A Conversation for Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland, UK


Post 1

Researcher 194895

Having read the article on Stockton-on-Tees, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A700895) I was left bemused, by the lack of research which, as with all BBC research projects was utter nonsense.
One would think that he researcher could even bother to spell Teesside correctly, instead used Teeside throught the article.

>"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"

Tickets can be bought on the trains, or can be bought over the phone / internet. Also, Thornaby station is in he process of being rebuilt, which will not only include a Booking Office, but toilets, food outlet, CCTV and customer information displays.

>"Also, try buying a CD that doesn't feature in the top 40 or wasn't released over 20 years ago"

Again, this is utter nonsense, and the researcher must have been desperate to downgrade Stockton, and this was he best he could do!

>"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"

Being a student myself, we are not rowdy til the early hours and we get onvery well with the locals. I have never come across a loud house party in residential areas, nor do we go about thinking we're superior to them. Whilst we're hear, we want to be part of the local culture, and get along with our neighbours!

>"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"

The researcher must have been blind, as Stockton has plenty to do for a good time...but there again, the researcher WAS trying to downgrade us, so wouldnt have mentioned the true facts! The standards in Stockton, are higher than other places, and the locals take pride in living here.
The Tourist Information Centre is located within the Green Dragon Yard, and is just off the High Street, and clearly signposted. The centre contains a lot of history, and Im sure iof the researcher had visited, then they would have had a lot more to write about, the PROs of Stockton.


Post 2


Nothing like good clean debate to keep democracy oiled and running! smiley - biggrin

Okay, here goes:

1) Rather an unfair slant on BBC research projects there, but we'll skip over that one.

2) The advantage of a ticket office is that you can book tickets in advance, which allows one to avoid the risk of finding no seats on a rush-hour train to, say, Birmingham.
I do not think one should be forced to give financial details over the phone or internet in order to buy train tickets. What's wrong with employing a human being and giving people the safer option?

Glad to hear about the rebuilding.

3) I was admittedly over-cynical in much of this article and the CDs is an example of such. I don't beleive it's a total exaggeration though: "Sound It Out" and "Music Box" closed while I was living in Stockton, leaving only Woolies and Smiths for buying CDs. They only sell chart music and a few cheap oldies.

4) Certainly not ALL students are rowdy 'til the early hours, and I gather the current influx of students is of a different caliber than it was in my day. In any case, there are always a few who spoil it for the others.
In spite of good will to co-operate represented on both sides, tensions always arise.

5) The final comment you quoted was made with the disclaimer "IF you are wondering what to do for a good time". My assumption was that some people *would* be happy with what is readily available.

6) I wouldn't say the Tourist Information Centre is all THAT well sign-posted. A person wandering into Green Dragon yard will see the pub and a few shop fronts, the TIC being round a bend in the alleyway.
I thought an explanation could be helpful there.

7) Apologies on the spelling mistake. You got me there.


Post 3

Researcher 200266

What a load of rubbish. If you're going to write a review of a place with the sole intention of disparaging it - don't bother. Why highlight/invent bad details and omit the assets? You obviously didn't take the time to do much (any?) research, omitting vital historical details (Stockton castle; the town's role as the main port on the river Tees; John Walker's name and monument; etc.) and contemporary details (Stockton market; the newly expanded shopping area; you mention the Millenium club which is outside Stockton, but not the equivalent nightlife in Stockton (Zanzibar etc.) which is more established). And Teessiders can't abide people who don't have the nous to look up the spelling of Teesside, especially when you're doing a 'review' of said area.


Post 4


OK, so we are talking Stockton, that means, I guess, the Borough of Stockton, so that we can include all things Thornaby and Billingham too. Millennium can then be considered to be in Stockton, I notice the critique didn't comment about Teesside Park 'not being in Stockton' so we have to take the good with the bad. All said and done, I'm a Stocktonian and I'm proud of my roots (born an' bred and all that) but there is a degree of hostility towards students prevalent in the town, something that I expect exists in most places where the unemployment is high; particularly when students are introduced into the town, without care or usually consideration for locals and their pub customs (coins along the edge of the pool-table or chalked initials on the board depending on the pub).

Ok, that criticism aside, onto the researcher...
Yes, we don't like Teesside to be mis-spelt, just like those immediately south of us, do not like Middlesbrough to be infected with that extra 'o' that seems to appear quite often.

Green Dragon Yard - forget to mention that it is part of the oldest section of Stockton, hundreds of years old and the original walls and cobbles in place - that's why the TI office is there. Silver Street, Finkle street, all part of that same section of the town.

CD's - check out MVC, they seem to have plenty.

Watersports Centre and replica of Cook's Endevour on the riverside at Stockton, they didn't seem to get a mention. White-Water centre as part of the Teesdale development, nope, not mentioned either.

Yes, we have more than just pubs, but being realistic, it is just a town (not a small one, by the way, it is actually bigger, and a lot older, than 'Boro'), with a new University presence, so give the locals time - they need to adapt. I was faced with the same problems, as a student, over in 'Sunny' Preston, where I observed students with total apathy towards the feelings of the locals - I got by OK, by not doing that, and aside from one good kicking by a group of skinheads, had a pleasant time there. I don't consider those to be a true reflection of Preston, more the locals in the pubs I frequented who accepted me as a local because I adopted their customs.


Post 5


I'm not saying anything to degrade Stockton, I attended uni there at a similar time to Inkwash, graduating two years after him, and chose to stay on fro a year or so afterwards, only relocating for relationship reasons. It has improved, but it's still hardly an oasis of charm.

The ticket station hours at Thornaby station are such that anybody with a nine to five job can't buy tickets in they're lunch hour if they work more than ten minutes away. The conductors on the trains subsequently give you grief moaning "it is manned now you know!". Also you can only buy tickets on the internet or phone, if you have phone or internet, and a debit or credit card. If you've taken your wages from the cash point, you don't always want to redeposit them, wait 24hrs for them to clear, and then book by phone/net.

CD's aren't always easy to come by unless they're in the charts, and whilst MVC will attempt to order anything in, they're hardly the cheapest shop out there. Try HMV in Middlesbrough for equally hefty prices but greater selection.

Millenium closed several years ago, but Teesside Park is still good for a night out, although the UGC in Middlesbrough is a far superior cinema, and apart from the Bowling Alley offers a few chain eateries, the likes of which can be found all over, (TGI's and the Bar and Grill etc)

Stockton Splash is a welcome new addition. It is local, clean and a decent modern pool. However, the water is often highly chlorinated, presumably to compensate for the large numbers of children attracted less by the exercise and more for the wave pool, and water slide.

The Arc has reopened, as is tip top! It attracts a wide variey of theatre attractions, and miscellaneous comedy acts, some more famous than others. It also doubles as a night bar, and cafe bar. It's an unusual and attractive building, and it's good to see it running again.

Wellington Square is a good upgrade to the top end of town, especially if you're a console gamer, with a branch of Game, Choices, and Gamestation on the high street side. Contrary to my predictions of doom, the Swallow Hotel end of town's decline was only transient, and some decent shops have moved in where the likes of WH Smiths relocated up to the newly developed end of the high street.

The Thomas Sheraton, Znazibar and Wobbly Goblin are all v. different but good places to go, although don't judge by appearances. Wobbly Goblin is often frequented by Goth and "scary" people on Firdays, who are all lovely. Zanzibar looks 'normal' but I've been hospitalised whilst minding my own business in there twice, once getting beaten up only to hear "sorry mate, wrong bloke" as I passed out, and once when I had my admittedly girlie G&T spiked. Basically take care as you should in any case, not just Zanzi or Stockton, and you'll find much to see and do in a faulted town, that's on the up.


Post 6


Some little pointers for those reading in 2006 onwards (and one correction):

-Music shops: Sound It Out, if it's the one I'm thinking of has not closed, but is alive and well (I have bought stuff there quite often) and is a good enough place to buy second-hand stuff and some of the stuff (i.e. that which I can't be bothered with) unabailable in the charts. MVC has closed down (and the whole buisness has more recently gone into administration) after an HMV shop popped up. HMV does admittedly do more of the stuff I'm interested in (i.e. neo-prog) but it is a shame to see MVC go (their range of Naxos classical CDs was bigger than HMV Stockton's, though pitiful compared with anywhere in virtually any other large(r) town or city.)

-The Tourist Information Office has moved from the Green Dragon Yard to the central library, which is roughly in the vicinity of the parish church, the baths and the police station. The tourists are still, to my knowledge, nowhere to be found though.


-If you want to visit, try coming on the riverside festival week which is worth a look- it encompasses street entertainment, music and other stuff. Or if you're so inclined we've a white-water course (which my Dad used to visit frequently in his canoeing days-though how much he actually went on it I don't remember). If you really want to do anything else, there's the Green Dragon and Preston Hall museums (the former relatively unexciting, though the latter incorporates a period street which I remember having the likes of a resident blacksmith in years gone by, as well as a park). Or, explore further afield (try the North Yorks. moors or Durham...) which is advisable as one will get bored quite quickly unless one is a resident- there isn't *that* much in Stockton, to be honest.


Post 7


And there's more...

The Arc I agee is very good. And thankfully the other theatre in the area, at the Bllingham Forum has not been knocked down as once planned.

The new 'Splash' pool is very much over-rated. The last one was far better: despite not having a wave machine and a rather lacklustre slide, it at least had a full-length (well, 33 1/3 metre) main pool, and even a diving pool. Out to ruin my childhood memories they are.

The 'Swallow Hotel end of town', by which Mr Treadstone71 may mean the Castlegate centre, isn't all that good either- what happened to most of the indoor market? -the rather nondescript shops that took over from WHSmiths et al (mainly cheapo places)? Wot no Dixons? (same in Durham) OK, so it's not THAT bad, I suppose, but anyway...

There is now also a farmers market, French market, etc. for shoppers' pleasure.

The Ropner park regeneration is quite interesting- new play area and even a cafe where once stood run-down tennis courts, though the fountain and the flagple went years ago (childhood memories again...), and possibly a new bandstand, fountain even? I hope it will be good next visit (i.e. during the Durham Uni. Easter vacation).

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