DVD brings back memories of going ‘down street’

One of  Bill Clavery's fantastic images, showing King Street in South Shields.
One of Bill Clavery's fantastic images, showing King Street in South Shields.

It was Petula Clark who once urged us to go downtown.

“Things will be great,” she promised, “when you’re downtown.”

The cover of Janet Wylie's DVD, Memories of South Shields Town Centre.

The cover of Janet Wylie's DVD, Memories of South Shields Town Centre.

For according to the popular singer, there’s “no finer place for sure, downtown everything’s waiting for you”.

And that was certainly true of South Shields in its heyday as a new DVD of the town reveals.

Memories of South Shields Town Centre is the seventh such DVD to be produced by passionate historian Janet Wylie.  

Others have included Memories of West Harton and Memories of Laygate.

Self-employed Janet said: “For the past eight years or so I have been holding classes for people who are interested in writing their life stories.

“It quickly became evident to me that I was receiving a very personal and compelling education of South Shields from the learners themselves.”

Some of those tales are told on the DVD. And what a wonderful work of nostalgic story-telling it is.

For alongside the fabulous photographs of Bill Clavery are the spoken memories of so many South Tynesiders.

People such as Yvonne Richardson, who was born in Clay Path Lane, and who recounts her childhood days.

Then there’s Paul Thompson, who tells of his time on the old trolley buses, and Joyce Butler, who used to work for Watsons.

Their stories are just a few of the marvellous memories presented on this 43-minute DVD which has been lovingly crafted by Janet.

She makes wonderful use of Bill’s fantastic photos – animating them to the accompaniment of suitably nostalgic piano music.

So if you want to see how Shields used to look, with its wealth of big-name and family stores, such as Woolworth’s, Marks & Spencer, Binns, Carricks, J. Grant, Martin and GK Lee, then head “down street” as they say, and take an entertaining and enlightening trip along memory lane.

• You can see Memories of South Shields Town Centre at a special screening at the Central Library Theatre (Prince Georg Square) at 2pm on Wednesday, September 2.

Tickets, which cost £1, are available from local studies at the library.

Copies of the DVD can be bought on the day for £5 or thereafter at the library.

• What are your memories of going downtown? Where did you particularly like to go to – the places and the shops?

Drop me a line with your thoughts – I’d love to hear from you.