NOBODY’S CHILD

"Nobody's Child" Cassie is an eleven year old girl who has been in a children's home since she was four years old. Very bright, Cassie excels in most subjects and can play Brahms and Mozart on the piano at the age of only six. Because of her age nobody wants to adopt her. Mrs Cummings the manager of Auton House is a wicked woman who treats Cassie and the rest in her charge badly and beats her with regularity. One day she is sent to clean out the toilet and bathroom and Mrs Cummings comes along to inspect them. Running a white glove over everything and looking for dirt. When she doesn't find any she then reaches up on the door - Cassie is only three feet six inches tall and was unable to reach up to the top of the door and Mrs Cummings sets about her with a cane. She beats her so badly that Cassie runs at her forcing her back where she hits her head on a wash basin. Cassie in her panic rushes out and runs away.- It is there that she meets Don a ex docker who takes pity on the girl - rea

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The Jarrow Crusade as it became known as came about after the closure of Palmer’s Shipyard which left hundreds of men out of work. The knock on effect of the closure brought about even more hardship when other industries closed. There had been over 1000 ships launched from the Palmers yard since opening in early 1852, by the start of 1920 the closures began and it was blamed on mismanagement and world trade. The lack of full time employment forced the people of Jarrow to do something. Out of the 1.200 men who volunteered 200 were selected to march to the Houses of Parliament to hand in a petition calling for immediate action. Little did the men who were on the march know then but it would change attitudes and also working conditions of future generations. The First World War saw a boom in the industry and it flourished. Then for a while after the war, peacetime trade continued. By the start of 1930 there was a world recession, Shipyards, Steelworks, and Collieries closed down and thousands of men found themselves out of work. Ramsay McDonald the leader of the conservative government was slated by the people for introducing means tested benefits for hard up families who struggled to put food on the table. In 1932 there was a hunger march which cumulated into violent outbursts by police and demonstrators as they clashed in Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, and Westminster. March leaders were given prison sentences for what they called inciting a riot. There were two more marches in 1934 and 1936. The country had made a short recovery and the annual growth now stood at 4%. People were once again able to afford houses and consumer goods that had become more accessible. Then there was a Cholera outbreak with over 200 deaths reported. Many suffered as a result and unemployment reared its ugly head again. Many workers were tied to one employer and could not look for other work as they had signed a contract for one year. Whether there was work or not the men had no choice but stay with the employer. The Coal mines were a dangerous place to be with gas explosions happening with regularity. The large losses of life were common place. Every week a hearse would pull away from someone’s house to bury a father or son, sometimes both.

Unions were opposed by the employers who were trying to fight for better working conditions for their men. The strikes, battles with the police continued until finally they were forced back to work. Shortly after the employers met with the men saying that it was costing more to produce the coal than it was to pay the mine workers. The Colliery owners said that all the easy seams of coal had be exhausted so rather than go deeper underground to find more coal they would have to close the colliery.

Someone said “The houses a black, the ships are black, the miners are black, and so is the sky. Just sit for an hour and you will be black too.’

Britain at one time held the world shipbuilding monopoly with 80% of ships built there. This dropped to 60% in the 1920’s Palmers was close to bankruptcy when an order to build a tanker called the Peter Hurll was landed. However there were no new orders coming in. The reorganising and nationalisation of the industry had a devastating effect. The larger yards began to close; there were only small amounts of work coming to sustain the smaller yards. The ones that did close were not allowed to reopen for 40 years. The Sound from the breakers hammers reverberated all over the River Tyne as cranes and ships were broken up and sold as scrap.

Ellen Wilkinson who served as Labour MP, Felt for the people of Jarrow and the shipyards on the Tyne. She witnessed the decline of the industry and she was a strong campaigner for jobs. She won her seat in 1935 election. William Pearson was the Conservative MP and former mayor of Jarrow. A Tender had come in from an American businessman called T Vospur Salt; he wanted to use the site and transform 

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