28 December, 2006

Billingham - Christmas at home

Ah Billingham, where I grew up and had my first proper job! It has the distinction of being one of the Idler's cr*p towns, but this ignores the subtleties and nuances of the place. Firstly there is a saxon church, remodelled in early gothic times and in the 20th century, which just goes to show that nothing much happened there between the 13th and 20th centuries. Then it all happened at once. In 1926 Imperial Chemical Industries took over an ammonia plant and built an estate of houses for staff (via a housing Association). Then in the 1950s and 60s the Council built an entirely new town with a leisure centre and a technical college (demolished) a shopping centre (not what it was) and hundreds of council houses (mostly sold). Then in the late 60s Moore and Cartwright (builders) built a private estate opposite the new town centre. This was completed by 1970 and a new estate built by Wimpey and Yuill in the building boom of the 1980s.
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