Childhood Memories of Living in New York

Elsie Wilkinson recalls her childhood in New York village during the 1920s and 30s.

I was one of 8 children in our family 4 boys and 4 girls. After Brooklyn Terrace we went to live in what we called “the hut” in Mafekin Terrace. It was a wooden bungalow. My granda and ganny had a coal business and they owned the property. It had 2 bedrooms and a kitchen and had foldy-down beds. The boys used to sleep head to toe in one bed and the girls in another. Next door was a garage and the County bus was garaged there. I think it used to run to Newcastle.

When I was young I used to go to church on a Sunday with my Aunty Florrie. We went to St Matthew’s which was beside the Wheatsheaf. We called it the tin church. Later we went to St Mark’s in Shiremoor.

Every year we went on the Shiremoor Treat. We would line up in 3s in the school yard and a band would play as we marched up to Backworth. We would get a bag with cakes in and we took a mug to get a cup of tea.

My father ran the first bus from Backworth to North Shields. My mother worked as the conductress and, when we were small, my eldest sister looked after us when mam was at work. He then started a Taxi business, Bibby’s Taxis. He used to take the miners to work and bring them back again.

As a child I used to play tops and whips. We also played shops with boody. Boody was bits of broken china. We used to do concerts in the back yard and we used to play on the “Rec” (the recreation ground) behind the school. There was always something to do.

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