Old job offer letter found during South Shields house clearance

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band's impromptu jazz session.
The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band's impromptu jazz session.

It’s wonderful when you get in touch after reading a story or seeing a photo in the paper or online.

And it’s just as exciting to hear from you when you’ve got a new tale to tell, which is just what happened the other day when local businesswomen Judith Brown sent a letter to the Gazette – accompanied by a little bit of local nostalgia.

Judith, who is the owner of Cleadon Antiques and Gifts, wrote to us saying: “White doing a local house clearance we found this letter (which is reproduced here) in a box. We thought it might be of interest to yourselves.”

The letter, dated March 19,1940, and typed on The Northern Press Limited headed paper, was sent from the paper’s General Manger to Mr WA Matthews.

It read: “In reference to our recent conversations concerning my proposal to appoint you Circulation Manager of the Shields Gazette, I have pleasure in informing you that Mr Derwent, Managing Director of the Westminster Press Provisional Newspapers Ltd has approved my proposal, and I therefore appoint you as Circulation Manager of the Shields Gazette as from today’s date.

“Please accept my congratulations: I hope you are successful in your endeavours to improve the sales of the paper.”

It certainly was of interest to us, not only because of the Gazette link, but also because it reveals how people did, and still do, hang on to letters and documents from the past.

So I asked Judith, who has a shop in Front Street, Cleadon, where exactly the letter was found.

“It was in a chest of drawers in a little house in Southwick,” she revealed.

“It was quite sweet. It had been typed on an old fashioned typewriter,” added the former teacher, who turned her love for antiques into a business.

Do you know how Mr Matthews got on in his post?

Meanwhile, a photo, posted on Facebook, showing a woman working in Rae’s “new” shop in South Eldon Street, in November 1972, brought fond memories flooding back for Janet and Amy Pullen – for it was their mother and grandmother respectively.

Janet said her mam Hazel Albertson started work at the shop in 1971. However, along with their family home, in Taylor Street, the shop was demolished in 1977/78.

“I used to go into the shop every day,” reveals Janet, who was one of three sisters.

“We went to school around there, and we used to go to the shop on the way home from school to see her.”

She said the Rae family had the shop for about two years after which Ivor Johnson took over.

“It was a really friendly place,” added Janet, who’s favourite cake sold by the shop was a Peach Melba.

Do you remember Hazel, who died in 1987 at the age of 53, working in the shop?

Another photo featured on Facebook also revived memories for readers.

Taken in September 1966, it featured members of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band playing an impromptu jazz session near the Pier Pavilion.

The photo prompted Michael Stothard to post: “Great musicians. The LPs, Gorilla and Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse, prove just how good they were. Well worth a listen.”

Corinne Grayson Pinnock said: “Saw them at the Tavern.”

Apparently the band, who featured zany frontman Vivian Stanshall, were in South Shields for a week when the picture was taken. Apart from playing the Tavern, do you remember what else they were doing here?

The Bonzos, whose big hit “I’m The Urban Spaceman” which was jointly produced by Paul McCartney were later asked by the former Beatle to appear in the Magical Mystery Tour film at the end of 1967, performing “Death Cab For Cutie”.