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Cullercoats Folk

Billy Rodney - man of mystery.


Who and what was Billy Rodney? As a young boy I used to see this huge man striding along the back lane between Front Street and Simpson Street, to disappear into the entrails of a gloomy house, darkly curtained against prying eyes. Brave would be the boy who dared climb over his backyard wall to retrieve a lost ball!

To me he was a man of mystery, dressed in heavy boots, trousers at half mast, black gansey, ragged coat with sleeves barely reaching the wrist of huge gnarled hands, an old bowler hat stuck on his head. I was a little frightened of him. He noticed me but never spoke to me and neither did he do me any harm. I suppose I felt a little sorry for him living in that dark house, apparently quite friendless.

Was he a vagrant, a beachcomber or just a drop-out of the 20s seeking a little peace and quiet?

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