South Shields in old picture postcards volume 1

South Shields in old picture postcards volume 1

:   D. Johnson
:   Tyne & Wear
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3004-2
:   144
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'South Shields in old picture postcards volume 1'

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Visitors to South Shields are often surprised to find how old the town really is and how much of the original attractive countryside still surrounds it. The origins of the town stretch back even before the coming of the Romans, and flint weapons were found beneath the level of the Roman station and at Tyne Dock.

The Roman Fort itself was founded about 80 A.D. The site was of great strategie significance, at the mouth of a navigable river and dominating a long stretch of coast line, as weIl as being the probable terminus of one of the four roads in the area, the Wrekendyke.

Numerous relics of the Roman occupation still exist, among the most touching being the gravestone of a Regina, alocal woman, wife of Barates. He was probably a merchant from Palmyra, an important trading city. Thus we see not only the early beginnings of South Shields as a commercial port but also the tradition of good race relations! The Roman Fort appears to have been occupied until the Romans left Britain early in the fifth century, but there is evidence that by A.D. 364, Saxon invaders were harrying the coast and it is not surprising that they in their turn also took advantage of the Lawe Top site.

King Oswald appears to have had one of his royal seats at South Shields, and tradition gives the birthplace of his son Oswin as South Shields, or Caer Urfa as it was then. Oswin gave St. Hilda the land for a church about 647-648, which was later named after her, this makes St. Hilda's the site of one of the earliest Christian churches in the north. Further waves of invaders from Scandinavia again harried the coast, and in A.D. 787 and 794 they plundered the nearby monastery of St. Paul's, east Jarrow.

Here we have perhaps the first mention of shipwrecks and the Herd Sand, as traditionally part of the Viking fleet was lost there. A.D. 865 and again 875 saw them returning in force but they were driven out of Durham about 883 by Guthard, who had been invested with the royal insignia as King of Northumbria on the Lawe Top.

The independent northerners, who did not take kindly to the

Norman Conquest, rebelled against their rulers. The new King William came north in 1069 and quashed the uprising with fire and sword. So thorough was he that the northern counties were not inc1uded in the Domesday Book. Those who were left were not only in danger from famine but also fr om the marauding Scots who took the able-bodied back to their homes as slaves. But once again the site attracted the hardy survivors, there was fish to be had from the Tyne and a small huddle of huts made its appearance on the river bank near the Lawe.

What was left of the fort was possibly destroyed by the Danes, in 870. lf not then, William's troops would have made short work of any fortifications useful to rebels. The fisher folk appear to have preferred their convenient riverside haunts to the windy hill top. They were not at the mercy of any lord of the manor, however, but were, and had c1aimed to be since 882, the people of the church, and were subject to the rule of the Bishop of Durham.

The earliest mention of South Shields by something near its modern name is in 1235 in the Melsanby Buke where South Seheles makes an appearanee. At this time Harton and Westoe were separate villages; the village of Harton being just as important as its neighbours and having a chapel dedieated to St. Lawrence. With the shift of style of government in England and the movement from links with Scandinavia to links with France from 1066 comes a lessening of the strategie and economie importance of the Lawe site. This would continue until the Civil War and the rise of the coal-glasschemical trade. The little village was in a cul-de-sac, while armies marched to Scotland via Newcastle and to London and the south co ast ports to France via Y ork.

The civil strife of the Wars of the Roses and the long-running feud with the Scots appear to have made little mark locally, though the fact that the monks of Jarrow unanimously decided to give a donation to Riehard of Gloucester's puninitive raid on Scotland in 1482 seems to point to a knowledge of the dangers of Scottish raids in the area.

The first known map of the South Shields area was drawn in

1509 and South Shields was also 'on the map' as far as local Catholics were concerned, because a centre for smuggling priests into the country from the continent had been. established here during Elizabeth I's reign.

A less controversial trade was in loca1 salt and by the midsixteenth century there were 153 salt pans in South and North Shields. During the Civil War the Lawe Top fortifications were the site of brisk action. The Tyne was originally in Royalist hands and was one of their principal means of communication with the continent. The Roundhead Scots attacked the fort on 15th and 16th March 1644, then finally on the 20th the Royalists were forced to flee across to Tynemouth, 1eaving fort, ordnance, ammunition and colours in the hands of the Scots. It was re-taken three months later by Montrose and Sir John Marley, Mayor of Newcastle. The Roundheads would not be beaten, and finally took the fort in July and the fall of Newcastle and Tynemouth Castie in October virtually ended the Civil War in the north.

St. Hilda's vestry minute books of 1660-61 tell of Shieldsmen ruined because of the war, and accounts of the time speak of villages burned to the ground and the countryside laid waste. Evidence also appears of the continuing importance of the salt-making industry. Many of the salt manufacturers were also Quakers and Baptists and three were accused and arrested in 1664 for plotting a rebellion but the matter died down.

Again in 1666 the town was p1aced on a defensive footing during the war with Holland, Denmark and France and the local men volunteered to defend their town but their help was not needed.

The eighteenth century saw the gradual creeping in of industrialisation. Salt manufacturing continued to be important, and was joined by the mining and export of coal, the manufacture of glass, the building and repairing of ships, with a host of secondary industries such as rope making and the baking of biscuits for provisions on board ships. During the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745, the ferries plus all guns and arms were seized but again these measures proved un-

necessary. It was not until 1768 that the South Shields that we know began to take shape, when the Market Place was laid out, and the old Town Hall with the streets immediately surrounding it were built. There is not a great deal of difference between the maps of South Shie1ds in 1768 and 1827, but by the time the surveyors for the first Ordnance Survey maps of the area, published in 1857, were at work, housing for the workers flooding in to Tyneside was beginning to fill in the triangle of available land. The great movement of labour away from agriculture and the villages to towns and industry radically changed the borough.

Census records show the influx of wor kers and their families from Scotland, Ireland, Norfolk and the adjoining counties of Northumberland and Cumberland as well as Scandinavia. Local mining and shipbuilding together with construction work on new docks, houses, public buildings, shops, railways and so forth, swallowed up this army of workers and moulded them into Geordies.

Local government responded to the needs of the growing town by the provision of public baths in 1854, numerous schools in the 1870's, a public library in 1873, the Marine Parks in 1890, and a slum clearance programme with new housing estates in the 1920's and 30's. The expanding town obtained a Charter of Incorporation on 3rd September 1850, and became a county borough on the 1st of April, 1889 Westoe Village became part of South Shields in 1897 but it still retains its own character and charm. The village of Harton fol1owed in 1921 and the borough boundaries were again extended in 1936 and 1950. On local government reorganisation in 1974 South Shields became part of South Tyneside in the new county of Tyne and Wear.

The town has produced a surprising number of writers of international farne: James Kirkup, Jarnes Mitchell and Catherine Cookson, also the inventor of the lifeboat, William Wouldhave, and the fITSt Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir William Fox. South Tyneside was awarded the Council of Europe flag of honour for 1981, for its town twinning involvement.

1. The old volunteers coming from Trow Rocks along Ocean Road after their annual camp, early in the 1900's. The first volunteer corps in the town were the South Shields Loyal Volunteers, raised in 1797, in response to the threat of invasion by Napoleon. Armed with old flint-loek muskets, with which it was considered good shooting to score a bull's eye at eighty yards, the volunteers met in the Market Place on Sunday afternoons and marched to the Bents for 'Prussian Exercise'. The old English Long Bow was a much deadlier and more accurate weapon than the clumsy musket, but the Shield's men had a good reputation with the flint-loek, besides which they probably did not have the muscles their forebears had to pull abow.

2. Wapping Street about 1888 with the houses with niches (see top centre). These were supposed to have been built by F1emish weavers f1eeing from persecution and the niches were to hold small statues. A 1ess welcome visitor to these shores was the cockroach, supposed to have been brought to this part of the country amongst ballast. Certainly, in the 1880's Broekie says that 'rnany houses in Shields are full of Cockroaches, especially in cupboards near ovens'. They were once fancied to bring good luck to a house, but a lady in Westoe Village got a breed of them on purpose, and the house was soon over-run. The grocer's shop is owned by T.F. Beadnell, and at number 61 is the shop of Dorothy Sahsa, a curious name which could indicate an early member of the Arab Community.

3. The corner of Fowler Street, east side looking north, in the ear1y 1920's. On the far left we can see the Scala, then the Royal Hotel (now the Ship and Royal), then the Criterion, Oliver's, and finally Goldman's general dealer's shop, with Pearlman's above. The Scala changed to the Gaumont and has recently become an amusement centre; the two pubs are still there, Goldman's has been gone for some time but Oliver's, without the lamps but with a comprehensive collection of tobaccos, cigars and cigarettes, survived until quite recently. By the late sixties, with its dark unchanged interim, and wooden floor, it was so old fashioned that it was something of a period piece. The staff were very obliging, and its demise must have been keenly regretted by many. The shop next door was kept for many years by Mrs. Oliver, the wife of Jack Oliver who ran the tobacconists. lt was a sweet shop and Mrs. Oliver must have been a 'sweet' lady, for she was fondly remembered by her customers.

4. Taken about 1898, this shows the Mill Dam end of East Holborn, looking from Coronation Street and Brewery Lane. Note the flat caps, also the bowler hat which was the traditional headwear for the foreman. Brewery Lane commemorates the breweries in this area. The Mill Dam was originally the opening of another mouth of the Tyne which ran along Coronation Street, Catherine Street and out via Ocean Road to the sea. By Napoleonic times this had silted up and after the Napoleonic wars the small creek was filled in as relief work for the unemployed.

5. Crofton's Corner and the Market Place in the 1920's. A very peaceful scene in direct contrast to the night of 2nd October 1941, when a stick of bombs which was dropped over the market place caused some of the worst damage of that terrifying night. The Tram Hotel, the Grapes Hotel, Jackson's the Tailors and the King's Shoe Shop, were gutted, had it not been for the solidity of the dividing walls at Liptons' and Masons' shops, the fire might have caused much more damage in King Street, Crofton's Drapery Stores at the corner of King Street started to burn fr om a leaking gas main and was soon no more. The fire spread to Woolworth's which was shortly a ruin. By daylight on Friday 3rd, much of what one sees here had been swept away, like a pile of child's building blocks,

6. Albion Street taken about 1914, when the town council were making efforts to demolish the worst of the slums. Far left shows the outside of a privy midden with a pool of water close by, a breeding ground for various diseases. Note the close proximity of the houses in the centre of the picture, also unhealthy. The Public Health Act of 1875 made regulations to stop this type of crowding but this was bolting the stabie door after the horse had gone as by this time much cheap housing had been built for the workers who poured in from the country, from Ireland and from Scotland into Tyneside to find werk.


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7. This quaint building is Trinity Towers, taken about 1880. It was built in 1810, as a pilot's look out. When the Marine parks were opened in 1890, it was taken over as a park-keepers lodge. It was later used by the Education Department and was demolished in 1971. A cairn stands on the site with the erest on the tower cemented to the side. The wording is 'Deus Dabit Vela' (God will give the sails) then 'erected by the master and brethren of the Trinity House Newcastle Upon Tyne 1810. Sirnon Danson-Master (illegible) Deputy Master'. Mr. Enoeh Thompson proposed to build a replica of the towers in Toronto, Canada, as a meeting plaee for the local Tyneside eolony, but the idea never materialised.

8. Mariner's Cottages taken about 1900. They were built by the South Shields Master Mariner's Annuity Society as homes for aged rnernbers or widows and orphans of members of the society. The foundation stone for the first five cottages was !aid on 7th December 1843 by Robert Anderson, and the buildings were paid for by Dr. Winterbottom. A second foundation stone was !aid by Robert Ingham on 26th March 1846. The 21 cottages on the north side were completed by 1847, and the 17 on the south side in 1862. As well as paying for the first cottages, Dr. Winterbottom constructed and stocked a library, donated a telescope, and endowed the building with over !400 in consols to keep the gardens in good order. The library and telescope have vanished, but the cottages remain.

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