Sunseekers loved loitering within tent on beach

SHADY ... beach tents at Marsden in the 1960s.
SHADY ... beach tents at Marsden in the 1960s.

REGULAR readers will know that I have always had a soft spot for beach tents.

You don’t see them any more. How many people now, after all, go to the beach for the whole day, thus justifying having one?

But nothing was cosier, when you were a child, than to retreat from the heat of the sun – or the bite of the wind – and eat your sandwiches in the dim recesses of a tent’s canvas shade.

They were having a lovely time in beach tents here. This is a smashing picture from Kevin Blair, taken at Marsden in the mid-1960s.

Talking of tents, what folk certainly don’t do any more is decamp to the beach for the duration of the whole summer.

This was common on either side of the First World War, the ‘tenters,’ as they were known, being regular summer-long occupants of certainly the North Beach at Shields.

But the South Foreshore had its own ‘camp village,’ as it was known, as well.

I recently came across a note of it from 1914, when South Shields Corporation decided that there should be no such village on the south sands that summer.

Ironically, this had nothing to do with what would become the growing storm clouds of war, but a suggestion by the ‘villagers’ that the tents should actually be located at the foot of Mowbray Road, to reduce the danger of them being flooded out by high tides.