Helping at the circus when it came to South Tyneside
Many of you will have lined the streets of South Tyneside when the circus parade passed through town in years gone by. But not many readers will have gone on to work on the Big Top.
However, Harry Thompson did, as he goes on to explain.
“I really enjoyed your feature and photographs of visits by circuses to South Shields in the 1950s and ‘60s,” writes Harry.
“As a youngster I lived with my parents on Stanhope Road, and used to watch the circus parades of animals, clowns, acrobats cowboys and cowgirls, as they passed our front door, making their way to the Brinkburn Recreation Ground, where the Big Top would be set up.
“On a couple of occasions I helped with carrying seating from the large transporter trucks into the tent to be erected.
“I can recall Billy Smart’s, Chipperfield’s, and Bertram Mills’ Circuses were regular visitors to the ‘Brinky’, and my dad said that some of the performers used to visit the Stanhope Hotel after the evening shows.”
Meanwhile, a photo, posted on the Gazette’s Facebook page, showing The Drifters in concert in Bents Park prompted Carol Henton to say: “I was desperate to go, but I had to go into hospital as I was having my baby the next day!
“The date was Sunday July 9, I had my youngest son on the 10th.”
Valerie Wilson-Gurney was there, with Bob Gurney and Marcel and Bob Curry, “before we were married. Loved it.”
Darren Faill took to social media to quip: “Was it a Saturday night?
Another picture, taken in April 1975, showing a ship being built at the Readhead’s Yard in South Shields prompted Rachel Wood to ask: “Where is this?”
Her question was answered by Angela Knowles, who said: “Bertram Street, looking towards the river.”
Ian Shipley also posed the question as to the identity of the ship, wondering whether it was the Esso Northumbria?
It was, in fact, an unnamed (at the time) vessel, being built for Commons Brothers. What more can you tell us about her?