Skip to main content

Dorothy and Peggy’s Day at the Beach

Imagine if you have something knitted like a swim suit, cos it was all in one, and when it got wet it was sort of sodden and it used to drag.


Day at the Seaside Project 2012

Interviewees: Dorothy Limerick – born in North Shields 30.04.1939 and Peggy Thompson – born in Burradon 28.11.1928


We used to dig in the sand and lie down and get covered. We used to take our dog so it meant running after him when he decided he didn’t want to stay there any more. We used to go in to plodge in the sea. Later of course, once I used to swim well, we’d do that instead. Mind, the weather was a bit better than it is now. Build sandcastles? Yes, we used to try, but usually other children would come and knock them down. If you got one built you had a little flag and you put it on the top.

(Dorothy) We went to Tynemouth Long Sands. (Peggy) Cullercoats we used to go.

If you went to Whitley Bay there was what we called shuggy boats. They had them at Tynemouth as well and they had donkeys at Whitley Bay but not at Cullercoats.

Spanish City, you’ve got to go there. Is it still going?

We’d go to the Long Sands in Tynemouth and then sort of go into the sea if you wanted to, you know, swim in the sea or just paddle.

We’d go as a family. You naturally went with them. It was only when you got older that you would probably go with your friends.

(Dorothy) Sometimes we’d go on a day visit. We used to get the bus down. We didn’t have cars in those days. It would take about ten minutes, quarter of an hour. (Peggy) I lived at Castle Park and we used to walk. You know where Northumberland Park Metro is? Well before that there was a station there, a train station and we used to walk from Castle Park to Backworth Station and get the train to Cullercoats, or Whitley or wherever you were going. It was busy.

You had your sandwiches with you, your bait. Naturally chocolates, you know chocolate biscuits. Egg and tomato sandwiches like mashed up because it went further. You were a bit hard up and then of course when you got to the beach and you were having your sandwiches there was always somebody ran past and the sand would go up and you ended up with tomato and sand sandwiches.

Ee I remember having a knitted swimsuit. Imagine if you have something knitted like a swim suit, cos it was all in one, and when it got wet it was sort of sodden and it used to drag. Just children wore them. My father used to sit with his coat, his shoes and his trousers on. Men just used to roll their trousers up and go and paddle. The ladies would have their dresses tucked up the knicker leg so that they didn’t get wet, but you always got wet.

I think we went most weekends because I was an only child, but my father was one of a big family and we used to go to Cullercoats and you always knew you would meet somebody there. There would always be one or two of the family there you know, I think that’s why we went to Cullercoats. I think that was on a Sunday we used to go.

So many people go abroad now. They used to come from Scotland. There was six weeks in the summer and there was three separate fortnights and they were from different parts of Scotland. One fortnight they might be from Edinburgh and the next fortnight from Glasgow. I don’t know where the other ones would come from but there was the three fortnights and it was full of people. You know they used to come in on the train and the train was packed and the whole of Whitley Bay was full of Scots people.

When I got to was I ten, maybe eleven, when the war started, you didn’t get treats like that. They had barbed wire on the beaches.

I can vaguely remember Pierrots, clowns. They sang and they danced and that was in Whitley Bay. And they had Punch and Judy on the beach for the children. You used to sit on the sand and watch Punch and Judy. Oh yes it was free. Oh you went to everything that was free. Well you didn’t have the money did you?

If you've enjoyed this memory and would like to share a story of your own why not go to our Contact Page to find out more.