High Clarence was really an extension of Haverton Hill - situated just across the Tees from Middlesbrough - separated only by a small park with a recreation ground behind it which was known as the 'Bendy'. All along Clarence Road on the right-hand side was an embankment for the railway line which ran from Haverton Hill to Port Clarence.
The houses at High Clarence were all terraces named after universities and
schools such as Eton, Oxford, Harrow, Cambridge and Rugby, and others were
named after trees. They were built by Billingham Council in 1927. Although much
of the main shopping was done at Haverton at the larger shops, they had their
own smaller ones such as a sub post office-cum-general dealer, a fish and chip
shop, a draper's and a homemade bread shop. Old Mr Patterson was a well known
character, seen riding around on his bicycle which had a huge basket on the
front to hold the loaves of bread he was delivering. Then came the school with
its gardens and playing fields at the back. Just past the school there was the
Cenotaph which had been built to commemorate all the men who had been killed in
the First World War and later the Second World War. There was always a great
procession on Remembrance Sunday made up of church choirs, the Mayor and all
the Councillors, and the veterans of course. The service was always well
Opposite the Cenotaph in the side of the embankment there were big double doors which when opened led to the fields which ran alongside the river. There must have been some sort of building here at one time as it is said that this was where they kept the prisoners from the First World War, and that they built the road from Port Clarence to Seaton Carew. When the Second World War started a dug-out was made in the same area to house the air-raid wardens.
We are now entering Port Clarence, which was much older. Here we had St Thomas's Roman Catholic Church and school and very near to it was the Royal Hotel. There are lots of street houses here which were built by Bell's Ironworks belonging to Sir Joseph Bell, with allotments at the back to grow their produce. As well as the ironworks there was Anderson's Foundry who built railway equipment.
In the area at the back of the houses of High Clarence and Port Clarence there were many fields, which housed Saltholme Farm and the salt works with their many derricks which pumped the brine to the surface. A lot of land was reclaimed in the area of the river mouth. They used to tip great slag boulders and waste to stop the sea taking over and in so doing created an area of water which came and went with the tide. It was known as the 'Lido' and lots of the younger people used it for swimming. The 'Saltflats' attracted a lot of waders, great for wild-fowlers. This is now known as Seal Sands and attracts many species of wild birds. On the reclaimed land one of the biggest chemical industries in the world has been built.