I still go to the Procession of Witness in Wallsend and I think I’ve been to every one since I was a little girl.
Editor’s Note: Edna was born in 1921 in Wallsend and took part in the Hand in Hand Reminiscence project in 2008.
I lived in the Carville area of Wallsend, which is where the Roman Wall ends. I can remember in wartime, when we were digging out spaces for air raid shelters, that we would dig up bits of stone from the Wall. These stones littered our gardens and nobody thought anything about it.
I remember playing lots of games when I was a child, especially with skipping ropes. We would skip on our own and then in a group, with two of the bigger children turning the rope so we could jump in and out of it. Then there was ‘Double Dutch’, which used two ropes, being turned in the opposite direction. It took a bit of doing to turn the ropes properly, never mind jump in and out.
There were big occasions such as Easter when we played special games. On Easter Monday every child in the area went to the banks along the Burn Closes and rolled their past eggs, whosever went the furthest or stayed whole the longest won the game. It was quite a sight to see everyone there.
Easter as a whole was a special time. Good Friday was always taken up with the Procession of Witness, which involved hundreds of people walking round Wallsend and ending up at the Green for a final service. We would stop at certain places on the route and sing hymns. After the big gathering on the Green we would go back to our own Sunday School and be given an orange. I still go to the Procession of Witness in Wallsend and I think I’ve been to every one since I was a little girl.
Christmas was a lovely time and I remember hearing the Carville Chapel carol singers as they went out on Christmas Eve. My sister was one of them. They would start their carols at midnight at Simpson’s Hotel and then go round the area until about three or four o’clock in the morning.
On New Year’s Eve we would go in a crowd to a dance at the Memorial Hall. This would finish at about 11.30pm and then we’d make our way to the Town Hall in time for midnight. Lots of other people would make their way there from other dances and a big crowd would gather under the balcony of the Town Hall. The Mayor would come out onto the balcony, in all his robes. He’d make a speech and wish everyone a happy new year. We knew it was the new year when all the different shipyard buzzers started. Swan Hunter’s was always very distinctive. After that we’d all go first footing.