Your memories of growing up in South Shields

As mentioned on Friday, the Streets of South Shields local history group is saying 'farewell' with a display of work being staged at the town's St Hilda's Church, on Saturday, July 1, and Monday, July 3.

Monday, 19th June 2017, 9:05 am
Updated Monday, 19th June 2017, 3:38 pm
Streets of South Shields.

Here are just a few of the projects that group members have been working on.

Liz Coffy has made a display entitled Town Hall Garage.

So many photos and memories to enjoy at St Hildas Church.

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“My husband, Chris Coffey, started his motor mechanic apprenticeship at Town Hall Garage in 1957 at the age of 17 years,” explains Liz.

“At the time, the garage had about a dozen Rolls Royce funeral and wedding cars, as well as a couple of hearses. They also had a fleet of black taxi cabs. It was one of the most prestigious garages in South Shields.

“The showroom, opposite the Town Hall was kept immaculate. Mr Pearson was the manager (possibly the owner) and his word was law.

“One day, at a loose end, and only about 15-years-old, I called into the garage to see Chris. I was working at Woolworth’s at the time, and Chris and I were courting.

So many photos and memories to enjoy at St Hildas Church.

“Turning up at the garage was frowned upon, and I had to dodge the foreman, Andy Foster.

“I could see Chris in the driving seat of one of the Rolls Royce wedding cars, but because of my furtive movements, Chris didn’t see me, and because of the quietness of the Rolls, I very nearly got myself run over. Fortunately they were only allowed to drive the cars very slowly.”

Yvonne Richardson based her memories on The Cellar Club.

“Some of my happiest teenage memories were made in the Old Cellar Club, in Beach Road. From the outside it looked the same as all the other terraced houses, it even had a front garden.

“There was a bar upstairs, which was mostly used by older people, and downstairs in the cellar was the dance floor, with swing doors into another bar.

“We practised all the new dances at home and couldn’t wait to get on the dance floor.

“We went three nights a week, for three and a half years. We seemed to grow up there, and even found love.”

Yvonne said there was nothing fancy or trendy about the decor but “when you went down into the dimly-lit cellar and heard the music, the atmosphere was electric. It was so exciting; once we discovered the Cellar we never went anywhere else.

“I had my first drink at the Old Cellar Club – a Cherry B.

“It took two hours to drink it, and although I didn’t like the taste, I loved how it made me feel.

“Sadly, the Old Cellar closed around 1968, and the New Cellar Club opened in Thomas Street. It was done out all mod and trendy but it lacked the buzzing atmosphere of the original underground club. In my opinion no other club has managed to come anywhere near to the amazing Old Cellar Club.”

And music also features in the display, entitled Wiggs, by Thomas Moran.

“Music has always featured in my life,” reveals Thomas, “right from being a youngster.

“Mam was a good singer, and I learned all the old songs from her.

“The guitar was an instrument I had long wanted to play, but as a young lad mam and dad couldn’t afford to buy me one. I would look in Wiggs’ music shop window, in Ocean Road, at the guitars, and pretend I was getting one for my next birthday.

“I got my first guitar when I was in the Army, and one of my mates taught me a few chords, and I was away. I am still playing the guitar to this day, and I still love it.”

The display is free, and can be seen between 10am and 3pm on the Saturday and 10am and 1pm on the Monday.