Recalling bus trip days of old

Over the years we’ve probably all been on a bus trip, whether it was for a day out or a journey to some “far flung” football ground to cheer on your team during their latest cup run.

By Peter French
Friday, 26 April, 2019, 09:33
Residents of Belloc Avenue, Biddick Hall, heading off on a bus trip.

The aforementioned days out probably involved a short journey to the country or (if you didn’t live next to the seaside) a trip to the coast.

During factory fortnight, when many workplaces up and down the country used to shut shop for a two-week break, bus trips were particularly popular.

Cub Scouts from the 7th (Northfield Gardens) South Shields Pack.

In the days before holidaying abroad became affordable to the general public, people would take this time off to go to such destinations as Bognor Regis, Skegness and, of course, Blackpool.

And many a community group, with families from the local streets clubbing together to share the cost, would travel on a hired coach, eager to get away from it all – and hopefully enjoy a bit of sunshine.

No doubt many of them were laden with bags, containing ‘cossies’ and towels, and plenty of food (and drink) for the journey there and back.

Once on the road, the community singing would start, with popular favourites of the day, belted out by one and all, until, just a few miles down the road, most people got fed up and stared out of the window at the passing scenery.

No bus trip was complete, of course, without regular “comfort breaks” and, unfortunately, one or more child being overcome with travel sickness – paper bags anybody?

They were good times, and, for some, they were bad times, being confined in a cramped bus, with little ventilation and no toilet.

But they were often the only means of escaping the towns and cities.

One such trip away involved residents of Belloc Avenue, in Biddick Hall, South Shields.

Before they headed off, someone took a photo of the excited children and adults.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But over the years, the picture has been damaged, and now reader Mark Crowther is hoping to track down a better copy.

This is what Mark wrote: “I was wondering if it is possible to trace an old photograph. It is a group photo that was in the South Shields Gazette, dated 1959-ish.

“It was for a trip for the residents of Belloc Avenue, Biddick Hall.

“I have attached a picture of the damaged copy in the hope that someone can help.”

If anyone can help Mark with his search, they can contact me and I’ll pass the details on to him.

Also, can anyone recognise some of the people pictured or tell us where the residents were heading for?

Meanwhile, a number of readers have already been in touch after we featured a photo of cub scouts from the 7th (Northfield Gardens) South Shields Pack pictured in 1983.

After posting the photo on the Gazette’s Facebook page Chris Jennings took to social media to say: “Recognise some faces on here” while Pat Murphy Campbell said: “I’d swear that trophy is still at the hut and there is definitely one of those caps in the cupboard!”

With Scout Community Week coming soon what are your memories of bob-a-job week?

It was a time of the year when Scouts and Cubs would head off to “do their duty” by volunteering to undertake all sorts of jobs within the community – all for the cost of an old shilling.

Such tasks included cleaning windows or cars or cutting a neighbour’s lawn.

What were you asked to do?