Michael’s Memories of Wallsend

When the bath was out the cleanest (least dirty) members of the family got bathed first, leaving grandad to get in last, with all his coal dirt.

Editor’s note: Michael was born in 1959 in Wallsend and took part in the Hand in Hand Reminiscence project in 2008.

I lived in Wallsend and went to school there until I was 11 years old, then I went to a special school in Killingworth.  Since then I’ve lived an independent life, even though my sight is very bad.  I went to the Buddle School in Wallsend and loved most sports, especially swimming and football.  I played for the school football team against other local schools but we never won a trophy.

The game I didn’t like was cricket, it was boring and I was always out and never scored a run.  Chasing girls was a good game at school too.  At Buddle, the toilets were outside in the yard and if you could find a piece of wood you could push it into the lock on the outside and lock them all in so they were late for lessons after dinner.  The headmaster used to go mad!

We used to go to Tynemouth a lot when we were young.  My earliest memory of childhood is of standing on the platform at Wallsend Station, when the steam trains ran, waiting to go to Tynemouth.  The beach there was great and we used to picnic and make ‘pot pies’ in the sand.  Above the beach were changing huts or chalets that you could rent out. I think it was 5d to rent a hut for the day.  Some people used to sleep in them.  Tynemouth Open Air Pool was lovely, swept clean with sea water every day.

One of my grandads was a Mayor of North Shields and another member of my family, G T Mavin, has got his name on the plaque which is outside of the Memorial Hall in Wallsend, the one with the two soldiers standing guard of it.

The fire my grandma used to cook on is now in Beamish Museum.  She cooked bread on it and it would heat water too, in a big bucket nearby.  My grandad was a pitman and used to wash next to the fire.  When the bath was out the cleanest (least dirty) members of the family got bathed first, leaving grandad to get in last, with all his coal dirt.

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