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Peggy’s Day at the Beach

We’d go down wearing a swimsuit. The knitted ones were terrible once you got into the water they were just around your ankles.


Day at the Seaside project August 2012
Interviewee: Peggy Taylor – born in North Shields in 1926

What did we do at the seaside? All we could do then was just paddle in the water or make pot pies with the sand, and we always had maybe a sandwich or something to eat with us and a bottle of water, and the sandwiches weren’t any good because they always had sand in them by the time we got them eaten.

Did we go rock pooling? Well, it was a bathing pool then, and then there was a paddling pool beside it. We used to have a lovely time in the bathing pool from being little to when we were older. You know in “wor teens” and that, and then when we had our children, we used to take them down on a Sunday if it was nice and fine, which invariably it wasn’t.

We went to Tynemouth. There was the shuggy shoes on the beach but we could never afford to go on them, and the one time that I did I used to sit and look at people you know, and think ‘Ee they’re lucky getting on there’ and then the one time I did manage to get on them I was sick ‘cos the motion of the shuggy shoe was too much for is, and I had to come off.

Who did I go to the seaside with? Just the family, with me mam; can’t remember me dad going, and then me mother wasn’t very good at the seaside,  always made her ill. She used to go and have to sit at the back up on the promenade or something.

You just had something to stop you from getting hungry, maybe a couple of biscuits if you were lucky. Chips or ice cream, if there was, we couldn’t afford to buy them, not then.

We’d go down wearing a swimsuit. The knitted ones were terrible, once you got into the water they were just around your ankles. I can remember just having a swimsuit to swim in, but I never had a knitted one, so I must have had a decent one.

We’d walk to the beach. We used to walk down and then walk back ‘cos you never had any money for the bus. It wasn’t until we were much older that we could maybe afford to get the bus down. We mostly went at weekends and the holidays. In fact, that was wor holiday, spending it at the seaside. It filled your time in.

I liked best just being free and not having to go to school. There would be donkey rides. When we were older, when we were in our teens, we’d go to the Spanish City in Whitley Bay. We used to sometimes go down there on a Sunday. I remember going on the Figure 8 in the Spanish City and you had your heart in your mouth all the time. I don’t think I would go on now.

There were changing rooms at the swimming pool but mostly, especially the time that we went down with the school, it was just like a tarpaulin curtain and you were on the bench getting changed and then you had to pull the tarpaulin curtain along.

Well, when you were young you know, say nine or ten, it always seemed to be sunny and I remember me auntie, me mother’s sister, came over for a holiday ‘cos she had emigrated to America and of course her one thing was to take me down onto the beach and we went down and we stopped in Front Street on the corner and there was a Maynard’s shop there you know, and she stopped and she said ‘What sweeties would you like?’ Well, I just looked at all the sweeties and I couldn’t say what I wanted because I was too shy. Any rate she did buy is some sweeties, but I can’t remember what they were. Then we went down onto the beach and we sat there, and she played, made pot pies and that, but she was sitting, coming from America, sitting with a fur coat on, on the beach, and I was sitting in a little thin cotton dress. I always remember her. She’s dead now poor soul.

Every Sunday you couldn’t get moved, mainly families. We used to build a table up with the sand and put a tablecloth over and then pull it down with maybe a couple of cups to keep the tablecloth from floating, blowing away.

My youngest daughter spent her time when she was on school holiday walking the ponies back and forwards along the beach. She was mad on horses and she used to like that, and her and her friend Susan had a cart that was pulled by a little pony and they used to give the children rides along the beach. She did it just for filling her school holidays in.

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