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. Happy Birthday Bert
|Bert at his 90th Birthday Party
Bert's daughters Margaret and Jean put on a party for Bert at the Borough Park Bowling Club in Redcar. Margaret phoned me with an invite and I jumped at the chance. After all, how many 90th Birthday Parties do you get a chance to attend?
She had planned a few extra surprises for him. (If they can get him in front of a computer this will be another one for him!)
The first was a poem written by son Alan which was read out by his grandchildren Peter, Angela, Daren, Andrew and Graham taking alternative verses and is entitled:
Ode To Bert Earl
Bert Earl is a man of the people
Who helps out whenever he can
If anyone ever has problems
Then just call Bert Earl - What a man!
We all love his sharp sense of humour
And his twinkling mischievous eyes
With his skill playing billiards and snooker
He's carried off many a prize.
For many years he lived in South Bank
And his nickname was Sooty The Sweep
They called him the original roundhead
In Oliver and Cromwell Streets.
For years he has supported The Boro
From the days of the old Ayresome Park
He's always kept everyone laughing
With his brilliant remarks.
Bert Earl just loves to keep talking
He's always telling us jokes
For years he has made us so happy
And hundreds of thousands of folks.
Now Bert is an expert with chimneys
He's been at it years - nothing new
Without second glance - he'd jump at the chance
To shove his rod up someone's flue!
Using Normanby Road like a race track
On his push-bike with soot in a sack
A bird or a plane? No it's Bert Earl again
With his brushes and rods on the back.
We know women would try to entice him
Indoors to their full chimney breasts
And if the woman next door was willing
Then "Hang on" said Bert "You'll be next!"
A champion at billiards and snooker
At bowls he has rock-steady nerves
Nothing ever gave him more pleasure
Than when he has made his balls swerve.
Now some say Beckham can bend it
And Pele could too so they tell
But Bert could grab it and twist it
And shove it up chimneys as well!
Bert Earl is a wonderful person
With a permanent grin on his face
If only there were more people like him
Then the world would be a much nicer place.
So now that you are a young ninety
We all thank you for being such fun
Together we say "Have a brilliant day
Happy Birthday dear Sooty, well done!"
So whose small but good looking and spritely?
It's Bert Earl and blimey, he's Ninety!
|Bert is presented with a Hotshots Bowling Bag
Fellow bowls fanatic Willy Carr presents Bert with a new Hotshots bag as he reckoned Bert had carried his brushes in the old one.
Bert still bowls but only indoors now and he won the Hotshots Competition both in 2000 and 2002 so don't write him off yet. In fact he'll probably need another bag in a few years time!
3. Bert Earl, this is your life...
|Daughter Jean produces the red book
Now that Bert was up at the front his daughters had him where they wanted. They sat him on a chair and Jean produced the red book, intoning... "Bert Earl, this is your life!"
It took a while - he's had a long life - and the narrative was interspersed with historical events we could relate to while the famous Earl humour came through via his daughter.
At the end, Bert arose from his chair, possibly slower than he intended and said "Ah, I must be getting old!"
Not a bit of it Bert.
PS. It seems that Jean missed out a couple of details. I was telling my mate Allan Thompson about the party and he informed me that he worked for Bert as a fourteen year old delivering milk.
Later, Allan and Freddy Floyd worked for Lennie at his woodyard in Albert Road (I had to look on a map for the name!). Allan thought you should know!
4. Enter Margaret
|Margaret makes an entrance complete with pinny!
The surprises weren't over yet. Margaret set up a table with some bits of memorabilia and sat behind it with a script she had written on the table before her. She started off with a monologue .....
5. Doris and Elsie?
|It must have been Doris and Elsie Waters!
(For the young... your loss!)
Back to the narrative...
There was a knock on the door and Jean entered, done up the same way and joined Margaret as two wives of the forties and the monologue became a two-way comedy sketch and we all had a good laugh, especially the birthday boy.
6. Pictured with Bert
|Jean and Margaret with their Dad |
7. Some of the family
|Bert with daughters Jean and Margaret, Brother Len, and Great Grandson Joe |
8. Lenny and Bert
|Younger brother Len stands by Bert |
9. Cutting the cake
|Bert takes a stab at his birthday cake |
|Bert's fame even spread to America!
See The Earls Of South Bank on the Characters page.
11. Bert Earl
Well known for his sense of humour, Bert says at his age it's best not to start reading any long books!
12. Slaggy Island!
|Three of Bert's Grandsons
I was telling the youth in the middle about the Slaggy Island website. "How do you spell it?" he asked. Turned out this grandson of Bert Earl had never heard of Slaggy Island! Unbelievable!!
At this point, the youth on the right joined in having heard the word "website". I explained and he said "How do you spell it?" I said "You must be his brother!" Of course he is and they were amazed that I could see it!!
The rising generation...
13. The Final Chapter
"Suddenly but peacefully on December 16 (2003), aged 90 years,..."
"The passing of a legend..."
These, and several other entries in the "Family Announcements" of the Evening Gazette on Thursday the 18th of December 2003 told the world that another son of South Bank had packed his bowls and his brushes.
Goodbye Bert, it was nice knowing you.
Michael McLoughlin wrote in from Brisbane in the land of Oz...
"Just noticed the remarks in the guest book by my 2nd cousin, Mick Webster, in respect of Bert Earl who sadly passed away on December 16 2003. I feel that I must add that with Bert's passing part of the final chapters of the olde South Bank has, alas, moved into history. Bert was one of the living legends of the old town, a readily identifiable character who was reminiscent of the true and caring society that once reigned in South Bank.
I would ask you to kindly offer my condolences to the Earl Family and Bert's decendants.