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Shopping in North Shields as a Child in the 1940s

I used to do shopping for other people, and I’d get a 1d ‘for going’.

My mum mainly shopped at Thompson Red Stamp Stores in Saville Street, but also at the Home and Colonial, where you could put your order in on a Saturday and it was delivered on the following Thursday.  When I was married, I used to use the Home and Colonial and did the same thing.

I used to go and do messages for her because I was the oldest.  I was about eight or nine years old.  One day mum said she needed a plate from Thompson’s, and I said I would go and get it.  She didn’t think I could manage it, but I insisted.  So away I went to the shop.

Of course, when I got there ‘the plate’ turned out to be a piece of metal that laid on the bottom of the hearth.  I was shocked when I saw it.  It was very heavy and awkward, and the staff couldn’t believe that I could carry it all the way home.  They helped me to carry it across the main road and from there I managed to get it home.  Mum was very pleased, if not a bit surprised.

One day my sister did a message for my mum and she lost the change on the way home – mum was not amused.  I used to do shopping for other people, and I’d get a 1d ‘for going’.

When I had children, I always used the Globe Boot shop in Saville Street.  It was a shop where you could have your feet measured properly and the shoes were good quality and lasted well.

I liked sewing and when I got older, I’d mend my brothers’ clothes, turning collars and patching the knees of trousers.  We didn’t have a sewing machine but there was a little sewing machine shop on Saville Street, near to the General Post Office and I used to stand looking in the window and watching everything going on inside the shop.

One day, the manager came out and said, “I think you’d better come in” and I said, “What for?”

He said, “Well if you’re going to stand every day you might as well come in and tell me what’s so interesting”.

I told him I wanted to learn to use one of the sewing machines and he said, “Well, that’s alright, I’ll teach you”.  So, he did, and when I went to King Edward School, I came top of the sewing class.

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