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Memories of Pearey House – Ken’s Story

There was a service there for people who needed it whether it’s coming along for a cup of tea or a bite to eat and a chat.


Photo of Pearey House and grounds

Pearey House and grounds

I’ve been sort of partially sighted since I was a child. I’ve got tunnel vision and I got recommended to go down to Pearey House and the first thing I did was sort of learning brail. I couldn’t really get away with it to be honest but that was my first involvement and from then on, if they needed help I would go down.

I can’t remember which year it was, but I became part of the committee and that led on to me becoming chairman in the late 2000s and I was chairman for about 12 years until they changed to the Charity Commission and we took their rules of where you only served so many years.  The chairman was 4 years, so I did the 4 years of that and then I stood down and then after a year I was asked to come back on.  You had to be off a year, so I came back on and am still there.

It was a bit more like a home at the time until they got the flats. That was my first sort of dealings with them and it’s just sort of carried on working like that.

It was known as Tynemouth Blind Welfare when I first went along, now it is Pearey House with the Charity Commission. It needed taking into the twenty first century basically, which I take some credit for, we’ve invested lots of money to bring it up to date.  My family put a lot of money into it, they still give them a donation every month.

I don’t know what year it was, but eventually North Tyneside Council, we approached them. I wouldn’t say we were in debt, but we needed some kind of financial help.  But they did help, they still do to this day.  I don’t know how it works but it’s not as much as it used to be, like most places I suppose.  When you think Pearey House is the only real place for people who are blind or partially sighted in this area.  There was a service there for people who needed it whether it’s coming along for a cup of tea, a bite to eat and a chat which it still is to this day.

Photo of an activity session at Pearey House

An activity session at Pearey House

There must be 60 or 70 I would say because they have separate days for different parts of North Tyneside and obviously the minibus, that was an investment as well.  You’re slightly restricted in that sense, because you can only carry about maybe 15, which again they go out different areas every day and pick people up and take them home again.   Some will get taxis or other ones that live there come over for lunch or whatever’s on that day sort of thing.

With the pandemic we haven’t been able to do much, but I used to go down on a Thursday and play bingo with dominoes.  Just a little game of Bingo, it was only for 50p or something, they used to enjoy that one, but as I say a lot of them just go for a bit chat.

I don’t know what I’m proud of, just being involved and getting ideas and working with the committee. Obviously because of my sight problems that’s what attracted me to it, I don’t get there as much as I like these days, but it’s been good, no doubt about it.

We’ve had people coming along until they were in their 90s getting on for 100 this type of thing, there was one lady used to live there she was 101 or something when she passed on.  I think it’s sort of the companionship, they live independently obviously in the flats but security is there and you’ve got the buzzers and all that if you need any help so I think they just feel secure.

There is a dozen flats and obviously again I mean they were built about 20 or 30 years ago.  So obviously, you have to upgrade them nowadays. Some are getting wet rooms; we are trying to make things as comfortable as possible for them.


Ken was interviewed as part of the Pearey House 150th Anniversary Project

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