Edith Brough Whickam And Beyond - a Memory of Whickham.
My name is Bill Young not related to the girl with the same name above, and I too was at the Edith Brough home in Whaggs Lane Whickham. I went there with my brother Bobby in the late 1940's, probably about 1946/7/8 although my memory isn't that good with regard to the dates. Bobby and I went first to the PCHA in Percy St. Newcastle and stayed there for a while. We lived on the top floor of a four storey building. I can remember going to St. Andrew's School which was close by. Then we went to Whickham, I can't remember whether it was together or separately but we were there together for a while. I can remember Miss Bell and queuing up in the passage outside her office for some offence and getting rapped over the knuckles with her bunch of keys. There were some woods to the back end of the property beyond a bust of Mr Brough - probably Edward - and I think we'd been mucking around up there which ended up with the knuckle rapping. We cleaned our teeth with salt in a bathroom that was more like a long scullery than anything else. We went to school in Whickham and chapel on a Sunday. At school was a girl called Lindy Gill and she lived in a very large house in Whaggs Lane close to the village. She was my first love - from a distance of course because we were the home kids and normal contact with the world was totally out of the question. She had a sister called Jocelyn who we called chocolate, thinking it was very funny. I had my first mathematics lesson at Whickham. 3x4 is the same as 4x3 - but it isn't. We got 3d a week pocket money and went into Whickham to spend it. I was given one shilling for four of us and bought four rulers at 4d each. I got three and had no pocket money or ruler. Never forgot the lesson. We used to help the gardener and sweep the driveway from side to side and there were beautiful rhododendrons all over the place. We sledged down the drive in winter. I can't remember any of the kids there but the one or two names strike a chord. Padmore, but more of that in a minute. We went to South Shields for a day - or more - to the home there and played on the beach. I left Whickham on my own and never saw Bobby again for many years, and went to Whitely Bay, 29 The Esplanade. A normal house with a few of us there, all boys. I remember Edward Skelly and Sammy Padmore. Sammy was black. the first person I had ever seen who was black. Eddie Skelly said Sammy was his brother and although I was puzzled I didn't question it. I was there for a while and went to Rockliffe school. One Sunday we all went for a walk to Tynemouth and realised we were going to be late for Sunday School at the Presbyterian Church and took a short cut back down the cliffs at Cullercoats and I was first one down. Broken legs, arm, fractured skull and other bits and pieces. Eddie Skelly carried me across the rocks and they got help somehow and I was lifted up to the promenade by a crane that was there for many years. I went to hospital in Tynemouth and the Newcastle General for many weeks. Some time later we were playing beside the Spanish City and a girl came up to me and said "Eeeeh, your my brother"
And it transpired that she was correct. She eventually stole me away and the police got involved and I was taken back. This happened a few times and eventually they gave up and I went to Newcastle and eventually ended up with my parents. After living with them for a few weeks I went back to Percy Street and said please take me back. My parents were the world champions in uselessness. They wouldn't take me back though and eventually I settled down with my parents and my brother Bobby and elder sister Dorothy came home. I embarrassed them by winning a scholarship to Heaton Grammar School. Really posh and me in short raggy arsed trousers. It didn't last and I eventually left home at 15 years of age and joined the Royal Navy as a boy seaman. The training was tough but they didn't have a Miss Bell - though there were some hard cases. Life progressed and now I'm 77 years old, and the only living member of my family left, everybody else died fairly young. I became an alcoholic, married twice, three kids all grown up now and have lived in Australia since 1970. Got into AA and now am in my 51st year of sobriety. I met a man in AA some years ago and the subject of the homes came up - he'd been there too but at a different time. He told me that Eddie Skelly who carried me across the rocks and probably saved my life was killed in that area some years later whilst under army training. I went back to England last year and wandered down memory lane. Percy St. and St Andrew's School have gone, Whaggs Lane is there but there's a housing estate where Edith Brough Memorial Home was. Broome Lane was so close unlike my memory of it, and I don't think the woods and the bluebells were there. The village is now a town and unrecognisable. 29 The Esplanade Whitely Bay is now The Shangri La Hotel and I couldn't find my way to the sea front at South Shields. I found this page today 9 May 2016 by accident and all that above came out.
A memory shared by on May 9th, 2016.
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