When visiting the coast was a great adventure for those just a few miles inland

Pierrots on the South Foreshore at South Shields.
Pierrots on the South Foreshore at South Shields.

I can’t let the week end without saying how fantastic I thought the summer parade in Shields was last Saturday.

The organisations involved put a great deal of work into it every year, but this time the results, I think it’s fair to say, exceeded everyone’s expectations.

If the standard that has now been sent is maintained, then Shields can only go 
from strength to strength as THE place to be in 
the summer, for its wonderful seafront and free attractions.

It’s especially timely when, if what we read is right, the UK’s seaside resorts are starting to emerge from years in the doldrums.

As with other places, Shields’s popularity has had its ups and downs over the years, if you think for instance of those boom years of the 1950s and 1960s followed by the bust of folk discovering cheap foreign holidays.

The picture here, though, rewinds to a time when it was adventure enough to come from perhaps just a few dozen miles inland to the coast.

This comes from Kevin Blair and is of the old pierrot stage on the South Foreshore.

There is no date for it, but pierrot shows were imported into this country in the 1890s, from France, and I’ve a note of the old South Shields Corporation accepting a tender from a W Catlin for the provision of pierrot entertainment on the sands in 1904. That would see to fit with the era of the picture.

W Catlin was Will Catlin, who started out with pierrot shows at Scarborough and whose name became synonymous with them.