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. i


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All the girls waited whilst Jan and Ann deliberated on what the forfeit was going to be

for John and Tony. There was a lot of giggling and whispering going on then finally Jan said “Right you two must kiss all the girls here on the lips.’

“That’s not fair said John.’

“We didn’t agree to that protested John but the girls stood their ground and John and Tony had to go around and kiss all the girls. The torches were used to shine it in the faces of every girl to make sure that the boys kissed the girls properly.

When it was done the light was shone on Allie and the boys all stood and waited whilst Allie thought for a moment before showing them a part of her body that they had never seen before. She took the torch from Robert Legg and then shone it inside her mouth.

“There can you see my tonsils said Allie, that’s a part of my body you haven’t seen before.’

The lads all booed then the games began again.



In Lawson Street Cissie McLachlan were moving her two children to a new house that she had bought for £400 pounds. It was a three bed roomed house in Percy Main Village. No more would she have to pay rent and the children would have a room each to themselves. There were a garden back and front; three local shops, a post office a fish and chip shop and butchers. Cissie thanked Dolly Ruby Alice for her kindness and told her that she was welcome to come and stay any time she liked. She also gave her £20.00 to help her in case she ever got behind in her rent. Cissie took the train to Percy Main Dolly came to see her off.

“I will pop in to see you once you get settled. Just send me a letter to let me know how you are getting on.’

“I will Dolly.’

“And you two make sure you look after your mam alright.’

“We will Auntie Dolly.’

“When the train came there were few tears shed as Dolly hugged her new friend and the children. As the train pulled slowly away Cissie waved from the window.

She had got most of her furniture back from the council’s pound. She bought a dining room table and four chairs, carpets, crockery, cutlery, and cooking pots all from Pallister’s the second hand shop all for ten pounds. The man in the shop wanted £20 pounds but Cissie stuck to her guns and she got everything for the price she had asked for. She even got two big planters for the garden and a bench to sit on.

Jimmy Stagg delivered them for a nominal fee for her. She and the two girls Audrey, and Brenda who were in their teens helped to get the house in order. They got a decorator in and it was painted as well. She now had a permanent abode. She still had £537 pounds and fifteen shillings after stocking the larder.

Cissie found a job working in Fothergill’s the local butcher shop and Audrey left school and started work in the post office. Mr Brice was a very good boss and had taken time out to teach Audrey the ropes. She was very good at maths at school and soon picked it up. Before long she was doing nearly all the post office savings accounts, pensions, and bonds. She was a pretty girl with a nice smile and it endeared her to everyone in the village.


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