Reader’s family ties to ‘The 27’

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ONCE again Cookson Country takes a diversion down an unexpected byway.

Although the route is straight enough – we’re off to the pub!

This is by way of a postscript to recent notes on the old Tyne Dock Arches, through which you would once have travelled towards where the late Dame Catherine Cookson was born, in Leam Lane, now part of Newcastle Road.

It interested reader Vivien Mackin (nee Brown) in East Boldon. Her grandmother, Margaret Ann Deans, married William Bovill Brown, who lived at that time in Simonside Lane, in 1896.

The Deans family, it transpires from the 1881 census, had previously occupied the house in Leam Lane, where the author was born.

They were Ralph and Martha Deans, who had five children, William, Mary Ann, Margaret, Frank and Ralph.

Says Vivien: “Dad and Aunty Mary used to talk about the pub that was known as ‘the 27’.”

This was the pub that greeted you as you left the arches behind you, going towards Newcastle.

Its real name was The Alexandra but it got its nickname from the staithes at Tyne Dock. Reputedly there were 26 – the 27th being the pub where the staithsmen went to sup.