Scouting about for clues

David Rose, on the left, with an unknown boy.
David Rose, on the left, with an unknown boy.

Time for you to put your thinking caps on, if you don’t mind.

For I have just received this letter from David Rose (Stan Rose’s son) who now lives in Gloucester.

He writes: “My uncle Bill Pattison (who used to work at the Gazette) found the enclosed photograph of me and another boy.

“We are walking along next to Westhall, the scout camp area, near Whitburn. The trees on the right of the photograph had just been planted.

“As I am 67 next month, these trees will be about 70 years old now, so a bit bigger than in the photo!

“I am the taller boy on the left, but I cannot remember who the other boy is.

“However, I suspect he was a scout also, as we are together and at Westhall.

“I must be about 13 or 14, so that would date the photograph around 1962/63.

“I wondered if the boy was still around and can identify himself, or if anyone else in Shields might know?”

If anyone can help, they should contact me and I will forward the details to David.

Meanwhile, I wanted to bring you some of the feed-back I have had in response to a number of photos featured in Time Of Our Lives recently.

The first comes from Valerie Lawson, and concerns the picture of youngsters riding horses at Farding Lake, in South Shields, back in the early 1960s.

Valerie, who has only just returned to the area, recognised one of the riders.

“The girl riding the little brown pony is Susan James,” revealed Valerie, whose maiden name was Neeson.”

“I can’t identify the girl on the large horse, but I do know it was called Bronco.

“He was a lovely horse who came to a sad end.”

For as Valerie went on to explain, the horses were kept at the artillery ranges at Whitburn.

Sadly, Bronco fell into a trench, from where the troops used to shoot from, and couldn’t be pulled out. As a result, he had to be shot.

Despite the tragedy, Valerie has mainly happy memories of her time at Hannah’s Riding School.

From the age of nine, for about 10 years, Valerie spent as much time as possible – with her young friends – caring for and riding the horses, some of the names of which she remembers as Silver, Bandit, Beauty and (her favourite) Vanity.

“The ponies were our life,” says the 64-year-old.

“They were very dear to us, and we had great times there.

“There was a huge group of us, and lots of people will remember those times.

“It was a great time of my life, great fun.”

Valerie, who left Shields to go to work in Norway, has since travelled all over the place. She spent many years running a youth hostel.

As I mentioned, she returned recently, and quite coincidentally, just a few weeks ago, went up to the riding school.

She now plans to start riding once more.

“It’s gone full circle,” added Valerie, who is hoping that there “might be a little bit of a reunion going on”.

Let me know if you remember riding at Hannah’s.

The other photo featured little ones playing on the Roman remains at The Lawe.

Rodney Brown, who used to live round the corner, was delighted to see the picture, which brought back some vivid memories.

Rodney, who now lives in Chester-le-Street, said he too used to jump on and off the ancient artefacts.

“We used to call it the Roman Park,”recalls the 73-year-old.

“In the centre of the photo, you can see a sign for L Curtis. That was my grandmother Lavinia’s greengrocers and general dealer’s shop, which was in Henry Street.

“The bungalow in front of it, was what we used to call the parky’s house, which was where the park keeper lived.

“We used to live in Baring Street.”

Rodney, who went to the Grammar School, said because the relics (which now make up part of today’s Arbeia Roman Forst and Museum) were so close by, he and his mates used to spend a lot of time playing on them.

However, at the time, many of the remains were still buried under ground.

As well as the remains, Rodney also remembers a circle of tarmacadam nearby, along with a playground, with swings and the like.

They, like his family house, was later demolished, but as Rodney says, he is keen for the memories to live on.

“If you don’t get the information from the person first-hand, then you don’t get a flavour of it.”

So true, so please, keep your recollections, thoughts and ideas for future features coming.