Aye, South Shields

Administrator's picture

The seaside town with sandy beaches was once famous for its shipyards, coalmines, salt pans and glass-making. The last shipbuilder (Readhead's) closed in 1984 and the last pit (Westoe Colliery) in 1991. Today, the town relies largely on service industries, while many residents commute to work in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and Sunderland.


The GroyneOne thing that will never change is that South Shields is my home town and I have lots of great memories of it.  At the end of the road where I lived was a shipyard and from my house I could see the cranes that built the ships.  A whole community with rows and rows of houses had appeared over the years to support the need for workers and although none of my family worked in the ship yards, I lived in one of them.  I love to see old photos, especially ones where I can spot places and see how they have changed over the years.  I have pulled together a small set of images that show places I grew up with and indeed, one could have been taken out of my bedroom window.


I'd love to increase this collection of images from yesteryear, if anyone has any suitable shots, then post them and I'll add them to the gallery.


You can view the gallery here.


Bergerac's picture
"I've been to paradise, but I've never been to Shields..."

Looks like a nice place. I, of course, have never been to Shields, but I might make a visit next time I'm on the mainland. However, I do have a cousin who's a Shields lad and he was astonished to see the old pic of "Chi" with old Queen Vic in situe. Brought back childhood memories of the area when it was quite different to its modern day appearance.

Witch-king of Angmar's picture
So this the the famous Shields

Ah! Now it's all starting to make sense.  Shields is a place!  The number of poor folk I've tortured trying to find out!.  They all just stared at me and smiled through a  drunken stupor...

Wyle E. Coyote's picture

I'm coming to Europe this summer.  I'm going to tour 85 cities in 21 days (an all-American record).  I'm going to include Shields in my plans, since it's obviosly not to be missed.  I've heard that the 'bacon and mushroom stottie' (pronounced 'staddie' over here) at Dickson's is not to be missed and beats Buffalo chicken wings hands down.  I obviously also have to do fish and chips down at the sea front.  Anything I've missed?  I heard something about a shag around the back of the New Crown but I'm not sure about that because I don't smoke...

Granpaw's picture

LifeboatAch, I ken Shields.  I wis posted there durin' the war.  I mind gettin' tae ken a braw lassie ca'd Lottie Turnbull.  Onyway, she ened up runnin' aff wi' a wee showbiz laddie ca'd Eric Morcambe whae wis appearin' at the Pier Hied.  There wis this auld lifeboat built by Wullie Woodhave which wis the second auldest in the world.

White Horse

Also, there wis a white horse painted on thon cliffs at Cleadon.  I mind climbin' up the windmill there an' gettin' chased by the polis...

Galen's picture
New Crown wildlife

I'm sure you'll enjoy Shields on your whistlestop tour of "Yrrp" Wyle. I'm a regular in the New Crown (never miss the Pint and a curry for a fiver night) and, being so close to the coast, I've observed numerous kittiwakes, cormorants, puffins and gulls in the car park, but never a shag.

Bergerac's picture
White horse

That's interesting Granpaw. My cousin from Shields lives within the very shadow of this magnificent beast. Did you paint it originally? Was that why the police were after you?

Mike Wazowski's picture
A Shields question

If Shields is a place, how come my mate Jean Luc Picard on his starship Enterprise says 'Sheilds Up' ?

Bergerac's picture
Make it so...

Allow me to explain Mike. According to the official Star Trek website - Jean Luc Picard was actually born in Shields on July 13 2305 and joined Starfleet Academy (formerly South Shields Marine and Technical College) at 18 where he met and befriended fellow Shields Lad 'Geordie' La Forge in the Martec bar. This is where they first coined the phrase "Shields Up" after a particularly heavy session. Hope this helps...

Witch-king of Angmar's picture

According to our records, the White Horse of Cleadon appeared during the Third Age of Men, which in your time would be sometime between 1840 and 1877.  Since Grawpaw is about 150 years old it is conceivable he painted the horse when he was a 'wee laddie'.

However, I'm inclined to postulate that it was more likely one of the pranks of Tom Bombadil.

It looks to me to be modelled on Shadowfax, the horse of that pesky Maia, Gandalf Stormcrow.

Paul's picture
The River Tyne

South Shields is situated on the south bank of the River Tyne, at the point where is runs into the North Sea.  In the past the river was a great source of employment, driven by the need to ship coal from the region's many mines.  As you can see in this old photograph, the river experienced very heavy traffic!

Tyne at South Shields

Several of my father's family were tugboat-men on the Tyne and the photograph shows a tugboat in action.  Navigating into the Tyne is a risk due to the hidden presence of the 'Black Middens', a plateau of black whinstone that juts out into the mouth of the river from the north side; exposed at low tide but lurking menacingly below the surface at high tide.

Black Middens

The photograph here shows the Black Middens in the foreground, the lights of North Shields upper right and those of South Shields upper left.

High and Low Lights

To help the process of entering the Tyne, the 'High and Low; lights were built, which when in vertical alignment confirmed to the skipper he was navigating the right course.

The photgraph also shows North Shields Fish Quay, which was the base for the numerous trawlers which fished the waters of the North Sea.

PS: I couldn't resist purchasing the 'winter' version of the AWT.  It's just perfect for outdoor barbecues in Shields...

Administrator's picture
Image added

Thanks for the pictures Paul, I've added the river photo to the South Shields gallery.