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.


44. 44

What is the boy called?’

It’s Brian, Brian Harman.’

“What that skinny looking lad from the Ridges I saw you with?’

Aye, that’s him.’


“You could have done a lot better for yourself couldn’t you; is he working?’

Aye he is; he’s an apprentice joiner.’

“Well this is one job he better fix or by God it won’t be his father who kills him but your father.’

“When are you seeing him again?’

“Tonight I expect.’

“Get him to come and see your dad tonight and tell him to be prepared for a hiding.’

Margaret put her coat on and held it together with her hand because she was too big to fasten the buttons. She left the house and walked along to Lawson Street.

When she got there she had to climb a flight of stairs to get to the door.’

Once at the top she knocked on the door and went inside.

“Is Alan here please?’

“Alan there’s a lassie here to see you; the elderly man on the desk went outside for a smoke and left them to talk.’

“Brian came through and saw Margaret and ran towards her.’

“Is everything alright?’

No,’ my mother knows and she has told me to tell you to come around and see my father.’


“Tonight straight after work; Mam says that my father might belt you one when he finds out.’

“I’m not just going to stand there Margaret and let him hit me.’

“Best not Brian dad has a right temper.’

“I diven’t give a shit; if he comes for me he better look out cos’ I will kick him in the balls.’

“Look Brian we are in enough trouble; don’t make matters worse by fighting with my dad.’

“Mam is going ring my Aunt this afternoon; I’m going to have to go and stay with her until after the baby is born.’

“Where does she live?’


“Bloody Morpeth, how the hell am I going to get there like?’

“You could cycle,’

“Cycle; do you know how many miles it is to Morpeth from here.’

“I don’t know Alan but you sort it out.’

Margaret left the Shop and made her way back home.’

Jane Cummings opened the door to the phone box then dialled the number she had written in her address book.

Placing a penny in the slot she waited for and answer then pushed the penny down.

“Hello Sarah, it’s me Jane; look I have a problem here and I was wondering if you could help me out.’

“What is it said Sarah to her sister.’

“It’s our Margaret; she’s with child.’

There was a silence on the end of the phone then Sarah spoke. “Margaret she is just a bairn herself.’

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