We swam in the sea always there but you get used to it you see you warm up. We didn’t really play games. We used to bathe.
Day at the Seaside project August 2012
Interviewee: Rene Anderson – born 1925
During the summer holidays when I was at school, I had two brothers and a sister and me dad was always on night shift so when it was the summer weather and the weather was nice, we always went down to Tynemouth. Me dad took us down in the motorbike and sidecar, about ten o’clock in the morning, and then he used to come back about six o’clock at night to take us home.
First thing we used to do was to find a seat for me mam. You know the bank at Tynemouth down the first set of steps at the bottom, well she used to sit a little bit in front of there, always in the same place so that whenever we wandered off we always knew where to come back to.
Me dad went home to bed because he used to work night shift all the time in the Byker sheds. Me mam was always there. We were there all day. The first thing that we used to have to do was to make a seat for her to sit on because it was early in the morning you see, about ten o’clock, and then we used to build up a little table thing you know. And she had a cloth that she used to put over when we had wor meals down on the beach, and then of course, after that, I often wonder how she sat all day long there on her own, because we were always off running around somewhere you know, all over the place.
Sometimes we used to go right from Tynemouth right along to Whitley Bay and back again, all on the rocks you know. When the tide went out we’d get round the rocks or go the other way to the small sands at Tynemouth you know. We never sat down deein’ nothing. We never had a deck chair. In those days we couldn’t afford to. She was quite content just to sit there.
We swam in the sea, always there, but you get used to it you see, you warm up. We didn’t really play games. We used to bathe, all sorts of things. We used to always be bathing or making holes, making different things. I used to like to build up and then find little things lying on the floor and stick them.
We had sandwiches. Me mam used to make all them before we took them and tea and everything. We never bought anything to eat. Just the odd time when we were walking around. We lived at High Heaton so it was straight down the Coast Road to Tynemouth, so it didn’t take long to get there. We never walked. Me dad had a motorbike and sidecar.
We went to the beach mostly in the summer holidays usually, just with the family. I just liked to go there. Fun, it was a day out. No favourite activity. Did we use the outdoor swimming pool? Not very often ‘cos you were always in the sea. I don’t think we did that until we got a bit older when we went into the swimming pool. You know we were kids, just playing around. We just went down the beach and played in the water.
To my mind, we had a lot better weather then than what we have now, in the summer.
We wore just ordinary clothes and put our costumes on when we got there. We had knitted ones. Me mam knit wor costumes. Uncomfortable if it got wet. It depended what you knit it with. It wasn’t all wool.
It was very busy. I can’t understand how, well of course nowadays they spend pounds going abroad whereas they’ve got more you know, I mean we never. Of course, in those days we didn’t, couldn’t afford it.
I think it was in the war when things started getting quiet and it’s never been the same since. When you go down the coast nowadays it’s very quiet. You don’t see all the people there. When we used to go down to the coast it was always packed. Right away along.
You see very little now compared to what we’re used to. In my time there were always crowds of people going, walking up and down you know, going through the Spanish City and all the rest of it. We used to often go down at night later on when I was old enough to go on me own. When I came back after the war I was older, and we used to often go down on the bus or the train.
We were lucky to have been able to get. I mean we wouldn’t have been able to get if me dad hadn’t had the motorbike and sidecar and he kept that going himself.