Rena’s Memories of Wallsend

We always got dressed up to go dancing, in a long dress and with either silver or gold shoes.

Editor’s Note: Rena was born in 1918 in North Shields and took part in the Hand in Hand Reminiscence project in 2008

I went to Eastern Board School and Northumberland Street Mission when I was a little girl.  The lady who lived in the schoolhouse taught us to dance and we did concerts with different costumes, some of them made out of crepe paper.  At the Mission, I remember being dressed up as a fairy to entertain people.  I loved entertaining people and I remember being in a dancing competition once.  I did the waltz and won, getting a box of chocolates as a prize.

I always loved to dance and when I was a bit older.  I remember the dance hall at the Albion Assembly Rooms, which was beautiful, with a full dance band.  It was 6d to get in on a Saturday night.  We also used to go to the Empress Ballroom in Whitley Bay and the Plaza in Tynemouth.  We always got dressed up to go dancing, in a long dress and with either silver or gold shoes.  I’m still dancing, and I still get dressed up to go, but not with a long dress anymore.

Editor’s Note: The dance group at the Eastern Board School were known as the East End Sunbeams and were very successful.  The Albion Assembly Rooms were in Norfolk Street and adjoined the Albion Commercial & Family Hotel.

Northumberland Street Mission opened in 1902 and was home to a thriving community.  It was taken over by Percy A Hudson, Timber Merchant, as a storeroom in 1964.  Later it became part of the Distillex plant.  In 2002 it was destroyed by fire.

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