When thousands staged protest march through South Shields

Seamen in Fowler Street before returning to union HQ at Mill Dam.
Seamen in Fowler Street before returning to union HQ at Mill Dam.

It must have been quite a sight to see – 2,000 seamen, with their banner and placards held high, parading through the streets of South Shields.

Such was the scene that greeted shoppers and passers-by in the town in May 1966 when the parade, seen here stretching the full length of Fowler Street, made its way on a circular route, via Chichester and Laygate, back to union headquarter’s at the Mill Dam. What were they protesting about?

The Golden Lion public house, in Jarrow.

The Golden Lion public house, in Jarrow.

The photo, posted on Facebook, encouraged a number of readers to get in touch.

Keith Hussein said: “My dad’s there, to the right of the banner. So proud of him.” While Jane Nelson spoke of “Jim Slater in the white jacket at the front... my grandma’s brother... happy memories” and Sarah Pascoe took to social media to say “great photo”.

When asked how times have changed since 1966, Jean Jamieson said: “There doesn’t appear to be as much civic pride as there once was. Too many people (and I include politicians in this) are only out for what they can get and to hell with the less fortunate. Graffiti, litter and foul language. I can swear like the best of them, but there’s a time and place.”

Nicola Peach responded by saying: “Graffiti, litter and foul language are definitely not a new problem. I remember when I was a kid in the 80s and the graffiti and litter were really bad. Rose tinted specs perhaps?”

Award winners show off their trophies, watched by club members at Whitleas Cricket Club's awards night.

Award winners show off their trophies, watched by club members at Whitleas Cricket Club's awards night.

Joanne Dry pointed out: “It hasn’t changed for the good that is for sure! Rubbish and litter is more prevalent today. Obviously no one knows how to use a litter bin!”

Meanwhile, an old photo of the Golden Lion public house, in Jarrow, also got readers posting on Facebook.

John Flynn pointed out that behind the bar was Ian Fishwick while Maxine Fisher speculated ... “and Denise Fishwick?”

“Yes”, replied Denise, “it is me, Maxine.”

Denise went on to say: “It brought back a lot of lovely memories” with Maxine posting: “I bet it did, it’s great.”

Doug Graves said his mam and dad are pictured on the left of the photo, prompting Sandy Graves to comment: “Yeah that’s my mother and father-in-law Annie and Jonny Graves, this was probably around the late seventies.”

Denise Fishwick responded, saying: “It was early eighties, they were a lovely couple.”

More memories resurfaced thanks to a photo from November 1988 which showed members of the Whitleas Cricket Club with their trophies at the club’s awards night.

Gillian Jenkins got in touch to name them, saying: “If my memory serves me correctly...back row, Alan Clark, Jimmy Douthwaite, Jimmy Inskip, Derek Capstick, Jimmy Evans, Jeff Chapman and Don Lyons. Middle row, Ronnie Slater, Derrick Clarke, Dave Smith, Jock Nicholson, Ronnie Peterson, Gavin Peterson and Geordie Cook. Front row, Tommy Swingbanks, Mark Nicholson, Mark Scott, Peter Millington, Len Smith and Gary Smith... phew! I only know them as I used to do the scoring.”

Paul Andaz Andersen said: “Cracking photo”, with Sarah Nicholson agreeing, posting on social media “great photo”.