The Skin Shop

The story which is semi autobiographical tells the story of Ralph Mason Growing up in Collingwood Terrace in North Shields in 1948. it is a story of Hardship, poverty, love, and friendship just after the Second World War. Some names have been changed and I have used some poetic licence to bring the story to back to life as some of the places talked about in this story are no longer with us. "The Skin Shop is one boys journey into manhood.


26. 26

“They are funny looking things aren’t they? To me they look as if someone trod on them wi hob nail boots on.’

“We had better get to sleep now kidda or dad will be coming in to tell us off.

“Good night then John?

“Good night Ralph.’

Ralph put his hands behind his head as the light from the moon shone through the opening of the curtain. He loved his brother, Ralph looked up to him; John was his hero. Then he thought about Terry and wondered if he was alright.’

He drifted off but he had a restless night as he kept seeing his friend falling through the roof and lying there all twisted and bleeding.





Agnes Mason was all packed when her mother got up she ate a slice of toast and poured her mother a cup of tea.

“You all set then love?’

“Yes mother my train will be here in half an hour so I will go shortly. Say goodbye to the boys for me.’ Dad is outside in the toilet he will be back in a minute.

Just then her father walked in and washed himself in the sink before putting on a shirt as Hannah poured him a pot of tea. She made his breakfast then had put him his bait up and a thermos of tea.

“You going then Agnes?

“Yes dad, my train is in less than half an hour so by the time I walk up to the station.’

“Well I hope that you enjoy your skiing trip.’ have a safe journey won’t you.’

He kissed his daughter as she buttoned her RAF uniform and put on her hat. She looked really smart in it as she walked down the passage with a small packing case with her mother and father.

She hugged her mother then walked up the street to the station.

Jack walked back into the house with his wife after she had turned the corner. Hannah had a tear in her eye and wiped it away with the hem of her pinnie.

Ralph sat and ate his breakfast and drank his tea before leaving for Hastie D Burton’s builder’s yard where he was working for now.

They were working on building a new section of Preston hospital that was going to be a maternity ward because the hospital at Willington Quay didn’t have enough beds. A new ward was being especially made to accommodate the influx of new mothers.

He had his bike in the back yard so he got on it and rode up the lane and he waved as he went as he did every morning to his wife.


It was now twenty five past seven and soon the train would be coming to take Agnes back to Molesworth RAF base in Cambridgeshire. She handed the station master the travel warrant and he checked it then handed the sixteen year old girl it back and smiled as he let her through the turnstile. She walked down the ramp joining others who were waiting like her for the train to take them to Newcastle Central Station. She would transfer to another train once she reached there.

It was now beginning to feel a little colder in the mornings as September was coming to an end and the autumn leaves drifted down from the shrubs onto the line.

She could hear the train coming and walked towards the front as the steam train pulled in. She found a window seat and sat down. 

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