The Ridgalite

The Rigalite focuses on the People who lived in Marina Avenue in the Ridges Estate in North Shields. Eddie Saint owns the Roaring venture a trawler moored at the fish quay- his crew work hard and play hard - one of them is Ron Lee a young lad who has aspirations of becoming a rock star. He was in the Royal Navy on board the HMS Illustrious as a trained chef before joining the trawler boat. The lads all tell him that his songs are crap because they don't wan't to lose a good cook. The story also tells of two rival shop keepers- Ronnie Hancock and Billy Burston have been each others throats for years- read the comic antics of both men. "The Ridgalite is an insite of life in the early sixties on an an estate with high unemployment and little hope - where every day is a constant struggle. There are some though who prove that if you have hope then dreams can come true.


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“I want you all to write something that compares to the story in which I have just told you.’

Tucker Young set about writing immediately; he told how he had gathered up old newspapers from the doors then took them down to McDonald’s fish and chip shop where upon the owner Sally gave him fishcake and chips six times. The parcel was so big he said he could hardly carry it. There was only four of us in our house said Tucker and there was enough left to feed Mrs Ilderton and her family up stairs. His mother knocked on her door and gave the remaining food to her neighbour whose husband had been out of work for six months and were living on dole money.

All the talk of food had many in the class feeling hungry now and when the dinner bell came there was a mass exodus to reach the dining hall.

They All walked inside quietly because the head and other members of staff also sat in the hall eating. There were long wooden benches on each side of long trestles where a long white tablecloth was placed. Also on the table were two large aluminium water jugs; with some small rounded glasses and salt and pepper. The cutlery you helped yourself to. The food was brought to the table by the dinner monitor usually and older lad from another class. He shared the food out to every one. If you knew him it helped you get a bigger share.

The headmaster Jack Spark said grace before anyone could eat. “For what we are about to receive may the lord make us truly thankful; Amen.’

Then the cutlery was picked up and everyone began to eat and chat about either what they were going to do that evening or what they had seen at the pictures.

The youth clubs around the area was a favourite place for many to spend time in. The North Shields Boys Club on Hawkey’s Lane run by councillor Harry Martin was one such club there was always lots to do there. They had a large gymnasium up stairs where football and trampoline, and judo took place. Then there was table tennis and snooker rooms down stairs and the boxing gym ran by Joe Myer’s a black ex professional who lived on Laburnum Avenue, Eric Clark who lived in Howdon and had been a former North Shields boy’s club boxer himself, and Tommy Dial who was a fitness coach who lived on Howdon Road. Many men gave up there own free time as volunteers to come and coach young boys and turn them into respectable men and women. Many owe a great debt of gratitude to these people.

There was a television and cafeteria where kids played cards, Chess, and dominoes.

There was a dartboard in the boxing gym which could be used when the boxing sessions weren’t in use. The other club was in Stephenson Street in the town centre

It was called the East End Boys Cub. Every night they were full with kids looking for something to do. It was a great place for meeting the opposite sex as the East End Boys Club allowed Girls in. Then there was Tyne Boys Club which was predominately football orientated. It wasn’t until 1967 that the reservoir on Waterville Road was emptied then a boys club built on the land. It came to be known as the Collingwood Youth Club. It was a very popular where they held disco’s on a Friday evening. Tex Leon and the Tynesider’s were regular attendees. Behind the boys club on Hawkey’s lane was the swimming baths. The open air pool was very popular in the summer months but the water was freezing. The two canvas shelters on either side were used as changing rooms and there was a high diving board and springboard near the main entrance. There were toilets at either side of the office and a drinking fountain that held a large brass cup on a chain. Whilst you were swimming in the pool you could hear the sound of tennis balls from the courts in Scorers Park.



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