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Ann’s Memories of Wallsend

During the war there used to be smoke screens lit on moonlit nights to hide the yards from bombers.

Editor’s note: Ann was born in Wallsend in 1926 and took part in the Hand in Hand Reminiscence project in 2008.


Photo of Ann WallsendFrom my house in Laurel Street we overlooked the Town Hall.  We lived in several different houses in the area including Edward Terrace on Neptune Bank before finally moving to High Farm.  This suited my father better because he was asthmatic.  My father was a driller in the shipyards.  During the war there used to be smoke screens lit on moonlit nights to hide the yards from bombers.

I was at school at Central at the beginning of the war and we were evacuated to Northumberland, between Eshott and Felton.  There were three of us there and I was the oldest.  The people were very nice but after two months my father brought us home, he wanted us to be together.

We were affected by bomb damage at home and this again meant that the family was split up.  It took twelve months to bring us all back together.  In 1943 I had a job in Swinburne’s Brass Foundry on Hadrian Road.  I worked a lathe, with very little training.  I remember one chap who worked across the bench from me was 93 years old.  That’s what it took to keep the war effort going.

Other memories of Wallsend in the 1930s include the railway lines that crossed the High Street and had crossing gates, and seeing cows grazing at the bottom of the Burn and being driven up the bank into Wallsend.

Once the war finished we managed to get back to some ordinary life.  I loved dancing and cycling.  We used to regularly cycle up past Morpeth.  There were so few cars on the road then.  You could always find a good place for tea and sandwiches.  One place in particular outside of Morpeth was a well known meeting place for cyclists.

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