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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“The Dolphin was packed out as Paddy Leonard walked in with two men; he looked around the bar until he saw the man he was after. Joe Sessi stood at the bar with his back to Leonard as he walked towards him he picked up a brown ale bottle from a table then smashed it over his head.

“Women began to scream as the blood squirted from the head wound.

 Joe was knocked unconscious and there was blood coming from a gaping wound in the back of his head it formed a small pool upon the wooden floor as Leonard kicked Sessi like a football around the room until his face was just a swollen mass. Joe’s nose and jaw were broken and both eyes closed shut.’

“No one got up to help him until Leonard left.’

Joe Sessi had got off lightly; normally Leonard would have smashed his legs with two pound mashing hammers.

“You had better call an ambulance said Norma Dillon from behind the bar.’

Joe Sessi came around and was unable to open his eyes or move his jaw to speak. A white towel had been wrapped around his head and he looked like some Arab camel herder. Joe had several teeth missing and they were placed into a handkerchief by a woman sitting at a nearby table.

The sound of the ambulance got closer as people began to disperse. By the time it had arrived only a few fishermen remained. “The police arrived and began to question those in the bar.’

“He fell that’s all I know said one fisherman with a red roll necked jumper on.

“Come on; this man looks like he’s been hit by a bus.’

“He fell I tell yer said the man at the bar.’

“What about you lot?’

“We were serving and my husband was down the cellar changing a barrel.’

“Deaf, dumb, and blind are you.’

“We told you officer we didn’t see a thing.’

 “Alright If you say so.’ The ambulance men carted Joe Sessi into the ambulance and he was taken away to Tynemouth infirmary.’

It was later discovered that Joe had threatened Paddy in the Cresta Club because he had refused him entry. Paddy had said nothing at the time. A few days later someone informed him of Sessi’s whereabouts and Leonard came looking for him.

This sort of thing was common place in North Shields as a gang war for supremacy was taking place.

Rob Thompson, Tommy Cottingham, Norman Kay, and John Iddo sat in the Gardiners Arms playing cards for money.

Hey Dot’ give us four bottles of Brown Ale would yer said Norman as he laid down another winning hand. Dot Burgo and her Husband Tony ran the pub. Some say that she was harder than Tony who was about six feet one and about seventeen stone. Tony’s brother Manuel was an up and coming heavyweight boxer. He’d won all seven of his pro fights and when he wasn’t fighting he worked the door of both the Jungle bar near the ferry landing and Billy Botto’s in the Byker. He was married to Yola a pretty black girl. They lived in Oakwood Avenue in the Ridges Estate where young Manuel looked after his father’s piggery during the day. They had all came over on the Emperor Windrush a converted hospital ship during the war and settled all over Britain. The Burgo’s were Portuguese and they arrived in North Shields in 1948 with other African Americans, Ghanaians, and Jamaicans. It took a while for the black people to get used to the different culture in the North East but soon they were accepted and all lived in harmony with the people around them. 

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