East End Sunbeams

We had crinolines made out of crepe paper and soldier's jackets made out of a piece of red mattress covering.

In the summer holidays the Eastern Board School used to open up its playground so the children would have somewhere to play.  I got a group of young girls together in the late 1920s who were interested in singing and dancing and we formed the East End Sunbeams.  The Sunbeams were a concert party that put on singing and dancing shows around North Shields.  No admission charge was made for performances but donations were accepted.

The money raised went towards things like new costumes but the Sunbeams raised a lot of money towards the building of the new Jubilee Infirmary.  There were some good singers and dancers in the Sunbeams and I would choreograph the routines.  Some of the mothers were good seamstresses and would make the costumes, one in particular I remember was very creative and could come up with ideas for costumes.  We had crinolines made out of crepe paper and soldiers’ jackets made out of a piece of red mattress covering that my mother gave us.

We did performances all over North Shields, for example at St Faith Mission in Hudson Street.  This was one of the off-shoots of Christ Church in North Shields and its hall had a good stage for performing.  Entertainment like this was really popular and I can remember a group of miners who used to go around the town clog dancing to make some money when the pits were on strike.

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