I was born in January 1934
We lived at 7 Oak Avenue, South Shields – I remember playing in the street with around 6 friends for hours
When I was about nine month when I had pneumonia and the doctor came and he said to my gran, “just come down for the death certificate,” But, I made a full recovery and went up to Scotland to live, when I was about four, with my mum. Then I took bad with diphtheria and paralysis and I was in hospital about four months, three or four months up there and my gran insisted that I came back to Shields so she could look after is , as my mum had a good job up there. So, two of my uncles came up and brought is back to Shields and I’ve been here ever since.
I didn’t start school until I was nearly six because of the time I spent in the hospital and it took along time to walk properly. They were very, very strict with us and in the summer I could have a summer dress on but I had to have woollen stocking on. Can you imagine? Woollen stockings and a summer dress.
I think I’ve had every illness under the sun you know childish illnesses. I had yellow jaundice and I was bright yellow, of course I give it to my brother. And, we both use to take sugar in our tea at the time and I’ve never had sugar in my tea since then.
My mums brothers and sisters had family who became my cousins. On Sundays after our lunch, she had stood baking all morning – she was the most marvelous cook, but her and Grandad were quite strict with Cliff and I as regards to food – if you didn’t eat your meal you were told you wouldn’t get your next meal! But come Sunday afternoon all of the family would arrive. Two tables would be set – one in the main room for adults and one in the kitchen for all us kids and we were told off if you did not eat the bread and butter first or you would not get the goodies
At the start of the second world war my nana and Grandad, who had both not worked since about 1926 and were quite poorly off, so she took in washing, which Cliff and I had to help by going with her to collect and then take it back, she also went cleaning for others and she was also the local helper. By that I mean she attended births and deaths. I remember her attending one complicated birth and the little girl was actually born dead, but when the doctor eventually arrived he put the little girl in hot and cold water until she was revived, but Jennifer was disabled for the rest of her life and my Nan said she would never forgive that doctor, whose name I do remember as we had an occasion to have dealings with him.
Apart from all of these jobs she had, she was in the WVS and helped out quite a lot at a hall for this purpose at the Nook and again she ran a whist drive between her and her friends, which raised money for whatever purpose. As my mums brothers and sisters had family who became my cousins.
My Nanna had 10 children living and I think she lost one or two. The first 2 had a different mother who was called Woodhouse and died after her second son Albert was born, Grandada then married my nana who was called Matilda smith and went on to have 8 living children, who were brought up on the Lawe Top where Grandad was employed in the shipyards, sometimes, as happened in far off those days. The men ruled the roost at home and I have been told Grandad drank quite a lot, as I think they all did and I did not thing about the plight of their family, which left them without and sometimes he would come home in a terrible state and smash all of the crockery up. I remember my mum telling me he once won a live bird (duck or whatever) in a raffle and brought it home on a piece of string waddling behind him, so it was not all bad.
I met my husband whilst at School and I had a special girlfriend – and we are still great friends. I started work age 15 – employed by an underwear firm in Laygate as a clerical junior. I retired at age 65 and since then I’ve got quite a good social life.
This is my mum - on the right with myself, about 5 years old and 2 friends.
This is me and my cousin Colin in 1950
This photo shows Eric and my brother Cliff in the Boys brigade at St Cuthbert's Church on Quarry Lane in South Shields