Trams, Markets And Bright Yellow Trolly Buses - a Memory of Newcastle upon Tyne.
With big hugs from waiting family on one of the many platforms that was Central Station, we hurried though the noise and clouds of steam towards the station exit and into the sunlight...my eyes gazing in wonderment at all the the grand buildings, trams and bright yellow trolly buses, we had nothing like it in our Hampshire town, our railway station had but two platforms and the largest building was the Empire picture house.
The queues were long for the big yellow trolly bus,but well worth the wait....for me it was a mad scramble up the stairs and right to the front, to get the best veiw...or best veiw possible considering the amount of smoking going on...on the top deck,one look over my shoulder and it was all headscarfs, flat caps and tab ends, a bus-load of British backbone that would ensure that we would win the war one day soon.
On our way we would pass a brewery with a smell that lives with me to this day, along with the smell of carbolic soap in the school washroom and the bleached stone sink in my nan's kitchen, then on the right was St. James's Park where I saw my first ever game of football and the mighty Jackie Millburn with my uncles.
In my mind's memory the next on the right and at the bottom of Stanhope Street was Leazes Park where we spent many a happy day fishing for sticklebacks in the lake and on the rowing boats. A sharp left turn at the park saw our trolly bus on its way up Stanhope Sreet to number 185 where my nan lived.
The bus stopped opposite 185 and we got off, as it pulled away we saw from across the road her big black door with the large white porcelain door knob in the middle and the end of our long journey.
My nan's was a large terraced house, the bottom half was 183 and the top was 185. The door was opened by my 4ft 10ins Irish grandmother Mary Kelly who ruled her sons with a rod of iron, but to us she was our "Nana" but you never got on the wrong side of her.
185's front door opened to a steep flight of stairs that turned at the top to a landing, three bedrooms led off the landing plus a flight of stairs to the attic...I never went up there, that's where the lodger lived....the main door from the landing opened into the dinning room cum living room full of large dark Victorian furniture...the fireplace had an oven and hot plate either side of the fire made of black cast iron with brass trimmings. The kitchen was gallery shaped with a cooker, stone sink and a clothes boiler, at the side was a flight of stairs that led down to a shared backyard and toilets.
Open the gate to the back lane and you were in another world...the kids' world, in those days no one had more than your neighbour and us kids were all the same, the only thing that came to the forfront was the strongest natural leader, and in our back lane it was a lad called Bill....Ginger Bill was slightly taller and wirier than the rest of us and could handel himself, myself being from down south was bad enough but I was outnumbered and nowhere near as streetwise as those kids, but I seemed to have a curiosity value...Ginger Bill called me 'the London boy' and even though he could hardly tell what I was talking about he took me under his wing and we got on well. I returned several times between 1944-1950 and we continued to remain friends, but the last time he wasn't about..he had probably started work.
My only work duties while at my nan's was scrubbing out the back yard and running errands to the local Co-op, that Co-op number was burned into my brain for years but it's gone now. Every Saturday I was trusted to take the run-down accumulator radio battery to the garage to exchange it for a charged one.
Sunday bright and early we would walk down along with thousands of others to the market on the key side, to see the way the market traders sold their wares with all their joking and banter equal to the best of London's street markets. T quayside was much more exciting with knife swallowers, fire jugglers, plate spinners and once I know I saw an escape artist chained inside a box bound with straps and lowered into the Tyne,and he got out...
In the summer some Sundays our aunties would make sandwiches and buns and me and my cousins would collect our buckets and spades and be off to North Shields, Whitley Bay or one of the other seaside towns along the coast.....My memories of Newcastle were precious to me, that was where my family was, it was my mother's family... there was none I knew of in the south.
My memories of Newcastle were over an eight or nine year period at a very early age. If you survived reading this to the end ....I thank you.
A memory shared by on Sep 9th, 2011.
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