Remembering the Harton Dye Works dance

Dancing on South Tyneside.
Dancing on South Tyneside.

As ever, you have been quick to put pen to paper or get onto social media to respond to recent articles.

So it’s over to you, June Johnson.

June, who lives in South Shields, writes: “Thanks for all the wonderful memories we had in our Gazette.

“I was born in Oyston Street, went to St Hilda’s school, then I lived in Coronation Street.

“We then moved on to Boldon Lane when I was seven years old, so I have lots of wonderful memories. But it’s the dances I am writing about. I loved dancing.

“I am sure a lot of people will remember all the dance halls that were in Shields, such as the Londonderry, behind the Regent Cinema, Hedworth, Miners’ Hall, the Crown, so many, but the last one I went to before I married in 1954 was the Majestic down by the pier.

“It was the Harton Dye Works annual dance, and there was a Gazette photo taken, but I’m afraid I’ve lost mine over the years and I would love to be able to get a copy as part of my family (long gone) are on the photo.

“I was right in the front, with my friend Ella. It was a three-man band, and I’m thinking the name of the girl singer was Marion Ryne (not sure).

“The time was around 1952-53.

“My husband didn’t dance so that put a stop to that.

“I remember a lot of Waterloo Vale, as my gran lived there too. We lived in a flat above a shop in Coronation Street.

“I remember going to Swan’s Cake Shops for my gran and was rewarded with an ice-cream from the stop-me three-wheel cart. I could go on forever. Hope you can find my lovely photo of the dance (I’ll keep my eyes open for it, June) and I thank you for all your lovely memories. Keep it going, it’s worth the 75 pence for my Gazette just for your page. By the way I’m 84 years old now with a good memory.” (Thanks for the lovely comments, they’re much appreciated.)

And thanks too go to Bill Clavery who wrote to me in connection with a photo of workmen which, during the past few months has been sparking interest among quite a few of you.

Bill writes: “Regarding information on your page on Friday, August 12.

“Mr Joe Robinson wanted information on the two workmen on the bottom of your page.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the photo shows the men who demolished the very large St Hilda colliery chimney. The workmen used dynamite at the base of the chimney to fetch it down. This took place on Saturday, October 2, 1954.

“I hope this information will be of some help to Mr Robinson.”

Meanwhile, Mr Colin Bird emailed me to say: “I am writing to you on behalf of some of the members of our church, St Margaret’s United Reformed Church, Prince Edward Road (formerly Presbyterian).

“Your nostalgia page in the Shields Gazette is enjoyed by many of our older members, and is often the subject of lively discussion at our regular coffee mornings.

“We would just like to point out, however, just for the record, that on Tuesday, July 26, you published a photograph of Mr John Chalmers laying the foundation stone for our church, and dated it 1957. St Margaret’s in fact opened in 1952 and the foundation stone was laid in 1951.

“We look forward to seeing more interesting photos in the Gazette.”

Thanks for pointing that out Colin.

I am also grateful to Jennifer Carr-Lawton (nee Tate) who emailed, saying: “You printed a photograph of a girl with fishing rods and were asking for identification.

“I think it is Margaret Tampin, A girl I went to Cleadon Park school with (1964-1968).

“Hope that helps.”

Now to Ian and Trudy Blair who wrote: “Peter, I read with interest the story of the van Zyl family.

“My Mum and Dad were born in Shields, and I still read the Gazette. We lived in South Africa 1947-55, but now live in New Zealand.

“I did find a Pierre van Zyl living in Newcastle.”

Meanwhile, Alan Brenen contacted me to say: “Hello Peter, I am in contact with a friend, Alfie Jobling, who has some information about his brother Joe.

“Joe is a South Shields lad who played football for Aldershot and Leicester City (current Premier League champions) in the late 60s and 70s.

“Alfie was wondering how he could contact you with this information to use in your Time of Our Lives, as we are sure that there are many people will remember Joe.

“Another South Shields lad, Malcolm Crosby, also played at Adershot in the 70s with Joe. Malcolm went on to manage numerous Football League teams, and managed Sunderland in the 1992 FA Cup final.”

If Alfie is reading this, please get in touch, and I’ll tell Joe’s story in the page.

Thanks very much for all your correspondence, please keep it coming.