Times of change for Fowler Street

OLD AND NEW ... looking down Fowler Street in the early years of last century.
OLD AND NEW ... looking down Fowler Street in the early years of last century.

WHEN this picture came to me, I’d just been looking at when, just after the end of the Second World War, plans were being formulated to redraw South Shields town centre.

They included widening Fowler Street to create a large open square at its junction with Mile End Road.

Plus ça change, as they say, because, 40 years earlier, that end of Fowler Street had already been going through similar change.

This is another splendid photograph from Kevin Blair, which goes back to not long after the earlier widening of the junction, which saw the demolition of old buildings on the corners of Keppel Street, Smithy Street and King Street, and the construction of new ones.

You can just see on the left that there is a vacant site next to what is, today, the recently-vacated premises of Riddick’ shoe shop – originally Miller & Douglas, grocers – on the corner of Keppel Street.

The building dates from 1905, so it’s likely that the picture wasn’t taken long after that.

On the right, you also have a good view of the upper storey of the old Masonic hall, since demolished and which was where the Thomas Cook travel agency is now.