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.


36. 36

They walked home and then Joe headed off to Pearts to get his paper round.

He no sooner go his bag filled that he belted along the road then sprinted up each flight of stairs of each tower block until his last house. He never glanced at the back page of the Evening Chronicle which showed his photo lifting 170 lbs with the head line; “Eleven year old School boy breaks record”

He opened the door to his house then went in to find his mother talking to two pressmen who were both holding cameras.

“Hello Joe, said one of them; my name is Charley Wilson from the Daily Mirror and this is Ian Kirkup from the Daily Telegraph. “ Would you mind if we asked you a few questions?

“You better ask me mam first.’

“We have Joe and she said that it was up to you.”

“Alright then I will.”

“When did you first know you were strong Joe?”

“I don’t know really; I never thought I was any different from anyone else apart from being born bigger than my friends at school.”

How old are you son?

“I’m eleven but I will be twelve on the twenty second of December,

How tall are you?

“I’m five feet nine.” How much do you weigh Joe?

Eleven stone .

“Tell us what you like to do in your spare time.

“Well I hang out with my friends Kevin Skipsey, Ralphie Mason, and Paul Kerrigan. We play football on the grass out there and then we go to the res.’

“The where Joe?

“It’s the reservoir on Waterville Road Mr Wilson.”

“What do you do there?

“We catch frogs and salamanders for the school nature table.

“How did you train to lift 170 lbs Joe?

“Well I, get the coal in for everyone on three of these tower blocks every fortnight. I carry it by buckets up the stairs; I am going to be doing another two starting next week because word has got around that I do others. Soon I will be doing the whole nine tower blocks.

“That’s a lot of coal Joe.

“Yes but I get two shillings off every house so that’s 36 hundred weight of coal per tower so that’s 108 hundred weight of coal.

“How long does it take you to do it Joe?

“About an hour or so but it is up stairs for each house and there’s four people on each level.

Could we take a photo of you with the coal buckets Joe?


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