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.


86. 86

The funeral of Bobby Grant took place after the autopsy report showed that her husband had died of a massive coronary. It was a simple funeral and was over in fifteen minutes. Bobby Grant was cremated. Hannah was there along with a couple of other neighbours who had come along out of respect. George Cottingham had asked Florrie Grant to move in with him after the funeral was over; Florrie had said that it was too soon after her husband’s death to do that as tongues would only wag.

“When then Florrie asked George?’

“I don’t know Bill; I will not live here in North Shields so if you want me and the kids you are going to have to sell up and move away from here.

I’ll do anything Florrie; I love you; I always have. “I want you to be my wife. I will put the house and the shop on the market tomorrow if you will just say yes.’

Florrie Grant looked at her two boys who smiled and nodded.’

“Alright George I will marry you in six months; if you find us a place to live away where no one knows us.’

“I can open a fish and chip shop anywhere Florrie.’

“I’ve always fancied living in Seahouses, near the sea front in a little cottage.’

“Then you shall my love.’ I have enough money saved to buy us a cottage somewhere nice and the money from the shop and house will buy us another fish and chip shop.

“Little Bobby and Peter can help me run it can’t you boys?’

“Yes Uncle George.’

“I’m going to make you the happiest woman in all the world; I promise you Florrie you will want for nothing.’ “Here we can start right now; I want you to take the kids and get yourselves some new clothes and go and get your hair done

George gave Florrie twenty pounds to spend on new clothes and enough to get her hair done. He drove them back into North Shields where he went to the estate agency and put his house on the market along with the shop then he looked at photos of some cottages. One caught his eye after the third page. It was called “The Fisherman’s Lodge” it was situated overlooking the harbour and it had fantastic views across the Farne Islands and Bamburgh Castle.

“How much is this one?’

Just a moment sir I will just check, he came back and told him the cottage was going for Four hundred and eighty pounds.’

Okay now I had my shop and three bed roomed property valued last year. How much was it worth Sir?’

“Four hundred pounds; now that leaves me eighty pounds short.’

“We could make him another offer Sir.’

“Yes,’ but how much?’

 Let’s say four hundred and twenty pounds would that be agreeable Sir?’

If you can get it for that yes, is there a shop empty nearby.

Mr Robert Black disappeared again then came back with another book.’

You are one lucky man Mr….

“Cottingham, George Cottingham.’

“Well Mr Cottingham a grocer shop about two hundred yards from the cottage came on the market only yesterday.’

“How much are they asking?’

“Two hundred and fifty pounds.’

“Offer them two hundred but make sure I get the cottage first.’

If you will just bare with me Mr Cottingham I will ring the owners of the cottage first.’

How long has the cottage been on the market?

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