Recalling busy social life at the Gazette

Gazette staff at a dance with Beryl Ebberson and her husband (wearing the dickie bow)  in the centre of the photo.
Gazette staff at a dance with Beryl Ebberson and her husband (wearing the dickie bow) in the centre of the photo.

Talk about looking close to home, it seems I should have done just that when I featured a mystery photo showing of a group of men and women in their finery.

For it turns out that they were members of staff at the Gazette, enjoying one of their regular dances.

How do I know? Well, as ever, my request for information was answered by a reader, this time former Gazette employee Beryl Ebberson.

After the picture appeared in the page last week, Beryl got in touch to say that she was on the photo with her husband John (right in the middle), along with other ex-colleagues, many of whom she was able to name.

“I recognised the picture,” said 80-year-old Beryl, “they all worked in the advertising department at the Gazette, many of them in the accounts department.

“I worked at the Gazette offices in the 1950s for 10 years. I was a sales clerk.

“My father, Arthur Jorgensen, was there for 40 years. He started off selling papers before becoming sales manager.”

Beryl said when she was at the Gazette, the staff there enjoyed a busy social life.

“We had two dances a year, in the Hedworth Hall, one in May time and the other at Christmas. I was on the committee along with my dad.

“We also organised an annual panto and children’s Christmas party. The girls in the office had a basketball team and the men a football team.

“We also had trips away, which were hilarious. They were good times.”

Beryl listed many of those in the picture, including: Sheila Angus, Mrs Neilson, Christine Neilson, Dorothy Parry, Betty Rafferty and Margaret Matthews.

Meanwhile, an article on Woolies, and in particular a mention of Iris who, if you kept her talking, would “fill savoury sandwiches to overflowing”, prompted Gloria Van-Es to ring.

Gloria said Iris (Iris Hallimond) is her cousin. She said Iris, who is in her 60s, “never shuts up; she is always laughing, and is so jolly”.

Another article, about Alice Street, in South Shields, continues to stir-up memories, with even more of you getting in touch to tell readers about the people who lived there.

Roz Monger took to social media to say: “I lived at number 16 from 1954 until about 1962, all the neighbours were friendly, all the children played together in the back lane, the older ones kept an eye on the little ones.

The toilet was at the bottom of the yard but we were lucky to have a proper bath in the large kitchen, happy memories living there, the Hewitts lived next door to us, a lovely family.

Lesley Stratford said: “My mam and dad lived in Alice Street from about 1955 to the mid 60s with my oldest brother and two sisters. They all lived in two rooms and bathed in a tin bath in front of the fire. Glad they moved before I was born.”

Lorraine Mills told how she was: “Born in John Williamson Street in 1962 but my gran (Elizabeth Wharton) lived in Alice Street. She was rehoused to Whiteleas when it was demolished. I have similar happy memories to the writers.”

Nicola McCormack posted on Facebook: “My dad’s parents McCormack lived here ,Kathleen and John.

“They brought up their kids there and then there was their nana and uncle George and uncle Ernie who worked away and who bought them a TV in the days when a TV was an extravagant item.

“They never in their lives left South Shields, how ironic their son, my dad has travelled all over the world, but lives back here in Shields today.”

Margaret Ellis said: “We lived at 20 Alice St. It used to be ‘the stocking shop’. We were re-housed when it was demolished and we got a new council house in Simonside. First time we’d had an inside toilet and bathroom.”

Paula Fox spoke of “ good old times”, adding: “I lived in Alice Street when I was married, everybody knew each other, very friendly, how things have changed. Bring back the good old days.”

Michelle Gabriele posted: “I was born there, scraping ice on the inside of windows, so glad for the bucket, winter and outside toilets don’t mix,” while Stephie Steph said: “My aunt Yvonne and cousin Karen Kennedy lived in 243 Alice Street for 20 years plus.”