The Skin Shop

The story which is semi autobiographical tells the story of Ralph Mason Growing up in Collingwood Terrace in North Shields in 1948. it is a story of Hardship, poverty, love, and friendship just after the Second World War. Some names have been changed and I have used some poetic licence to bring the story to back to life as some of the places talked about in this story are no longer with us. "The Skin Shop is one boys journey into manhood.


14. 14

“She was in your drawers you know mam.’

It’s alright son there’s nothing of value in there.’ she is just a desperate woman that’s all. You stop here I’m going up to see Minister Bell.’

Hannah put on her coat and hat with a pin then headed across the road to Trinity Church.

She walked to the door and turned the door handle and went inside.

There was a bible reading session in progress and Mr Bell stopped momentarily to ask what Hannah wanted.’

“Can I have a word in Private Mr Bell?’

Come through to the vestry and we can talk in there.’

He walked past the alter and the crucifix with Jesus and bowed his head Hannah crossed her chest as the minister opened the door for her and they went inside.

He closed the door gently then asked what he could do for her.’

“It’s not for me that I’m asking Mr Bell it’s for my friend Florrie Grant.’

“She’s in need of your help.’

“Well if we can we will Mrs Mason.’

“Well Florrie has just told me that her husband hasn’t had work in five weeks and she’s a month behind in her rent as well.’

“What are you asking me to do Mrs Mason?’

“I’ve heard that you have a special fund to help people like her; she has two children and a husband to feed.’

“I’ve given her food to feed her tonight Mr Bell but I cannot keep doing it.’

“The Lord always provides Mrs Mason.’

“So you will help her Mr Bell?’

“What number does she live at?’

“17 Collingwood Terrace it’s just up from me.

“I will go and see her later after I finish my bible study class.’

“Thank you Mr Bell; I knew you would help.’

Hannah left the vestry and walked down the aisle and out of the door.


The game of cricket continued from the day before and Ralph warned that if anyone hit a ball over the wall they had to get it and that included the girls as well.

Terry Lane was batting and this time they were using Tucker Young’s Corker.

The cricket ball was harder to hit as well as get runs from. The opposing team argued that it was unfair because Ralph had made all of his runs with a soft ball.

“Alright then said Ralph; let them use a soft ball but in the next innings we use the corker alright.’

“Jan let’s have one of your balls so we can get these lot all out.’

I will bowl said Ralph as the soft ball was handed to him.

Ralph took a long run up and delivered the ball, Terry saw it coming and welted it over the wall of Mrs Jennings house.

“What did I tell you; go and get it Terry.’

“Me, I’ve got to face that bulldog of a woman, no way.’

“Well it’s either that or we go back to using the corker.’

“Alright but that’s six runs.’

Terry stood on a dustbin then got onto the wall then edged his way along then dropped inside. He was in only 30 seconds and Mrs Jennings came out shouting the rooftops off.

She was trying to hit Terry with a stick in the yard as he dodged her at the same time he tried to pick up the ball. once he’d got it he lobbed it over the wall then ran for the 

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