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. The Criteria
|The Criteria Cycle Shop
I got an e-mail from David Soakell whose parents had the Criteria Cycle shop and he included this nice pic of it. Thanks David.
I once bought a tandem from them and when our firstborn came along (43 years ago) I bought a sidecar for it! The trouble was, when riding tandem you both have to lean the same way, something my wife never got the hang of, and so every time we went on it we finished up arguing and finally she refused to go on it! I traded it back in for a single seater!!
2. Reggie Boyle's Bank!
|"The king was in his counting house..."
Normanby Road became Lorne Terrace on the left side from Bennett's Corner, the other side being Clay Lane.
Some time before this photo was taken by Jack Sowerby in 1981, the Yorkshire Penny Bank had moved and the premises had become a betting shop.
Bookie Reg Boyle now had a walk-in safe in which to count his money! But it didn't last long before work started on flattening buildings and running the A66 through South Bank.
Time marches on. I thought I'd bring this story up-to-date. When Reggie's bank was flattened he moved into one of the shop's which had evolved from the old Co-op Building on Normanby Road. Of course, this wasn't his only betting shop - he had them all over the place. I think he had twenty two, all told. At any rate, earlier this year (2004) he sold the lot to Corals. Must have made millions!
Bet he wished he still had the bank to keep it all in!!!
3. Mick Plummer
I debated on putting this story with the South Bank Characters but decided that he wasn't well enough known but he was certainly a character in his own right!
In the early 60's I had a pet fox (called Guy) and one evening I was stood on the step talking to Jack Sowerby when this character pulled up on a bike. The bike was the first thing we noticed as it had an old carbide lamp on it (which complied with the law in those days when you could get pulled up for things like that. We had zero tollerance and didn't even know it!).
He said he had heard I had a fox and wanted to breed it with his dog! We pointed out that it was too young and impractical and his conversation drifted onto all sorts of topics before he went on his way. A strange encounter!
A couple of days later he turned up with his dog - which was a spaniel and not much more than a pup itself. I talked him out of his project and he returned to his Ash Grove home. He was often to be seen walking down to the kiosk near the Oakleaf pub with his baby son tucked under one arm and the dog under the other - both always facing backwards!
One day when I bumped into him he wanted me to call at his house later (I can't remember what for) which I did. I knocked on the door which opened a couple of inches and he said he couldn't open it and he would see me round the back "..and be careful!" he added. There was a passage way along the side of the house leading to a wicker gate and as I went to open it he suddenly appeared.
"Be careful!" he said again and I squeezed through to be confronted by a huge pyramid of empty dogfood cans, carefully placed. I skirted the pile and again he said "Be careful!" whereupon I saw this vast hole. He had dug the garden out to about four feet deep which he said was going to be a swimming pool!!!
Inside the house, his wife was dressed in traditional gypsy fashion and was rocking the baby in an antique wooden cradle! No wonder I can't remember what I went for!
I believe that Mick was working as a bingo caller at Middlesbrough at the time but later worked at Smith's Dock. He was quite an artist and spent a lot of time in the toilets working on his murals. Eventually his gaffer got fed up with him and called him in for a dressing down. Unfortunately he chose to use quotations to do it only to have better quotations thrown back at him! At the end he just sacked Mick who went back to the toilets. He wasn't going to leave before finishing his work of art!
I lost sight of Mick for a few years but heard he got divorced. He next surfaced as a hermit, living in the woods between Yearby and the ICI ponds in an old brick structure most people thought had been a mine but was an old ice house. By then he looked the part of the wild man of the woods, unwashed and unkempt, and defied attempts to move him. Eventually the cold and damp conditions effected his health and led to his death.
All his life Mick Plummer was an individual albeit eccentric character, unwilling or unable to conform and was on a path that could have only one inevitable end.
4. Wartime Security
It's amazing how this site triggers old memories, particularly when fueled with a few beers! In the Military Service page/Dan Pluck, Dan told of how, when locked out of the Tower of London where he was part of the guard, he climbed some scaffold and returned to his quarters unchallenged. The point being that adequate security was not in place. But Dan had had practice back home!
During the war (Dan was born in 1937) Dan was out with his brothers and next door neighbour Stanley Latus "exploring". They approached an unguarded place on the trunk Road opposite Brambles Farm and "gained entry". Once inside they discovered that it contained a lot of live ammunition and Dan insists it was an ammunition dump but I think it must have been a Home Guard Unit. Boys being boys they collected pockets of 303 and 22 rounds as souvenirs and went home.
Back in Dan's Costa Street home and much to the alarm of their sister Joan, they threw rounds onto the fire and laughed at the explosions. I suggested to Dan that they must have been blanks but he insisted it was live ammo.
When we were talking about this we were with Derek Tye who also remembered the incident and was sure that it was live ammunition. He said that as his brother Tommy was in the Army Cadets he was in possession of a rifle and was firing rounds at Allan Thompson's chimney! However, as he didn't hit the chimney he was either a bad shot or the rounds were blank which would produce the sound without the missile.
The lack of security during wartime could have had serious repercussions but luckily only led to fond memories of days long gone.
5. The South Bank Ghost
Pat Worsfold lived in a flat above Smith's Dry Cleaner's on Middlesbrough Road. While the flat boasted a huge attic Pat always felt deprived - of a front door! The only entrance was round the back from Albion Street.
One evening Pat had gone out playing on their bogie, although her mother had forbidden it, and returned as it was getting dark. As she got to the back gate out of the corner of her eye she saw a dark shadow move and in a panic ran into the house - swearing she had seen a ghost!
Because the alley was at the rear of the shops the police regularly patrolled it and checked the gates and doors. This night, the patrolling copper came a cropper - falling over the discarded bogie and Pat was in trouble. My question: Did the ghost materialise after the accident or before?
6. The McGee's
Ann Breckon (nee Sleight) sent in a photo of St.Peter's Junior School in Napier Street (on the St.Peter's School page) which included the McGee twins Jean and Joan. Ann added a bit about the family which I knew but I think it's worth adding to the site.
Alice Coulton married Mr.Minza and had a son, Peter (See 1960's page). She then married John McGee who died when the twins were about 13 years old. Later, Alice married Matty Murray who was Stewart of St.Peter's Social Club which they managed together until they retired. Four of Alice's delightful daughters worked behind the bar at various times - Margaret, Eileen, Sheila and Tess.
I still see Joan occasionally, with her husband John Fox, in the Cleveland, Normanby.
7. From Paul Daniels
Paul sends his regards
I sent an e-mail to Paul Daniels asking for a couple of photo's to put against his entries on The Entertainers page and The Achievers page and he was good enough to reply:
I do a website on South Bank:
This is a GREAT site. I loved it. I have now added it to my Favourites list and I cannot wait to get my mother around here (who hates computers) and show her what they are REALLY about.
…and you are featured on The Entertainers page and The Achievers page (Yerrrs...One has done Orfully well [posh voice as used down south] (plus a link to your site). I wonder if you would allow me to download two photo's off your site (pd1 and pd3) and let me include them with the two stories? Of course.
I would also like to include you in the Military Service page with a photo in uniform. Any chance? Not easy 'cos I am on the road, but pester me now and again about it until I do the biz for you. At the moment I am heavily heavily, heavily into writing a web site where I am going to sell EVERYTHING.......Debbie had best keep on being nice to me......on www.timreedmagic.com, still in development but getting there.
Regards, and very best wishes,
8. The School Dentist
Michael McLoughlin was reminiscing and gives us the benefit with tales of the school dentist. Michael was at Napier Street School but had to go round to Princess Street.
Thinking about the above school - I wonder how many of your readers can remember a Mr Cassidy - the school dentist who used to visit the school each week.
How well I can remember the man. When my name was called out by the teacher in Upper Napier Street School "Michael, go and see the dentist..." I used to almost "freak out"! It was just a short walk from my school to Princess Street school but each and every time I had to make this miserable journey how I wished at that time that I could run away from it all!
These visits were not enhanced on going by other poor kids arriving at the dentists with the screaming from the poor young patients - lads and lass's running away from the dentists - almost knocking you down. No disposal needles in those days....anaesthesia was primative....blood all over the dentists chairs - more like a slaughter house!
My own mother did not help matters - her going to Mr Cassidy for her rotten teeth only to scream and run out of the surgery and up Princess Street heading for home. The dentist had not even touched her and she was unaware that she passed on this fear of dentists to her kids.
I had the same problem in the RAF with a right butcher. The trouble was that the dentist was also an officer so you were at his mercy! Dick.
|They all looked alike but tenants loved them.
After the war there was a shortage of housing all over the country and the government decided that prefabs fitted the bill. There were several in South Bank but I don't know how many.
I can only remember these sites: The Gas Works (Shinwell Crescent); Middlesbrough Road East and Middlesbrough Road West (opposite Binns Garage), the prefabs which ran from the end of Coral Street into Station Road and round into Pearl Street and some in West Terrace. There were also some in Henry Street. Any advance, photos or comments? I believe that the prefabs on Middlesbrough Road and Station Road area were built on the sites of bombed houses.
(See also More Slaggy Tales/Shinwell Prefabs)
10. Fish 'n' Chips
|Robinson's in 1981
Kenny Wicks posed the question: How many Fish 'n' Chip Shops were there in South Bank?
We got it to 15.
There were 5 shops on Middlesbrough Road, including the corner of Miles Street.
4 on Nelson Street
1 Station Road (top end)
1 Queen Street
1 Redcar Road
1 Cromwell Road
2 Victoria Street
Kenny says there were 17! (He would!)
Richie Sharples said there should have been one in Codd Street. Yeah! The old jokes are the best, Richie!!
11. Beadle's About!
Long before Jeremy Beadle became a household name the name Beadle was well known in South Bank. The two brothers Frank (the thin one) and Ozzy (the fat one) Beadle were Housing Agents who rented out houses for owners who didn't want the hassle of doing it themselves for whatever reasons.
When I was about to get married I approached Ozzy but I was told there was nothing available. I mentioned it to a friend who said I'd gone about it the wrong way. "Offer him twenty quid" I was advised!
I returned to Beadle's and saw Frank and tried to flash the £20 in a sophisticated way.
"Hoi!" he said. "I hope you aren't trying to bribe me because you'll get nothing here if you try that lark with me!" Of course I denied it, blushing bright red. I muttered something, left, and never went back.
I wasn't very pleased with my friend's advice and told him so. But he had an answer. "Ah, you got the wrong one!" he said.
At the time Rachman was making news in London but in my experience "key money" in South Bank was a myth and in my case a big mythtake!
12. The Wedding of John Waterfield
|John Waterfield weds Sylvia Newman 1962
John Waterfield picked up on the site and sent in his Wedding Photo. You never know, it might start a new trend!
The wedding of John Waterfield and Sylvia Newman took place at St.Johns Church in South Bank on 10th April 1962. The wedding photo was taken outside the bride's Steele Crescent home. Her bridesmaids were Rosemary Charlton on the left and Margaret Lane on the right.
13. Frank Barry's Mam
|Mrs.McParland in 1958 celebrating her 90th birthday
I received correspondence from Steve Gollogly who lives in a suburb of Vancouver BC called Surrey which is only half an hour by car to downtown Vancouver.He included an old photo of his great aunt Nellie and I include part of his e-mail:
This photo will be of no particular interest to anyone but my Great Aunt Nellie was a long, long time resident of South Bank and she passed away last Thursday (April 11th 2002) in her 103rd year. She lived in Oliver Street and her son Frank Barry was a well respected teacher at St.Peter's School. I remember Aunt Nellie as a dinner lady at Napier Street School.
Frank is my great uncle and has being looking into the family tree. By all accounts his grandad Michael could not read or write but could sign his name and he registered all his children with a "T". It was years later before his mother corrected him.
I read the piece by Mr Jinks in the Ex-Pats section. It's funny what jogs the memory. Alex Jinks was a year above me in Napier Street when Mick Gorrill and myself called ourselves "Pixie and Dixie" and called him "Mister Jinks" and he used to chase us all around the school yard. (They were the characters in a popular cartoon at the time.)
Frank Barry found the page and wrote in:
Excellent site..what nostalgia. I'll be in touch shortly with photographs (St. Peter's again) and some comments about one or two of the articles.
I was brought up in Oliver St., and taught PE at St.Peter's School, Normanby Rd from 1956 until 1963. Eugene McElvaney was one of my star pupils, we are in touch by e.mail. The May Queen called McPartland was Joan, no relation to my mother's family who were McParland. Incidentally, my mother died recently, there was a piece about her in the Gazette, she was mainly responsible for raising the cash for a new set of strip for the St.Peter's Boys because the old strip was too big for Wilf. I have the receipt and note of thanks from Mr. Skillen.
Cheers, Frank Barry.
14. The Slaggy Island Paratrooper
I was talking to Kenny Wicks who has always been interested in the local history of South Bank. In fact, if he had been "computer literate" he would have been doing this site instead of me. As it is he has promised to pass on his knowledge and photographs so "watch this space"!
After waiting over two years I've given up on Kenny who always was a good promiser!
Back to the title. Kenny told me how, ten years ago, he had bought an old wartime newspaper at a flea market for 50p. Later, he went in the Woodman's at Normanby and casually dropped the paper on the table among his mates while he went to the bar. This inspired a lot of discussion at the table (the newspaper, not Kenny going to the bar!) not least about the lead story on the front page.
An old fellow at the bar cocked his head and glanced at the paper as the talk flowed and asked if he could read the front page. Kenny passed the paper over and watched hi face as the old bloke went through the article. He asked Kenny where he got it and then offered him a quid for it which Kenny refused whereupon he upped the offer to two pounds. Kenny again turned him down and asked why he was so keen to buy it.
The front page story which so interested the man was about two Dakota airplanes carrying paratroopers on a mission from Sicily which had been aborted en route and ordered back to base. However, after some time, the pilots realised that in their heavily laden situation they were using too much fuel to allow them to reach their destination and ordered all loose equipment to be jettisoned. This was still not enough and the paratroopers in one plane were ordered to bale out which they did - over the sea.
The major in charge of the paratroopers on the other plane refused to see his men abandoned in such a fashion and instructed the pilot to fly near Mount Etna for them to bale out there "so that we can have our own little war!"
The paratroopers duly baled out only to land right in the middle of the German Army who waited for them to land at gunpoint and rounded them up without loss of life to be escorted into a prisoner of war camp.
The man at the bar indicated the story. "That was me," he declared. "I was one of the paratroopers! And," he added, "I can tell you, the Germans were gentlemen to us but when we were later handed over to the Italians we found they were right nasty buggers!"
Kenny looked at the small, paunchy, old man in a new light and the conversation flowed. His name was John Littlewood and he was an ex Slaggy Islander who had lived in Tees Street. A lot of people would not have known where that was - but Kenny did and the subject changed. As an historian Kenny thought that there had possibly been a pub between the South Bank railway station and The Junction.
John wasn't aware of one, but - the house in which he had lived in Tees Street had several odd features about it including a fixed pulley wheel above a window which could have been used to haul up beer barrels! Also, in the passage, there was a picture of blast furnaces with the name "The Three Blast Furnaces" on it which John reckoned had been there "forever"!
"Was there a pub called The Three Blast Furnaces" wondered Kenny?
I don't know but I do know that years ago there was a pub at Glaisdale called The Three Blast Furnaces. This was when they had the Ironworks there but when they went out of existance the pub was renamed "The Anglers Rest" although known locally as "the middle house"!
Incidentally, Kenny made a gift of the newspaper to John Littlewood who, as he put it, had more right to it than him. John then had it framed and placed in a prominent position in his house.
15. Too Much Monkey Business
I remember a few of us going from "our end" to the back alley of Station Road near Pearl Street "to see the monkey". There was one of these exotic creatures in a back yard which regularly showed itself on the wall at the end of it's tether and the way it looked at us you would swear it thought our roles were reversed!
There was also one kept in a yard back of Hawthorne Terrace and another in Queen Street. Then there was one, briefly, in Macmillan Crescent when some bloke whose name I can't remember bought a monkey off someone in a pub when he'd had a few and took it home to surprise his wife. She nearly had a fit when the monkey went berserk, flying round the room and pulling down the curtains while loosening it's bowels! You can imagine the ultimatum and it didn't last long. Can anyone supply a name?
Then I got an e-mail from Bev Spencer on the subject:
"I remember a Princess Street School friend of mine, Peter Cox, who lived in one of the big houses on Middlesbrough Road at the Station Road end. His thick hair was cut in the style of the Beetles, he had a rough voice,and he couldn't sound his rrr's. He use to say he had a monkey but know one would believed him, that is, until he invited me to his house one day to show me. Imagine my surprise when, there in the back room was this little monkey fastened to some sort of perch. I was all to eager to confirm his story the next day at school, after all I'd been chosen to see it first. He left South Bank with his parents and sisters for Saltburn around 1968, and I haven't seen or heard of him since. But I'll never forget him or his monkey."
16. Chesty Smith
I got an e-mail from Tommy Holvanhill:
"I have just remembered about the time I lived in Queen Street when I was about 12 years old and a cop came to our house. No it was'nt for me this time! Do you remember a cop called Smith? He had a barrel chest and everybody called him Chesty Smith. Well this day he came to our house and asked if Mr.Holvanhill lived here. My mother thought something had happened to Dad at work, then Chesty told her it was nothing like that. His pig had fallen down the well in my dad's allotment! Well I cannot tell you what my mother called Chesty but I learnt a few swear words that day!
Incidentally, Tommy signed himself off as "The South Bank Angel" which put a new picture in my mind. We all know of the Gateshead "Angel of the North" but we should have something here, built on the hills for all to see as a monument to South Bank. The way things are looking now for Corus we could maybe have an obsolete Blast Furnace erected there!?!
17. The Shirley Bassey Fable
|Shirley Bassey pictured with Frank Ifield
South Bank folk lore has it that Shirley Bassey's mother lived in North Street where it was said that Shirley was conceived! Also it was said that she was several months "gone" when she moved to Tiger Bay in Welsh Wales where Shirley was soon born. I repeated the story on the Achievers page which resulted in an e-mail from Irene Blackburn (nee Walker) to correct me.
"Eliza Jane Start (Shirley's mam) moved to Wales long before Shirley was born. Shirley is the youngest of a family of eight, not seven as often stated. Doris Irene being the oldest and born in South Bank, followed by Ella, born in Middlesbrough then Eliza moved to Wales and had a further five children before Shirley. These were Edith Grace, Iris, Henry, Eileen, Marina(deceased) and Shirley.
Irene Blackburn nee Walker (South Bank born)
Niece of Shirley Bassey."
Thanks for putting the record straight Irene.
Above, Shirley is photographed with Ozzie Frank Ifield who was such a big star years ago. (At one time he topped the bill at Stockton's Globe Theatre while the Rolling Stones were the supporting act!) I don't think he ever called in The Commercial for a pint but many years later he married a Redcar girl and usually comes over with her once a year and stays at her father's in Dunsdale!
18. King /Pym Street Corner Shop
On my website about my father which is not only to his memory but also by way of being a "prequel" to this Slaggy Island site, someone called George F. Scriba has entered the Guestbook. Normally if you click on the name in blue at the top of such an entry you can send an e-mail directly to the entrant - if the address has been entered correctly. Unfortunately, in George's case, a reply doesn't get through. So why, I hear you ask, am I writing about it on the Slaggy site instead of the Durham Soldier site? Well, if I copy his entry here you will understand...
"My wife was born in Durham Co. but was brought up in South Bank. Her Grandparents ran a shop at the corner of King and Pym Streets. She served in the Wrens in WW2. We live in Central NY USA and have been married 54yrs. Memories brought back.
George F. Scriba."
I remember that shop well. We moved to South Bank in 1946 when my mother remarried and through marriage I gained more cousins. They were the Harrisons and lived in the end house in Pym Street over the road from the shop. Also, one of my early friends in South Bank was Joe McLay who lived in King Street (also over the road from the shop!) so I was often in the area.
In those days just after the war most things were in short supply so when the word went round that the shop was selling ice cream kids from all over the town converged. Of course it was home-made but I can still remember it - mainly because it was full of bits of ice but it was a real treat.
I hope George and his wife come across this snippet and write in.
19. "I know that bloke"!
No photo yet
Some time ago some one signed in on the Guestpage (as you do!) asking if anyone knew him. After he had triggered the old memory box I did eventually recall him although I don't think I had seen him since I was about thirteen. I wrote back to him and since then we've corresponded in the usual e-mail fashion of forwarding jokes.
On Friday, June 6th, I attended the Dunkirk Veterans Remembrance Service in the Memorial Garden on Coatham Road, Redcar. No, I'm not that old but they were to meet afterwards in the RAFA Club, of which I'm a member.
There was, as they say, a good turn out with an excellent buffet put on by the club. I was having a pint and talking to a few friends when I was approached by one of the Veterans with a chestful of medals.
"Excuse me," he said. "Are you Dick Fawcett?"
I said I was and he said his name was Maurice Norman. I didn't know him. He passed a bit of paper to me and said he'd been asked to give it to me. It read: "I think I know that bloke across the room - Dick Fawcett."
I was puzzled but he said that his youngest brother was over on holiday from Australia. However, he had had a stroke two years ago and had lost the power of speech. His name was Eric Norman who had written to me some time ago.
I looked across the packed room and one shining face stood out and I recognised him immediately although I hadn't seen him for over fifty years. I went across and we shook hands and then he threw his arms around me. The hair on the back of my head stood up!
It was quite a moment and I thought that it was the perfect answer to my wife who is always asking what I get out of "sitting at that computer all the time"!!!
Thanks Eric, and I hope you keep on writing to me.
20. "There's nowt the marra with my car!!"
|An immaculate 1936 Austin Seven seen at a show
About 1958 my mate Allan Thompson bought a car which was handy for his courting. It was a 1936 Austin Seven in a precarious state but as Allan didn't bother with the niceties of tax or insurance that was okay. (!!!)
The first thing he did was wash it outside their house in Aire Street while his mother stood proudly on the step. Neighbour Mrs. Townsend stuck her nose out.
"How do you like our Allan's new car?" asked a beaming Mrs. Thompson.
"I suppose it'll be alright to go to work in," said Mrs. Townsend.
Allan was highly insulted - as was his mother.
One day Allan was driving back to South Bank down Normanby Road with his wife-to-be Anne Burdett in the passenger seat and his future mother-in-law in the back. A piece of string tied to the door handles was taut across their knees to keep the doors shut; Allan's hands on the steering wheel swung wildly from side to side to compensate for the amount of play on the wheel; and every now and then he would reach up to pull the roof back down as it lifted in the wind.
Talking to reassure his passengers, Allan failed to concentrate on the road and the lights changing at the Trunk Road caught him by surprise. Not sure that sudden braking would be good for the car, Allan sped across the junction. Unfortunately, a taxi was pursuing its rightful way along the Trunk Road when the old Austin hit it, sending it into a spin towards Grangetown.
Allan pulled up, undid the string and got out to examine the damage. He couldn't find a mark on it (that hadn't already been on it before!).
Satisfied that no damage had occurred, Allan looked towards the taxi. The driver was unhurt but the almost new car was a write-off.
"Look at my car!" the driver said. "It's a right-off!"
"Well there's nowt the marra with my car!" said Allan.
They swapped adresses but when the driver asked what Allan proposed to do about the damage he was devastated at the reply.
"Nowt, Mate!" said Allan. "I've got no insurance and no money - so tough!"
With that the bold Allan got back in his car and drove off. Later, the taximan came to see him but Allan was unfazed. "You'll have to take it out of my nose," he said. The taxi man left but returned again.... and again. In fact he came back several times over a few weeks in a vain hope of recouping some of his money.
Finally, Allan started to get annoyed at his persistence.
"Here," he said. "Come in here" and he beckoned him into the passage.
"There you are," he said. "That bike is the only thing in this world that I own. Take it, 'cos that's all you'll ever get out of me!"
The taxi owner left - without the bike - and never bothered Allan again.
Allan's car? Well, he had realised just how dangerous it was and had scrapped it not long after the accident.
Now that I'm at this point I might as well tell you about Allan's bike. This happened a few years before...
I went round for Allan and his mother answered the door.
"Is he in?" I asked.
"In?" she said. "In? The silly bugger's out!"
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Come in" she said, and led the way into the living room. "There" she said. "Look out there!" she indicated the window.
I looked out into the yard. Allan was lying down. "What's he doing?" I asked.
"He's not right in the head" she declared scornfully. "Look at him! Trying to straighten his handlebars! If he's right I know where there's a houseful!"
"Is he alright?" I asked.
"Alright?" she repeated. "Alright? He's been laid there for half an hour! He's not right in the head!"
I went out in the yard. Allan was moaning a bit but was alright.
"What happened?" I asked.
In those days we used to go up the hills on our bikes and do a bit of tracking and you needed straight handlebars to do it. This was all long before mountain bikes had been invented. However, Allan's bike was a racer and he was handicapped by the swooping shape of his handlebars. His solution - straighten them. His method - hook one side on the yard wall and pull down with all his strength. Result - handlebar slipped off the wall and hit him in the face breaking hid node!!
It was a long time before I was able to stop laughing and we went out with Mrs. Thompson's voice following us:
"... not right in the head!"
21 Little Griff The Poet
Brian Griffiths, ex Costa Street, sent in a poem to stir your memories...
South Bank, my little town
How the planners have stripped you of your gown.
You throbbed with life in bygone days -
I enjoyed my childhood in so many ways.
We played on farmland up Skippers Lane
Returning home tired but content as evening came.
We often roamed over the gasworks common
To jump the wide flowing beck
Urging each other to go higher
Sometimes falling in up to our neck.
Further on we might go across to the pox
To play in the valley surrounded by beautiful flowers
Wishing time to stand still as we lived those happy hours.
Some of us would fish in the pond
Or play under the archway of trees.
Others would gather bullrushes making
Bows and arrows from these.
Those summers long gone were out of this world
And the winters were marvellous too;
We would ride our sledges over the tin bridge
Laughing and shouting as we rounded the bend out of view.
My little town will one day emerge as the greatest
south of the tees
The place of my birth, my childhood
And all my memories...
22. Freddy Taylor
Freddy was up at court with the local Chief Inspector being the prosecutor. He was asked for his address and replied "The Hut, South Gare."
The beak accepted that and asked if he was employed. "Yes, your Honour" said Freddy. "I'm a professional Bait Digger!"
At this prosecuting Chief Inspector Turner couldn't help bursting out laughing!
23. Ged Reminisces
The young Ged Fleming sent in a couple of e-mails from Memory Lane
When you get the opportunity to go down Puddles Walk towards the old Fire Station, take your camera and picture the scene of the Clay Lane
works. What a vast difference with reclamation work going on as far as the eye can see. The old Blast Furnaces were a fantastic place to work, although they were crumbling to bits during the 90's. It was funny to think that our grandfathers worked on these very same furnaces. It was hot and dusty work but the comradery amongst the lads was second to none.
Why, I ask, can't Middlesbrough Council get their finger out and reclaim the Middlehaven site for all the thousands of Boro supporters to park their cars on instead of having to rough it every home game?
While I'm rabbiting on, very litle is
mentioned of Middlesbrough Rd on your website which was the main artery of the town. What a thriving thoroughfare this was, every thing in walking distance from your home. Starting from the Grangetown end was the Social Club inside Clay Lane for workers of Dorman Long.This was the first time I had tasted Liquerice Root while waiting for my grandfather to sup his pint. On
the other side of the road after coming under the bridge was Cottens Shop on the corner of Munby St, then the Mucky Pots pub, then a betting office and South Bank Spiritulist Church, where our Coronation party was held in 1953.
Going further on the same side was the Northern Electric shop, then on Bennetts Corner was Liptons shop. On the opposite corner was and still is the Erimus Club. On the other side was the Institute and the Commercial pub. Further
along was Bells paper shop with old Mrs Bell having been in the shop for sixty years. Also part of the shop was Dave Smurthwaits Plumbing business mainly looking after Beadle's houses.
There were three fruiters - Ray Dales and
Attwells and another who's name escapes me. There was Sands Bakery, a wet fish shop and two traditional fish shops. Who can forget Millwards Jewellers where many a present, engagement and wedding rings were bought. Harry Gallagher had his photo studio on Middlesbrough Rd. Opposite, Heagany's Shop was very popular and not only catered for South Bank but delived all over as far afield as Stokesley and Great Ayton.
Next door to Attwells was a sweet shop run by Mr
Sutton who always wore a trilby. On the other side was the Peters Mens Club which was strictly men only, then the St Peters Church after which was Birkbecks and then Lampards. Over the road was the Police Station which then was a hive of activity! Next along the same side was was Vicky Bells newsagents.I know your readers will fill in the rest including the Vic but this is just a short trip down a street where all South Bankers spent a lot of their time.
Finally I thought I would finish with an incident which happened in Middlesbrough Rd during the sixties. I was standing in the bus shelter
outside the Peters club and it was dark and snowing hard and I was kissing and cuddling my girlfriend waiting for the trolley bus to Grangetown. Luckily we were standing at the other entrance to keep out of the snow which was
swirling round. When the bus came, the driver lost control of the bus which collided with the shelter pushiing it over.Needless to say we made a quick exit. I hope you can use some of this for your website. Cheers, Ged Fleming."
Then I got another e-mail:
I've taken some time out from Thursdays at the Cricket Club (Redcar) whilst the footie is on.
For your website you may be interested in the following stories.
As a left footer I went to St Peter's and all my mates and I would take great delight in watching the girls from the Central School playing Netball in their school yard during dinner time and we made many friends!
On one day they were using a large skipping rope and it was'nt long before we joined in. We decided to play tug-a-war over the wall which was about eight foot high. I was nominated as being the anchor man at the back with the rope tied round my waist. My mates decided one by one to let go, leaving me up against about ten lasses over the other side of the wall pulling like
mad. I could feel the rope tighten round my waist as I was slammed up against the wall. I thought the only way out was to somehow get on top of the
wall. I got pulled and somehow managed to scramble onto the top of the wall. I straddled the wall to get my breath back and tried to undo the rope round my waist but the girls, taking me by surprise, gave an almighty tug pulling me off
the wall. I fell in a heap on my back, completely winded. I closed my eyes trying to recover and when I opened them all I could see was a massive
pair of DARK GREY KNICKERS, coming to the knee and a pair of very thick stockings and a pair of brown brogue shoes. Needless to say it was one of the teachers who didn't seem very sympathetic and reported me to our headmaster!
When I was in second year I was given the job of Weather Monitor. This meant going onto the roof of the school and taking measurments of the rainfall, outside temperature etc. To get on the roof you had to open a window on the top staircase that pivoted in the middle and climb through. After two years of this, I found it a good skive, as you could have a fag on the roof
and noboby would see you. In my last year I was asked to train a younger lad to take over so we went up onto the roof and I made an excuse to go back down. I climbed through the window, closed it and locked it. Needless to say the lad was up
there for about an hour before his shouts were heard and he was rescued!
However I felt the brunt of it with six of the best off Mr Skillen the headmaster.
Another tale: On a trip to Blackpool in the seventies I was walking down the Golden Mile and I spotted Paul Daniels name in lights over the Central Pier and further down outside the Golden Nugget in lights was Mark Ainsley, also from
South Bank or Normanby to be correct. He started out as Mally Hayes and worked at Smith's Dock as an apprentice electrician. He started singing at an early age and turned professional, thats when he changed his name, and toured the Country and abroad. The last I heard was he is still singing on Cruise Ships, is on Friends Reunited and living down South.
More from Ged...
In 1961 Ged was walking past South Bank Police Station with a girl friend when he was apprehended by a constable. The police were putting together an identity parade for a suspect but Ged said he was going out with his girl.
"That's okay" said the Bobby. "It'll only take about five minutes."
Reluctantly Ged went with him and after sitting waiting for two hours the identity parade finally took just five minutes!
A disgruntled Ged was in a hurry to get out of the Police Station to resume his courting but was stopped once more by the bobby who handed an envelope to him with the words "Your payment."
Ged hadn't expected anything but quickly tore open the envelope to receive "The Queen's Shilling" or in decimal currency FIVE NEW PENCE!
Another tale from Ged...
Ged was walking along the Trunk Road late one night back to South Bank from Grangetown and it was raining. He came across a Reliant Robin car (three-wheeler) and the driver was changing the wheel. Ged greeted the man and asked where he was going. Cargo Fleet was the reply so Ged asked for a lift to South Bank. "Certainly" said the driver. "Just hold this torch for me."
The driver changed the wheel while they chatted and then put his gear away. "Okay" he said to Ged, "Climb in."
There isn't a lot of room in the old Robin's and with their wet clothes they just managed to squeeze in and the driver set off.
They had only gone 100 yards when the wheel fell off and the car overbalanced and turned over!
The pair were unhurt but had a bigger struggle getting out than they had getting in and no sooner were they stood up than the police arrived!
There was some amusement but when they learned that Ged was just a hitch-hiker they told him to get on his way!
24. Tommy Cooper
My son-in-law Bez Hodgson is a Tommy Cooper nut as were many South Bankers who had the same zany sense of humour and he sent me a few examples you might appreciate...
1. Phone answering machine message - "...If you want to buy marijuana, press the hash key..."
2. A guy walks into the psychiatrist wearing only Clingfilm for shorts. The shrink says, "Well, I can clearly see you're nuts".
3. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.
4. I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 50 quid that he couldn't reach the meat off the top shelf. And he said, "No, the steaks are too high".
5. My friend drowned in a bowl of muesli. A strong currant pulled him in.
6. A man came round in hospital after a serious accident. He shouted "Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!"
The doctor replied, "I know you can't, I've cut your arms off".
7. I went to a seafood disco last week...and pulled a muscle.
8. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly so they lit a fire in the centre of the craft which sank, proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
9. Our ice cream man was found lying on the floor of his van covered with hundreds and thousands. Police say that he topped himself.
10. Man goes to the doctor with a strawberry growing out of his head.
Doc says, "I'll give you some cream to put on it".
11. "Doc, I can't stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home"
"That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome"
"Is it common?"
"It's not unusual".
12. A man takes his Rottweiler to the vet. "My dog's cross-eyed. Is there anything you can do for him?"
"Well," says the vet, "let's have a look at him"
So he picks the dog up and examines his eyes, then checks his teeth.
Finally, he says, "I'm going to have to put him down."
"What? Just because he's cross-eyed?"
"No, because he's really heavy".
13. Guy goes into the doctor's. "Doc, I've got a cricket ball stuck up my backside"
"Don't you start".
14. Two elephants walk off a cliff...boom, boom!
15. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.
16. So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me "Can you give me a lift?"
I said "Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it".
17. Apparently, 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese. There are 5 people in my family, so it must be one of them. It's either my mum or my dad. Or my older brother Colin. Or my younger brother Ho-Cha-Chu. But I think it's Colin.
18. Two fat blokes in a pub, one says to the other, "Your round."
The other one says, "So are you, Fatty!"
19. Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid and the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one
20. "You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine' Wasn't that nice!"
21. A man walked into the doctors and said, "I've hurt my arm in several places."
The doctor said, "Well don't go there any more".
22. Ireland's worst air disaster occurred early this morning when a small two-seater Cessna plane crashed into a cemetery. Irish search and rescue workers have recovered 1826 bodies so far and expect that number to increase as digging continues into the night.
25. Sign of the times!
|David and Geoff with the Graham Street Sign
Photo from David Kemp
David writes: "The Graham Street sign - which I'm assured was legally obtained from the demolition contractor and is in the possession of my cousin Geoff in Southport. When does the South Bank museum open?"