The House Across The Road

This is a true story about a strange old looking woman who lives on her own in North Shields- she befriends a disabled young boy.


2. 2

The Ridges Estate had been built to accommodate seamen who worked on North Shields Fish Quay in 1934 because of the poor sanitation and dampness and rats that infested the houses.

The close knit community all pulled together during hard times as everyone who was dragged up in the Ridges was in the same boat, we were poor.

We used our ingenuity to earn money any way we could.

My paper round was one of them.


Running through the open gardens I took a short cut to the paper shop. Our garden was like a jungle with grass two feet high the only thing that could be seen was the washing line where my mother had scrubbed and used her “Posser, a heavy wooden stick with legs attached which was thrust into the tin bath and twisted before the washing was put through two metal rollers called a “Mangle.


As I ran through the path of the house that led onto Front Street I looked over the road, there were a lot of shops on this street. There was a café called Capaldi’s, run by an Italian family. Next to them was a fish and chip chop which had a large Alsatian dog that sat in the doorway which terrified me as I passed the shop. It growled and showed its big fangs.

Next to that was the baker shop then Peart’s the newsagents, next to that was Chamber’s bookmakers then a grocery store, then Michael Murray,  general dealers.

 He also sold fruit and vegetables.

Next door was the hardware shop then Purvis’ the bakery then there was a butcher shop. And lastly the Robin Hood public house where my father frequented when he was not working.

Further down the road at Chirton there was the Club and an Esso Petrol Garage.


I could smell the freshly baked bread and meat pies coming from Purvis as I walked into the newsagents.


‘Hello Mrs Peart; I voiced as I lifted up a wooden partition and was about to make my way into the back of the shop.


‘Good afternoon Terry, the papers have not arrived yet.


‘How long are they going to be then?


‘Not long I would guess Terry; you can go outside and wait until he comes then give him a hand if you like.’




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