We used to get the bus to the Central Station and then the electric train from there to Tynemouth.
Day at the Seaside project 2012
Interviewee: Alick Hampton – born in Gateshead 22.05.1932
What did I do at the seaside? Well it ranges from quite a long time, from me being very small up till about twenty, twenty-one when I moved away with the family. Nearly every Sunday, when it was fine, we used to come from Gateshead. We used to get the bus to the Central Station and then the electric train from there to Tynemouth. My family always preferred Tynemouth to Whitley Bay, probably because it was quieter. We used to sit by the bathing pool. It was a long wall and there was my father, my two sisters, my mother. My mother’s sisters used to come so we’d be strung out along that wall, and my mother used to come very early to grab that position and I would think there would be a good dozen or more of us there every Sunday when it was fine. It probably took about an hour to get from where I lived to Tynemouth. There used to be special excursions for a shilling from Newcastle Central Station to the coast, so I used to come then as well sometimes.
I used to usually do off to the amusements because I liked the amusement arcade and the machines and for a halfpenny you could play. I used to like to go in the bathing pool although I couldn’t swim.
Did we take swimsuits? Yeah but I wasn’t really into that too much. Not really, going into water. We used to go to the water’s edge of course and build little sandcastles and whatever in my younger days, but no, not really.
My father used to take one of these stoves you know. You put paraffin in and often it used to shoot up in the air and there used to be a big panic on. We always seemed to have egg and tomato sandwiches and they always seemed to taste of sand and I rather liked that. You could take your jug and get it filled with hot water. On the sands there was a place for threepence and I used to be carrying this jug and weaving my way because you could hardly move on the beach and I’m sure by the time I got there it must have gone cold. I never got lost on the beach. I knew exactly where to go because my mother and father never moved from that wall.
We’d probably buy ice cream and chips when we were there. You didn’t really have an awful lot of money so you tended to make it spin out. I remember telling my father once that I wanted to go home so he gave me a half crown to come back, but of course I went to the amusement arcade, spent it and came back with a hangdog look. Well, I guess I got another half crown to go home.
I liked best probably just getting away for a change you know. I went on the shuggy boats and oh, I used to like to go to the Spanish City, but if I went to the Spanish City it was always away from the family because they wouldn’t budge from that wall by the swimming pool. There was a little cinema in the Spanish City. It was 6d and they showed cartoons. It lasted about an hour. And there was the Figure 8. I hadn’t realized the Figure 8 was supposed to be dangerous and it did seem a bit tame to me. I would probably walk along from Tynemouth.
At Tynemouth, inside the Plaza, there was a few rides but they were small. There was a one with these distorted mirrors, you know, you walk through. I used to like to watch Punch and Judy. I just remember it was free. I think the atmosphere’s changed since then. I mean in Cullercoats there was more on the front. There was amusement arcades and that which there aren’t now. There’s not so many people on the beach. People want more exotic locations now.
I used to like to go on the rocks. Occasionally you got little crabs and that. I took shells home but I probably chucked them away. I didn’t try to art work them into ash trays or anything. Yeah it was good, much better than today.
We used to walk up that long bank and there was a hotel at the top, and then we used to walk all the way to Tynemouth station. The queues going back home were terrible. I always remember being really exhausted at the end of the day. I remember on the stations there was always a picture of somebody advertising hair cream, a cricketer, Brylcreem yeah. There used to be big queues. We used to have to wait a long time.