Wright's Biscuits: Remembering the South Shields factory Wright's Biscuits which supplied the Army with sweet treats and closed in 1983

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It was all change in South Tyneside in 1983 – and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Wright’s Biscuits factory finally facing the bulldozers.

Also in 1983, there were plans afoot to restore the Savoy picture house. And in a year of revamps, the borough also said hello to the Denmark Centre and a new attraction at the Chelsea Cat.

Want to know more? Read on for more of our 1980’s memories.

Wright’s Biscuits in South Shields will forever be remembered as a place which played its own unique part in the war effort. During the Second World War, the factory at Tyne Dock remained open day and night making biscuits for the Army.

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The changing face of South Tyneside in 1983 - let's dive into some memories.The changing face of South Tyneside in 1983 - let's dive into some memories.
The changing face of South Tyneside in 1983 - let's dive into some memories.

Around 300 employees, mainly women, worked shifts around the clock. And while Wright’s closed in 1973, it reopened two years later under the name of Lowe’s – but this time making dog biscuits.

It finally closed in 1983, and its buildings, including a famous chimney remembered as a landmark in Tyne Dock, were demolished.

Fresh hope for the Savoy

Elsewhere, two entrepreneurs were hoping to restore an old South Shields cinema.

The Denmark Centre in South Shields, which opened in 1983.The Denmark Centre in South Shields, which opened in 1983.
The Denmark Centre in South Shields, which opened in 1983.

The Savoy, in Ocean Road, had closed the previous December, leaving the town without a picture house. David Bage, 26, of New Green Street, South Shields, was assistant manager at the cinema, and his business partner, Lawrence Younger, 25, was the projectionist.

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“We hope that it will be more than just a cinema, with live cabaret-type shows, ” Mr Bage told the Gazette at the time.

No need for lonely hearts

A new singles club was launched at the Chelsea Cat nightspot in Thomas Street, South Shields in 1983. Did you go?

The Savoy in South Shields. A firm favourite with movie lovers. What do you remember seeing there?The Savoy in South Shields. A firm favourite with movie lovers. What do you remember seeing there?
The Savoy in South Shields. A firm favourite with movie lovers. What do you remember seeing there?
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And another new development was also announced that year.

Planners were also changing the image of South Shields town centre, with the new Denmark Centre on the way.

Do you need more reminders of life in the borough in 1983? World 1,500 metres champion Steve Cram was doing South Tyneside proud by destroying the opposition on the track.

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The new addition at the Chelsea Cat.The new addition at the Chelsea Cat.
The new addition at the Chelsea Cat.

The Jarra Arra at his best

The ‘Jarra Arra’ had just run the fastest time in the world to win the 800 metres in Oslo and said afterwards he ‘felt good throughout the race.’

Also in the news was another Jarrow man – Winston Taylor who had been secretary of the Jarrow JOC Football League since 1936 and was still going strong in the role in 1983.

Kevin Blacklock was hoping for his own taste of success. He was pictured taking part in a sponsored spaghetti-eating competition at Westoe Comprehensive School. Anyone remember how he got on?

Watches from Smithsons

If you had time on your hands in 1983, Casio watches were all the rage and you could get yours for £5.99 from Smithsons. It had branches in Frederick Street, Prince Edward Road and the Viking Centre.

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All sorts of clothes for your little ones at S Lamb. Some popular purchases!All sorts of clothes for your little ones at S Lamb. Some popular purchases!
All sorts of clothes for your little ones at S Lamb. Some popular purchases!

Who fancies a new coat? You could get them for £54.95 from GK Lee.

If it was children’s clothes you were after, S Lamb had anoraks for £6.95, sailor suits for £8.95, and woollen rompers for £2.95. It had shops in Fowler Street, Stanhope Parade and the Bede Precinct.

We are sure you have plenty of memories of 1983 of your own. Share them by emailing [email protected]