"Ebb and flow" which is centred around the Charley Clays Clothing Factory during the early sixties. The story focuses on different kinds of life in North Shields at that time - There's Helen Smith the young woman who dreams of a better life for herself, she wants to live like the rich people. When she marries Thomas Lattimer who is a wealthy banker she discovers that the life that she wanted is not all it was made up to be. Jimmy Mulligan who works for Hoults the butchers, lives over the road with his parents he has been in love with Helen since they were at school together. He tells her of his love and that he will wait for her no matter how long it takes. Allan Forster has been in and out of Borstal for petty crimes he dreams of one big job that will net him enough money to live the high life - He gets involved with Paddy Leonard a notorious hardman. A power struggle takes place in North Shields for supremacy. Paddy Devlin another bouncer, come gangster is running a protection racket


14. 14

She spotted her neighbour Mrs Lee and Mrs Anderson who were good friends all sitting together. Whole families socialised together in those days and they all met in the same club as their parents. The room was only meant to hold 300 people but there was always more than that by the end of the night. The committee man Bob Harris went around with a domino card whilst Ray Johnston sat selling bingo tickets at the door. The club did a roaring trade each weekend and they tried to get the best acts to come along and perform. The club paid each act between thirty and fifty pounds. Depending on how good they were. The men who sat in the pit near the stage were from other clubs and they would assess each act as they came on and then they would try to book the good ones for their particular club. The crap ones were paid off never to appear again.

A lot of groups changed their names and got a different guitarist or vocalist.

This was to fox the committee men who had paid them off the last time. The club thought that they were booking a new group that they’d never heard of before to appease the audiences.

Sometimes this worked and the groups improved. But more often than not they were crap and paid off again.

There was a fine line that groups adhered to. They only slipped in the odd new number from the charts and played a lot of old stuff that people knew and could join in with.

“If you got an audience to join in you were laughing and guaranteed another booking.

Many young lasses met their perspective husbands in Clubland because that was where people went to enjoy themselves. Married men took their wives out where they enjoyed a glass or two of stout or Amber ale with friends and neighbours. They were all in the same boat. All the girls had similar jobs there and there was certainly no beat the Jones around  here.

 Nearly every family had suffered some hardship during the war years when they had lost family members. What kept them going was work. When there was work men went out with a spring in their step; proud that they had a job to go to.’

Those less fortunate were living from hand to mouth with little food on the table because the National Assistance Board (NAB) paid them very little.

Lots of under privileged children ran around the streets in rags. They played in the muck and filth of the gutter and their future was bleak. Those who rose above the rest did it through hard work or a criminal existence.




Allan Forster sat in his cell he was doing two years for the burglary of Josef Bernstein’s Jewellers on Bedford Street. He got away with several hundred pounds worth of valuable watches, plus some gold sovereign rings. He was seen running away from the shop by the keen eye of Geordie Armstrong. Geordie was a good copper always on the look out for the petty thief; he was never going to make anything other than a constable; mainly because he liked his job on the beat and the other because it netted him a lot of money. When someone was caught if they had money or valuables some of it would go missing and end up in his own pocket. The shop owners weren’t bothered; they made money too by telling the insurance company’s that they had a lot more stock than was actually stolen. The insurance company’s always paid up so it was a win, win for all concerned apart from the thief if he was caught. Geordie knew the Streets of North Shields like the back of his hand. He followed Forster along Russell Street and then apprehended him in Sidney Street

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