"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


36. 36

The 305 women on the Charley Clays picket line stood firm and strong. Doreen Laws Hart from Dukes & Marks were the same. She had a smaller proportion of women but the men had come out in support as well swelling their numbers to 284. She urged the women not to back down, It would be hard but they couldn’t let the factory owners win she said. “We are campaigning not only for ourselves but for future generation’s to come.’

It wasn’t long before the men at Charley Clays joined them on the picket lines they were not happy with their wages either and it was only the managerial staff that stayed on in the factory.’




The phone rang in the butcher shop and it was Jimmy Mulligan’s mother who was on the line crying.’

“Mam what’s wrong?’

“It’s your father son, he’s gone.’

“Gone,’ gone where mother?’

“He dropped down dead in “The Crane” this afternoon.’

“I’ll be over in a minute mam; hold on.’

“Jim closed the shop; he placed a sign in the window informing people of bereavement in the family then jumped into his van and headed to his mother’s house.

“When he arrived his mother was sitting by the fire staring into it.’

“Where have they got my Da.’

“He’s at the hospital but they are moving him tonight to the crematorium.’

Jim could not comprehend what had happened; his father had only just turned sixty last week and was looking forward to retiring when he was sixty five.

His father was never one to complain about any illnesses that he had and hated going to the doctors. Tommy Mulligan had been a hard working man all his life. The big, broad shouldered dock worker loved his job and would stand proud when a new ship would be launched. He would stand and watch as it slipped silently down the River Tyne and out to sea escorted by the two tugs the Northsider and the Southsider.

His father used to sit and tell him tales about the shipyard and the various characters within it. He said that each man who worked there was like an extended family as they all looked out for one another.

“What am I going to do now son his mother asked; I’m going to be on my own.’

“You can come and live with me above the shop if you like.’

“No son your father and I grew up here and we married here.’ “ I will not move from this house until they carry me off in my coffin.’

“Please don’t talk like that mam you have years left yet.’

“Don’t you see I have lost my heart; your father and I were like one I’d known no one else but him since I was four years old when he picked some daisies for me and made a chain with them and gave them to me in Meadowell Infant School. I loved him from that very moment.’ “I never stopped loving him.’

“I loved him too Mam, he was a good father to me.’ It seemed strange talking about his father in the past tense. The reality of his passing hit home and Jim had to leave the room. He stood in the scullery crying until his mother came in and hugged him.’

“Come on sit down son and I will make you a pot of tea.’

Jim pulled out the chair as his mother filled the whistling kettle. She lit the gas then placed the kettle over it.’

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