Recalling high old times in and around the Chichester Arms

So many of you had a ‘Chi’ old time when it came to recalling times – in and around the Chichester Arms.

By Peter French
Thursday, 25th April 2019, 10:50 am
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 10:54 am
The Chichester Arms  public house.
The Chichester Arms public house.

For lots of you took to social media to comment on a photo of the pub and the surrounding area when we posted it on the Gazette Facebook page.

Tim Hudson recalled: “Trolley bus wires, with conductors jumping off buses with long poles to change overhead points. Lots blue flashes! Similar bottom Fowler Street, but busier and the bus station at Chi” while Paula Coxill spoke of “Queen Victoria’s statue in the middle. It’s now at the town hall.”

Pupils from Hedworth Lane Junior School, in Boldon Colliery, pictured in April 1982 who raised money for the National Children's Homes. Presenting the cheque, are left to right, Ian McFarlane, Lisa Winthrop and Christopher Bryden. They gave it to Kendal Baker, representative for the NCH.

Christine Bose said: “My mam was a barmaid there, Peggy Summerson, many many years ago.” Samantha Agar told how: “I worked there years ago, when John and Eileen had it, was a great time.”

Graham Monaghan posted: “Not the Chi, but the vets down the road, me granda was steward for years.”

Michelle Gabriele talks about “all holding hand around the big Chi roundabout, happy days” while Anne Newby says: “Remember it well, and the piper and people climbing the lamppost on the roundabout, the good old days”

Climbing the lamppost, on New Year’s Eve, was obviously a popular pastime, judging by the number of people who mentioned it.

They included John Morris and Adriaan VandeLang, along with Gav Smith who said: “New year... roundabout...lamppost ...”

Les Race claimed: “I was the last man to climb the lamppost! Had some mint New Years Eve’s there” though Darren Winter chipped in by saying: “A was the last one ... did it last week man! Were mint times Les.”

Paul Hodgson revealed how the Chi was “the first pub that I drank in” while Janice Grant told how it was “my first try of a hot beef dip!”.

James Wright said the pub was a “short stop before the nightclub” while Julie Webster reminded Russ Wilkinson that “you were born in here”.

Tracey Murray spoke of the “courting years” when it came to the pub and this iconic part of town.

Meanwhile, more readers responded to a photo showing children from Hedworth Lane Junior School, Boldon Colliery, who were selling “sunny smiles” for charity in 1982. This is what they said about this kindhearted initiative.

Denise English posted: “Blast from the past! Remember the charity workers knocking on doors in the 70s with booklets You would make a donation and take a picture,” while Ricardo Jennings said: “At Christmas 1912, the NCH began a Feed the Bairns campaign similar to the later Sunny Smiles. The leaflet showed children who had come into their homes. We have a copy in our archives.”

Val Rowe told how: “Those who raised the most money were invited to the city hall every year for a huge celebration. We all got new clothes and sat on that fabulous stage then handed over a money bag to the organisers. It was a great day.

“Ours was organised through Burnheads Methodist church, in Hebburn.”

Karen Holmes explained how: “Sunny Smiles envelopes were taken home. A donation was put in the envelopes and the money went to starving or less fortunate kids ... as far as I can remember” while Angela Lishman said: “sunny smiles was a National Children’s Homes” initiative. You had a little booklet with black and white photos of babies (presumably from their homes) and sold a photo for a charitable donation. I think we gave a penny for one (a lot of money in my day).”

Adele Sarson urged Jessica Johnson to “show your dad this,he’s at the back,left” while Karin Craig told how “I used to do them from church”.