1876 ‘Carter and Co’ took over 35-37 High Street, which had previously been a number of smaller businesses, and opened a new purpose built emporium selling all manner of household and clothing supplies. The original shop had a double window frontage, with large central doors. In 1879 the two brothers, William and Thomas, dissolved their partnership and Thomas took control of the business, ‘Carter & Co’. It looks as if the dissolution of the brothers’ partnership was not amicable: two notices in the Northern Evening Mail, Hartlepool, on 22 July 1881 read – Messrs Carter & Company, Drapers etc, Stockton-on-Tees, Beg to inform their Customers and the Public that they have no connection with the Carter from Sunderland who is opening Sutton’s old shop at West Hartlepool. Note this – William Weldon Carter wishes the public in general to know that he has NO CONNECTION whatever with Carters’ of Stockton nor has he any desire to be connected with them in any way whatever…
Unfortunately not long after opening his Hartlepool business, William Weldon Carter was declared bankrupt in December 1882. ‘Carter & Co.’ continued to trade in Stockton for many years.
Advertisement, circa 1893. (Source: Grace’s Guide To British Industrial History).
Thomas Vincent Carter died in 1896. According to his obituary in the North Eastern Daily Gazette, … he was of quiet, reserved habits … the intelligence of his death was received in the town with great regret. A few years later, in 1898, ‘Hill and Co.’ merged with ‘Carter and Co.’, and started trading as ‘D. Hill, Carter and Co.’, becoming one of the largest clothing and furnishing groups in the region. Dennis Hill’s Drapery was established in North Shields in 1825 and had expanded into upholstery and carpeting. The business slowly grew into a large department shop in North Shields. They were also known for selling fisherman’s and seaman’s clothing and boots.
In 1939 ‘D Hill, Carter & Co.’ appear to have been taken over by ‘Blacketts & Son Ltd’. Blackett’s was set up in 1826 by William Blackett, a draper, in Sunderland. In 1970 ‘Blacketts & Sons Ltd.’ closed the High Street store and it was taken over by ‘Grantham’s’ carpets and furniture. Notice the Blackett’s sign still attached to the building. Image source: Picture Stockton Archive
‘Waring & Gillow’ took the store over circa 1979. Eventually they became part of the Allied Maples Group, which included Allied Carpets. The business was dissolved. In 2015, the Enterprise Arcade was established in the premises. The Enterprise Arcade is a Borough Council project to provide space for fledgling businesses. Image source: Alec Moody, March 2016.
Stories from the High Street participant: Alec Moody. The ‘Stories…’ project is part of the Council’s wider “Grants for Heritage Buildings’ programme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Council, to help promote awareness and understanding of the town’s heritage. Visit www.stockton.gov.uk/grantsforheritagebuildings for further information on the project.