Eight South Tyneside memories of the 1976 heatwave as we get set for hotter weather

At last! Warmer weather is on the way but will it compare to the year when we basked in the sun for months on end.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 3:27 pm

The year of 1976 saw a heatwave which lasted for more than three months. At one point, we had 16 consecutive days where the temperatures topped 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Weather experts are predicting a warm to hot spell during this month.

It may well not reach the heights of those dizzy 70s days but it gives us a chance to reminisce on a South Tyneside summer we loved.

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Memories from the summer of 1976.

:: Sports grounds at Bents Park in South Shields were so hard in 1976, they were unplayable.

Summer car parking and a jazz band championships had taken their toll on the ground, as well as the red hot weather.

Without rain soon some pitches might have to be abandoned, said Coun Hugh Downey, chairman of South Tyneside Cultural and Leisure Activities Committee.

He added: “Unless we get some water on pitches, football will be impossible.”

Packed onto the South Foreshore in the 70s heatwave.

Attempts had been made to solve the problem, said Coun Downey. “In other parts of the borough, football pitches have been resown with grass, but because it is so dry the seeds have not germinated.”

:: Gatoff’s in South Shields was urging people to buy their cooling clothes that summer.

The Fowler Street favourite was offering Fred Perry cricket trousers for £6.75 and lightweight jackets – ideal for golf and holiday wear – from £14.

:: The South Foreshore was packed in South Shields as sunseekers flocked to the seafront.

All the fun of the fair at South Shields Amusement Park in 1976, just as the weather turned warmer. Little did these people know what was to come for months ahead.

:: To keep your food chilled, Binns was selling upright freezers for £74.67 in a flash sale. Or why not play your copy of Abba’s Fernando or Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee on a new record player. Yours for just £119.95 from Binns.

:: Sunderland and South Shields Water Board was urging people not to use too much water during the heatwave.

:: Bonton’s in Ocean Street had a warm ‘weather forecast’ in the Spring of 1976. It was advertising short-sleeved denim shirts for £3.75.

Not all the news concentrated on the weather that summer, but what else was getting the people of South Tyneside talking?

Hot work in the sun. A group of Morris dancers outside South Shields Town Hall before the start of the Sports Week carnival parade in June 1976.

:: Right from its distinctive opening title song, with the memorable couplet – ‘you shall have a fishy, on a little dishy’ – it was distinctively northern.

In the roasting hot summer of ’76, the cast of When The Boat Comes In descended on Readhead’s shipyard in South Shields to film part of the second series.

:: A documentary crew was filming the life of Lord ‘Billy’ Blyton, the man who went from humble roots in South Shields to the House of Lords .

A Lord By Accident was the title of the programme which looked at the man who was born in Bowman Street, Tyne Dock. He worked for 32 years at Harton Colliery.

What are your memories of the summer of 1976? Or do you remember a summer that was hotter?

Tell us more by emailing [email protected]

Gatoff's of Fowler Street which had plenty of cool options for summer clothes in 1976.

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