Old North Shields

Shops with every type of wine, Welch's and Maynards for toffee, Boots the Chemist, and opposite, Williamson & Hogg who roasted coffee.

Whatever happened to old North Shields since I was but a lad?
Looking now there’s just remains, the place just makes me sad.
Past Chirton Huts from First World War it was mostly open ground
All nice for walks in summer time with interest all around.
Whatever happened in Saville Street, for shopping it was tops,
With Bedford Street alongside it, it was full of canny shops.

The trams along the street would run from the ferry o’ the Tyne,
Saville Street was busy then and Saturday night was fine.
Cos shops were open till 9 or 10, all lit along the street,
It started at Joe Ridley’s shop where we used to get our meat.
Half a crown for a leg of lamb with dripping and sausage free,
Hancock’s and Hunter’s for our cakes for a special Sunday tea.

The time of course I liked the most when out I went with Ma,
Was Bedford Street and Saville Street to Piper’s Toy Bazaar.
Toy soldiers for a halfpenny then, I liked the Indians riding horses,
My sister bought dressing up gear to play doctors and nurses.
We called at Craig’s, a dairy shop, for milk and nice ice cream,
Those days are gone, there’s nowt at all, Saville Street is just a dream.

Now, it’s a nightmare, all boarded up, just a bloke there selling fruit,
By Woolworth’s, he keeps on hoping though some shops will follow suit.
At the Borough, Kino, Howard Hall on Saturdays we would queue,
The Albion was the best but then the Gaiety drew a few.
The big lads took their lasses out, they called picture halls the flicks,
Fancy like, to impress the lass, to see Hoot Gibson or Tom Mix.

My brothers took their lasses out, one was Alice, one called Vera,
Sloppy lasses both of them for Lilian Gish and Norma Shearer.
We had Woolworth’s and Howard Stores, Walkers and many others,
Swans and Peirsons, Barclays, Grants, Barry Noble’s by Bell Brothers.
Over a hundred shops in all, chip shops there were many,
Shops where you’d get pies and peas or ice cream for a penny.

Shops with every type of wine, Welch’s and Maynard’s for toffee,
Boots the Chemist, and opposite, Williamson and Hogg who roasted coffee.
If you had a suit then Sunday was the day you dressed to go a’courting,
But girls with style would only smile, they were only there for flirting.
We had the Wooden Dolly though, the Fish Quay and Tyne Brand,
And a carnival in August time and the Plaza, called it Grand.

So let us dwell on Shields again in those days of long ago,
With Saville Street in wor canny town, the Shields we used to know.
For I read in the paper that Saville Street is being reborn again,
And Shields will rise like a phoenix so our dreaming’s not in vain.
I’d like to live to see it done and know the news is not a joke,
To have Saville Street like it used to be with canny shops for canny folk.

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