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Mamie’s Memories of Wallsend

I've lived in the same house for over eighty years.

Editor’s note: Mamie was born in 1923 in Wallsend and took part in the Hand in Hand Reminiscence project in 2008.

I was born in a house in Rochdale Street, Wallsend in 1923 and I’m still living there now, over 80 years later. My father was born there too, in 1884 and I’m not sure if my grandparents would have been the first people to live in it when it was built. I know my street and a few others were built by Wallsend Co-operative Society and they’re still standing today.

Both my father and grandfather worked in the shipyards. My grandfather came down from Scotland to work at Swan Hunter and then Wigham Richardson. He was a plater/boilermaker and worked on the Mauretania when it was built.

I went to Western Board School, which was virtually just across the road and I still see friends today that I met then. I remember all the games we played, class parties for special occasions and taking part in special events. Empire Day was always celebrated in my school. The school piano was brought out into the school yard and the Headmaster played. The boys would salute the flag but the girls didn’t, they just sang along and recited verses. I’m not sure why the girls didn’t salute. Although it was called Empire Day it had started out as a celebration for Queen Victoria’s birthday, in days gone by. The best part was getting a half day holiday.

We played around the doors such a lot when I was little, especially in the back lanes. I remember everyone being part of the skipping games, even the mothers and they used to turn the big ropes for us. Sometimes we’d have squabbles when we played, maybe over who had the ball, but we always made up afterwards.

Going to church was a big part of life and we went to Brunswick Methodist Church on the High Street in Wallsend, near to the junction of Park Road. It’s not there now and I went to Trinity Methodist on Station Road after that. I’m still going strong there now.

I was sixteen when WWII started and I stayed at home to help my grandma look after the house. I did eventually go out to work and ended up working for 26 years for the L&N Tea Co. It was shop work and I worked in their stores in High Street Wallsend, Grainger Street Newcastle and Four Lane Ends Benton. The work was varied and I enjoyed it. Since I’ve retired I’ve missed the company and all the goings on.

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