Write back to the old days

Boys at Busways.
Boys at Busways.

Members of a local history group are busy working on their latest projects – and once complete, they should make truly fascinating reading.

For they cover a wide range of subjects from South Tyneside’s past, including some of the people and places that have helped to make the area the great place it is.

The projects are being undertaken by members of the Streets of South Shields group, which is run by the Workers’ Education Association (WEA).

Members have been working on their own chosen piece of work for the past two terms, and the end results will provide a splendid snapshot of South Tyneside.

Paul Thompson’s project is entitled All Aboard The Buses – which is most appropriate for a man who spent 20 years working for the local transport company.

“I started as a conductor on the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive,” explains 65-year-old Paul.

“The project features my memories of my time on the buses, and is also a tribute to the men who I worked with.

“They were great times, and they were a great bunch of lads.

“There were a lot of characters on the buses, and in the town in general.”

Paul remembers the old yellow buses with affection, and says he can’t understand how people’s recollections of them have “ended so quickly”.

He also recalls the day Muhammad Ali travelled on one of the buses during his visit of South Shields.

Paul’s wife Maureen Jane Thompson has also been working on her own project, entitled My Dad And His Four-legged Friends.

Maureen explained that her dad Thomas Oliphant (though everyone called him Tommy) used to take dog obedience classes.

“He started getting an interest in it when he was in the Army.

“You will be amazed how many people know him.

“He has helped a lot of people to train their dogs.”

Maureen said her father, who interestingly enough named all his own dogs Silver, was still training dogs into his late seventies.

“Working on the project brought back a lot of memories,” she added.

Derek Moulding’s project, Local History In The Making, looks at the changing face of the River Tyne.

It is inspired by the daily walk he takes from his home, along the river, and on to the unit where he works on his hobby of building cars.

“I walk there and I walk back,” says 65-year-old Derek.

“The project is a selection of my own photographs, looking at the changing face of the river, and concentrating on the right-hand side of the route.

“I look at the local industry and the local landmarks. There’s a bit of history revealing what used to be there and how things have changed.”

Derek’s work covers a period from the 1980s onwards.

“It proved very interesting. I had to take a lot more photographs to fill the gaps,” he added.

New classes from the WEA start in September, so anyone wanting further information should get in touch with Janet Wylie, who runs the group, on (0191) 4554830 or (0795) 4413542 or email her on 54janet@live.co.uk