EBB AND FLOW

"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

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teeth in. “Don’t you be laughing at me you big buggers cos’ as big as you all are I will clip you around the lugs.’

Paddy looked at the frail old woman the stood up. He walked towards her and she stood her ground, he reached into his pocket and peeled off a twenty pound note and gave it to the old lady. “This should cover his shift hinny said Paddy as he placed the money into her hand. Thank you Mister Devlin at least you have some manners.’

“Your welcome hinny.’ The woman turned around and walked out of the house.

“You’ve just given her a weeks wages there Paddy.’

“Aye I have, but I won it off you Paul, so whose laughing now; shut up and deal the cards. The expression changed on Paul Whinham’s face and he became more serious and shuffled the deck. Paul had been working at the Cresta Club on the door for a couple of years now and he was well paid from Paddy who also used his services to sort out any trouble in other bars in North Shields.

 

 

 

Both Betty Dobson and Edith Holding woke up early the next morning they were excited about meeting Eric and Dave again. They were all going to the Rex Picture house to see two films. Carry on Cruising with Sid James and Kenneth Williams. And the main feature Dr No with Sean Connery in his first starring role as Ian Fleming’s character James Bond. Ursula Andres was playing Bond’s love interest Honey Ryder.

Edith ran herself a bath and added some bubbles and some green bath salts from Boots the chemists.

They now had a bathroom and it meant that they all could take a bath in clean water.

There was a back boiler heated by a coal fire the water kept hot as long as the fire was on. Her mother bought her coal from Adam Emerson in Percy Main who would deliver the coal on Tuesday and come to collect payment on the Friday. Old Mr Emerson started out delivering coal from the back of a horse and cart in 1912 then when his two sons came on the scene they bought a wagon and were able to get around a lot quicker to most of the houses on the Ridges Estate and around Percy Main village. Adam Emerson was a church organist in the nearby Methodist Church and they also owned the post office in the village and were well known and respected.

Betty remembered bathing in the tin bath near the fire on a Sunday evening. The water was heated on the fire in those days and if you went last in it the water was usually dirty. Using carbolic soap was a pet hate of Edith Holding. It stunk to high heaven and was used to scrub steps and paths with. To have a dirty step or path was seen as shame by other neighbours. Friday tea time just before dark the women would congregate in the path and on hands and knees scrub the path from one end to the other.

Betty remembers carrying bucket after bucket of cold water from the kitchen to swill the paths down. The four women would then take a hard brush to brush the water into the drain or nearby garden.

The whole estate would smell of carbolic soap and the soapy water would float down the street into the storm drains. Young children would gather at the top of the street and sail lolly pop sticks down in the gutter. They followed the sticks as they were washed down the street and then stopped them before they were swept into the drain.

Boys and girls would roam the streets of the Ridges looking for a wedding as it was customary to throw out money from the wedding car. Children would be told to collect as much as they could to help subsidise the poor incomes that most families 

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