Working for South Tyneside shipbuilders

If you look closely at the main image on today’s page – showing the open plan workshop at Hebburn Centre of British Shipbuilders’ North East Training and Safety Co, taken in February 1981 – you will see a metal tool box.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 7:51 am
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 7:53 am
The open plan workshop at Hebburn Centre of British Shipbuilders North East Training and Safety Co in February 1981.

Reader and former apprentice electrician Paul Dale got in touch to say he still has his.

“I was in the training centre, 80/81, (the old Leslie’s yard),” says Paul, “as an apprentice electrician.

South Shields Volunteer Lifeguard Club, winning the Northumbria Trophy, the Powell Trophy. Hearn Cup and the Andromeda Cup. Back row, left to right: C Matthews, A Street, J Beecroft, I Muir, N Buzzard, J Layfield and D Swinburn, reserve. Front left to right: P Bennett, G Rowland, J Dagleish, N Thornborrow, A M Owens, A Beecroft. The picture was taken in October 1969.

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“I’ve still got my toolbox, like the one on the bench. We had to buy them and have the amount taken off our wages each week.”

Jim Fothergill also funded the purchase of his tool box in the same way, while Lawrence Taylor told how he was a “shipwright, liner-off, working on Mediterranean Shearwater and the Pacific Teal”.

The old photo also prompted Mark Orange to say: “I started in 1981 as an apprentice sheet metalworker.

“Great times and fantastic people who shaped our lives.”

Back in March 1970, South Shields junior road safety quiz team were pictured with Deputy Mayor and Mayoress, Ald and Mrs George Rossiter. Left to right: Paul McVay, Stephen Barnes, Duncan Emmerson, John Livingston, Karen Barnes and Alan Livingstone.

“And me too,” added Andy Reay.

Michael Bracey emailed to say he worked as an “apprentice plumber in Leslie’s shop. Best days of my life with the best people I ever knew”, while Judith Johnston-Tindle posted “I started YTS in August 1984 as clerical assistant”.

Tony Tabone contact the Gazette to say he was a shipwright with Paul Clark saying: “I was there in 1981. First year Draughtsman apprentice for Swan Hunter.”

Meanwhile, a photo, showing South Shields Volunteer Lifeguard Club’s multi-cup winning members in 1969, also brought back memories for many other readers.

Gillian Wilkinson emailed to say: “I’m lucky to still be running the club with my family and an amazing team of friends. What sticks out for me are all of the laughs we’ve had and friendships that will literally last a life time.”

Gillian went on to say that her mam’s “ladies team had just won the first ever British championships when this was taken. Back then it was beach based unlike now where it’s in the pool”.

Lee Hodges said: “I left in 1965 to join the Navy but have wonderful memories.”

Finally, a picture of South Shields junior road safety quiz team prompted Nigel Banks to write: “I vaguely remember doing my bicycle proff at Mowbray school around 47 years ago” while Lynsey Freestone and Tracey Brydon recalled the days of “the Tufty Club”.