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.


90. 90

The other room was used as a studio and there was canvas’s piled up against the wall.’

 “Was he a well known artist then?’

“Frank Johnson was well a known artist around the North East George; he sold his works to tourists which paid his bills.’

“These are now all yours and you can do with them what you like.’

After showing him around Robert concluded business by getting Carol to sign the shop and the flat over to him.’

George couldn’t believe his luck. A tenant would bring in enough money to pay for the lighting and a frying machine that he was going to buy. He would have to buy a chip peeler later. For now though the two boys would have to peel potatoes until he got enough money to buy one.’

George counted the money out then gave it to Mrs Lowther who then gave him the keys to the shop and the flat.’

“Thank you Mrs. Lowther; please call in for your supper once I get the shop up and running.’

“I will be back tomorrow to start painting the shop out ready for the fryer coming.’

You don’t waste any time do you?’

“No I have to get back to open my other shop now sorry for dashing off but I will be here at eight o’clock tomorrow.’

Once back in the car Robert told him that he had bought a bargain.’

George paid him his fee and gave him five pounds extra for bringing him.’

They drove back to North Shields and it was nearly five o’clock he had two hours to get the potatoes done for opening.’ “You will ring me to let me know if you have a buyer for this place wont you.’

“Yes of course George; it shouldn’t take long. He came in and took some Polaroid photos of the shop and house then he was gone.

His excitement was boiling over as he began to peel the potatoes. He hoped Bobby would come around so that he could tell him the good news. This time next week they would all be leaving for pastures new.’

All that night George whistled away he was as happy as a pig in muck.’

It was just after nine when Bobby came in.

Hi, where have you been mam was looking for you?’

“I’ve been to Seahouses all afternoon.’

“What for?’

“I just bought us the most beautiful cottage that you ever saw in your life.’

Can you come with me tomorrow I need your help.’


“We are going to paint out the new shop that I bought as well.’

“Are you rich?’

“Not yet but we’re going to be; just wait and see.’

“Can you be here at half six in the morning?’

“Yes,’ but what about school?

“A few days off won’t harm you; anyway you break up for the summer holiday next week.’

“I will tell me mam will I?’

Tell her to start packing because next Sunday we are moving in.’

Bobby was about to leave when George called him back.’

“Here take some supper home.’ Bet you’re hungry right?’

“Starvin’ I am.’

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