Gazette legend Janis Blower will share South Tyneside tales

Former Gazette reporter Janis Blower will be sharing tales about South Tyneside at a special event this weekend.
Former Gazette reporter Janis Blower will be sharing tales about South Tyneside at a special event this weekend.

Former Gazette feature editor and Cookson Country writer Janis Blower will be sharing tales of South Tyneside at a special event this weekend.

The historian will be looking back at South Tyneside’s history at the Customs House in South Shields on Sunday.

Janis is a legend and we’re thrilled to have her with us this weekend. She has the most amazing knowledge of the area and I think this Sunday’s event will be extremely interesting.

Ray Spencer

The event, An Afternoon with Janis Blower, will include afternoon tea and feature tales from across the borough and throughout the ages.

Customs House executive director, Ray Spencer, said: “Janis is a legend and we’re thrilled to have her with us this weekend.

“She has the most amazing knowledge of the area and I think this Sunday’s event will be extremely interesting.”

Janis retired from the Shields Gazette last year after 44 years.

During her retirement Janis has written a book charting the Customs House’s 150-year history, which will be available to buy on the day.

The book, which is called The Little Theatre with the Big History, was researched by South Shields Local History Group and costs £4.

Janis said: “It was really interesting for the Local History Society and I to explore the origins of the Customs House and to chart how it evolved into, first, the heart of the town’s seafaring community, as the Mercantile Marine office, and then of the borough’s cultural landscape.

“For me, with the centre of Shields on the cusp of far-reaching redevelopment, it’s also a timely reminder of how much we should treasure our historic buildings, and of how – with flair and imagination – they can be found new roles.

“I hope people enjoy reading about the building’s fascinating history and its place in the wider narrative of Shields’s maritime and cultural identity.”

Tickets for the 5pm event cost £15.95 and include 
afternoon tea. To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call the box office on 
0191 454 1234.