The story focuses on three families. The Kinnear's, The Millsap's, and the Owen's. All different. They live very different lifestyles. Albert Kinnear the Librarian, who's parents came from Swindon but live in Pinetree Gardens, his father Jack is an engineer. He is a keen gardener and Pigeon fancier. Albert meets the daughter of Charlie and Elizabeth Millsap. They live on Kenton Road, in a bought property. He also is a pigeon man who has wangled his way into a chairman's job. he is a welder down the docks. No one is good enough for their daughter and they resent the relationship between Laura and Albert. Then there is William Owen(Willick) a roofing builder who lives in Cedarwood Avenue with two son's and a daughter. Alan is a jack the lad; he will sleep with any woman given the chance. Harry the youngest is a joiner and the brains in the family. Evelyn his daughter is twenty five and her father is pushing her to meet a man and get married so he can have grandchildren.


24. 24

The only noise that you heard was from the children when they were off from school or sounds of them playing in the lunch break from Meadowell infants when they were there could be heard. Apart from that it was peaceful. Albert sat reading the evening chronicle then asked his mother about getting his name on the council waiting list.

“You’re not thinking of marriage already are you son?’

“No,’ but we will need somewhere to live mam. I know how hard it is to get decent houses around here.

“Actually I know where there’s a lovely little house going.’ It’s at the back of the Pineapple.’

“Yes,’ I know it mam that would be perfect.’

“I’ll make some discreet enquiries tomorrow. We don’t want anyone else getting wind of it or we will lose out.

“Thanks mam.’



The sound of the bin wagon woke Willie Owen out of bed. The thick set man with black hair and a permanent five o’clock shadow sat on the edge of the bed putting on his socks from the night before. He would have kept his underpants on as well if it weren’t for his wife Judith who shouted from the scullery. “Change that bloody vest and those dorty underpants you have on.’ It’s a good job that it’s Friday; you get paid tonight and I can gan oot and get some washing powder.’

“Get some Omo not that Daz washing powder because that stuff brings me oot in a rash.’

“Yer want t’ get yersel in the bloody bath more often lad, yer stink.’

“I was only in last week.’

Willie coughed and spluttered as he walked down the narrow passage of his house on Cedarwood Avenue at the bottom end of the Ridges Estate. The place was a right shithole with rubbish all over the roads broken bottles, bits of old cycles lay about in the paths and the gardens were like jungles. ’The bottom half of the Ridges had some 360 houses. They were mostly up and downstairs houses with four families living in the same path. Properties had three bedrooms mostly with families of twelve or more living in them. Overcrowding was a massive problem, so getting on with your neighbours was essential to keep the equilibrium. Of course that never happened in Cedarwood or any other street in the Ridges, as family members fought with other family members one minute and were kissing and making up the next. Fighting in the street was a regular occurrence as drunken fishermen home from the sea would spend all day and most of the night in one of the many bars in North Shields. The fighting was violent with bricks being thrown or bottles smashed. Children played in the streets with skipping ropes or a lump of it tied to the lamppost to make a swing. The younger girls would push a big pram with a doll inside as they wore an old pair of their mother’s high heels and carrying an even older hand bag. The kids were dirty faced and poorly dressed. Their parents relied on the rag and bone man coming around so they could clothe their kids. Some children sat in the gardens digging holes their hands and feet covered in muck. The snot from their noses ran down their faces and the children sniffed away or used the end of a sleeve to wipe away the offending matter. It was a miserable existence for many children born here. Many dreamed about getting away from it all. They hoped for a better way of life. 

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