Did Sandancers evolve from Sandenders?

SHORE THING...looking out over the harbour in the late 1920s.
SHORE THING...looking out over the harbour in the late 1920s.

WHEN you live in a place with as long a history as Shields and its surroundings, certain terms enter the vocabulary.

Sometimes it’s a generational thing. No doubt today’s youngsters have their equivalent of ‘back of the gas,’ or ‘Marrs’ corner’ for trysting places.

But what happened to Sand End?

And did it come to influence another term still very much in use?

You find me in ruminative mood at the moment, and I’ve been thinking about that picture by artist James Cleet of our end of the Tyne, which he called ‘the Sand End,’ as seen in 1850.

This was when the river still had a sandy shoreline as high as at least Wapping Street on this side.

Sand End, I’ve discovered, seems to have been a commonly used term in the mid-19th century.

I turned up a court proceeding in 1858, when a Jeremiah Foster was fined £2 with costs by magistrates at North Shields for assaulting and beating one Alexander Opizze “at the Sand End”.

If you take this further, it has me wondering if people who lived at this end of the river got to be called ‘Sandenders,’ and if so, what does that sound like to you?

The term Sandancers for South Shields folk isn’t an old one – I have never come across it being used before the 20th century – but could it have been a later corruption of Sandenders?

Certainly its diminutive ‘Sandies,’ begins to assume an historical context.

I’d be interested to know what others think.

And here we are still on the sand end with this rather nice picture from Kevin Blair. This view of a busy harbour is dated 1928, and takes in the little bay that we call, now, the southern wave trap.

It’s also interesting for the little glimpse it affords of the old railway line – you can just see it passing the building in the foreground – which ran stone from Trow Quarry.