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Photo-a-day 76: Stockton Town Hall

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.


Today’s photo is of Stockton Town Hall, which sits in the middle of Stockton High Street and dates from 1735 – some 41 years before the United States was founded! It was in this very building, in 1810, that the construction of the world’s first passenger railway was initially proposed. That plan came to fruition some fifteen years later, with the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

Stocktonites often claim that their high street is the widest in the country – a fact I first learned some eight years ago when an elderly lady chose to share it with me whilst we both queued for blood tests.

Ever since, I’ve wondered quite what the parameters for the claim are: I think I know of several wider commercial streets in the UK, not least Lord Street in my home town of Southport. The claim is repeated on countless websites, yet none of those I’ve seen seem to properly define their terms.

I thought for a while that it was, perhaps, the widest street called “High Street”, but that idea appears confounded by the assertion on some sites that it’s the widest in the UK, but the third widest in Europe: it seems unlikely that there are too many “High Streets” on the continent.

So – can any of my readers explain the origin of the claim?

This post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, .

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