I'd love to go to a party
This particular Christmas, as a young boy of seven or eight, I remember my uncle John Pratt coming over to tell my parents he had a ticket for me to go to a get together with other children at the Masonic Hall in North Shields. He asked if I would like to go? “Oh, I’d love to” I answered.
So the day came and I marched up to this big white-fronted building with red brick, which is still there to this day, and marched in. We were all seated at long tables and someone came round with cups and saucers and plates with various cakes on them, and an apple and orange for each child. After we’d eaten all the goodies there was an entertainer. In this particular instance it was a conjurer, who did tricks. All the children were mesmerised, as was I. It was a really enjoyable occasion.
The Free Masons used to do this every year and it was for the benefit of poorer children in the area. It wasn’t for their own children particularly, it was for poorer children. It was one of their charity benefits at this time of the year.
A Children’s Christmas Party
Photograph from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Collection