Author and former South Shields journalist explores history of King Street in new book

A retired South Shields journalist-turned author has penned a book dedicated to his beloved hometown high street.

By Sarah Sinclair
Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 10:30 am

Having now hung up his notebook and tape recorder after more than 30 years, the author is best known for his crime fiction novels.

But passing along South Shields’ main shopping street every day on his way to the library, he became fascinated by the buildings and the stories behind them.

Retired journalist Peter Taylor has written a book on the history of King Street.

“King Street is really an outdoor museum with buildings that tell stories of the history of South Shields from its beginnings as an industrial town,” Peter, who lives in the Westoe area, explained.

“I have visited many towns in England with engrossing blue plaque civic trails and I never understood why King Street didn’t have one.

“I decided to try and find out more about the buildings. I spent two years doing this and the book is the result.”

It tells the story of how King Street was created to how it became the hub of the expansion of South Shields during the Victorian age and how the Second World War changed its appearance forever.

Peter was a journalist in the North East for around 30 years.

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31 views of King Street in South Shields over the years

Whilst supporting the council’s ambitious plans for the redevelopment of the town centre, Peter feared it would lose some of its historic buildings under the 365 project and hopes the book will highlight their importance in the town’s heritage.

He said: “We could now be at a stage where the street could be incorporated in to a heritage trail around the town centre which could include other striking features like the Customs House, St Hilda’s, the Old Town Hall and The Word.”

Although currently only available in ebook form, Peter plans to publish a print version in the near future and would welcome any additional information or stories about the street.

King Street in 1986.

“The reaction to the book has been enthusiastic and favourable,” he added.

“Although rundown, it is a street which still holds a lot of affection from the people of South Shields.”

King Street a South Shields Story is available on Amazon. Peter can be contacted via [email protected]

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