Tributes to South Tyneside ‘alternative historian’ Erasmus Bottle

TRIBUTES ... Erasmus Bottle (Dave Walker) who has died.
TRIBUTES ... Erasmus Bottle (Dave Walker) who has died.

TRIBUTES have been paid South Tyneside’s ever-popular “alternative historian” who never let facts get in the way of a good story.

Writer Dave Walker, who performed as his alter ego Erasmus Bottle, passed away at South Tyneside District Hospital, yesterday morning, after suffering from poor health for some time.

The 70-year-old, of Spohr Terrace, South Shields, was a well-known figure in the borough for his quick wit, dry humour, and imaginative monologues depicting his version of a range of historical events.

Mr Walker’s passing has left regulars at the Steamboat Pub in Mill Dam, South Shields – where he performed many of his sketches – saddened.

Kathleeen Brain, bar manager, said: “Dave was one of a kind. We’ll never get another like him. He was a wonderful character, an eccentric with dry wit and a wonderful sense of humour.

“His Erasmus Bottle shows were always a sellout. Everyone loved him.”

She added: “Myself, Joe Mooney, the pub’s licensee, and all of the regulars offer his family our condolences. He’s going to be such a miss, it doesn’t quite seem real.”

Mr Walker, who worked as a producer for the BBC in the early 1970s, was also a campaigner on a range of local issues.

In 2012, he spoke out against the cuts to the borough’s library services as part of council cost-cutting measures. At the time, he said: “I have always understood the provision of public library facilities as a mandatory stipulation placed upon the local authority.

“I do not agree with the reduction in opening hours, and I firmly disagree with the use of volunteer labour to provide ‘help’.

“I am rather surprised a Labour-run authority can consider such a policy.”

Last November he opposed about the council stopping over-the-counter cash payments of council tax and rents – saying it would take away the ‘personal touch’.

Ray Spencer MBE, chief executive of the Customs House – where the comic also put on performances – says he hopes that, in the future, Mr Walker’s canon of works can be retold.

Mr Spencer said: “Dave was a real gentleman. He was very clever and had a wicked sense of humour. You almost wished his events of history were true. They were often far better than what really happened.

“Hopefully in the future we will be able to have a read- through of some of his works.

“They were exceptional.”

As with all of Erasmus’s comic plays, one thing is guaranteed – all facts are true, except for those that aren’t.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez

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