Festive pictures from Christmases past in South Shields

Jackie Wales, Janet Wylie and Christine Whalen.
Jackie Wales, Janet Wylie and Christine Whalen.

Some photos have a wonderful knack of capturing a moment in time – and these two certainly do just that.

For these images, sent in by reader Janet Wylie, is festive time of old, and the days between Christmas time and New Year, personified.

Building a snowman in the backyard.

Building a snowman in the backyard.

I’m sure people of a certain age will relate to the scene and recognise the style of clothing worn by the little ones, as Janet explains.

“The the photos were taken in 1965,” said Janet.

“They were taken on a box Brownie camera in the backyard of number 24 Edith Street, Lawe Top.

“The photo shows, tallest girl (my sister Jackie Wales), second tallest girl (me) and the smallest girl, our friend Christine Whalen who lived across the road from us.

“The sledge was made by my father, and Jackie and my coats were made by mam from one of her old coats.

“Our hats, scarves and gloves were knit by mam. You can see the door to the outside netty. Those were the days of proper snowfalls. I am about nine years old and Jackie is 11 years old.”

In those days, most youngsters would have been sporting such hand-made clothes, cleverly crafted by parents or aunts.

The weeks after Christmas were, of course, a good time to try out such presents, scarves, hats and gloves.

And with snow seemingly an annual occurrence, they were a welcome defence against the cold.

When money was tight, and sadly it still is for many, clothes had to be recycled, so one pair of trousers would be altered several times over as they were passed down from son to sibling and on again to any others following on.

The hems of dresses were raised and lowered with each “new owner” and woolly hats would have covered many a head in their life-time before finally finding their way onto the Guy.

In the finest tradition of self-sufficiency, I well remember getting hand-knitted tank tops for Christmas and birthdays, a colourful collection that lasted long after the shop-bought jumpers became threadbare.

For most people such manufactured clothes were a luxury, kept for Sunday best or those special occasions.

Perhaps that’s why children of that era were so appreciative of any new item of clothing received.

There were no designer brands in those days, and school uniforms were only worn by certain schools, with the vast majority of pupils turning up for class in much the same clothes as they wore in the street back home.

Still, there were no arguments as to whose trainers were the most exclusive – one pari of black plimsolls looked much like another.

The days after Christmas were great for little ones, a chance to be with cousins you may not have seen from one year to the next; play with presents or run wild outside in that “inevitable” snow.

They were unsophisticated, naive days, but ones which many of us wouldn’t have swapped for the world!