Old South Bank
The 21st Century
Victoria Street School
Cromwell Road School
Princess Street School
St. Peter's RC Schools
The Boys Clubs
Ex - Pats Index
Maps & Aerial Pix
The Pubs and Clubs
Smiths Dock & Gala Days
More Slaggy Tales
Some Slaggy Islanders
Pub and Club Activities
Reunion 2002 Pics
More Slaggy Islanders
Smith Family Album
Yet More Slaggies
Reunion 2003 Pics
South Bank Football
South Bank Tomorrow
For All Ex-Pats!
Reunion 2004 pics
Reunion 2005 Pics
Rix Pix 2005
Tears for South Bank
This Is Your Life
Reunion 2006 pics
Reunion 2007 pix
Contact Information for South Bank Nostalgic Society
Links for South Bank Nostalgia Society
1. Welcome to Slaggy Island
|The South Bank Nostalgia Society!
NEXT REUNION WILL BE AT THE NORMANBY ON TUESDAY OCTOBER 6th 2009.
Great News! The First Citizen of the Borough, the Worshipful the Mayor, to give him his correct title, and himself an ex Slaggy Islander, Brian Briggs, is to honour us with his presence in an official capacity!
The first of our reunions was in about 1976 at The Poverina and was just for the Central School Girls. It then switched to The Magnet in Grangetown when Marlene and Brian had the pub before eventually moving to The Normanby.
The next change was to include the Central Boys before embracing All of Slaggy Island and we've had some great times - with more to come!
So pass on the news and see you there.
Oh, and all you ex-pats - write in and I'll print them out for display on the night.
Incidentally, I finally managed to put the photos on for the 2008 Reunion although I haven't got around to adding the chat but I don't intend to wait that long again!!
For the Latest Additions see the end of the following pages: 2008 On, Pub and Club Activities, and a NEW page - Mister Cool!
Also keep your eyes on the Special Articles page for stories of South Bank Characters by a man who "has a million stories to tell"! Unfortunately I haven't had the time to type them in - and I'm strictly a two finger typist. Bear with me. I know this bit has been here for a long time without any movement from me but it's definitely worth the wait!!!
WANTED TO BORROW TO SCAN: Photos of The Hippodrome, Empire and Majestic. Kingy's Snooker Hall and Icecream Parlour. The Slag Tips.
Write in or make an entry in the Guestbook for the world to see!
"Oh, Slaggy Island, farewell, farewell to thee...!"
(Heartfelt song by Vin Garbutt on leaving South Bank for pastures new)
I mentioned here that Vin had had some heart problems but that is in the past. Vin is currently in fine fettle and touring world wide. I got an email from his cousin Terry Kelly working in Singapore who had met up with him there and enjoyed his company.
For the uninitiated (or too young to remember) South Bank used to be surrounded with mountains of slag from the steelworks, cutting us off from the outside world, probably contributing to the warm, close community spirit enjoyed by its inhabitants, and earning it the nickname of Slaggy Island.
This site is about South Bank and it's Slaggy Islanders, whether born there or moved there. It's mainly concerned with the 40's, 50's and 60's and is dedicated to the great times, places and friends we made, so if you were there please spend a few minutes browsing these pages, relive your youth and maybe find a picture or two to rekindle long-forgotten memories.
However, there is still room for memories of the very early days and even space to show what Slaggy Island has become in the 21st Century thanks to Government, both Local and National, and - the Planners and Do-gooders that blight the country but are never accountable.
If you enjoy the site sign in on the Guestbook and be seen by friends around the world who can then get in touch with you!
Don't forget to check out the "Reunion News" page or the Reunion 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Pics page!
As this site has grown and the number of photographs on it has increased, it has naturally slowed down and I ask for your patience on some pages. I think you'll find it's worth any wait.
I suppose the inspiration for this site must subconsciously have come from Terry Gilder of the Gazette's "Remember When" although I never set out to copy him. In fact I already had an album of photos which got passed around at the reunions so that became the basis of the website. Also I thought that us Slaggy Islanders should have our own space but even then I would never have got started without the help of Alison Nicholson, the Web Editor of Communigate. So thanks to Alison and Terry who have since both moved on and whose shoes have been filled others just as caring.
Incidentally, the Communigate Web-Editor likes to receive feedback from our readers so if you click on "Feedback" at the top right of the page you can pass on your opinions - after you've been right through the site, of course! (And that could take some time!!) Also, a click on "This is The North East" at top left of the page will give you all the up-to-date news of the North East through The Northern Echo - a boon to our Ex-Pats!
In the beginning Alison advised me to plan what I was going to do and write it down in some sort of order but, as Barry Fitzgerald said of John Wayne in The Quiet Man, I was "impetuous"! This was mainly because I didn't know exactly what I was going to do and I just wanted to get going. In fact, it's on-going as I keep making alterations and additions to pages and I don't know where we'll finish up so let's just go with the flow! So... make sure you keep coming back to the pages because just because you weren't on yesterday doesn't mean that you aren't on today!!!
All I ask is that you browse and, hopefully, enjoy and if you have anything to add, be it comments, stories or photo's, please feel free to e-mail or, better still, write in the Guestbook for all to see.
After reading these pages Dan Pluck said: "It's like being in touch with the other side!"
Personal recommendation: Have a look at "Gordon's Musings" on the "Special Articles" page. It's long, but a wonderful slice of Old Slaggy Island!
Copyright © Dick Fawcett...
and/or those people or organizations who have contributed such material.
2. A bit of personal history...
My name is Dick Fawcett and this is so you know who you're talking to!
I wasn't born in Slaggy Island but in Dunstable near Luton in 1935 where my father was working as a bricklayer. However at the age of 6 months I was brought up to South Bank to visit family friends. From Luton we moved to my folks' home village of Great Lumley in County Durham when I was almost four years old and talked like Michael Caine!
We moved straight on to Newcastle where we lived near the Barracks in Fenham for a couple of years before returning to Lumley. I finally came to live in South Bank in February 1946, aged 10, complete with a Geordie accent and lived there until 1969 when I moved to Redcar with my family as a fully fledged Slaggy Islander. However those 23 years in South Bank were vintage years and the friendships forged then have stood the test of time.
I well remember my first days in South Bank...
My father had died in a Japanese POW Camp in Formosa now Taiwan (www.powtaiwan.org). Where we had lived in County Durham was a farming and mining area but we came to South Bank because my mother was to remarry (remember those family friends?) and we settled in the "unadopted" end of South Terrace. I arrived a week ahead of my mother and stayed with an aunt in Middle Princess Street.
It was a cold, dark, drab, wet February day and the brickwork of the houses was depressingly soot blackened in those days before the Clean Air Act. Having come from the fresh air of the countryside those first impressions were not the best - and there was more. It got dark very early but then the sky lit up with an unearthly glow accompanied by a distant roar from the furnaces of Cargo Fleet.
Not the best introduction to a new life but the next day I was out and about and my first friends lived in Princess Street.
There were the Brudenells, Vicky and Keith and their cousin Donny, and Pete Connolly - himself newly moved in from Branch Street. I also found that I had a new cousin through marriage called Johnny Walker who lived in Upper Princess Street and through him I met new friends Jimmy Collins, Terry O'Dwyer, Woody Irvine and Tom Riley. Then, round a couple of corners, the Barrows family. There was also a lad who lived next door to Tex O'Dwyer who was, I think, nicknamed "Pinkie" but who I've never seen since about 1947 and I mentioned him to Jimmy Collins, the Memory Man! He told me his name was Farrell McPartland. Later he said that Farrell had passed away.
Moving in to South Terrace, neighbours were Billy and Vince Kirkbright, Brian Walker, Brian Green, the Jones's and Jordans. In Ann Street lived Jimmy McCullough who died tragically young, Joan Robson, the Silks, Chards and.... I'd better stop there - I can't list everyone. There were hundreds, and although as a boy I had my share of fights, I don't think I ever made an enemy.
As I progressed through my teens I knocked around with Blackie Gibson who lived in Scarborough Street, Tex Rowden (Pym Street) and Jack Young (Warwick). Jack kept pigeons, as I did, and he introduced me to Jack Sowerby, who also kept pigeons, over at the gasworks allotments. I was sixteen at the time and we've knocked around together ever since. Our other mates in the gang were Alan Thompson, Brian McTurk, Billy Mullen, Mick Foley and Phil Tranter. A motley group whose photographs will be appearing on this site.
I still see Jack and Alan and occasionally, Brian but I never see Phil (He has now resurfaced from the wilds of Saltburn and moved to Redcar.) and Mick Foley disappeared "down South" some years ago and has left no trace.
Another friend I knocked around with for some time was Paddy Betts from Connaught Street. His parents were great and held an open house where we had many a laugh.
This brings me to someone who has put South Bank on the map. Vin Garbutt! Vin had lived round the corner in Coral Street but I only knew him later as a folk singer and his immortal song "Slaggy Island" should be the theme song for this site!
I read in the Gazette that Vin had had his guitar pinched while in South Bank recently but I understand he was at Great Mills off the Trunk Road near Brambles Farm which is a different story entirely. Mind you, it was returned to him later.
Back to Paddy. He had a younger brother who himself became a folk singer and song writer - Pete Betts - and Vin sings one of his songs in particular. It's called "They Don't Write Them Like That Any More" and it's about those nights when we went back to the Betts' house after the pubs and clubs and now I'll take Pete to task. He includes the lines:
Jack says "Where's the toilet?"
Ma says "Out the back"
And by the look not a minute too soon!
Then a shout shook the whole house
Jack fell in the coal house...
I can't remember the next couple of lines but...
The point is it really happened - but it was to me! I was staggering down the yard in the dark when I suddenly fell sideways into a black hole - the coalhouse! They had chopped up the door for firewood and there was only a pile of coaldust on the floor which I fell on. Being drunk I rolled about a bit to regain my feet then stormed back into the house to be greeted with a roar of laughter and shouts to look in the mirror. I was as black as a coalman! So... I did the only thing I could which was to sing the Al Jolson song "Mammy"! (It didn't matter that I ruined my Fred Burns candleglow suit with the shawl collar and crescent moon pockets!!!)
I didn't intend to write this much - I don't want to bore you (did you say "Too late"?) so I better cut it short.
Suffice it to say I married a South Bank girl - Marion Nixon of Lime Street - in 1958 and we're still married 44 years later! She says miracles never cease! (Mind you, the week we got married Connie Francis was Top of the Pops with "Who'se Sorry Now!)
This site is primarily concerned with the years I spent in South Bank (1946 - 1969) but I'll be happy to add other stuff particularly from earlier days because the South Bank of today is not the place it was. In my days it was known as Slaggy Island (I wondered when I could get that in!) because of the slag tips which towered like mountains around the town but now everything is bleak and desolate although there are still some bright spots - like the graffiti adorned houses in Harcourt Road. (Alas, even this was demolished in May 2002).
Someone was curious as to how I managed to get myself born in Dunstable(?!) so I have put together another website in memory of my father who, of course, was responsible for my existence and therefore, ultimately, this site!
Click below for the "Prequel" to this site!
"Yesterday is History,
Tomorrow is a Mystery,
Today is a Gift -
That's why it's called the Present!
3. South Bank - The Musical!
Saint Etienne (In the 80's?)
About Saint Etienne:
Saint Etienne is a British indie dance act, fronted by Sarah Cracknell (born April 12, 1967, Chelmsford, Essex). Ex-music journalists Bob Stanley (born December 25, 1964) and Pete Wiggs (born May 15, 1966) are the other regular members of the band.
Artist descriptions from Last.fm users.
I received an email from an Andrew Hinton 30-May.
I first looked them up on the internet and decided the letter was genuine before replying but hearing no more. I then tried the mobile number but it was one of those with music followed by advising different numbers. I gave up. Maybe they'll read this and come again...
"Dear Mr Fawcett
Congratulations on a remarkably thorough and well maintained site - it has been an absolute delight to spend time looking through.
I am getting in touch because my colleagues and I are about to embark on a film/music project about the South Bank in London, and I would very much like to make a short documentary piece entitled The Other South Bank, all about the South Bank area of Middlesbrough. We are planning to come up and visit in the next couple of weeks, and would
like to interview as many people who live, or have lived, in the area as possible, to build up a picture of its history and future. Our project will be based around the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall over the course of the next 12 months or so - we are trying to capture the spirit of the South Bank, so it seems sensible to start at the other end of the country and work our way back!
I wonder whether I could chat to you further about the project, and see whether you might be happy to be interviewed?
We are a couple of musicians (Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs from the band Saint Etienne), Paul Kelly, who directs the films, and myself who produces them. I'd be happy to send you some examples of our work - we made three short films for Channel 4 about disappearing London Cafes, and our most recent project was a film/concert about the Lea Valley area to the East of London which will be the site of the Olympics in 2012. We don't have large crews, trailers or lots of
lights - it'll probably just be Paul and me coming up on the train!
Please feel free to call me on my mobile: (Number included) to discuss things further, or send me a number and let me know when it would be convenient and I can call you.
I hope to hear from you soon
apologies for the delay getting back to you, I've been juggling this end trying to find the right opportunity for us to come up and pay a visit. We're very keen to do so in the next week or two. Are there any important dates or events coming up? I'd like to make sure we meet as many people as possible. Of course it is fine to put my correspondence on your site - hopefully it may attract people to the project!
Please feel free to call me any time, it would be good to have a chat.
Unfortunately that was the last I heard. Still, it was a thought...
I've now moved the following comment down from the end of the previous story (History!) so that it's in the proper place.
We had just got close to having 30,000 hits when Communigate changed the Server and our figure went back to zilch so add 30,000 to the figure below...
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