Woman’s appeal to trace auction drawing

An aerial view of Jarrow.
An aerial view of Jarrow.

You know what it’s like, when you really want to buy something, and for one reason or another you miss out on owning it – the loss can be truly frustrating.

Such was the case with reader Margaret Locklan, who was desperate to buy a drawing of a South Tyneside street that was being sold at auction locally.

I’ll let Margaret explain – before adding her appeal to help track down and buy the much-desired artwork.

“I had wanted to go to the viewing and subsequent auction at Boldon Auction Rooms (on June 6), to see a particular ink drawing by Ken Watts of William Street in Jarrow in 1970.

“The site is the corner of William Street and St John’s Terrace, with a house on the corner where my step-grandma (a strong willed woman) lived with her son, my uncle Billy.

“I would visit her as a child, with my dad, before I was ordered out for something I had said! Although my dad visited regularly, I never went back until he was dying of cancer when I was 18, and I visited to heal the wound, which pleased my dad.

“I kept on visiting and when I got married, as she was in ill health, I got the wedding car to take my husband and myself to the house before the reception.

“I wish someone had been there with a camera as I have no photos of the house, other than a photo of Ken’s painting from a poster.

“I kept on going to see Grandma Connor and uncle Billy, and loved the quaint house, with its long side garden, and sadly watched the ugly telephone exchange being built, right opposite.

“Soon after, the house and all the bottom of Albert Road, were cruelly demolished to create a flyover and houses, with most of the rest of the terrace, including the church opposite St Bede’s, St John’s I believe, and our doctors’ surgery all being demolished.

“Only four houses remained, one becoming the Probation Office, where I worked for a short while, and uncle Billy was moved to the new Epinay Estate.

“I still walk round the back of those houses, and stand on the site of St John’s Church, at the bottom of the terrace, still hurting its disappearance, one of the grandest streets in Jarrow.

“I did find a Christmas card about 40 years ago with the drawing of the whole terrace, including the cottage, but I sent it to my dad’s sister, auntie Barbara, who had lived there a while with her daughter Rita, and I never got another copy.

“I still wish I had dug up the large flowery bush at the gate, just behind a curved wall, before its demolition!

“So when I saw Ken’s paintings up for sale I was determined to attend the auction but I couldn’t make it.”

Despite missing the auction, Margaret remained hopeful of securing the drawing, but to no avail.

“I scanned the auction’s programme and there were quite a few of Ken Watts’ paintings but I couldn’t see that one, so I presume it was one of several being sold as one item.

“I rang the auction rooms just after the sale to see if it had sold singly and how much was it sold for, but they were unable to help me, other than saying all pictures were sold.

“There were so many other paintings which stirred my memory in a poignant way.

“I’m a Jarra lass, never lived anywhere else, like my dad, and I saw others for sale – in Park Road, where I lived until I was three and the signal box on Albert Road at the top of Pine Street where I lived from three until I was 16 in 1962, when we got a council house.”

But it is the one of William Street which Margaret is desperate to own.

“Can anyone help me trace this painting?” she added.

“If so, is there any possibility of the new owner giving consideration to selling it on.

“It may well have gone to relatives on my dad’s side of the family, with whom I have lost touch, and that would be nice to get in touch again or maybe it was just bought for the appeal of the painting, but it’s worth a try.

“I would love to own any photo/painting which includes the cottage – 1 St John’s Terrace .

“If anyone can help, could they please phone me on 07946 290144.

“I still live in the toon with my family, loving the town and its memories, and spacious parks.”