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Memories of Gordon Square, Wallsend

God help those who left prams outside - well we had to have our bogie wheels!

I was born in Gordon Square, Wallsend, 79 years ago, and I grew up with a lot of memories from there. I can remember in 1930, when I was 5 years old, going to the soup kitchen at the entrance to Gordon Square for a bowl of soup.  At that time I did not understand why so many people were out of work.

We had a shed in the middle of the square and each landing had a washhouse. If you lived on the bottom, the washhouse was next to the smelly bins.  I can remember the landlord coming to empty the gas meters and leaving 24 pennies on the table  – that was your rebate.

Mrs (Granny) Elliot had a shop on the first landing, set up in her sitting room. A unit with shelves was set up at her front window and she sold all kinds of sweets and chocolates.  What sticks in mind most was the marshmallow and bars of Double Six chocolate.  Coming back to the marshmallow, it was the best around. I would buy some at a cost of 2 pennies a bag, go home get the long toasting fork out and sit in front of a big roaring fire and toast my marshmallow to perfection. I have not tasted marshmallow like it since – it was that good.

Just from the main entrance to Gordon Square was a little shop at the corner of Elton Street and Hedley Street run by two lovely elderly ladies called Liddle, and further down the was Gray the butcher’s shop, and further down Hedley Street was the fish shop, and on the other side of the street was Softlies sweet shop and fruit and veg shop, and a pie and peas shop. On one side of Gordon Square was the Co-op laundry, and on the side was the St Columba’s School.

In those days life was hard we had to make our own fun.  We would make our own bogies from a plank of wood and four wheels.  God help those who left prams outside – well we had to have our bogie wheels!  Kick the block was one game and many more.  In those days in Gordon Square, everyone helped each other and that’s how I remember my time as a teenager.

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