Recalling ‘olden days’ in Shields with affection

March 1959 and Marsden beach at the peak of the holiday season.
March 1959 and Marsden beach at the peak of the holiday season.

As the summer slips into autumn, we might be forgiven for asking “what summer?”

For the weather during the last couple of months, especially in August, has been disappointing to say the least.

Mind you, at least we have been spared the metrological extremes as witnessed in other parts of the world.

Even so, there’s no denying the fact that the T-shirts, shorts and shades will now have to go back in the drawer, ready for next year and, hopefully, some sunny, warm weather.

And it was with this scenario in mind that I took to the Gazette’s Facebook page to post the following observation and question: “It’s fair to say that the summer has been a bit of a damp squib. What was the best and worst summertime you can remember?

Needless to say, you had your own thoughts.

Viv Marley took to social media to say: “Happy memories of Marsden Bay, hot summers, donkeys on the sand and a seagull called Sammy. I don’t think he could fly because he was always in the same place but got plenty of food off everyone!”

Keith C Thompson said: “I remember Sammy the Seagull, probably late 1950 or early 1960?. I think this photo is older than that though. You could rent the deck chairs at the bottom of the steps and a tent if you were rich.”

Many of you had fond recollections of a certain year in the 1970s, as Wendy Shepherd explains.

“I remember 1976, amazing weather all summer,” while Malcolm Barnes also recalled the delightful weather of 1976.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Jacqui Whitelaw, who posted: “1976, fabulous weather all summer” and Trish Jones agreed, saying: “Def 1976 ....long and hot” while Linda Connolly said simply “1976 amazing”.

Jean Sim also had her say, recalling how she “Had many happy times at the beach with family and friends.”

Meanwhile, other readers continue to react to my question as to whether the “good old days were really that good?”

Denise Houston posted: “Nobody had much then but people were friendlier, they would share their last, more community spirit, people were richer in love then not possessions” while Agnes George spoke of “simpler times and nobody expected anything handed on a plate”.

Eileen Drummond said: “Better than the ones we have today by a mile” while others felt it was safer back then, as Paul Lewis explains: “Felt safe walking the streets, playing out till dark and the neighbours watching out for you.”

Viv Marley agreed, saying: “Much safer days back then” while Geoff Stansfield told how “life was definitely simpler back then.”

Gloria Garland Davidson said: “Loved those days.”

Matt Berry recalled the late 30s and the derelict buildings and empty shipyards. “Then again, had one of them ‘stand by me’ childhoods. It was great and so glad I had that. Something the generation now don’t.”

Pat Haruki explains that he: “left a long time ago, was in my twenties, have good memories of Shields. Went to Barington Street School. It’s not there anymore, don’t remember streets with so much trash.”

Kevin Griffiths concurred, saying: “More litter back then it seems!” while Jemeela Al-Sayyadi The only good thing about them is that they are a ‘memory’.”