Shedding light on old South Shields building

The old building.
The old building.

When Brian Martin, formerly of Cleadon, and now living in Paphos, Cyprus, posed the question as to whether photos he sent to me were that of his grandmother’s pub in the old Mill Dam area of Shields market place, next to the old Mission to Seamen, you were quick to respond.

Brian revealed that: “My grandmother, Anderena Martin (nee Grey) was the first female licensee of a public house in South Shields” before asking: “could readers please endeavour to verify if the building shown is actually a former public house, together with any local information they may have regarding it.”

Ede Wood replied, saying: “Unless I am very much mistaken, the photo looks like the old Staithes House on Mill Dam, but the picture (from the 1960s) is taken from the rear.

“In the background you can see the two turrets of the old Railway Inn on Mill Dam of which my dad, Jim Keedy, was licensee from 1956 until about 1967, when he retired.

“Next to this was the post office where a Mr Geddes was postmaster.

“There was a female licensee of the Locomotive Inn, which is now the Steamboat, further down from the Railway Inn. This was just across the back lane from the Seaman’s Mission. Could this be the pub in question?”

Boldon Jim, meanwhile, asserts: “This the Staithes master’s house.

“Staithes House was built to house the washing and locker facilities for Harton Low Staithes’ engine drivers and coal-handlers, and was never a pub.

“There were lots of pubs down by the Mill Dam area before the slum clearance in the ’30s.”