All go for reunion of South Shields workers

Go Gay Shoes Ltd. factory workers set off on a bus trip.
Go Gay Shoes Ltd. factory workers set off on a bus trip.

A date has been set for a reunion party involving former workers at an old South Shields firm.

Since floating the idea of a get-together, a steady flow of ex-Go Gay Shoes employees have been in touch with organiser, local historian Janet Wylie, who is also keen to learn as much as possible about the company’s two factories, in the hope of making a memory board.

Go Gay Shoes Ltd.workers Jackie Hood and Sheila Jackson.

Go Gay Shoes Ltd.workers Jackie Hood and Sheila Jackson.

Now, a date has been set for the reunion – on Thursday, October 25 at the Brighams Workingmen’s Club, between 7pm and 11pm.

Janet, the woman behind The Streets of South Shields books, and who is herself a one-time Go Gay girl, said: “The more who turn up the bigger the success, so feel free to bring along a partner to the event where there will be memorabilia boards and photos on display.”

Go Gay, she says, had two premises; the first in John Clay Street, the second in Maxwell Street.

Memories of both have been forthcoming from other workers and their families.

One of those to get in touch with Janet is Glenice Purvis.

She wrote: “I’ve just read the article in the Shields Gazette about Go Gay Shoes.

“My mam, Irene Martin, worked there as a design machinist. I also know someone whose mam worked there too, her name was Harrison.

“My memories are of trying on shoes (probably rejects) at home and being delighted with the little bows and details. I had some lovely shoes!

“I was probably 13 at the time – 1969, but that’s a guess.

“I can also remember my mam talking about Mr and Mrs Goodman, who owned the factory.

“They were Jewish and we once went to South Shields Synagogue to support a charity night there, which had been arranged by Mrs Goodman.

“My Mam said Mrs Goodman was Dutch and she had a ‘funny’ accent, especially when she got annoyed!

“I also know that Juliet McKenzie worked at the factory too. Whenever a client wanted to see sandals, she used to be sent to model them!

“I know it’s not much, but the article brought back many memories. Good Luck with your research.”

Glenice’s mam died in 1993, at the age of 61.

If anyone can help Janet with her research, they can contact her on 07954 413542 or 0191 455 4830 or email her on 54janetw@gmail.com