The Elmwood Centre
The Elmwood Centre is an active and thriving community centre, close to Hartburn Village and Fairfield. Home to an outstanding nursery, The Barn Childcare, an adorable vintage tea room, a dance school, Slotcar racing, Stockton Model Railway Club, and dozens of community groups, from arts to photography to bridge and pilates.
Not only is Elmwood home to long-term members of the community, such as the tea room, nursery, dance studio and shop, but there are several rooms available for hire, suitable for anything from parties and events to corporate training activities. Our three largest rooms can accommodate up to 100 people, and we have grounds that are ideal for outdoor activities and summer fairs.
We also have small meeting rooms and offices, ideal for anyone who is self-employed who wants to work in a dedicated office space.
Vintage Tea Rooms
The Elmwood Tea Room is a delightful Victorian-style cafe. Enjoy a quiet afternoon or morning with friends or family, with a delicious selection of scones, sandwiches, soups, hot paninis, jacket potatoes and tasty treats and cakes. We are proud to serve Ringtons tea on fine porcelain china, with mahogany furniture and decor reminiscent of past eras.
A warm welcome always awaits at the Elmwood Tea Room, with a friendly atmosphere and garden views, not far from the lovely village of Hartburn and surrounding walks.
History of The Elmwood Centre
Built in 1873, Elmwood was the first of Hartburn’s large detached properties, situated just outside the centre of the village. Originally the home of Mr Lewis Dodshon, owner of one of the largest wholesale grocers in the area, son of John Dodshon, who’s memorial is in the centre of Stockton. In the 1880’s, it was the home of the Mountjoy Pearse family, who employed thousands in shipbuilding yards on the Tees and an iron company in Hartlepool.
Another ship builder, Henry Grant Spence, partner in the Richardson Duck & Co. shipyard, lived here from 1889 until his death. His son, Colonel Gilbert Ormerod Spence, continued to live in Elmwood and took over his role in the company, until World War I, when he led the 5th Battalion Durham Light Infantry and was known for painting hundreds of water colours of the Front, including scenes from Passchendaele and the Somme. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his actions on the Somme. After the war, he was promoted to the role of Colonel Commandant and elected Mayor of Thornaby. He moved out of Elmwood in 1922, but was killed in a car accident three years later, age 46, leaving his collection of watercolours to Stockton Corporation, most of which are now in the Preston Park Museum.
Harold E. Kitching, an olympic medal winner in 1908, was the last private owner of Elmwood. He also served in the war, was awarded an MBE, and was appointed Deputy-Lieutenant of Yorkshire in 1948. He moved out before the outbreak of World War II, with ICI moving in, using Elmwood as a research centre – safer from air raids – until 1950.
Since the early 1950’s, Elmwood has been used for community groups and local residents, with a number of the original groups, including the Hartburn Evening Townswomen Guild, Elmwood Playgroup, Stockton & District Model Railway Club and Janet Dickinson School of Dance, still active in The Elmwood Centre.
The fascinating history of The Elmwood Centre was uncovered thanks to the dedication of the Friends of Elmwood Group 2016: Pat Goodman, Joyce Wilson, Tina Hind, Barbara Duffie, Derrick Small, Carol Cliff, and Chris Small.