Skip to main content

Sarah Joyce’s Day at the Beach

Men wore suit and tie and polished shoes to go on the beach women got all dressed up too.


Day at the Seaside project August 2012
Interviewee: Sarah Joyce Henderson, born North Shields 1926

The beach was quite some distance from where I lived so we had to walk.  It took about an hour but we couldn’t afford the bus.  We mostly paddled in the water; we didn’t play games we usually went to Tynemouth Long Sands and sometimes to the open-air pool. I wore a swimming costume made from plastic with elastic thread running through.  Before that, I had a knitted one and when you came out of the water it dropped to your knees.

I used to go with family, the four of us. As a teenager I went with friends.  We just walked on the beach, there were shuggy boats and donkeys but we couldn’t afford to go on them.  We used to take sandwiches with us either ham or cheese and a flask. We drank tea mostly but my mam made ginger beer.

I didn’t particularly like the beach but I had to go  I liked it better when I got older and could go to the bathing pool; I didn’t like sand in my sandwiches. There was a place for lost children on the beach. There was so many people on the beach that if a child strayed too far then they would easily get lost. We used to put our swimming costumes on under our clothes before we went to the beach and when we were getting ready to come home we wrapped a towel around us to get changed; we didn’t have changing tents.

Today you don’t see many people on the beach not like it was then. I went to the Spanish City after the war.  We had coppers to spend then; we played rolling the penny down. I wasn’t very good on the helter-skelter it always made me sick. The summer was always warm and sunny, especially during the school holidays.  You could buy hot water to make a pot of tea and you could get ice cream on the beach.  Mother would make a pie to take.

Men wore suit and tie and polished shoes to go on the beach; women got all dressed up too.  We stayed the whole day.  We came home tired and burnt, they didn’t realize in those days how dangerous the sun could be.

If you've enjoyed this memory and would like to share a story of your own why not go to our Contact Page to find out more.