Working at Binns in South Shields

Binns staff from 1963.
Binns staff from 1963.

The last few articles about shops in South Shields, and Binns in particular, have unearthed a rich seam of memories.

And to add to the wealth of words supplied by yourselves, both via email and Facebook, one kind reader has provided a pictorial reminder of our glorious retail past.

My thanks go to Pauline Smith who sent in the above picture.

I’ll let Pauline explain.

“Further to your recent articles about Binns’ store in South Shields, I worked in the fashion department in Binns from September 1963 to March 1966.

“The buyer was Miss Clark. Mrs Coverdale was the senior sales assistant in coats and furs, Mrs Cook in dresses and Miss Harley in separates.

“The photo comes from the staff Christmas party of 1963 held at the Dogs Bowl.”

Meanwhile, further to the many comments concerning buying records in Shields, John Bage got in touch to say: “In the early Sixties there was only one record shop of any worth in South Shields where me and my friends went, and that was Saville’s record shop.

“In those days TV used to have five-minute intervals now and again in order to synchronise the programmes. One evening they played a short film during one of those intervals.

“It showed a group of chimps larking around, and the soundtrack was called ‘Love Me Do’, by a group with a funny name, The Beatles.

“I liked it as it was different.

“Well, the following Saturday I went down South Shields to get a record but they were sold out of the one I wanted, but I remembered the one from the interval and bought The Beatles record instead.

“I still have it to this day and it is worth a bit more now, being a collectible record. Saville’s was a great shop in those days.”

Wallace Pattison also got in touch to provide more details about the photo of a building at Mill Dam, featured in a story entitled ‘My grandmother’s pub’.

“It belonged to a glass-making company, situated down the Mill Dam.

“Its gardens had patterns made up of coloured glass, used to promote the company’s ware.

“The building was later used as offices by the coal industry, as a coal staith.”

It was a story regarding an undated office scene that got Christine Mitcheson typing.

She emailed to say: “I used to work at the Shields Gazette, and this seems very familiar.

“I think it could be the ‘new’ reception area of the Gazette when the building was extended, when it was in Chapter Row, South Shields.

“I think the date could be around 1959-60. This is only my opinion, mind.”

As always, your contributions are gratefully received, so please keep in touch with your comments and requests regarding any aspects of the past that you would particularly like to see featured in the page or on the Gazette’s Facebook pages.

Meanwhile, Ann Franklin has been in touch with the following information on behalf of the South Tyneside branch of the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society.

“The next meeting of the society is to be held at 1.30pm on Wednesday, February 15, in St Hilda’s Visitors Centre, Market Place, South Shields.

“The speaker is Andrew Clark, from Summerhill Books, who will give a presentation entitled ‘Pubs, Brewers and Beer’.

“Andrew is basing his talk on the South Tyneside area, with particular emphasis on South Shields, as he has promised ‘lots of old photographs of South Shields’.

“This is something which will appeal not only to family and local history enthusiasts, but also to anyone who has nostalgic memories of South Shields.

“Members of the society as well as visitors are more than welcome to join us for the afternoon.”