TO PLAY AMIDST THE COBBLES

Four young boys are accused with robbery. one of them with murder, Hanging in Britain was still prevalent at that time. Can one of them escape the hangman's noose?'
Ruby White the petite honey blonde who works in a chemist shop spends her lunch break reading poetry in the local library. it is there that she meets Richard Llewellyn Shaw a writer and poet from Wales who has come to the North East to write a book. A relationship develops even though he is eight years her senior.
Then there is Jessie Longworth who has been saddled with looking after her father who is in the early stages of dementia. She is unable to cope with looking after her father, and her family and asks her brother Edward if he will take her father for a while. Joe Corder is an ex-dock worker. He worked hard all his life and gives his son his savings to help him start his own business. He meets Elizabeth who comes from a well to do family who all look down on Jessie and her father. She will not have him in her home.

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16. 16

Playing in the lane were some kids from Chatton Street, Teleford Street and Brinkburn Street. The pigeons billed and cooed on the rooftops as the kids played a game of football using dustbins as the goals. The grey cobbled stoned lane looked out onto the rubbish tip where seagulls squealed as they fought over pieces of discarded food. At night the tip has a haven for rats. Literally hundreds of them scurried among the refuse and it was then that Ben Ardle, Sam Davidson, Jack Watson, Brian Middleton, Bob Foster and Ronnie Skinner would go over with their air rifles and shoot as many of them as they could. No matter how many they killed it didn’t seem to deplete the numbers of them.

It was a cold damp February as the boys from other streets gathered in the lane to kick the leather football around. It belonged to Byron Badoo a young black boy who lived in Ingoe Street near the docks. His father Akan came over with many other black people to come and settle in North Shields and Howdon. Akan was in the Merchant Navy supplying ships with food and other goods. The wages weren’t that good but Akan took pride in his work. He was lucky to have a job in 1956 when the country was just starting to pull itself back together after the Second World War.

New houses were being built all over North Shields and surrounding areas all the way up to Newcastle. Unemployment was still high but there was labouring jobs for those who wanted it. The ship building industry supplied the vast majority of work in the North East. The coal mining industry continued in Durham as well as the steel works in Consett.

The people of North Shields and Howdon had very little in the way of luxuries in fact they were poor. They scraped a living any way they could. Women took in washing to earn a few bob and those who had large families to feed went to work in the factories like Haggies Ropes down in Willington Quay or the factories on Norham Road. Where new businesses were opening. Valerie Wallace lived in Telford Street with her husband Norman. Valerie was only five feet four inches tall but she was slim and attractive looking with short blonde hair. She worked on the production line in Welch’s Toffee factory on Norham Road. There were eight women standing either side on the toffee slabs where they filled the metal trays with toffee made on another slab by the sugar boilers. They then filled the trays with chopped Brazil nuts then placed a little metal hammer into the toffee where it was then sent along to be shrink wrapped. There was a constant stream of toffee being made from seven thirty each morning until four thirty each night Monday – Friday. Then the slabs were steam cleaned and the floors washed. The boilers were scrubbed with powdered acid to clean them inside and out. Everyone gave a huge sight when they were finished and Bill Deaney came around with the wages.

“Walking home with several pounds of cheap sweets in carrier bags the girls were happy.

 

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