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.


91. 91

“George laughed as he placed three fish and a mountain of chips in some newspaper then handed them to Bobby.’


Jane Cummings walked slowly up the road as she didn’t want people cotton on that she was not actually pregnant. Mrs One Eye (Emily Taws) stopped her as she was coming back from the Co-op store with a bottle of puroh milk.

“Whey hello Jane, can’t be lang noo before yer have that babby o’ yor’s.’

“Any day the doctor said.’

“It must be hard for yer at yor age yer na startin’ aal over wi a kid an aal.’

“We’ll manage I’m sure.’

“How’s yor Margaret getting’ on wi hor new job?’

“Not too good; she’s home sick and is lookin’ to come back home; she misses her home town.’

“Aye, yer can tek the lass oot of Shields but not Shields oot the lass.’

“Very true, well I must go Emily, I have a thousand and one jobs to do I’m on my way to my sisters in Morpeth. She has her own cottage you know.’

“Alreet for some; said Mrs on Eye as she adjusted the eye patch over her eye socket.’

“Well I will see you later then.’

“Gan canny now Jane.’

“Thanks’ I will said Jane as she waddled away towards Bedford Street.

Jane hated lying, but this she thought was a necessary evil.’ It was a good job that she had given herself enough time to reach the bus stop because she just got there in time. The bus pulled in and the conductor got off and helped her onboard.

“Thank you she said as she sat up front and put her legs out the way pregnant women do to give their back ease.

The bus pulled away and Jane was glad to be getting away from the staring eyes. After today she could go back to being normal again.

She sat back and took in all the views as the bus made its way to the Haymarket.’

It had been about seven years since the last time she had visited Newcastle and she wondered if it had changed at all.

New buildings and factories along the newly built coast road had her eyes open. They farmland as she remembered was slowly disappearing.

Newcastle was a lot busier that the last time she was here with more cars. The last time she was here there was just the odd dray being pulled by horses? Now you took your life in your hands whilst crossing the roads.

When she found the stop that she was meant to pick the bus up from. Looking over the road at the church clock it was twelve twenty three. The bus wouldn’t be long now she thought as she set down her small brown case with some clean clothes inside.’

The sun was now shining and the beads of sweat were forming on her brow again so she wiped them away.’

A gentleman stood alongside her waiting; he was wearing a business suit and carrying a brief case.

“Lovely weather we are having is it not.’

“Yes it is said Jane; it’s a bit too warm for me though you know.’

“Oh I see; I’m sorry it must be for you.’

Just then, a smelly old tramp camp past then stopped and asked the man next to her for money.’

His clothes were bits of rags and he had a hole in one of the boots where his bare foot was showing the cap he had on was caked in sweat and had turned white in places. 

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