Eccleshaw Shops

The period I am reminiscing about is the late ‘60s and ‘70s. I lived on Goathland Ave. near Eccleshaw shops, most of my family still live in Benton. I went to St Cuthbert's in the West End of Newcastle, but my local friends all went to Longbenton High

The period I am reminiscing about is the late ‘60s and ‘70s.  I lived on Goathland Ave. near Eccleshaw shops, most of my family still live in Benton.  I went to  St Cuthbert’s in the West End of Newcastle, but my local friends all went to Longbenton High School.  As my Catholic school quite often had different holidays to those at Longbenton High it sticks in my mind when I was on holiday and they weren’t, how busy the shopping centre was at dinner times.

Benton was a quieter more genteel place than its counterpart Longbenton that had a significant number of flats housing single people, where Benton was predominantly houses containing families or elder couples whose families had flown the nest. There were no pubs in Benton estate itself save The Fusileer, which was on the outskirts and was classed as Forest Hall and the several others at Four Lane Ends that were considered old Benton.

Eccleshaw shops, in Benton, was a small shopping centre of single storey shops, with two storey residential maisonettes above them.  It was a split level shopping centre with sloping walkways between levels separated by grassed areas contained within small walls.  The top level contained a Newsagent (Tates), cake shop, general dealers (MACE), and a butchers (Bob Woodhall).  Then there was the cobblers and the drapers, a launderette, a chemist, another general dealers (VG) and another  butchers. The lower level comprised of a betting shop, a green grocers (Goffs), a bread shop, a pork butchers, a sweet shop/post office, an off license, a hardware shop, a barbers shop and finally a hairdressers.

The local high school, Longbenton High (formerly Thomas Addisons), was just up the road.  Pupils descended on the shopping centre at lunch times where single cigarettes could be purchased at the sweet shop along with spiralled sugar candy, and delicious hot mince pies and saveloy dips from the pork butchers.  The low sandstone-topped walls acted as both makeshift tables and seating for the lunchtime visitors.

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