I really missed my lovely friends and neighbours when we moved into a house with a bathroom and a garden and a dog.
We moved to Forest Hall in January 1964, straight out of The Green, Wallsend, with my second son. We rented an upstairs flat from my husband’s auntie and uncle, Eadie and Fryer Smith. They also owned four shops in Forest Hall. We had a tin bath, which hung on the backyard wall, and an outside toilet. We learned that we lived in part of Forest Hall called the ‘White City’. The main group of shops was called ‘The Village’. One day, when I’d had words with my two year old, he locked me out. I yelled at him “Open this door or I’ll murder you”. Thankfully he let me in.
It was a lovely friendly community. If you needed a ‘message’, or to call the doctor (they made house calls in those days), you just had to pop your head out of the door and someone would oblige. We baby sat for each other, swopped our outgrown children’s clothes and wellies. I remember there was a cub uniform that covered a few backs in its time. We took turns to take the children to school. Mine went along the cinder track to St Mary’s. Mr Potts, the caretaker, would, as a treat, allow the big boys to shovel the coke into the boiler house. The mothers were not so happy about this. Mr Potts also made and iced beautiful fruit cakes for the children’s First Communion breakfasts.
Everyone in the street looked out for Granny Thompson. The first head out of the door on Saturday mornings would be given coppers wrapped in a note to take to Watson’s the butcher for her Sunday joint. Goodness knows what they gave her but there was always a parcel for her. I’ve no idea whose granny she really was, but she was granny to all the kids.
We had one family whose two small children were always filthy. One day the little boy came up the back stairs (the door was always open). He was stinking as usual. “I’ve come to play” he said, then seeing my face, he said “It’s alright missus, I’m lovely and clean today”. Poor little soul!
We hung our washing out across the back. I had a ‘Rolls Twin tub’ – I was queen on washday. When the binmen or coalmen came we had to dash out and whip it all back in.
I really missed my lovely friends and neighbours when we moved to a house with a bathroom and a garden and a dog….