Mike Lynch wrote this in 2007 about his Hebburn memories
Posted by Norman Dunn on January 29, 2018, 12:33 pm
Best wishes to Mike Lynch who is seeing his Consultant today for some results. Hopefully he gets some good news. I thought I would post Mike's memory of Hebburn that he put on Mike Ellison's message board 11 years ago. How time has flown. |
Hebburn – A Wonderful Heritage
I am sure that many of today’s Hebburn’s young people will look back as fondly on their Hebburn upbringing, as those of us who were born and raised there in (my case) the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s before I left for pastures anew.
Although I was born in Bede Buildings my earliest recollections were of living in Barnard Crescent, with its’ lovely mix of Shipbuilding, Engineering and Mining families living and working harmoniously together with special treats on occasions for us to kids, such as the Autumn Evening bus excursion to see “Seaburn Illuminations” and the 1953 Coronation Street Party when all of us kids were given a coronation tea cup saucer and plate, I still have mine and it holds pride of place in my home to this day.
We had the following families in Barnard Crescent in the late 40’s and early to late 50’s:
No.1 The Roberts Family Mum & Dad. Mr.Roberts was a white collar
worker. Daughter Ruth & Son George. George was aged 15 in 1958
George went to the Central school. Ruth married someone in the RAF
About 1955/1956 his name was Greason?
No.3 McGuiness family – Mum & Son –Corny (Cornelius) living. Corny was about Mid-
20’s/early 30’s I believe he later lived at home with his Partner Ellen.
No.5 The Ward family – Mr. George Ward was a Miner. Mum & Dad & Daughter (Cannot
recollect her name (Marjorie??) living at home - Aged about 19/20 in 1958). Their
granddaughter Andrea (Donne -) – aged 15 in 1958 often lived there. Andrea later
married Lol Wakenshaw (ex St. Aloysius)
No. 7 The McLaughlin Family - Mum and Dad, Sons Hugh, Joe - aged 14 (St. Aloysius) in 1958. Two daughters Daughters, Anne aged about 17 in 1958 and other
daughter about 12. Father worked in shipyard.
No. 9 Mrs Riley – Widow living with a son as I recollect!!
No.11 The Hannah family. As I recollect two sons Willie the eldest and Joe
who was about 18/22 in 1958.
No.13 The McCaffrey Family. A Large family of mainly sons, the three I remember are
Tommy, Gerard and Bernard. Bernard was about 17 in 1958.
No.15 The Kennedy Family in late 40’s – they moved to Boldon as I recollect.
The Gibson Family who moved in the 50’s, Brian and Kenny were the 2 youngest. Kenny was about 15 in 1958 and Brian about 17/18.
No.17 The Bone Family. Mr.Bone was a miner. Leslie, Derrick, Geoff, Ray, Frank and Colin. Frankie was 15 in 1958. Colin was about 5 or 6. Ray was a friend of my Brother James, so was about 20 in 1958.
No.19 The Robinson Family. Mr.Robinson worked in the Shipyards. The family comprised Ernie, Peter, Ronnie, Billy, Sylvia, Jimmy and 2 younger sisters about 6 & 8. Sylvia was about 17 in 1958, Billie about 19 and Jimmy about 12.
No. 21. The Charlton family. Mr.John Charlton was a Miner. He was also a divorcee, living with his mother and four daughters. The daughters later left home either after getting married or leaving home after he re-married. Marlene was the youngest daughter and was about 21 in 1958.
No.23 The Doughty Family. Widower (Old Man Doughty) 3 middle aged sons eldest Willie, Tommy and Albert.
I did all their shopping for old man Doughty for 1 Shilling a week. Still remember his Co-op No.1057. He smoked an old clay pipe and had his “spittoon” by the side of his armchair at all times. His sons were often drunk at the week-ends but never a problem for the neighbours.
No.25 The Lynch Family (My Family) . Peter, Anne, Kevin, Hugh, James and myself.
I was 15 in1958. Peter, Anne and Kevin had all married and left home
prior 1958. My father was the Lunch Time and week-end “Street Bookie” with his pitch on the corner of East and West Street. We also took bets at home.
My “Mam” was often called upon in the middle of the night to be the unofficial
“midwife” and “layer-out” for local families in the area, whilst they awaited the arrival
of the official Midwife and/or Doctor.
No.27 Mr. Davey. A Widower / Bachelor. His garden was used as a pathway from this part
of the Colliery, for Shipyard workers heading across the Pyrotenax Field to the
Wooden Bridge for the Shipyards or for workers heading to the Pyrotenax or
Reyrolles. He later married and moved away in the late 50’s.
No. 27. Les Foster (A Miner) and his wife Ethel later moved into this house with their young
son Les who was about 4/5?? in 1958.
No 29.The Gillespie Family. Mr. Gillespie lost his wife in the mid –fifties.
Tommy and David. David was about 17/18 in 1958.
There was also an elder brother Johnny with his German Wife Charlotte who also lived there, they had 2 young sons John and Kevin.
No. 31 The Wind Family. John, Nina (+ another older daughter I think), and Twins Chris and George both 15 in 1958.
No. 33 The Wakenshaw Family. Mr. & Mrs. Wakenshaw. There was Harry and Dick, Moira (older sister) Maureen, Mavis and Jackie. Mavis was 15 in 1958, Maureen about 18/19 and Jackie about 12/13. Sadly Mavis died in childbirth in the late 60’s just about 3 days after we had last chatted in the Crescent.
No. 35 The Wilson Family. Mr. & Mrs. Wilson. Mr. John Wilson was a miner at Wardley
Colliery. Son George and Daughter Gladys both in their 20’s in 1958. John was
“Bit of a Character” both at the Pit (where eventually I started work as an apprentice)
and in the locality as he liked his drink and often on a Saturday afternoon would sing
his way back home from the Colliery Club. He was likeable and harmless.
No. 37. The Bell Family – A son and 2/3 girls as I recollect. Maureen the youngest was 15 in
1958. One of the older sisters married a neighbour across the road from the “Brabbs
Family” sorry cannot recollect his first name.
No.39. Mr. Douglas (Dick) & family. Mr. Douglas a Widower, with a middle age
Son Ronnie and daughter Edna. Mr. Douglas (Senior) was the brother
of Mrs. Wakenshaw at No.33.
No. 41. The Wilson Family - Mr. & Mrs. Wilson, he was a bus driver for
Northern Buses, Terence (I think) Sheila and Norma as I recollect.
Norma was the youngest who I think was about 2 years older than me
In 1958. Norma and I occasionally walked back from Black Road
Co-op Stores with the “messages” for our respective families. At Least
I think it was Norma.
No. 43. Mrs. Wilkinson – A widow as I recollect, she was the manager of
the Co-op Bakery on Black Road a very nice lady.
No. 43. The Kirtley Family later moved into this house in the late 50’s
No. 45. The Clouston family. Mr. & Mrs. Clouston with daughters Ina, Lynn
and son Robert. Ina was the oldest, then Robert (I think) then Lynn.
No. 47. The Norman Family. Mr. & Mrs. Norman, they had 3 sons, Albert,
William and Joe and two daughters as I recollect. The youngest
daughter was about 20 in 1958.
No. 2. The Ewart Family – cannot really recollect them. They had 2 sons David and Colin not sure what ages (under 10 I think in 1959) (Next door to them which was West Street was the Stewart Family)
No. 4. The Watson Family. I only knew Derek who was about 19 in 1958 as
he was in the Sea Cadets and worked in Hawthorne Leslies. I cannot recollect who
lived here in the early 1950’s.the Watson’s moved into
the Crescent in the mid 50;’s
No. 6. Mr. & Mrs. Brennan. He was a nice quiet retired old white haired man
who smoked a pipe and only got annoyed when our balls used to get
into his well-tended garden.
No. 8. As I recollect the Duffy family (son Patrick) followed by the Blakey
family from the Mid 50’s onwards, Cannot recollect who lived there
the late 40’s.
No. 10. Mr. & Mrs. Round (both retired) and their daughter/daughter-in-law
Margaret Holliday who was on “crutches” having only part of one leg.
No. 12. The Thom Family, Mr. & Mrs. Thom (Mr. Thom as I recollect died in
the early 50’s) Sid, Bill and Betty. They all moved to Canada, first Sid
and his wife, then Bill and his Wife, then Betty and her husband then
Mrs. Thom herself in the late 70’s. Sid was the first person in the crescent ever to
own a car.
No. 14. The Knaggs Sisters, two very old spinsters or widows, their house
when you got too look inside was a throw back to pre-first world war
in terms of décor and beautifully kept. I cannot recollect whether they
died or moved, but the Brabbs family moved in, in the early 50’s.
No.14. The Brabbs family. Mr.& Mrs. Brabbs two sons one in his early 30’s
and Michael who was about 12 in 1958. Although Michael was
younger than me I often got to watch their TV before gowe t our own.
They were the first family (as I recollect) in the Crescent to get TV.
The eldest son eventually married of the Bell daughters (No. 37) in
the mid-late 50’s.
No. 16. Mr. & Mrs. Allen with 2 Sons and a daughter as I recollect. David the youngest
member of the family was about 19/20 in 1958. We later became neighbours again in
St. Rollox St. where we both lived after we were married.
No. 18. The McGuiness family. Mr. & Mrs. McGuiness with son “Lol” (Lawrence) and I think
a daughter. Lol was about 22 in 1958.
No. 20. The Sayers Family. Mr. and Mrs. Sayers - they had one son as Joe who was about
22? In 1958, sorry I cannot recollect if they had other family.
Some of my earliest recollections, (they are all happy ones, I cannot recollect
feeling unhappy or that I was missing out on anything) were:-
• Being take to Bygate Nursery, across the Pyrotenax Filed which was at the back of our house, over the old wooden bridge by my brothers Hughie and James, then once over the wooden bridge being taken to the nursery by young girls who were going to St. Aloysius Infant School. Two of the ladies who looked after us at the nursery were a Mrs. Ellie (Jimmy Ellie’s mother) and Mrs. Parkinson.
• Playing headers for hours in the Crescent with Chris Wind when I was about 9/10 after school.
• The other kids of about my age in the Crescent were, Chris & George Wind (twins), Frankie Bone, Paul Robertson (from Hedgeley Road) Joe Mc Laughlin. In our early teen years Kennie Bone (Brancepeth Road) who was Frankie’s cousin used to join us as did Billy McMullen also Frankie’s cousin (from near Hall’s Garage) and Len Mulvey from Hedgeley Road.
• Things we did were all fairly innocent but exciting to us at the time. Our underground camp on the Pyrotenax Field, where most of us tried our first “fag” (once and never again in my case) which we played in.
• Setting off the alarms in the local fire station on Hedgeley Road.
• Building our Big Bonfires on the Pyrotenax Field behind No. 19 Barnard Crescent.for November 5th which was built as a “wigwam camp” prior to bonfire night. I remember one bonfire night, the bonfire was about 20 feet in height and Paul Robertson volunteered to put our “Guy” at the top. As he was doing so someone thro’ a match into the bonfire, which we had covered in paraffin to give it a good start. Paul (RIP) had some difficulty getting down without getting burned. We all laughed afterwards (including Paul) but looking back Paul could have got seriously injured.
• Playing cards for money (3 card brag) in the old metal shed in the Wind’s back garden (31 Barnard Crescent) on a Saturday afternoon.
• The girls in the street of our age were, Mavis Wakinshaw, Maureen Rymell (West Street) Andrea Donne (Her Gran lived in the Crescent) and sometimes Eileen Le Blonde from the prefabs who was Maureen’s cousin. There was also Sylvia Robinson and Anne McLaughlin but they were about 2 years older than the rest of us and often ensured we did nothing too stupid.
• Later years saw some us join the Sea Cadets (lying about our ages to get in) and going off to camp (unaccompanied) to HMS Fulmar, Royal Naval Air Station, Lossiemouth in Aberdeenshire 2 years running. Frankie Bone, Eddie Kelly, Terence McCallum, Danny Roberts, Peter McNamara, Alex Livingstone – there were others who’s names escape me, I apologise to them. I also went with Billie White (only 2 of us) for week on an HMS Submarine Supply Ship anchored in the Clyde, Billie was about 2 years older than me. Again we travelled unaccompanied and were met by my eldest brother in Glasgow who was at Glasgow University. All great memories.
• My first visits to St. James Park with Richard (Dickie) Main from Hedgeley Road. Also, occasionally being given a lift to St. James by Michael & Bertie Franchi in their family car.
• Seeing my first Wimbledon tennis match on Gerard Dent’s television at his home on Argyle Street.
• Delivering papers in the Colliery area for Connie Gilchrist on Argyle Street. Gary Newman the other paper boy (Jarrow Grammar) delivered the papers in the Philip Street and Argyle Street area.
• Beating Clegwell at football in the Victoria Cup I think it was 1957. They had beaten us 3-1 and 6-1 in the Schools League during the season. However, we beat them 2-0 at Reyrolle’s with goals by George Armstrong and Eddie Skinner. I do remember the teachers telling us some 500 tickets had been sold by both schools prior to match day.
• The Hebburn- Hautmont Town twinning exchanges in 1958 and 1959 (albeit I did not go to France with 1959 exchange. – Some photos are on the old Hebburn (Mike Ellison) website www.hebburn.org. I still have contact with Jean-Pierre my Hautmont exchange friend albeit; he is now retired (like me) and now lives in Normandy.
• Joining the Power House Youth Club and making new friends, (too numerous to mention) but especially the table tennis crowd, John Masson, John (Jonty) O’Neill, George Pattison, Geoff and Barry Thomas, John Menzies and big John Thompson (who later became a policeman in Newcastle) the Smith sisters (twins as I recollect) Diana and Brenda – both from Pelaw and Jarrow Grammar) who were very good players.
• Not to mention meeting my “first love” she was 14 and I was 16, which lasted 2 years.
• The Power House Youth Exchange to Germany, as part of a Durham wide youth exchange Davy Nichol, Alfie Fisher, Peter McNamara and John Menzies a brilliant time had by all. We lived with German Families for 2 weeks then they came back to Hebburn for 2 weeks. Only Last year my German friend re-established contact with me after 50 years and he came to visit me here in Cambridgshire.
• My winning a County Durham wide, essay competition,(1961) which give me and about 40 others from around the UK a chance to visit the then Soviet Union for almost 4 weeks. We went by ship from Tilbury visiting, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gdynia, Rostock either en-route or on our return. Spending a week in St. Petersburgh and a week in Moscow. My essay was about the industries on Tyneside.
• My NCB Apprenticeship at Wardley and Follingsby Colliery (with my old Friend Norman Dunn) then RWT Transmissions (Norman was there too) Leslies (twice) British Die Casting and Engineering in North Shields. New friends and workmates too numerous. Except a special mention for Davy Rice (ex St. Aloysius) who was my charge hand during both my stints in Leslies. Although he was little older than me we had occasionally played on the same school football team.
• My marriage to my lovely wife (A Consett lass) and soul mate in 1965, my 2 sons being born in Hebburn and our first home at 68 St. Rollox Street. Two of my neighbours in St. Rollox Street were Les Bamborough from my St. Aloysius football days and Alfie Fisher from Power House days. Sadly, Alfie died before we left in 1971.
• My elections to Hebburn Council and Durham County Council in the late 60’s, which would not have been possible without the help and support of Eddie McAtominey and Terence Carney, two better friends I could not have had, they worked tirelessly to get me elected on both occasions.
• My last 2 jobs were with Northern Gas, before I left lovely old Hebburn to pursue a promotional appointment with Eastern Gas at Letchworth in Hertfordshire and then later with BG HQ in London.
In short I believe Hebburn gave me an excellent start in life that could not have been bettered anywhere.
Hebburn – “My “Roots - but no longer my Home”.
(First Posted on Mike Ellison’s Hebburn Web Site in December 2007)
Having parked the car opposite what had been the “boys entrance” of St. Aloysius School, the first thing I noticed was that the gate was no longer there, it was filled-in with the same brick as the surrounding (former) school wall. Something I commented on to my wife and friend Vicki.
Then I could not enter the church via what had been the Main Door, but entered via the entrance to what was now the Parish Hall, where once had been the school playground of the now long gone St. Aloysius Secondary School.
Standing inside the church at the beginning of 11 O’ Clock Mass on that Sunday Morning, singing the opening hymn, “Be Still and Know I am With You” I looked around the church, now very different from the church I had known from the 40’s until I left in 1971.Brightly decorated, much lighter, welcoming and warm, probably more so than it had been.
I had arrived early in the hopes of seeing someone I knew. I saw only two, John Keegan a former (older) colleague from my time working at Richardson & Westsgarth Transmissions (RWT) in Prince Consort Road and Derek Marr my former captain of St. Aloysius football team.
Part way through “Be Still and Know I am With You “, my mind wondered. I think for the first time I reflected on the intervening years and what this church, my faith and place of Hebburn had been to my family and to me.
This was the church where I had been baptized, made my first “holy communion” and confirmed. I had served as an altar boy for 2 Parish Priests, Cannon Forkin and Father Walsh. All my brothers and sister had been baptized here, 3 of my brothers and sister, some now gone, had been married here, but we now had our homes and lives elsewhere.
My paternal Grandparents had been married here in the 1870’s, my aunts and uncles all now long gone, had been baptized, confirmed and married here as part of that growing “Family of Hebburn”, which makes us proud of our Hebburn roots.
All my paternal relatives and my parents had had their “requiem mass” here.
My mind had similarly wandered earlier this year, when I had attended my cousin, Valentine Lyden’s funeral at St. Bedes Church in Jarrow last January. As I waited inside the church for the cortege to arrive, having left Cambridgeshire at 5.30am to be on time, I wondered why this was only the second time in my life I had been in this wonderful church.
As I looked around, I felt quite at home after all this was where my Mam and her seven sisters and two brothers had been baptized, confirmed and married.
Two Uncles, Valentine Lyden and Terence Murphy had been “Jarrow Marchers” – “Sons of Jarrow”, during its most difficult times.
This was where my Mam and Dad had been married and Jarrow Cemetery was where they rested. My maternal Grandparents had married here in 1882 and where all my maternal aunts and uncle had been married, it was very much my maternal “spiritual home” I had a little “shiver of comfort” as these thoughts passed thro’ my mind.
As everyone around me sang the last line of “Be Still and Know I am With You” – “and in your need I give you peace” my mind returned to the present and for the first time I noticed the priest taking the Mass was African and I smiled to myself.
Every year at St. Aloysius School in the 50’s, we had a “missionary appeal” where we were encouraged to bring a penny to buy a stamp and each stamp formed part of a picture, when the picture was complete we had reached our financial target, which went to fund “white missionary priests” to spread the faith in Africa. Now it seemed “Africa was reversing the process” as we no longer had enough home grown priests to fill the vacancies in Parish’s across the country?
Whilst the African Priest saying Mass, was not the focus of my recollections, it was a reminder of the many other changes of which for some unknown reason I was taking a little more note of during this particular visit back to Hebburn.
The previous evening I had visited a dying school friend and old mate, which I suppose had set me thinking of how few of my former Hebburn friends still lived in Hebburn or were still alive - I don’t feel old, but reflection is sometimes I think good for the soul.
I visited the Kelly, now refurbished since my last visit, but not a single face I recognized – I am a stranger, where once I would have personally known at least more than half of those in the pub by name, they were welcoming, as they would be to any stranger – for that’s what I am now – a stranger. I suspect I have been a stranger for many of my past visits, but this I think was the first time I had recognized myself as such.
The Hebburn (and Jarrow) of my child and adulthood, with the exception of our churches, which still flourish quite marvelously, no longer exists. The town and streets I knew are now either gone or quite different. The shipyards are gone, the great factories are gone, the pits where I first started work are gone and shops which were once welcoming are now “steel shuttered frontiers”, albeit once inside we still have the same “Geordie” friendliness and welcome.
In all my many previous visits to Hebburn over the past 37 years, I suspect I had still been considering myself to be “at home” which of course I wasn’t.
As we sang the last verse of the last hymn (“Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm, be there at our sleeping and give us we pray, your peace in our hearts, Lord at the end of the day”) at the end of Mass, I think for the first time, since I lost my parents in the 70’s and 80’s, I was at peace with my relationship with Hebburn. I was mentally at peace, understanding, very clearly, probably for the first time since I left in 1971, that this place, was my “roots”, which had nurtured and shaped me, which I shall never ever forget, as wonderful as it is, but it is no longer my “home”.