We have a Barker & Stonehouse suite. A fabulous monolith of a piece – it can make grown removals men weep. I fully expect should my house ever fall down, it will be sat there amongst the rubble smirking at the puny attempt to destroy it. The only problem it has ever been unable to immediately face down, in its long life of being lounged, spilt, drooled, wept and partied over by adults, toddlers and teenagers alike, is one particularly angry cat. I like to think as the wounds have softened down from those endless vicious attacks of the ‘Jess days’ they have added to its overall character- it carries it’s past with dignity and grace.
In a throw-away world Barker & Stonehouse stands as an assurance of quality. One where you can announce something you own is from there and you can still provoke the response ‘ooh get you’; even if, like my sofa, it has endured a fair amount of joy and pain. Some things don’t stand the test of time so well though and Springs Health Club was clearly one of those. I don’t know why, I never went. I did go to a really similar looking one in Durham called Meridian. That one has recently been torn down too I’ve heard.
Just as people; businesses and places need to change as they grow. Adapting, transforming and strengthening so to avoid being left behind in another time, just as Stockton High Street is currently doing. Barker and Stonehouse is one of those businesses that gets up early, polishes it shoes and asks itself ‘what can I do better today?’ – every day. I like the cut of this families jib. Charles Barker and Alex Stonehouse opened their first store in Bishopton Lane, here in Stockton, in early 1946. The business remains in the Barker family; Charles’ son Richard is the chairman and his son James the current MD. Now they are coming home in welcome style, due to that savvy, with a flagship store being built on the old Springs site on Teesside Park. We are planning to follow the development here on Real Stockton. You can find out more of the fascinating history of the store by clicking here. We think its a wonderful part of our heritage then and now and are genuinely excited about the new architecture and presence. Watch this space for the next installment as it now begins to rise…
Welcoming home giants of quality and style- that’s Real Stockton.