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Saturday Afternoons in Newcastle

A very careful calculation went into this trip.

I was always given my pocket money on a Friday night, 2/6d (or half a crown).  On Saturday mornings I would help my mum do her weekend shopping in Wallsend, walking the length of Wallsend High Street to get what she needed and standing in endless queues.  We returned, loaded with bags at about twelve o clock.  I hated going food shopping with my mum!  However, on Saturday afternoons I would catch the green bus from the Coach and Horses or the Winning and go into town.  There I would be able to spend my pocket money, quite a different sort of shopping.

A very careful calculation went into this trip.  The bus fare on the green bus was 5d each way for a half-fare, leaving one shilling and eight pennies to spend once I got there.  I was a mad keen on handicrafts, sewing and dressmaking. One time I had a craze for making raffia lampshades.  The best places to look for materials were The Silk Shop in Pilgrim Street, Binns and Bainbridge’s in Market Street and Fenwick’s in Northumberland Street, which had huge material departments (much more so than now).  There were always off-cuts of material and trimmings that you could buy really cheaply, and I would take them home and turn them into dolls clothes and various other things.  One of the big thrills of shopping was getting something wrapped in a Bainbridge’s bag, and carrying it home on the bus as if the crown jewels were in it!  If you ever got tissue paper, you were in seventh heaven.

The bus back left from Croft Street, near to the Oxford Galleries and there was always a huge queue.  Once I got home, I would show my mum my special purchases and then start planning what I was going to do with them.  My mum was probably hoping I wouldn’t make another raffia lampshade!

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