THE story of Tyneside during the First World War isn’t just one of service and sacrifice. It’s also one of massive industrial production, of everything from ships to armaments.
And it’s the latter which forms the narrative behind a recent unusual donation to Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums.
The item is a gold bracelet which originally belonged to a South Shields woman, Jenny Bell, the clasp of which is inscribed with: “Neptune Shell Shop Nov 1918”.
Archivist Ian Whitehead has been able to link the bracelet to the Neptune Engine Works of shipbuilders Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson, which responded to the shell crisis of 1915 by agreeing with the Government to manufacture 6in shells.
Ian relates what happened next in a fascinating on-line blog, featuring some smashing archive photographs.
There is also an intriguing personal story to be told about Jenny herself and about which Ian would like to know more. Has anyone else come across a similar bracelet, for instance?
Search for ‘Neptune shell shop bracelet’ at www.twmuseums.org.uk