Stockton-on-Tees is a town in the North-east of England straddling the river Tees, and just a few miles west of the slightly more famous town of Middlesbrough.
There is a story which says that the Beatles were playing in Stockton when they heard of the death of JFK. Upon being told by one of the back stage crew, John Lennon apparently said something to the effect of 'Well, that's what happens when you're famous.'
Conjecture aside, Stockton itself is famous for four things:
- It apparently has the widest high street in the UK
- Matches were invented here (check the library on Church Street)
- Comedian Will Hay was born there
- Perhaps its best claim to fame, it was the site of the first railway line, which ran to Darlington.
In all fairness though, the fun stops there.
In spite of its railway history, there still is no place in the whole town where one can book a train ticket. Neither Stockton nor Thornaby station have ticket offices and the travel shops will tell you to go to Middlesbrough. Also, try buying a CD that doesn't feature in the top 40 or wasn't released over 20 years ago.
If you're looking for pubs, this is where Stockton comes into force. They just can't move enough alcohol over bar tops. Everything from the old man's watering hole to the stylish wine bar is open for your boozing pleasure. It has a few decent clubs too, or there's the Teeside leisure park out along the A66, accessible by foot, bus, car, taxi, etc, which is home to the Millennium nightclub, Hollywood Bowl, a big cinema, Burger King, Pizza Hut and so on.
Teeside Retail Park, right next door, offers more for the DIY, computing or carpeting enthusiast. There is also a huge branch of Morrisons there, a northern competitor to the likes of Asda or Tesco supermarkets.
Students of Durham University will know of Stockton as it is the site of the only Durham college not to be situated in Durham county. University of Durham, Stockton Campus (UDSC) runs a variety of courses from European Studies to Anthropology, Environmental Sciences and Psychology.
The students' relationship with the locals is a strange one. Stocktonites don't seem to like having a bunch of rowdy young men and women drinking until all hours, some of them holding loud house parties in the middle of isolated residential areas, and then claiming intellectual superiority. However, their own teenagers often cause just as much disruption, and it is commonly overlooked that the very act of spending all that loan money on alcohol does wonders for local businesses.
For a more reactionary view of Stockton, take a look at the entry for Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. The two towns are not entirely dissimilar and several of the comments there would hold true for this entry also.
If you should find yourself in Stockton wondering what to do for a good time, this Researcher suggests either lowering your standards or going somewhere else, but the tourist information centre (located in a back alley around the corner from the Green Dragon pub) will inform you otherwise.