When boats ran pleasure trips from South Shields beach

The North Beach at Shields in the summer of 1936.
The North Beach at Shields in the summer of 1936.

THE sky is a cloudless blue and the sun hot at the time of writing.

In fact I had my first Minchella’s ice cream of the year this week - a ‘float,’ shades of being a bairn again - so as far as I’m concerned, summer has been officially declared.

So let’s go to the beach - or at least as it was in August 1936, in this lovely view of the North Sands at Shields which has come from Kevin Blair.

It’s an excellent one for conveying how easy it was to take a pleasure boat ride from the shore at that time.

The largest of the craft in the middle-ground has the name of Joseph Bird along the side, and Bernicia on her flag (curiously, Bernicia seems to have been a popular name on the Tyne, being, at various times, that of a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve drill ship, a - rather accident-prone - Newcastle steamer, and one of the ‘London boats’ that used to carry passengers between the Tyne and the Thames).

Joseph Bird is listed as a boat proprietor before the war, operating from Pier Parade. He lived in Greens Place.

However, he was only one in a line of boat owners who ran pleasure trips from the beach.

I’ve a note of an earlier one, John Armstrong, whose estate, following his death at the turn of last century, arranged the sale of the 12 pleasure boats he operated from the North Beach.

They were auctioned off by Vasey & Reed - actually on the sand.