Sad reminder of once great South Shields’ shipyard


Recently I’ve featured photographs showing the South Shields shipyard of John Readhead & Sons Ltd during its heydays, when it employed thousands.

Sadly, today’s selection of pictures, kindly provided by reader Alan Newham, come from the time when the once-bustling yard was no more.

Alan writes: “These three photos illustrate the sad demise of the shipyard.

“Note the clock face that was positioned on top of the huge fabrication shed.”

Meanwhile, another reader, 88-year-old Dorothy Allen, got in touch following the recent articles about scouting in South Shields.

She was particularly keen to emphasise the age of the 7th Scout group, which Jack White had been writing about.

She said the 7th were originally sea scouts, but became scouts after the Second World War.

“If my brother, who was a cub, was still alive today, he would have been 100 years old,” says Dorothy.

“That would mean that the 7th would be well nigh 100 years old.

“My middle brother was also in the cubs, and I joined the 7th in March 1943 as a cub instructor.”

Dorothy, who served the scouting movement for 60 years, eventually became a commissioner.

And her family is following in her footsteps, with her niece and goddaughter serving with the organisation.

“I had 60 years with the scouts, and it was a wonderful life,” added Dorothy.

What are your memories of being in the scouts or the guides?

You may or may not be able to help Valerie Gilligan, but she writes asking for help regarding her maternal grandmother who was a suffragette.

“Her maiden name was Mildred Jane Armstrong (married name Donaldson), who was born March 1, 1886, and lived in the Newcastle area. She attended Kings College School of Art, in the city, and was a member of the Newcastle Handicrafts Company.

“I remember her telling me of her interest in the Women’s Suffragist Movement and the loss of life at the Epsom Derby of Emily Davison.

“Sadly, I have neither photographic nor documentary evidence to support her membership but would love to know more about the activities she may have been involved locally.”