I got lost lots of times. There was a lost children’s tent where you had to go.
Day at the Seaside project August 2012
Interviewee: Kathleen Gott, born Castle Park, Backworth, 1930
When we went to the seaside I did the normal things children did, like building sandcastles, playing and paddling. We didn’t have swimming costumes, we just wore vest and knickers or we would tuck our skirts into our knickers. I remember there were shuggy boats on the sands. Sometimes there was a Punch and Judy, and there were always donkeys, but we never rode on them. We sometimes went into the Spanish City, but again money was tight so we would just walk around. Sometimes we would collect whelks from the rocks. We would take them home and mother used to boil them. We had a pin to get the little thing out; very tasty as well. There were lots of people on the beach and you had to get down early to get a decent spot. I got lost lots of times. There was a lost children’s tent where you had to go.
We always went with our parents, so it depended when they had the time to take us down. Usually my mother’s friend and her family went with us so there was a big group of us. It was all right before the war started. After that, we couldn’t get down onto the beach because it was covered with barbed wire. You could still go on the Links but that wasn’t very nice.
My mother used to pack sandwiches and a bottle of water because we didn’t have lemonade or anything like that those days, and our treat at the end of the day was an ice-cream. We would have tinned salmon in the sandwiches if we were lucky, egg and tomato, paste – salmon or shrimp or something like that and jam. You would be just about to take a bite of your sandwich and someone would run past and you’d get a mouth full of sand with it.
When we had packed our sandwiches we usually walked to the seaside and it was a long walk. I’ve seen us walk all the way from Castle Park to Whitley Bay or even walk to Seaton Sluice – and back again. We just dragged ourselves coming back after a day out. There was a train from the station to Whitley Bay but we didn’t have the money to use it.
We just went during the holidays and at weekends, as dad was working and mothers didn’t have much time in those days. During the miners’ holidays and the shipyards’ holidays everyone came down to the beach. People used to come down in charabancs.