The River

"The River" tells the story of Connie Francis Boothe who struggles to bring up three children in the damp living conditions on Howdon Road, North Shields in the 1950's Her Husband Richard is out of work and she is nearly seven weeks in arrears with her rent and eviction is looming. She has already pawned two of her mother's rings in order to feed her hungry children. Richard is a bit of a jack the lad who has ducked and dived all his life as a labourer - then he meets Beverly Madison a tall beautiful girl who is seven years younger than him but has had a crush on him since she was only fourteen. he begins an affair until after six months his wife finds out. How will Connie cope on her own after her husband leaves. follow this story of rags to riches - The River is one to read.


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“Not if you eat yogurt and mint apparently.’ It is meant to neutralise the heat.’

“Well it doesn’t neutralise the smell in the bedroom.’

“We could eat Chinese if you like.’

“No go on, I will suffer the stink.’

“That’s what I love about you Bev’ you put up with all of my faults.’

Richard picked up the phone and dialled the number and ordered the curry to be delivered at eight o’clock that evening.




November 1962

The first snow hit the North East with drifts up to four feet in places. Thomas made himself some extra pocket money going around snow shovelling; clearing paths and driveways.’

He had turned eleven now and his sister ten. Francis was getting to know all of her customers in the shop who came in each week for their prescription medication or for hair dye.’

She was still seeing Alan but they had not slept together yet. Francis had told him that until her divorce came through that she just couldn’t because people would talk.

“Alan was great about it he never put any pressure on Francis what so ever. He was just happy sharing time with her. They went out each weekend when he wasn’t called away for a meeting in either Manchester Central Television or London Weekend Television studio’s.

She missed him when they weren’t together but he spent at least two hours talking to her on the phone each night. She wanted to know all about his day and he hers. He always asked about the kids and brought them something when he returned.

It was on the Tuesday afternoon when Francis returned from the Chemist’s that she saw the letter on the door mat as she entered. She picked it up and opened it. It had an official seal and a heading that read: IN HER MAJESTY’S COURT FOR DIVORCE AND MATRIMONIAL CAUSES.


Between Richard Boothe

And Connie Francis Boothe

Referring to the decree made in this case on the 25th October 1962 where it was decreed that the marriage solemnised on the 28th of October 1950 be dissolved.

If you do not wish this decree to become absolute you are to attend North Shields Magistrates Court at ten o’clock on the morning of the 11th of November.


Yours sincerely William Bradshaw

Clerk of the Courts.


In just two days time her marriage to Richard would be over and she would be a single woman by law. She rang Alan that night and told him and he asked her if she had any regrets about the divorce; to which she told him it was for the betterment of the children and herself respect that she had gone to the court to seek a divorce.

“All decrees were printed in the Evening Chronicle and know doubt some would know that she was divorced. Francis had no shame; she was not the guilty party in this marriage and it would show that the divorce had been granted on the grounds of adultery by her husband. Richard Came in from work and read the self same letter and handed it to Beverly to read.’

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