60s South Tyneside memories of the Gaumont, La Strada and a whole host of literary streets

What do Burns, Dryden and Masefield have in common in South Tyneside?

The answer is they were all famous literary figures whose names inspired streets in South Shields.

The town already had 29 streets named after famous literary figures, and it was announced in 1963 that a further 13 writers, poets and essayists, including then poet laureate John Masefield, were to be similarly honoured.

A shopping area was to be known as Fielding Court as a tribute to 18th century writer Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones, and there were to be two closes bearing the names of John Dryden and Robert Burns.

Life in South Tyneside in 1963.

But what else was happening in the borough back then?

There were jobs on the way in Jarrow, where factory expansion plans were revealed.

One hundred new jobs were created on the Bede Trading Estate after Cigarette Components took over the lease of the nearby Eskimo Footwear factory.

Twenty-eight-year-old drayman Harry Harvey risked his life by rescuing Alsatian dog Sheba from a blaze at the Criterion Hotel, in Ocean Road.


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The Eskimo factory which was taken over in 1963.

Animal-lover Mr Harvey, who was delivering barrels of beer to the pub, dashed upstairs to save the terrified animal.

New bus signs were on the way in South Shields and they were to be installed at 400 points across the town, at the cost of £3,300.

The easy-to-read fibreglass signs with rounded corners were mounted on 8ft metal posts.


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Lastly, three-year-old Yvonne Bygate, from Hebburn, was in the running to be Miss Pears 1963.

Cigarette Components took over the lease of the nearby Eskimo Footwear factory.

She was in the running for a £500 top prize and the title of The Loveliest Little Girl in Britain’.

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If you were a fan of the Gaumont cinema, you could see the film of Tom Jones with three performances a day. Or you could see Sheepdog of the Hills at the cinema’s Saturday Morning Club.

Or, if you got along to La Strada, you could see star act Ronnie Carroll as long as you snapped up the last few tickets. Other attractions at the venue included TV’s ‘zippiest musical group’ The Peter Groves Trio.

The Gaumont Cinema Boys' and Girls' Club with some of children in 1963.

What are your memories of the 60s in the borough? We would love you to tell us more and you can do just that by emailing [email protected]


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Tom Jones was on at the Gaumont in 1963, featuring Albert Finney and Susannah York.
Star names at La Strada.