The Shieldsman

A story of four young boys growing up in the tower block of flats in Percy Main in North Shields. the story follows them through to adulthood through mischief and lost innocence, love, tragedy, and finally triumph. If you remember what it was like growing up as a child then this story is definitely one for you.


16. 16

doing three of the tower blocks every fortnight that was thirty six flats he charged two shillings per flat.

The money Joe got each fortnight a fine sum of £3.14/shillings and sixpence added to his money from doing errands and his paper money came to £6.16/shillings and sixpence.

Every fortnight he loved to go and hand in his payment book into to the snobby Mrs Richardson. Joe had £26.00 in his account from his savings he used his five shillings pocket money to go to the pictures at the Rex or the Gourmont on a Saturday. Joe was fascinated with strength he would do press ups and sit ups in his bedroom every day to build up his muscles. He sent away for the Charles Atlas body building course that he cut out from the Evening Chronicle; Newcastle’s local newspaper.

Joe followed it rigorously to the letter. There were pictures of men with athletic bodies with girls and Joe figured if he could look like that then he would get all the girls.

Joe Kimber was a foot taller than his friends Ralphie, Paul, and Kevin. He played

Centre forward for the football team; he was captain of the schools rugby team; if fact Joe excelled in most sports events.

His father John would often go to watch him play Rugby as he didn’t care much for football.


When Joe had finished doing the coal for everyone he came back and washed his hands then gave his mother the money that they had paid him.

“Are you hungry Joe his mother asked?

“Aye mam what’s for supper; “I could eat a horse.”

“I bet you could too lad; “you will eat me out of house and home if your not careful.

“I will put supper on as your Da’ will be in soon.” “I’ve made pan haggerty tonight.

“Oh lovely mam; did you put some corner puddings in it?

“Aye just the way you like them she smiled.” She lit a flame under the oven then turned the dial to regulate the heat.

“It shouldn’t take too long to heat up son; do you want a glass of milk whilst you are waitin’?

“Aye go on then replied Joe as he opened the latest edition from Charles Atlas and began to read it from cover to cover.

There was a new exercise routine in the magazine each month and Joe couldn’t wait to try them out.

There were some drawings and pictures of Charles Atlas doing bicep curls and lateral raises with heavy weights to build up the muscles in his arms and the eleven year old flexed his. He felt them and they were rock hard.

“I’ve got to get some weights mam so I can do these exercises.

“Don’t you think you lift enough weight bringing all that coal up all those stairs?’

“Aye but that’s only once a fortnight mam; I want to be able to do this three times a week.”


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